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Medal of Merit: Investigators solve nine follow-home robberies, reveal crime ring

Medal of Merit: Investigators solve nine follow-home robberies, reveal crime ring

In March 2019, Deputies were dispatched to a robbery in Aliso Viejo.  The victim had been followed home from a casino and robbed at gunpoint in her driveway. 

This isolated incident evolved into a multi-jurisdictional investigation of a sophisticated criminal ring who followed victims home and robbed them at gunpoint.  During a five-month crime spree, the suspects robbed at least 10 people of more than $40,000.  The suspects would surreptitiously identify unsuspecting victims as they collected their cash winnings inside the casino.  The suspects would then follow the victim’s home and rob them.

Investigators Chapluk, Davis and French identified the suspects from video surveillance and still images that were provided by casino security.  They painstakingly worked to identify all the suspects and confirm their identities. 

During the 10-month investigation, they wrote 21 search warrants, conducted more than 1,500 hours of surveillance and spent more than 1,000 hours conducting research and documenting their investigative efforts.  In addition, they worked with five casinos and five state and local law enforcement agencies. 

They presented a 1,200-page case to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.  The case included nine counts of robbery, attempted robbery, conspiracy, gang enhancements and a felon in possession of a firearm.  Charges were filed against the suspects and the Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney L. Sisak commended this exceptional team for their work. 

Investigators Chapluk, Davis and French were able to bring a successful conclusion to a complex and time consuming case with few leads.  They utilized new technology and worked through obstacles to successfully bring violent criminals to justice.  Their meticulous investigation and remarkable organizational skills ultimately put an end to this crime spree. 

For their months of work to solve this case, they each were awarded the Medal for Merit.