Sheriff’s Office says Rossmoor suspects in police custody

Four men believed responsible for attempted home invasion

File photo

Four men are now in custody accused of committing a rash of residential break-ins and other crimes, one of which was an attempted home invasion in Rossmoor.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department Captain Gary Knudson told Rossmoor Directors at their regular meeting last week that the men are suspected of committing residential burglaries in Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside counties.

Knudson, and his Commander, appeared before the Rossmoor Community Services District for a long-scheduled report on law enforcement response times in their community.

Knudson confirmed to RCSD that the four suspects arrested by the OC Sheriff’s Office are suspected by authorities to be the same four men that attempted a Rossmoor home invasion a few weeks ago.

Rossmoor officials complained bitterly to the Sheriff’s Office about the response time after a Rossmoor woman thwarted an attempted home invasion when she noticed four men stacking lawn furniture and attempting to make entry into an upstairs bedroom.

The woman screamed and the men piled back into a red van and took off.

The husband told The Sun during our interview that doorbell video cameras later showed a red van parked near the home as the men piled in and made a quick getaway after the scream.

Knudson has since met with the woman and her husband at their home in Rossmoor and addressed the response time during their overall report, but he said investigators believe the men who attempted to invade their home were the same ones arrested for a rash of home burglaries in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

“This is a highly organized criminal crew,” Knudson said.

The men were arrested after an ad-hoc Task Force composed of the OC Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office worked in a directed enforcement team to apprehend the group.

Knudson said investigators believe the men were highly organized and were instrumental “in a slew of residential burglaries. This is what they did for a living,” the sheriff’s representative told the RCSD.

The OC Sheriff’s Office said the men were arrested in pairs.

The first two men arrested were Jeremy Manning, 25, of Anaheim, and Dejonn Kirk, 27, of Compton, they said.

Two men later arrested were Nehemiah Robinson, 34, of Los Angeles, and Mark Draughan, 23, of Los Angeles.

All have been booked into Orange County Jail on burglary, conspiracy and child endangerment charges related to multiple crimes that occurred in Orange County.

“This sends a clear message to criminals looking to take advantage of Orange County residents – We will find you, arrest you, and hold you accountable for the crimes you commit,” said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes in a related press release.

“Our top priority is to keep homes, property, businesses, and residents safe,” said Barnes.

“These arrests are just one example of the hard work done every day by the men and women of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to bring criminals to justice,” said Barnes.

Residents are reminded to take preventative steps to deter criminals from crimes of opportunity.

Information on simple preventative steps, including an information card in English and Spanish, can be found on our Stay Safe OC website here-

An attempted home invasion in Rossmoor left a startled resident waiting for a law enforcement response that took more than 30 minutes, leaving its Board of Directors again asking serious questions about its community’s security.

Rossmoor, an unincorporated city of approximately 10,000 residents, has no latent powers and must therefore depend on the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement and the California Highway Patrol for traffic enforcement.

Both agencies have acknowledged their recent weaknesses in Rossmoor.

The latest law enforcement incident of the attempted home invasion has only heightened the frustration of residents and its Board of Directors with the agencies supposedly serving them.

The slow response time for law enforcement and virtually no traffic citations harkened the board back in November of 2021 when similar incidents prompted the Rossmoor Community Sservices District to ask both agencies for more specificity about assurances of patrols and frequency.

Regarding the most recent incident, the Sun spoke to the Rossmoor couple on the condition that their names, nor their address, would be disclosed, but they say that on the evening of Sept. 8, the wife was home alone while her businessman husband was at a meeting in Newport Beach.

Three men, speaking Spanish, started stacking lawn furniture and attempted to reach the balcony to break into the upstairs bedroom.

“My wife saw them, then screamed, grabbed a knife and went into the pantry and turned out the light,” said the husband. a story later confirmed by his wife.

The woman called her husband immediately, then called 911 while in the darkened pantry, not knowing if anyone else was in the home.

The husband said he arrived back at his Rossmoor home approximately 33 minutes after receiving the call from his wife and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office had not yet arrived.

The husband claims an Orange County deputy finally arrived 15 minutes after he got home, making the response time about 45 minutes, an assertion the OCSD later disputed.

Capt. Gary Knutson, who runs the OCSD North Patrol section, which patrols most of the county’s unincorporated areas, including Rossmoor, unincorporated Anaheim, Gateway City, Bolsa Chica wetlands State Park, and La Mirada.

“We’ve got some spread out areas,” said Knutson, “which can kind of create some logistical issues sometimes.”

Knutson, nevertheless, disputed the alleged 45-minute response time and met with the couple Thursday evening.

The husband said Knutson claimed the deputy only took 27 minutes to respond, a statement with which they obviously do not agree.

The couple also said they have filed a Public Records Act for the 911 call, after which they can also determine exactly how long it took for the Sheriff’s Office to respond.

Also, the couple said they are not happy with the demeanor of the 911 operator but were not ready to make specific comments.

Knutson told the Sun that Orange County provides approximately $20 million annually to the OCSD to patrol the unincorporated areas of the county.

That means there is not sufficient funds to dedicate a patrol car to each area.

“The attempted burglary in Rossmoor just, unfortunately, happened to occur at the same time when another significant incident was occurring, and we had resources tied up,” said Knutson.

“That impacted our ability to get over here. That’s really what it comes down to,” said Knutson.

In addition, Knutson appeared at an RCSD meeting in October with some of the information they had requested about law enforcement in Rossmoor.

The woman home at the time was shaken but not physically hurt, the husband told the Sun. In addition, he confirmed meeting with Knutson.

Also, the husband said neighbors with video cameras have since shared various scenes of the three men as they watched the red SUV pull up, start stacking the furniture and then depart after his wife screamed.

“In an effort to get in, my wife screams when she realized what was going on and they took off and jumped off the roof and left,” he said.

“[In t]he video of them then leaving, one of them was limping probably from jumping off the roof, presumably and that red SUV had, you know, kind of running lights along the side of it along the running boards,” he said.

Although they have installed additional security systems since the incident, his wife had no way of knowing the men had left since they did not have their own video system.

The husband said they have since heard of many such potential burglaries in Orange County, saying thieves know the bedroom generally has jewelry and other valuables.

Ironically, Officer Matt Musselman of the California Highway Patrol appeared at the Rossmoor Ccommunity Sservices Districts’s meeting two weeks ago and flat-out said Rossmoor was not a priority.

In one period, he said only two traffic citations were written, simply because the CHP was “short-staffed” and thus, he was told to spend time patrolling the freeways instead of Rossmoor.

“Due to these circumstances, there were only two citations issued in Rossmoor,” he told the RCSD.

He said senior volunteers are being trained and the situation could improve in the Fall.

“I’m just concerned for my community,” said a frustrated Rossmoor Director Tony DeMarco.

“I’m just wondering,” he said, “who would we talk to about making sure Rossmoor is not forgotten.”