Five suspects, including a juvenile, were arrested and charged in connection with the murder in January. 2 search of Ruben’s Bakery & Mexican Food, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said at a news conference Tuesday.
Luna said the youth, about 13 years old, was the suspected driver of the white Kia Soul that crashed into the Compton bakery three times while reversing, causing structural damage that allowed a crowd of more than 100 people to enter and close steal from the store. Thanks to strong community support, the family has since reopened their business doors.
Luna said the teen was arrested in January. 12 on suspicion of burglary, vandalism, driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent and bodily harm. He was later brought in and handed over to his family. But later that same day, the sheriff said the teen was arrested again – this time in connection with a robbery in Carson that was captured on viral video.
The young teen is currently being held at the juvenile detention center, Luna said.
The sheriff said that a week ago, an officer entered a Carson 7-Eleven without knowing a robbery was in progress. He foiled the attempt, which involved several people, including teenagers. The incident was captured on surveillance video that went viral.
“His actions led to the arrest of all of these individuals,” Luna said of the deputy. “One of the juveniles in this case was the same juvenile who was arrested” in the Rubens Bakery incident.
Luna added of the suspect, “He was the driver of that Kia, so it’s all connected.”
The sheriff said three additional search warrants were served Tuesday morning as part of the ongoing investigation. Four people were arrested on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen goods.
Three of the four suspects are in custody. One was booked and released.
The Sheriff’s Department identified the suspects as Jesse Cuevas, 21; Eloise Muniz, 23; Jalen Rumpf, 21; and Carlos Ponce Mejia, 20.
Luna emphasized that the arrests were the result of tips and cooperation between law enforcement and the community.
“When people started seeing the video” showing the Compton bakery looting, “they were so offended that we got a lot of tips,” Luna said. “Kudos to all the community members who decided this was absolutely 100% wrong and decided to do something about it.”
Ruben’s Bakery owner Ruben Ramirez Jr., who runs the business with his family, thanked Luna and the Sheriff’s Department for their “hard work on the case.”
“10. January. 2, “Our world has been turned upside down,” Ramirez Jr. said in a statement, “And without your officials’ quick response, we know our family’s business would have been completely lost.”
Ramirez Jr. stressed the importance of stopping street takeovers, which occur when a crowd blocks an intersection to allow cars to do donuts and perform other street racing maneuvers.
“No business, whether in Beverly Hills or Compton, should ever have to worry about illegal street takeovers and robberies occurring,” he said. “It is equally important to ensure that criminals know that they will be held accountable if they break the law.”
The 51-year-old, whose father, Ruben Ramirez Sr., founded the company four decades ago, asked the Compton City Council, including Mayor Emma Sharif, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and LA County Dist. Atty. George Gascón should “help us take back our communities.”
“Our communities belong to the working families who live, work and shop in the community,” he said. “We have laws that protect us and we demand that you work together to ensure they are enforced.”
The break-in caused more than $70,000 in damage, a financial blow to a company that was struggling to regain its footing after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ramirez Jr. previously told The Times.
The family crowdfunded the estimated repair costs and an additional $20,000. The Ramirez family used the money for repairs and additional security measures, they wrote in an update on their GoFundMe page.
Additionally, they plan to replace any lost or damaged products and pay bonuses to their employees who lost wages following the store’s temporary closure due to the robbery. The family plans to host a community-wide event next month in honor of the store’s 48th anniversary.
“Compton has been a part of our family for almost 50 years and we plan to be here for another 50 years,” the GoFundMe page reads. “This is only possible thanks to all of you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!”