GLENDALE, AZ - An undercover surveillance operation has led to the arrest of two men suspected of stealing pickup truck tailgates throughout the Valley.
Glendale police said detectives from the department’s Street Crimes Unit arrested 18-year-old Nelson Lopez and 19-year-old Jose Cervantes, both Glendale residents, on Thursday.
Police said in a news release that the two are believed to be connected to approximately 90 percent of the tailgate thefts that have occurred in the city of Glendale and throughout the Valley metro area since February.
During the undercover surveillance operation detectives were able to watch the two suspects, on multiple occasions, remove tailgates from trucks in several business locations, from Glendale to Tempe.
Detectives were also able to set up undercover purchases of stolen tailgates from the suspects, according to police.
Search warrants were served on a residence and storage facility in Glendale.
Police said detectives connected Lopez and Cervantes to 19 tailgate theft cases so far in the Valley and said there may be more.
Police believe the pair allegedly stole nearly 70 tailgates with a total value exceeding $150,000.
Lopez and Cervantes face charges of felony theft, money laundering and several counts of trafficking stolen property.
Phoenix police and the Department of Public Safety Auto Theft Task Force assisted in the operation.
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