A smash-and-grab burglar is behind bars after a team effort between deputies and potential victims paid off Wednesday.
Rene Marquez, 32, was arrested in the parking lot of LA Fitness on Golden Valley Road in the Centre Pointe area after he was observed breaking the window and taking a purse from the inside of a target vehicle set up by deputies.
Over the past few months, detectives and deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley station’s crime prevention unit noticed an increase in vehicle burglaries, counting more than 50 incidents in local businesses and parks since January of this year.
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It was also identified that each of the burglaries was committed by a suspect using the same pattern of smashing the car window, reaching inside and stealing purses, wallets or other items of value.
Surveillance teams were activated and information distributed to the public and employees at local businesses. Employees at LA Fitness took a proactive approach and when suspicious activity occurred in their lot, they approached and obtained a license plate and suspect description, which they passed on to deputies.
On Wednesday, while deputies were conducting surveillance, Marquez entered the parking lot and was acting suspicious while driving through the lot. Once he stopped his car and got out, deputies observed the break-in and took him into custody.
He is being held at Men’s Central Jail on a no-bail hold.