"These are not crimes of opportunity. These are carefully calculated and planned attacks on what should be our safe place – our homes,” Spitzer said.
SANTA ANA, Calif. – Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer and law enforcement officials announced today that more than 140 defendants have been charged in the past year for their involvement in a series of Orange County home invasion robberies and burglaries, commercial burglaries, and smash and grab robberies. Recent efforts by the District Attorney's Office led to the charging of 24 defendants from five different burglary crews in the last two weeks alone.
In a concerning development, seven newly charged defendants now face hate crime enhancements for specifically targeting Asian homeowners. These charges acknowledge the deliberate targeting of a particular group for financial gain.
The crimes committed over the past year have revealed the involvement of repeat offenders with multiple strikes under California's Three Strikes law. Shockingly, some defendants had amassed five, six, or even nine prior strikes, in addition to numerous other felony convictions, including multiple home invasion robberies, attempted murder, and assault.
Among the latest cases filed by the Orange County District Attorney's Office is the Beed et al. Case #23NF0915, 23NF0917, 23NF0918. This case involves 12 adult defendants charged with 13 Orange County home invasion robberies and burglaries in Brea, Irvine, Yorba Linda, and Orange. Notably, seven defendants face hate crime charges, while five face potential life sentences for kidnapping to commit robbery. The crew, believed to have ties to Riverside and Los Angeles Counties, is suspected of involvement in numerous other crimes across Southern California.
After a thorough nine-month investigation by the Brea Police Department, multiple defendants were apprehended, including one suspect who livestreamed part of his arrest on Facebook. The arrest of an 11th suspect took place yesterday.
One of the crimes charged involves a burglary on May 31, 2022, in which defendant Darrell Hollowayne broke into a Brea home and attempted to steal a large safe. When the homeowner's son discovered the safe stuck on the stairs, he promptly alerted the Brea police. However, later that evening, Hollowayne and five other defendants returned to the same home armed with guns to forcibly retrieve the safe. During the break-in, a friend of the victim attempted to flee, but the victim was captured and assaulted. The defendants threatened to harm him unless he provided the safe's code, which he was unable to do. The victim's friend was also captured, robbed, and dragged back into the house. The defendants subsequently stole the safe and even took pictures of themselves sitting on top of it.
District Attorney Todd Spitzer emphasized the calculated and premeditated nature of these crimes, stating, "These are not crimes of opportunity. These are carefully calculated and planned attacks on what should be our safe place – our homes." Spitzer criticized the lack of consequences for committing crimes in California and reaffirmed that Orange County would pursue arrests and prosecution to ensure the county remains the safest large county in the state.
Brea Police Chief Adam Hawley expressed gratitude for the dedicated work of his department, allied law enforcement agencies, the Orange County District Attorney's Office, and community partners in disrupting these criminal activities and delivering justice. Fourth District Supervisor Doug Chaffee also commended law enforcement professionals and prosecutors for their tireless efforts in safeguarding Orange County residents.
Numerous defendants charged in Orange County are also connected to crimes committed in other Southern California counties, with the majority residing outside Orange County, including Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, and San Bernardino Counties, as well as South America.
Recognizing the widespread home invasion robberies, burglaries, and smash and grab robberies, District Attorney Todd Spitzer established the Home Invasion Eradication Interdiction Strike Team (H.E.I.S.T) in June 2022. This specialized unit, comprising experienced prosecutors and district attorney investigators, works alongside law enforcement partners across Southern California to identify, apprehend, and successfully prosecute these burglary crews.