SPARKS, NV - An undercover operation involving Sparks police and ATF agents nets more than 20 stolen guns and results in five arrests. Mario Cerda, Jesse Mendoza and Derrick Nichols face charges ranging from probation violation to federal firearms violations. They were caught during an undercover operation to buy back items taken from homes in Spanish Springs and Wingfield Springs.
Two teens were also arrested during the sting. It’s a trend police say is becoming more common. “They're not held to the same criminal standards as adults,” says Detective Sgt. Greta Woyciehowsky “so using juveniles to commit these residential burglaries is becoming more popular.” The investigation that led to these arrests began earlier this year. Police say guns were an item commonly taken during these break-ins. That leads to increased concern that those guns will be used in other crimes.
"We encourage anyone who has guns to lock them up,” says Woyciehowsky. “Take safety measures, really go around their home and fortify it so that they're not victimized." She also encourages home owners to take pictures of valuables including any serial numbers. In case of a burglary, that will make it easier for police to return recovered items to their rightful owner.