Seventh suspect arrested in connection to attempted carjacking

Victim was followed from Del Taco to Denny's, police say, where the suspects beat him before stealing his money, cell phone and keys.

August 11, 2011|By Lauren Williams,

Costa Mesa police said they arrested the final suspect, a minor, in an attempted carjacking by gang members that sent a Newport Beach man to the hospital.

In all, six minors ranging in age from 14 to 17 and Juan Carlos Juarez, 18, of Orange, were arrested on suspicion of pulling the victim from his car and beating him before attempting to steal the car, police said in a news release Wednesday night.

On Aug. 2, the man was eating at the Del Taco at 1720 Superior Ave., when the group of suspected Varrio El Modena gang members from Orange approached him, flashed gang signs, a handgun and threatened to kill him, according to police.


The victim waited in the restaurant until he thought that the suspects had left before getting into his vehicle to leave. At 17th Street and Superior Avenue, the victim spotted the suspects in the car behind him and pulled into a Denny's parking lot to evade them, but they attacked him and stole his cash, a cell phone and keys, police said in the release.

The man was taken to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach with moderate injuries to his head and face.

Police believe the gang members came to Costa Mesa from Orange in a stolen vehicle with the intent to commit crimes.

Working with police in Orange who were familiar with the street gang, Costa Mesa officers were able to identify the final suspect and make an arrest Tuesday, according to CMPD Lt. Mark Manley.

"It's concerning when other gangs cross into Costa Mesa to commit their violent crimes," Manley said in an email. "Our patrol officers and Gang Enforcement Unit did an outstanding job responding to the call, disseminating timely information to neighboring agencies, and aggressively tracking down the outstanding gang suspect. This is what we do extremely well."

The Orange County district attorney's office is charging three of the juveniles as adults, according to the release.

They face charges of attempted carjacking, robbery, brandishing a firearm, conspiracy, criminal threats and a gang sentencing enhancement.

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