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Thieves steal safe containing guns, jewelry from North County home

VISTA, Calif. – Brazen burglars in search of guns broke into two Vista homes within a month.

Investigators with the Vista Sheriff’s station are asking for the public’s help to identify three men wanted in connection with a burglary that happened Wednesday around 6 p.m. Sheriff’s investigators said three black men burglarized a house in the 1700 block of Monte Vista Drive.

“We don’t know if they've been casing our place or watching us leave, we have no idea how they targeted us,” the homeowner, who did not want to be identified, told FOX 5.

On surveillance video, the suspect vehicle can be seen arriving at her home minutes after she said she and her husband left for dinner. In the video, two of the three men are seen looking into all the windows and doors of the home.

“When they went by the cameras they kind of tilted their heads and they were covered with bandanas and masks and hoodies,” she said.

Once the pair makes their way to the back of the home, video shows them breaking through the glass door of the master bedroom.

“They were in our house for eight minutes and got our safe out of our master bedroom,” said the woman.

In the video, you can see the men struggle with the 650-pound safe. Once in the driveway, the driver returns to help load the safe into the car.

“They were aware of how to do things, check the door for the sensors,” the homeowner said.

The stolen safe contained rifles, handguns, shotguns, jewelry, coin collections and silver bars.

Investigators said the same men are seen in surveillance video at a home burglarized on Sugarbush Drive a month earlier. It happened just after 4:30 p.m. on April 25 at a home in the 1000 block of Sugarbush Drive. The three suspects pulled into the driveway shortly after the homeowner had left his property.

After making sure no one was home, two of the suspects made their way into the backyard through a side gate. They were able to get inside the home after breaking a rear sliding glass door. The suspects got away with a Barska safe, rifles and several handguns.

Suspect No. 1 is described as a black man between 20 and 35 years old. He’s described as between 5’4 and 5’8 and weighs 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark sweatshirt, tan camouflage pants, black shoes, black gloves and a light-blue bandana around his face.

Suspect No. 2 is described as a black man, between 20 and 35 years old. He’s described as between 6’0 and 6’5 and weighs 260 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie zip-up jacket, black pants, black-and-white gloves and black shoes.

Suspect No. 3 is described as a black man, between 20 and 25 years old. He’s described as 5’10 and weighs 140 pounds. He has black hair and was last seen wearing red or orange pants, white long-sleeve shirt and red shoes.

Investigators said the car is believed to be a black Hyundai Tucson with paper plates possibly reading “WESLOH."

In the Sugarbush case, the suspects were believed to be driving a dark-colored, possibly blue 2018 Dodge Durango SXT with Bob Baker paper plates.
These suspects may also be wanted for similar burglaries across San Diego County. They are targeting geographically isolated, high-end homes and are likely driving newer model vehicles with paper dealership plates and that have large storage capacities.

“It’s just that these guys have got to be stopped before it escalates,” said the woman.

She said she and her family feel completely violated but are sharing their story in hopes that the thieves are caught.

“I just want to protect other people and find these people," she said. "I’m determined to help find these people to stop this.”

Crimes Stoppers is offering a $1000 reward, but the victims and other area residents are working together to increase it. The reward now stands at $4,000 and is moving towards $5,000.

If you recognize anyone in these surveillance photos or have any information, call the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 888-580-8477.