(Woodland, CA) – October 3, 2017 – Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that yesterday a jury found Joseph Hernandez, age 26, of Pinole, Joshua Givens, age 25, of Benicia, and Rakhem Bradford, age 25, of Pinole, guilty of 78 felonies related to a 2013 Davis burglary ring. (Woodland, CA) – October 3, 2017 – Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that yesterday a jury found Joseph Hernandez, age 26, of Pinole, Joshua Givens, age 25, of Benicia, and Rakhem Bradford, age 25, of Pinole, guilty of 78 felonies related to a 2013 Davis burglary ring.
In 2013, there were an unusually high number of residential burglaries reported in the City of Davis and in the Cuarto Housing area on the UC Davis campus. Cuarto Housing is comprised of three buildings containing dorm rooms on the UC Davis campus. College students were targeted for their MacBook Pro laptop computers, TVs and gaming systems were commonly stolen.
UC Davis Police Detective Kevin Skaife began investigating the series of burglaries that occurred on campus. Video surveillance footage of the dorms showed a female and a male lingering around and looking into windows as if they were “casing” the different apartments. The female was eventually identified as Esther Kwon and the male as Joseph Hernandez. Kwon eventually told law enforcement about several other burglaries that were perpetrated by Joseph Hernandez and others working with him.
Simultaneously, Davis Police Sergeant Mike Munoz began investigating a series of burglaries in the City of Davis. The investigation was focused on the residents of a home on Drexel Drive after an iPhone stolen during a residential burglary “pinged” back to that address, where Joseph Hernandez, Joshua Givens and Rakhem Bradford lived.
In an unrelated investigation, on November 22, 2013, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at the address after a laptop stolen from a vehicle in Davis “pinged” at that residence. Photographs taken inside showed possible stolen property from several of the Davis burglaries. The Sheriff’s Department also located a short barreled shotgun and shells inside a dresser in Joseph Hernandez’s bedroom closet. Hernandez was prohibited from having a gun after a prior conviction for residential burglary.
Sergeant Munoz prepared search warrants for Drexel home and a home on Cowell Boulevard after learning that Joseph Hernandez, Joshua Givens and Rakhem Bradford had been living at the Drexel address and that Joseph Hernandez had moved to Cowell home. Property recently stolen from another residential burglary, including a MacBook and prescription medication, was located inside Joseph Hernandez’s bedroom yet again.
Joshua Givens and Rakhem Bradford were residing at the Drexel home when the search warrant uncovered property stolen during several more burglaries, including TVs, a laptop computer, an Xbox 360 gaming console and various games, a watch, prescription medication, a large quantity of marijuana, and an airsoft rifle.
On January 3, 2014, yet another search was executed by the Davis Police Department at a home on Drew Circle. This was Joseph Hernandez’s new residence. Property stolen from additional recent residential burglaries was located inside, including a TV, textbooks, a watch and a checkbook.
On December 23, 2013, Davis Police Sergeant Munoz and Detective Skaife interviewed Kwon. She implicated Joseph Hernandez and Joshua Givens in several residential burglaries.
Cell phones belonging to Joseph Hernandez, Joshua Givens, Esther Kwon, and Rakhem Bradford were seized and searched. Photos of property stolen during residential burglaries dating back to November 2012 were located on Joseph Hernandez’s phone. Photos of property stolen during residential burglaries were also located on Joshua Givens’ and Rakhem Bradford’s phones.
Rakhem Bradford’s Instagram account was searched. Sergeant Munoz discovered that Bradford was frequently advertising MacBooks for sale at reduced prices and that the advertisements coincided with residential burglaries in Davis.
Text messages located on the phones showed that Hernandez, Givens and Bradford were all working together to steal property, mostly MacBooks, from residences and then to sell them for profit.
Based on the investigation, Joseph Hernandez, Joshua Givens, Rakhem Bradford, and Esther Kwon were all arrested and charged with conspiring to commit thirty-four residential burglaries in the City of Davis and on the UC Davis campus. Esther Kwon eventually agreed to a plea bargain in exchange for her truthful testimony against the remaining defendants.
The jury trial against Joseph Hernandez, Joshua Givens and Rakhem Bradford began on May 8, 2017 and, after four months of testimony, the jury delivered verdicts on October 2, 2017. The three men were convicted of 78 felonies, including two counts of conspiracy, twenty-eight residential burglaries, seven counts of receiving stolen property, and possession of marijuana for sale. Hernandez was also convicted for being a felon in possession of a gun and ammunition.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin, who prosecuted the case, praised the thorough investigation, “This was a colossal investigation that resulted in bringing a stop to a dangerous burglary ring that was preying upon the citizens of Davis.”
Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel that after the arrests of these suspects, home burglaries in Davis decreased by 54% and have not increased since then. “This investigation and prosecution was monumental,” said Pytel.
Yolo County District Attorney noted the potential violence involving home burglaries. “Anybody who has had their home burglarized knows how much of a personal violation this is,” said Reisig. “And, home burglaries often result in serious violence when the homeowners confront the burglars. Taking these dangerous felons off the street has made Davis a much safer place.”
Joseph Hernandez faces up to 93 years in state prison, Joshua Givens faces 26 years in state prison and Rakhem Bradford faces 15 years and 4 months in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled for all defendants on November 13, 2017 before the Honorable David W. Reed, Judge of the Superior Court.