MADERA COUNTY – A Madera County resident returned home early on Monday, Dec. 17, only to interrupt a burglary in progress. Four suspects, tied to a major gang operating in Madera County, fled the property in her car, according to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.Unharmed but frightened, the property owner phoned the sheriff’s office, providing deputies with a description of the suspects, and the make, model and color of her stolen vehicle.
The burglary happened early Monday night on Road 603 near Hensley Lake. Sergeant Zack Zamudio spotted the vehicle nearly 16 miles away on Clinton and Tozer, and pulled it over.
Not knowing if anyone inside was armed, a handful of deputies arrived on scene to assist, taking all four into custody without further incident.
Among the band of suspected thieves was a man who had been granted early release, under the terms of California’s AB 109.
According to records, Andrew Steven Trevino, 19, an admitted gang member, according to the Sheriff’s Office, was part of California’s early release program, called AB 109. He was serving time for burglary.
A Madera County Sheriff’s Office news release states the purpose of AB 109 is to curtail California’s so-called state prison revolving door of low-level inmates. “He’s back behind bars,” says Sheriff John Anderson, “booked into our county jail, where he is being held without bail.”
A second suspect is Anthony Lee Bruno, 22, also a known gang member. “He was among more than 100 gang members arrested in June 2011 during a major gang sweep, dubbed Operation Red Zone,” says Sheriff Anderson.
“Bruno was charged and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, and was on parole when our deputies arrested him last night,” says Anderson. Anthony Bruno remains behind bars in Madera County, booked on a no-bail hold.
The third and fourth suspects are Ester Lopez, 19, and Steven Ambrosio, 18, both know to the sheriff’s office as gang associates.
All four suspects are from Madera.
While Trevino and Bruno remain held without bail, Lopez and Ambrosio are behind bars with bail set at $30,000 each.