The Crime Scene - To Serve and Inform

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 4:10 PM ET, 01/28/2011

4 yrs. for Northern Va. gold burglar

By Tom Jackman
Tom Jackman

The leader of a sophisticated ring of New York City burglars, who traveled to Northern Virginia and specifically targeted the homes of Indian and South Asian residents because they kept pure gold valuables as heirlooms, was sentenced Friday to 46 months in federal prison.

Dagoberto Soto Ramirez, 28, and his wife, Melinda M. Soto, 34, of Queens, admitted that they traveled to Fairfax and Loudoun counties from January to November of 2009, using online White Page listings to search for South Asian-sounding names.

Soto. (File Photo)

Melinda Soto acknowledged she would knock on doors during the day to see if anyone was home, and if not, she would sit in their rented car and monitor a police scanner while her husband and another man, Francisco Gray, 40, broke in and searched for gold and other valuables. About $600,000 worth of gold and other items were taken in 37 burglaries, authorities said.

The trio were arrested in the Clifton area in November 2009, but released after judges in Fairfax and Loudoun found no evidence in their car or hotel room tying them to any one burglary. Gray was then deported to Peru, and has not been located since.

Federal prosecutors picked up the case and last summer charged the trio with conspiracy to transport stolen goods across state line. The Sotos pleaded guilty, and Melinda Soto was sentenced last month to three years in prison.

Dagoberto Soto is a career criminal dating to age nine, prosecutors said in a brief. He faced a recommended sentencing range of 37 to 46 months, and U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema gave him the maximum.

Elanchevian Sivatnanam of Chantilly was one of the ring's victims, and he was disappointed with the sentence. He said the burglars disabled his home's electronic security system in May 2009 and made off with $92,000 worth of 24-karat gold handed down through his family, as well as passports and green cards.

"I was very upset" by the sentence," Sivatnanam said. "I thought it should be more severe."

The Sotos agreed to make restitution of $590,860, but in $200 monthly chunks to the 37 victim families. None of the stolen items was ever recovered.

By Tom Jackman  | January 28, 2011; 4:10 PM ET
Categories:  Burglary, Fairfax, From the Courthouse, Loudoun, Tom Jackman, Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Teen arrested in Langley Park stabbing
Next: Woman found dead in Arlington


This is a classic - during the day, and the same method over and over - because it worked. Mos burglars take the same things, and enter the same way, and do so during daylight hours. But there are steps you can take to protect your home and family: here is a great article on Top 10 home security tips to protect your home and family. Definitely worth the read-

Posted by: peterrogers323 | January 29, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company