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Published on May 06, 2024
Over 35 Arrested in San Bernardino County's "Smash & Grab" Sting at Victoria GardensSource: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

It was a crackdown of cinematic proportions as law enforcement in San Bernardino County swept through Victoria Gardens Shopping Center, rounding up over 35 individuals in a sting operation dubbed "Smash & Grab." The operation, unfolding from April 19 to May 2, aimed to put a stop to a wave of brazen retail thefts terrorizing the local populace.

The multi-agency operation, exacted with precision, included the Rancho Cucamonga Station, Gangs/Narcotics Division, the San Bernardino County Probation Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the California Highway Patrol, and the San Bernardino Police Department. Their efforts resulted in 14 felony and 22 misdemeanor arrests, along with the recovery of approximately $17,705 worth of stolen property. According to information provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, the operation's efforts were concentrated not only on Rancho Cucamonga but also stretched to the Apple Valley, Hesperia, Victorville, and Chino Hills shopping districts.

The surge of criminal activity has been watched with growing alarm since November 2023, as organized crews engaged in a spate of robberies, burglaries, and vandalism, creating a climate of fear and insecurity amongst shoppers and store owners alike. "These violent criminals terrorize the citizens of San Bernardino County by utilizing intimidation tactics and a mob mentality," a news release detailed, vividly painting the backdrop of lawlessness that sparked the massive crackdown.

Officials explained that "Operation SMASH & Grab" employed both conventional and non-conventional investigative methods to confront the crisis head-on. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors showed support by injecting funds aimed at bolstering regional crime suppression efforts. This fiscal move was designed to enhance the Sheriff's Department’s capacity to address these and other "quality-of-life issues" affecting county residents.

For the San Bernardino community, the operation sends a clear message that law enforcement is vigilant and proactive in safeguarding the tranquility of its shopping havens. Residents seeking further details can reach out to the Gangs/Narcotics Division at (909) 387-3700 or get informed via the Sheriff-Coroner Department's official announcement. The story behind these numbers reveals an ongoing struggle for the safety of a community determined not to cede ground to criminal enterprises.