Surveillance methods used to capture suspects on valley crime spree

Lengthy investigation revealed crimes throughout Coachella Valley

LA QUINTA, Calif. - Two people have been arrested after a lengthy investigation revealed they were responsible for crimes in La Quinta, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and Indio.

The La Quinta Police Department's Special Enforcement Team said 36-year-old Indio resident Raymond Araujo and 31-year-old Esther Montoya of Coachella were arrested Wednesday.

Authorities said they used specialized surveillance methods to determine Araujo and Montoya were burglarizing vehicles and stealing personal property, including purses and wallets to use victim's credit cards at various businesses throughout the Coachella Valley.

Search warrants were served at both of their homes. Araujo lives in the 45000 block of Deglet Noor in Indio and Montoya lives in the 51000 block of La Ponderosa in Coachella, according to a release.

Two vehicles were impounded to collect evidence.

Both suspects were already on probation for burglary and fraud in Riverside County when they were arrested. They were booked into the Riverside County Jail in Indio on multiple charges.

Raymond Araujo is charged with:

  • 10 counts of burglary (vehicles and commercial)
  • 8 counts of fraudulent use of credit cards
  • 12 counts of possession of stolen property
  • 8 counts of identity theft
  • 21 counts of violating probation

Esther Montoya is charged with:

  • 7 counts of burglary (vehicle and commercial)
  • 4 counts of fraudulent use of credit cards
  • 12 counts of possession of stolen property
  • 4 counts of identity theft
  • 14 counts of violation of probation

The La Quinta Special Enforcement Team is still investigating other criminal cases that Araujo and Montoya are suspected to be involved with.

Anyone who might have information is asked to contact officers Evan Kibbey or Rebecca Smith at 760-863-8990.

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