RENO — Three adults and one juveline were arrested Thursday after Washoe County Sheriff’s Office detectives caught them breaking into a “bait vehicle” being used in a sweep of vehicle burglaries.
The sheriff’s office maintains several “bait vehicles” in a partnership with the National Insurance Crime Bureau designed to target vehicle thefts and burglaries.
As a result of 11 vehicle burglaries at the Michael D. Thompson Trailhead, detectives placed the vehicle at the trailhead parking area and maintained surveillance in the area. At about 1 p.m. Thursday, an undercover detective who was hidden in the nearby brush saw a gold-colored GMC SUV enter the parking area. Two passengers exited the SUV and began looking into the windows of vehicles in the area. Nicholas Walther, a 21-year-old Reno resident, used a glass punch to break the window of the bait vehicle. He then removed a laptop computer and a GPS device. The other suspect, a 17-year-old Sun Valley resident, was seen peering into another vehicle in the area. The two then jumped into the SUV, which left the area.
Detectives and K9 teams positioned down the road were waiting for them. All four were taken into custody and the laptop and GPS device were recovered. The driver, 20-year-old Flor Lopez of Reno, was arrested for conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to possess stolen property. Walther was arrested for burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, grand larceny, destruction of property, two probation violations and possession of marijuana. Maria Aguinaga, a 21-year-old Sun Valley resident was arrested for possession of marijuana, probation violation and a failure to appear warrant. The 17-year-old male was detained at the Jan Evans Juvenile Justice Center for burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of marijuana.
Detectives are continuing their investigation. The day prior to the arrest, a gold-colored Honda four-door sedan with Nevada license plates was seen in the area casing vehicles. Although detectives are confident these four suspects are involved with the series, there may be more individuals yet to be identified.
Trailhead and park users are reminded to avoid leaving valuables in their cars.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call detectives at 328-3320. Anonymous tips can be provided to Secret Witness by calling 322-4900, report online at www.secretwitness.com or text a tip to 847-411, keyword “SW.”