EL CAJON, Calif. – Five men are behind bars on suspicion of shoplifting from a department store in the eastern part of San Diego County, said the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies said the shoplifting occurred just after 8 a.m. last Saturday at the 2300 block of Jamacha Road in the Rancho San Diego area.

The store employees told police that five men walked out with several items of stolen merchandise. The suspects then got into a car and drove away, according to authorities.

With a description provided by the store employees, deputies were able to find the suspects’ car and pull them over for a traffic stop.

When deputies looked inside the car they found the stolen merchandise, a loaded .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun, ammunition and drugs.

Police arrested 28-year-old Christopher Esparza on suspicion of having an outstanding felony warrant, illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition, carrying a concealed weapon while in public, possessing a controlled substance while being armed, conspiracy to commit a crime, shoplifting and gang allegations.

The four other men arrested were 34-year-old Eduardo Gonzalez, 26-year-old Jason Castillo, 32-year-old Jesus Lopez and 28-year-old Jose Castillo. They were all booked into jail on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime, shoplifting and gang allegations.

The stolen items were later returned to the department store.