Two burglary suspects were arrested Monday, and two more remain at large, after they allegedly crashed two vehicles into the Neiman Marcus and Louis Vuitton stores at Newport Beach’s Fashion Island and stole more than $100,000 in merchandise.
Newport Beach police spokesman Sgt. Shawn Dugan said a call came in at 3:45 a.m. Monday from security personnel at the outdoor shopping center regarding a commercial burglary in progress.
“There were actually two separate vehicles that were driven into the building on opposite sides of the structure through the entrance doors,” Dugan said Tuesday, indicating that the two stores are connected internally but both have doors to the outside parking lot area.
Dugan described one vehicle as an older model Ford Explorer, while the other appeared to be a sedan or small SUV of unknown make and model.
When officers arrived on scene, the suspects got into a third vehicle and fled the scene, engaging officers in a pursuit through a portion of Newport Beach and onto the 73 Freeway. California Highway Patrol officers joined in the freeway pursuit, following the suspect vehicle onto the 405 Freeway.
During the course of the chase, suspects were seen throwing the stolen merchandise — primarily high-end Louis Vuitton handbags — from the vehicle as it traveled from Orange County northward toward Los Angeles County, Dugan reported.
Los Angeles police officers eventually intercepted the vehicle and detained two of the suspects, a man and a woman. At least two other suspects fled on foot and were still at large on Tuesday.
The two detained — Ahmad Rahmaan, 25, and Tylise Bell, 28, both from Los Angeles — were taken back to Newport Beach, where they were booked on charges of commercial burglary and conspiracy to commit commercial burglary. Rahmaan was also charged with felony evading police officers, Dugan confirmed.
As of Tuesday, they were being held in Orange County jail on $200,000 bail and had court appearances scheduled for that day.
Dugan said officers are working with the stores’ loss prevention officers to inventory the stolen and discarded items, initially estimated to have a collective value of $100,000.
“A majority of the stolen property was recovered by our officers,” he added. “They’re still determining an exact loss from the store.”
All three vehicles were impounded and are being stored while the investigation is ongoing. Dugan said it was unclear whether the vehicles used to crash into the store entrances may have been stolen.
A spokesperson for Fashion Island Tuesday declined to comment on the incident.
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