VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. March 31 2017 - In a follow-up to a story first reported on KEYT.com, the four burglary suspects taken into custody after a lengthy pursuit that took place over two counties and ended in Gaviota in Santa Barbara County, are making their first court appearances Thursday in Ventura.
Authorities say Damon Hooker, 22, Kyrie Grayson, 24, Shakia Vanderbilt, 24, and Precious Pittman, 23, are all part of a larger organized retail theft group called the "Rainbow Crew." Authorities say the group is believed to regularly travel up and down the coast committing numerous burglaries and strong-armed robberies at different retail stores.
All four theft suspects are from the San Francisco area.
"Investigators estimate the Rainbow Crew has been responsible for stealing over $100,000 in merchandise from Los Angeles and Ventura County retail stores and upwards of a million dollars in merchandise throughout California," said the Ventura County Sheriff's Office in a press statement.
On March 1st, law enforcement officials investigating a theft in Thousand Oaks, in which about $2,000 of merchandise were taken, learned the suspects had committed several burglaries that day from Glendale to Camarillo, according to the Sheriff's Office. "In all, the suspects were responsible for stealing over $10,000 in merchandise," said the Sheriff's Office.
On March 28, Thousand Oaks police received information the suspects had returned to a retail store in the 300 block of West Hillcrest Drive. Deputies caught up to the suspects as they left in a car, and attempted to stop them. That's when a pursuit began on U.S. Highway 101 northbound, with speeds reaching over 100 mph at times.
The pursuit ended just before the Gaviota Tunnel in Santa Barbara County after California Highway Patrol officers successfully deployed spikes strips.
Hookerm Grayson, Vanderbilt, and Pittman were taken into custody and handed over to Ventura County law enforcement officials. Authorities discovered $15,000 in stolen property inside the suspect vehicle and determined it had been taken from a Los Angeles County burglary earlier in the day, according to the Sheriff's Office.
"Investigators also positively identified Grayson and Pittman as being involved in the March 1st burglaries," stated the Sheriff's Office.
All four suspects were booked into the Ventura County Main Jail and charged with the following:
182(a)(1) PC / Conspiracy to commit a crime
Multiple counts of 459 PC / Burglary, and 466 PC/ possession of burglary tools
Grayson was booked on the additional charge of 2800.2(a) PC / felony evading
All suspects remain on $250,000 bail pending trial.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Office noted in their statement to the press that, "Criminal activity commonly crosses jurisdictional boundaries. The suspects in this case traveled hundreds of miles to commit their crimes. During the course of the investigation, Thousand Oaks Police Investigators worked with the San Francisco Police Department and several private businesses. The cooperative effort was a key factor in identifying and arresting the four suspects."