A huge joint task force led by California Highway Patrol and with the assistance of local San Diego law enforcement performed the yearlong sting called Operation Sunrise. From September 2022 through July 2023, authorities surveilled, questioned and arrested multiple suspects involving numerous crimes. The biggest were the auto thefts:
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office secured 50 grand jury indictments. So far, multiple police agencies have arrested 31 of the suspects. They range in age from their early 20s to their 50s. They come from across Southern California with a range of backgrounds including some documented gang members, some with felony narcotics trafficking, and even a suspect with an attempted murder conviction, according to Leonard.
It involved identity theft, insurance fraud, gun and narcotic sales and possession, and even suspects allegedly stealing 172 cars worth $3.3 million.
Auto theft rings have been popping up all over the country. Law enforcement has been doing what it can to stop them, often with a lot of success. San Diego’s Fox 5 reports that an auto theft ring involving over 170 stolen vehicles, millions of dollars and 30 individuals has been broken up, resulting in multiple arrests.