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San Marino Traffic Stop Leads to Recovery of Christmas Gifts, Arrests

Jose Vargas, 18, Julio Ahumada, 19, Christian Flores, 19 and two youths were taken into custody after allegedly being caught red-handed with wrapped Christmas gifts.

A routine traffic stop led police to recover a vehicle and several wrapped Christmas gifts taken from a San Marino home, officials said.

Officers conducting the traffic stop about 11:15 a.m. Friday in the area of Sherwood Road and Palmas Drive noticed the vehicle they stopped matched the description of a suspecious vehicle that had been reported earlier.

The vehicle was parked on Wilson Avenue earlier in the day, San Marino police Sgt. Aaron Blonde said.

Officers noticed a large number of wrapped Christmas gifts and other items strewn about the interior of the vehicle, Blonde said.

During the traffic stop, officers were told by dispatchers that a burglary had just been reported by a resident in the 1600 block of West Drive. The resident identified some of the items taken as wrapped Christmas gifts, he said.

"After a consent search of the vehicle, the officers located several items of stolen property and burglary tools," Blonde said. "All of the wrapped Christmas gifts were positively identified by the resident on West Drive."

Five suspects inside the vehicle were arrested on suspicion of residential burglary, receiving stolen property and burglary tools.

Jose Vargas, 18, Julio Ahumada, 19, Christian Flores, 19 and two youths were booked on suspicion of residential burglary, receiving stolen property and possession of burglary tools.

Vargas was being held Sunday in lieu of $50,000 bail, pending a court appearance Wednesday; Ahumada also was being held in lieu of $50,000, pending a Wednesday court appearance.

Bail and arraignment information was not immediately available for Flores.

The adults were being held at the Alhambra Jail and the juveniles were released to their parents.

The San Marino Police Department asked the public for help in identifying additional victims for items not claimed by the resident on West Drive.

These include electronics such as a cell phone an digital camera, jewelry such as watches and bracelets, and clothing, and a large amount of loose change.

San Marino police detectives asked anyone with information about possible victims or other stolen property to call them at 626 300-0726.

--City News Service contributed to this report.

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