Aida Arroyo, Michael Burgin, Adam Weick: Final Defendants in Wild Gang Crime Spree
After negotiating a price for the ring around 5 p.m. on Aug. 4, 2009, the woman selling the ring was buzzed out of the security gates at Tustin Village Jewelers to make a phone call outside. That's when two armed men wearing caps and bandanas stormed in and demanded to be shown the store's diamonds. A gun was held to the back of the store owner's head as the safe was opened. The owner was later bound in duct tape and left in the restroom as the woman and two men fled with Arroyo and the two men left with $160,000 worth of jewelry.
Arroyo is charged with one felony count each of second degree robbery, second degree commercial burglary, and street terrorism, with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity and the vicarious use of a firearm by a gang member.
Burgin faces one felony count each of second degree robbery, second degree commercial burglary, and street terrorism, with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity, the vicarious use of a firearm by a gang member, and two prior strike convictions for first degree burglaries in 1999 and 2002.
Burgin is also alleged to have been involved in the second heist. Around 7 p.m. on Aug. 25, 2009, three men dressed in black and wearing caps and hoods to obscure their faces walked into Baca's Jewelry Store in Laguna Beach just as it was closing. Holding a gun on an employee, the trio stole more than $1 million in watches and jewelry before fleeing.
The Fusion was stopped by law enforcement officers who'd been chasing it Oceanside, driver Lopez bolted on foot into nearby farmland. Cops were later led to an Oceanside home, where 23-year-old Arturo Carlos Perez helped Lopez by acting as a look-out and giving the robber a calling card so he could use the phone without detection.
That marked the beginning of the end of the crime spree.
On Sept. 8, 31-year-old Salvador Barajas drove Castaneda to Laguna Beach to pick up the Fusion in police impound. Along for the ride was Arroyo and Daisy Oregon, 21. After Castaneda was dropped off to get her car, Barajas and Oregon stole mail from local mail boxes, something Arroyo is accused of participating in along with allegedly using a credit card that had been stolen the day before in San Diego County.