North County burglary bust may have uncovered string of crimes

SAN DIEGO -- Three people were arrested Sunday when they were found with stolen property from a local pizza shop, and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department now believes they may have uncovered the men behind a string of burglaries across the North County.

The break in the case came early Sunday, when 4S Ranch deputies responded to a call about suspicious activity near a Boys and Girls Club on 4S Ranch Parkway.

The deputies arrived to find 20-year-old Da'Shon Morales, 19-year-old Jesus Ruiz Arias Jr. and 20-year-old Fernando Vazquez Cruz near the club.

They also found a safe.

It had been tossed down a nearby embankment, and deputies discovered that it belonged to the Rancho Bernardo pizza joint Tony Pepperoni. As they questioned the three men, deputies recovered more property belonging to businesses across San Diego. Calls to the shops confirmed that they had all suffered break-ins overnight.

Detectives received search warrants for a car and several residences connected to the men -- ultimately all three were arrested on suspicion of burglary and theft charges.

Around 6 a.m., Tony Pepperoni manager Sarah Dean learned from her alarm system company that the pizzeria had been broken into. When she got to the restaurant, she found one of the doors had been shattered -- and police were already there.

It did not take her long to realize it was the safe that was missing.

“It definitely was heavy. I don’t know how they got it. So, yeah, they took it from the back of our restaurant,” Dean said. “Just a bummer."

Dean's spirits were lifted when she found out the safe had been found a couple miles down the road, and that both Sheriff's deputies and San Diego police were questioning the suspects.

“A huge blessing in disguise, because now these people are caught,” Dean said of the break-in. “(I'm) happy no one was hurt and no one was here when they broke in. As long as everyone’s okay -- we’re going to be okay."