Three suspects who are believed to be part of a crime ring that used stolen credit card numbers to purchase more than $60,000 in property – including more than 27,000 rounds of ammunition – are behind bars after a joint investigation between the Santa Monica Police Department and the Atascadero Police Department.
The case originated in Santa Monica when a resident in the 300 block of 10th Street had her credit card information stolen.
Shortly after, packages began arriving at her home and contained items she never purchased.
A suspect was seen earlier this month on March 7 trying to intercept these packages and fled.
SMPD investigators were able to identify the main suspect and began working closely with the Atascadero Police Department where the suspect resided.
Last Friday, March 22, officers from both police departments, with the assistance of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, served a search warrant in Bradley, California (in Monterey County).
The search warrant resulted in the seizure of more than $60,000 in property, which had been purchased using stolen credit card numbers.
The stolen property included electronics, expensive clothing and accessories, a John Deer riding mower, and 27,000 rounds of various calibers of ammunition.
The ammo included 220 rounds of 50-caliber ammunition most often used by the US Military and less frequently by Law Enforcement during highly critical incidents involving SWAT sniper teams.
Arrested during the operation and later booked at San Luis Obispo County Jail was Vincent Gerard Tarantino, 20, of Bradley.
During his arrest, he was found in possession of a loaded and unregistered 45-caliber handgun. Authorities also seized 19.3 grams of marijuana from his vehicle.
Prior to serving the search warrant in Bradley, officers of the Atascadero Police Department conducted an undercover operation, which included the arrest of two individuals connected to the ring: Tyler Joseph Stapleton and Durran Nasir Bennette, both aged 20, both of Temecula.