“If you see something, say something.”
While the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office said “good old-fashioned policing” helped them bust an alleged theft ring, they also acknowledged that tips from citizens and investigative work of the Luther Police Department led to the arrest of three persons at a house in Luther on Tuesday, and the recovery of an estimated $200,000 or more of Amazon loot.
Citizens who saw something said something. First, they saw a ditch full of empty Amazon envelopes near the Diagonal and Harrah Road. Then they reported another dump site south of town at 178th and Hogback, and then a third site, in the ravine at Booker T. Washington Park. Those Amazon boxes, some not even crushed, were dumped close to an old mattress and other trash, then taken to the courtroom at LPD for processing and evidence.
OCSO said investigators believe Cesar Yasnier Cerquiera Rojas, was working as a third-party driver for Amazon; delivering packages using a truck owned by Dinneris Matos Delgado, 37. Investigators believe Rojas would allegedly roll up to Amazon’s Oklahoma City distribution center to pick up pallets of goods bound for delivery to the post office or to other delivery services. But while there, Rojas allegedly would pick up an extra pallet here and there, unnoticed. Authorities say he then hauled the stolen merchandise to the house in Luther.
Those pallets contained laptops, Instapots, Hotwheels tracks, Pyrex, tablets, sports memorabilia, and an untold amount of goods that were crammed into every closet, nook, and cranny of the house and storm shelter at Second and S. Birch. The house, decked out with Christmas decor, sits on a corner shared with a church and the basketball gym. Luther authorities said when they started questioning neighbors, they noted that trucks were coming in and out of the house at all hours.
Maikel Perez Laurencio, 38, was also arrested in the scheme as a driver. The trio faces 15 felony counts of possession of stolen property and embezzlement. Ms. Delgado is also charged with possessing meth. The investigation continues.
Authorities speculated that the alleged thieves sold the stolen goods in places like Facebook Marketplace, but they also kept some as evidenced by partially assembled furniture and other items in the house.
The authorities said the packages were not addressed to anyone local, nor were they obtained through “porch piracy.” The envelopes were labeled to addresses in Texas, southern Oklahoma, and Kansas. The big crack in the case happened when LPD found some identifying information within the dumped trash that led them to the house on S. Birch.
“They did a great job,” said Sheriff Tommie Johnson III at a news conference with OCSO investigators and county elected officials. “Our partnerships with municipalities out east are invaluable. It’s a joint effort to get outcomes like this.”
After a search warrant was issued on Tuesday, authorities spent hours pulling the merchandise out of the house and loading it onto a moving truck bound eventually back to Amazon.
Luther Police Captain Chris Fetters thanked citizens for calling in the tips and said they follow up on all of them. When it comes to criminal activity, “they’ll eventually get caught.”