Aida Arroyo, Michael Burgin and Adam Weick, Gang Members Who Hit OC Jewelers, Convicted

Categories: Crime-iny
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Three more members of a San Diego street gang have been convicted for their roles in two Orange County jewelry store robberies, with two learning their fate from a jury today and the third having entered a guilty plea mid-trial. Aida Arroyo, 29, faces up to 15 years in state prison after pleading guilty Thursday to 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.

Found guilty today were Michael Burgin, 32, and Adam Weick, 30.

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Burgin
Burgin was convicted of 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. He faces a maximum sentence of 70 years to life in state prison, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.

Weick was convicted of 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 a prior strike for kidnapping in 2005. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in state prison, prosecutors say.

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Weick
Arroyo was buzzed in through the security gates at Tustin Village Jewelers around 5 p.m. on Aug. 4, 2009, on the pretense of selling a ring. After negotiating a price, she asked to be buzzed out to make a phone call outside. That's when Burgin and Weick, wearing caps and bandanas and toting guns, 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 trio fled with $160,000 worth of jewelry.

Burgin was also involved in the Aug. 25, 2009, heist of Baca's Jewelry Store in Laguna Beach. Just as the store was closing around 7 p.m., Burgin, 33-year-old Alonso Jose Lopez and Pedro Avina Hernandez, 31, walked in dressed in black and wearing caps and hoods to obscure their faces. As a gun was held on an employee, the trio stole more than $1 million in watches and jewelry before fleeing.

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Lopez
Witnesses got a good look at Lopez and the white Ford Fusion he sped away in. The car was registered to Sylvia Elena Castaneda, 31, who reported it stolen even though she had loaned it to Lopez and Hernandez. The Fusion was stopped by law enforcement officers who'd been chasing it through Oceanside, where driver Lopez bolted on foot into nearby farmland. Cops picked up the trail 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.

But, with the help of a police dog, officers eventually captured Lopez near a shed. He was brought back to Laguna Beach, where he was identified as having taken part in the Baca's heist. He still had some stolen jewelry on him. Also hanging around his neck: a criminal record and a reputation for belonging to a San Diego County gang.

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Hernandez
On Sept. 8, 2009, 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, 23. After Castaneda was dropped off to get her car, Barajas, Oregon and Arroyo stole mail from local mail boxes. During the trip, Arroyo also used a credit card that had been stolen the day before in San Diego County.

Some jewelry stolen in Orange County wound up at San Diego Jewelry and Loan and J&L Jewelers, second hand jewelry stores in San Diego County where 37-year-old Jose Jesus Garcia tried to make identifying the pieces more difficult by grinding off identifying markings and Touradj Barman, 69, purchased property knowing it had been stolen.

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