Ten alleged gang members are facing felony charges in connection with a series of recent burglaries at the homes of Los Angeles-area celebrities and athletes, including singer Rihanna, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods.
Tyress Williams, 19, was initially arrested by Los Angeles police and charged in connection with the break-ins, while three other people were released from jail after prosecutors asked Los Angeles police to conduct further investigation into potential cases against them.
Two of those men -- Jshawne Daniels, 19; and Damaji Hall, 18 -- were subsequently re-arrested and charged, a court document obtained by City News Service shows, along with Hassan Deontre Murphy, 19, Joseph Holley, 22, Lance Williams, 18, Devin Garner, 24, Ron Simmons, 20, Donnie Faizon, 21, and Elan Lamberto Gabourel, 25.
The men are charged with criminal street gang conspiracy, along with numerous other counts, including first-degree residential burglary, home invasion robbery, first-degree residential robbery and attempted burglary.
All 10 defendants are reputed gang members, according to Deputy District Attorney Richard Ceballos.
The series of burglaries began in late October 2017 and ended Oct. 9, 2018, and included two burglaries at Puig's Encino home on Aug. 30 and Sept. 18, two break-ins at the home of singer Matthieu Tota on Aug. 24 and Aug. 28, a burglary at Rihanna's home on Sept. 25, and a break-in at Woods' home Sept. 27 while the Rams were playing the Minnesota Vikings at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, according to the criminal complaint.
Puig was at Dodger Stadium for his team's 10-inning victory over the Colorado Rockies during the second break-in at his Louise Avenue residence, which was also burglarized last November following the club's loss to the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series.
Tyress Williams was initially arrested along with Daniels and Hall on Sept. 28 after a traffic stop in South Los Angeles revealed a firearm and items believed to have been taken from burglarized homes, Capt. Lillian Carranza, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Commercial Crimes Division said at an Oct. 2 news conference.
The police captain said then that the three were believed to be part of a small ring of gang members and associates responsible for a series of break-ins at celebrities' homes.
"During recent months, the Los Angeles Police Department has become aware of a series of residential burglaries targeting actors, producers, musicians and professional athletes living in the Los Angeles area," Carranza said. "Initially, it was believed that these homes were being burglarized at random. However, detectives learned that this wasn't the case. The victims' homes had been selected based on social media postings and touring or travel schedules of the owners. The burglars believed no one would be home and that the homes would contain sought after valuables that they might be interested in.
The burglaries followed a pattern called "flocking," whereby suspects flock to celebrities' neighborhoods, dressing in nice clothes and driving luxury vehicles to avoid suspicion as they search for targets. They would then change into casual clothing, including hoodies, and use a larger vehicle to haul away stolen items, Carranza said.
One suspect would typically knock or ring a doorbell to check if anyone was home before breaking into a residence, she said.
The crimes were typically completed in a matter of minutes, Carranza said.
Investigators said in October that they also recovered a list of additional public figures, including Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James, actors Matt Damon and Viola Davis, that were also targeted for possible break-ins.