PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — Over $60,000 in property, including over 27,000 rounds of ammunition, that was allegedly purchased using stolen credit cards has been seized and at least three suspects were in custody following a fraud investigation that began in Santa Monica, authorities announced Thursday.

Santa Monica police said they opened the investigation earlier this month when a resident living on the 300 block of 10th Street reported that her credit card information had been stolen and she was receiving packages at her home that she did not order.

“The suspect was seen trying to intercept these packages and fled,” said SMPD Sgt. Richard Lewis, spokesman for the department.

Detectives were able to identify the suspect and began working with the Atascadero Police Department. The suspect was believed to have been living in Monterey County just north of San Luis Obispo, Calif.

On March 22, police served a search warrant in Bradley, Calif. and arrested Vincent Gerard Tarantino, 20, who was booked on multiple charges, including burglary and forgery. At the time of his arrest, police said Tarantino was in possession of a loaded and unregistered .45 caliber handgun and 19.3 grams of marijuana.

Officers seized electronics, expensive clothing and accessories, as well as a John Deer riding mower and various calibers of ammunition, including 220 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition most often used by the U.S. military and by law enforcement during “highly critical incidents involving SWAT sniper teams,” said Sgt. Gregg Meyer, spokesman for the Atascadero Police Department.

Two other men were arrested in Los Angeles by Santa Monica police. They were identified as Durran Nasir Bennette, 20, and Tyler Joseph Stapleton, 20; both from Temecula, Calif. Both were booked for burglary and obtaining credit in someone else’s name.

Lewis said the investigation is still ongoing.

 

kevinh@smdp.com

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