Sunnyside police are currently in the middle of investigating three large-scale theft/burglary rings discovered during the month of October.
The Sunnyside Gang Unit has taken into custody several individuals, all documented gang members or associates, after following up on other violations, such as traffic offenses and arrest warrants.
That's according to Sgt. Joey Glossen, one of two public information officers for the Sunnyside Police Department.
He said members of the gang unit contacted several subjects on Oct. 6, 26 and 30 for various violations and had reason to investigate those individuals further.
Uncovered was evidence that required more in-depth investigation, according to Glossen. Evidence of several burglaries, thefts and vehicle thefts was found during the course of the investigations.
Glossen said police believe these operations are large-scale and the investigations are ongoing. He believes additional arrests will be made related to the investigations, therefore the names of the suspects are not yet being released.
The first series of arrests began the first week of October when the gang unit contacted an individual at a residence in the 1000 block of East Decatur Avenue.
Police were led to the home, believing they were contacting a suspect in a specific burglary investigation.
Earlier police reports reveal Manuel Silva, 19, of Sunnyside was taken into custody and Sunnyside police officers said they found marijuana in the home.
Three other individuals, 27-year-old Sheena Tate of Granger; 37-year-old Starr McDaniel of Prosser; and 21-year-old Efrain Perez of Grandview, were taken into custody at that time.
Police said a large number of stolen documents and property were found during the execution of a search warrant. The stolen items were believed to be connected to several burglaries and car prowls that were reported in Benton County.
Another suspect was taken into custody at a later date.
On Oct. 26, the gang unit received information regarding a fugitive wanted by authorities in Benton County. The suspect was believed to be hiding at a home in the area of East Grant Avenue and South 16th Street in Sunnyside.
Members of the Sunnyside gang unit followed up on the information and located two individuals hiding in the home. Also discovered during the course of the investigation, say police, was evidence of several stolen items reported missing from vehicles that had been targeted by thieves in Sunnyside recently.
A follow-up investigation ensued, according to Glossen. He said additional information led police to resolve several other car prowl cases.
Police arrested four additional subjects believed to be suspects in those cases.
This past Tuesday, Oct. 30, Sunnyside gang unit members found evidence of a burglary ring after conducting a traffic stop.
Officers made contact with four individuals inside a vehicle stopped for traffic violations. During the traffic stop, said Glossen, the four individuals were found to have arrest warrants.
Police took the individuals into custody and subsequently conducted a search of the vehicle.
"Officers located a large amount of property," said Glossen, stating property located inside the vehicle was believed to be stolen during a burglary that was reported in Toppenish a few hours earlier.
"The gang officers continued to investigate and were able to obtain a search warrant for a residence in the city of Sunnyside," Glossen said. He said a sawed off rifle, a stolen vehicle and additional stolen property were located at the home.
Five additional subjects were taken into custody and information regarding another stolen vehicle was uncovered.