DNA found at SCV crime scene leads to arrest of ‘hot prowl’ burglary crew

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department seal. File Photo
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department seal. File Photo

DNA evidence recovered at a 2018 Santa Clarita Valley crime scene was linked to one of three suspects arrested on suspicion of being part of a burglary crew that stole more than a half-million dollars from more than two dozen homes, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crimes Unit.

The three suspects: Brooks Hall, 20; Gerald Young, 19; and Clarence Steele Jr., 18, all from Palmdale, were arrested in July on a slew of charges related to the burglaries, at least one of which occurred in the SCV. 

“During the investigation, DNA recovered from a crime in Santa Clarita from 2018 was linked to one of the suspects,” said Sgt. Mike Maher of the LASD Burglary and Robbery Task Force in the department’s Major Crimes Unit, “therefore leading investigators to believe that there may be additional Santa Clarita crimes.” 

Deputies believe the suspected burglars were able to steal cash, jewelry and other personal valuables worth nearly $500,000 during the spree. 

“The suspects often utilized rental cars and vehicles with ‘paper license plates,’” read a Sheriff’s Department news release distributed Tuesday. 

Additional crimes connected to the suspected burglary crew occurred in the Antelope Valley, the San Fernando Valley and Ventura counties. A hot prowl is a burglary that occurs while a victim is in the home or business during the theft.

The men were arrested following several search and arrest warrants being served at three locations in the Antelope Valley on July 31. 

“During this search operation, detectives arrested five adult suspects and recovered three illegally possessed firearms, one of which was equipped with a 30-round magazine,” officials said Tuesday in the release.

The three burglary suspects were among the five arrested. The other two are believed to have not been connected to the burglary spree, but were also arrested on unrelated felony charges, officials said. 

The three suspects remain in custody pending a September appearance in the Antelope Valley Superior Court. However, while the case remains ongoing, Maher and his team continue to look for more victims. 

“Based upon the arrest and that DNA recovery from two years ago, it’s now sort of opened up to us that we can pour back to previous crimes, and see if we can connect them with this particular crew,” said Maher. It’s possible, due to the evidence recovered, that there are additional Santa Clarita Valley burglaries.

Sheriff’s officials are asking those who might have specific information regarding the suspects to contact the LASD Burglary and Robbery Task Force at [email protected]. If someone would like to provide information anonymously, they can call “Crime Stoppers” at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or download the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google play or the Apple App Store or by using the website https://lacrimestoppers.org

Perry Smith contributed to this report.

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