Mercedes-Benz suspected in Orange County vehicle burglaries outfitted with license plate flipper, gas-siphoning device
Irvine police say vehicle believed to be connected to a number of car burglaries in Orange County was like something out of an international spy movie.
Yasmine Kambour, 37, and Chris Huynh, 44, both of Garden Grove were arrested Tuesday morning after an alert resident saw them in the parking garage of 2100 Scholarship. Police say the resident recognized them and their white 2008 Mercedes Benz C300 with white custom rims as the vehicle identified in connection with several vehicle burglaries a week prior.
Inside the vehicle, Irvine police say the officers found burglary tools, evidence of identity theft, and stolen property taken from a vehicle in Newport Beach. The car was also outfitted with "an elaborate gas siphoning device that transferred fuel directly into the vehicle's gas tank," police said.
"We noticed they had a very sophisticated fuel-pumping system in the back, where they could presumably siphon gas out of other people's vehicles," said Irvine PD Sergeant Karie Davies.
But more remarkably, the car was also outfitted with a license plate flipper that allowed the driver to obscure its license plate with the push of a button.
"The suspect vehicle was something out of @007 movie," Irvine police said in a Facebook post.
Such devices are available online for as little as $250 for both American and European license plates, but their legality seems hazy, with companies urging customers to consider them a "novelty item."
"They have this kind of James Bond flipping license plate in the back," Davies continued. "The reason they do that is to hide the license plate so we can't identify the car and who owns the car."
Detectives further detailed how the pair would prey on residents of large apartment complex, and those who left their car doors unlocked, and as they left the complex, they would switch their license plate using the installed flipper.
Kambour and Huynh have since been released after posting $95,100 and $50,000 bail, respectively.
CBS reporters who attempted to speak with Huyhn on Thursday were ignored, though the tricked-out Mercedes could be seen parked in the driveway of the home in Garden Grove.
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