Crime Trackers: A suspicious activity call to 911 results in 3 a - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Crime Trackers: A suspicious activity call to 911 results in 3 arrests

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TUCSON - You hear it quite often: Be aware of your surroundings, know your neighbors, and if you see something, say something. 

One La Paloma resident, who asked not to be identified, helped Pima County Sheriff’s deputies nab three suspected criminals. 

She lives in the gated community of La Paloma where she said everyone knows and watches out for each other.

Last month, as she was on her morning walk, she said she noticed a man who looked out of place. She had never seen him before, so she kept an eye out. 

The man tried to get into a vehicle in the visitors parking lot. It had a La Paloma resident sticker. The car alarm went off, and the man quickly covered himself with a blanket in the back seat.

The resident called 911 and called the front gate and gave a description of the man.

She said sheriff’s deputies arrived quickly, along with the front gate security officer.   

The man in the back seat was identified as 32-year-old Daniel Gastellum. After obtaining a search for the vehicle, detectives found stolen property.

The person responsible for the vehicle is 25-year-old Diego Barillas Longoria, police said. He was arrested on a federal felony warrant.

Deputy Ryan Inglett said, “Through that investigation and through learning what else had been stolen in previous cases, detectives were able to identify a third person involved.”

He was identified by police as 27-year-old Juan Mejia Jr.  

“Detectives found he was using credit cards that belonged to somebody else and was also tied with Daniel Gastellum and property that was found during this incident,” Inglett said.

Detectives said they also found evidence of other crimes that had occurred in the area, including some at the Red Door Salon.

Investigators said Gastellum and Mejia were charged with possession of stolen property and fraudulent use of credit cards.

Detectives said the resident who called 911 likely prevented other crimes.

“All because she was so aware of her surroundings, and called us in. I've said it before, community policing, truly takes an entire community and that's what happened in this case. Perfect example of it.”

The resident added, “We’re fortunate that our personnel at the security gate and our sheriff's department were very responsive.”

She also said she figured it was better to be safe than sorry.

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