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Police recover loaded handgun and purse stolen from Apple Valley, suspect arrested

Varela immediately began to use the victim’s credit cards at Walmart and a Valero gas station in Victorville.

APPLE VALLEY, Calif. ( — A 43-year-old West Covina man is in jail for vehicle burglary after he stole a woman’s purse and a loaded handgun, officials said.

The suspect, Arthur Varela, was wanted by Apple Valley Police after he was positively identified as the suspected in a vehicle burglary on the morning of September 23, 2019.

According to a sheriff’s news release, Varela forced entry into the victim’s vehicle that was parked in the 18000 block of Nakash Road in Apple Valley and took, her purse, wallet and a loaded firearm.

“Varela immediately began to use the victim’s credit cards at Walmart and a Valero gas station in Victorville. Through video surveillance, Detectives were able to obtain the license plate number of the vehicle Varela was driving,” stated the release.

The vehicle was traced to an address in West Covina where Varela was later located and found to be in possession of the victim’s stolen property, including the firearm. 

Varela was arrested and booked at West Valley Detention Center for being in violation of PC 459, Vehicle Burglary, PC 487(d)(2), Grand Theft of a Firearm, PC 29800 (A)(1), Felon in possession of a firearm, and PC 484G(b), Credit Card Fraud. 

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact Detective Ponce or Detective Arreola at the Apple Valley Police Department at (760) 240-7400 or Sheriff’s Dispatch at (760) 956-5001.

Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip website at

The Apple Valley Police Department reminds the public that this incident ended well but could have ended differently.

Please remember, when transporting a firearm or when you hold a Conceal Carry Weapons License, your firearm should be secured as follows per PC 25140: 

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b), a person shall, when leaving a handgun in an unattended vehicle, lock the handgun in the vehicle’s trunk, lock the handgun in a locked container and place the container out of plain view, lock the handgun in a locked container that is permanently affixed to the vehicle’s interior and not in plain view, or lock the handgun in a locked toolbox or utility box. 

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