Two California residents were placed under arrest Tuesday for their alleged involvement in the burglary of two Orem businesses, resulting in $20,000 of property loss.
On Oct. 15, officers with the Orem Police Department responded to reports of a burglary at an Orem business, where the location had been broken into sometime during the night and thousands of dollars of merchandise had been taken, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest.
One of the employees of the business provided authorities with video surveillance, which showed two vehicles entering the parking lot and parking in front of the camera on the building. Using the footage, police were able to obtain a license plate number on one of the two vehicles.
In the footage, authorities observed a man in a hoodie exit one of the vehicles while a woman remained inside. Not long after, a second vehicle pulled into the parking lot and another man got out of that car.
The two men then began to grab boxes from an area behind an unlocked gate. One of the two men took a pair of bolt cutters from his vehicle and cut the lock off of an enclosed area with some help from the other man, according to arrest documents.
Police reported watching the surveillance footage that allegedly showed the two men grabbing several items from a work trailer that had been parked outside of the business before placing them in their vehicles and driving away. The stolen items included cord reels and other plumbing- and heating-related items.
A neighboring business also reported a burglary had occurred around the same time. Video surveillance from the second business showed the same two vehicles pulling into the parking lot before two men allegedly exited the car, cut the lock off of a storage shed and took several extension cords and ladders.
Between the two businesses, the individuals allegedly took an estimated $20,000 worth of materials, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Authorities were able to use the license plate information obtained from surveillance footage to identify the vehicle’s registered owner and locate each of the suspects involved, who were located in Salt Lake County.
In order to facilitate an arrest, Orem police made contact with the Unified Police Department. The Unified Police Department told Orem officials that the owners of the residence connected to the vehicle’s registration were already under investigation.
The residence connected to the vehicle as well as a secondary location were being watched by the Unified Police Department.
Unified Police executed a search warrant and took four individuals into custody on Oct. 16, including 69-year-old Charles Arthur Cooper of Salt Lake City.
Cooper allegedly told police he owned one of the vehicles featured in the surveillance footage, initially saying he was not in the Orem area before telling authorities he had been at the 7-11 nearby on the night of the burglary.
During an interview with police, one of the women arrested on Oct. 16 said she had been with Cooper and two other men, as well as another woman and corroborated the surveillance footage.
All four individuals allegedly stated they were with 29-year-old Kimberly Nicole Avendano of Bakersfield, California, and 30-year-old Kim Visith Phan of Santa Ana, California, on the night of the burglaries, according to arrest documents.
Phan was located at the Quality Inn Suites in Murray after an anonymous tip alerted authorities to his location. He was located in the driver’s seat of his vehicle, and his girlfriend, Avendano, was also taken into custody after she was located at the front of the hotel.
Phan and Avendano were transported to the Orem Police Department where they were read their Miranda Rights and allegedly agreed to speak with police.
Phan reportedly told police he and Avendano actively participated in the two burglaries, taking extension cords and other metal items before pawning them at a recycling center near California Avenue, according to the probable cause statement.
Phan and Avendano were arrested under the suspicion of second-degree felony theft, second-degree felony burglary and third-degree felony theft. Phan is also facing a potential additional charge for class B misdemeanor criminal mischief.
The couple is currently being held at the Utah County Jail. Arresting officers have filed to keep the two in custody, alleging that Phan and Avendano are both unemployed with no current addresses, which makes them flight risks.