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Alleged car thieves arrested in Fountain Valley

May 01, 2014

Fountain Valley police arrested a pair of suspected vehicle thieves who each allegedly stole an SUV within two days of each other, authorities said.

Maria Navarro, 29, of Santa Ana, and Frank Moreno, 33, of Garden Grove, were taken into custody on suspicion of vehicle theft.

Navarro was arrested April 25 and released on Sunday after posting bail. Moreno was taken into custody Tuesday and is being held at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange on $100,000 bail, according to the Orange County sheriff's department website.

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On April 25, the two suspects entered the Sam's Club off Brookhurst Street and reportedly stole a woman's car keys from her shopping cart, according to a statement from Fountain Valley police.

When the victim noticed her keys were missing, she went to the parking lot and saw Navarro sitting in her 2012 Jeep Patriot. The suspect took off, and the victim contacted police.

Meanwhile, officials reviewed surveillance video and spotted one suspect, later identified to be Moreno, fleeing the scene in a 2005 Honda CRV, which had been reported to be stolen from Anaheim on April 24, according to the statement.

Authorities found the vehicle and Navarro about a mile away from the store, and she was taken into custody. During her arrest, police found Moreno's driver's license with Navarro and matched his photo with the suspect driving the Honda.

On Tuesday, Navarro and Moreno walked into the front lobby of the Fountain Valley Police Department to retrieve Navarro's belongings. Police recognized Moreno and took him into custody, according the statement.

Authorities found a Honda key in his pocket and located the stolen SUV behind the station near the Fountain Valley Library, police said.

Both vehicles have been returned to their rightful owners.

—Anthony Clark Carpio

Twitter: @acocarpio

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