FARMINGTON — Three people have been charged in a Davis County court for a series of alleged robberies of jewelry stores across the country.
Police have charged three Chilean nationals — Cristian Pierola Sepulveda, 36; Tanie Arancivia Villar, 26; and Abraham Herrera Montecino, 29 — each with single counts of pattern of unlawful activity and criminal mischief, both second-degree felonies. In addition, the three were each charged with three counts of burglary, all class A misdemeanors.
In charging documents, police outline how the three made entry to at least one Davis County jewelry store earlier this year.
Investigators alleged that the three would cut the power to jewelry stores soon after they would close for the weekend, and the loss of power would then cause police to respond to the stores. Once officers would leave — thinking it was a false alarm — the group would wait until the alarm system's backup power would die before breaking in.
After that, the group would get creative to get inside.
"They have made entry to jewelry stores by going through the roof, through a neighboring business, and directly through the windows," police alleged in a probable cause affidavit. Detectives in California, Utah, Arizona and Colorado have been searching for the three, the charging document says.
On May 11 and 12, the owner of Fadel's Jewelry in Bountiful told police that he received an alarm notification and found the power to the store was turned off. The owner simply turned the power back on, but he later returned to find the power was again switched off. When he reviewed security footage, the owner allegedly saw Villar, Montecino and Sepulveda outside the store, with Villar seen walking near the store's power box.
A detective in California was tracking the group by pinging Montecino's phone, and on May 13 the detective told the Layton Police Department that the phone had located in Layton. That same day, a Layton patrol officer was sent to Wood's Jewelry Store, located on Main Street, after a burglar alarm was triggered because of a power outage. The jewelry store was in the "exact area" where Montecino's phone was pinged, police allege.
The following day, police found that the jewelry store was broken into after the officer left. Police reportedly found part of the roof was cut away and someone had pulled insulation out to expose the metal sheeting. Officers also found a back door was broken down, and the total damage was estimated to be $1,700.
Police later tracked the three to Arizona, where officers with the Scottsdale Police Department say they allegedly broke into other jewelry stores.
Montecino and Sepulveda were later arrested in Peoria, Arizona after they allegedly committed another jewelry store robbery. Villar was able to escape from police and remains at large as of Friday evening. She has an active warrant for her arrest.
Though the three were charged in August in connection with the Layton burglary, Montecino and was booked into the Davis County Jail on Nov. 21, and Sepulveda was booked into jail on Oct. 31.
As of Friday evening, Montecino had yet to enter pleas to his charges. Sepulveda pleaded not guilty to his charges on Nov. 14 in Farmington's 2nd District Court.