Accused Lotto Thieves Arrested

Two suspects in a rash of lottery ticket thefts at Southland stores were behind bars Friday, Garden Grove police reported.

Daniel Soto, 35, and Emmanuel Quintero, 33, both of Compton, were arrested in connection with at least two break-ins in Garden Grove and may be connected with other similar burglaries in Downey, Maywood and Whittier, according to Garden Grove police.

Police were also looking for Juan Carlos Meza, 35, of Wilmington, and Augustin Gutierrez, 22, of Carson, who were still at-large, police said.

The most recent break-in was 2:50 a.m. Tuesday at Shop and Go Liquor, 13682 Euclid St., according to Garden Grove police Lt. Bob Bogue.

A white minivan was backed up to the front door, and two of the men got out and pried the front door open by tying a rope on the door and pulling it down with their vehicle, Bogue said.

When the suspects got inside, they tied a rope to an automated teller machine near the front door, Bogue said. Another thief grabbed an unknown number of California Lottery Scratchers from the check-out counter, he said.

The suspects got back in the van and attempted to drive away with the rope tethered to the ATM, Bogue said. The rope snapped, however, prompting the thieves to flee without it, Bogue said.

Two burglars stole lottery tickets from a liquor store on May 16 in Garden Grove, Bogue said. The pair used a Chevrolet Astro van and a rope to force open the doors of Hanshaw Liquors at 10971 Westminster Ave. about 4:45 a.m., according to Bogue, and took several thousand California Scratchers tickets.

Some of the winning tickets were claimed a few hours later at convenience stores in Compton and Lynwood, Bogue said. Garden Grove police got a break in the case when they found the red van used in the burglary at Hanshaw's Liquor store, police said. It was stolen in

Garden Grove and was found a mile away on May 17, police said.

Evidence from this week's break-in led police to a Compton residence, where several of the suspects reside, police said. After serving a search warrant and arresting Soto, police recovered a handgun, an ounce of methamphetamine, stolen lottery tickets, a stolen cash register and ropes used in the burglaries, police said.

Quintero was in custody after allegedly leading Fountain Valley on a chase Wednesday, police said. Soto got away from that chase, police alleged.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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