Cops: Marine Corps Recruiters Nab 2 Suspects In Foiled Gem Theft, Heist

It was five days before Christmas and throughout the marine corps In the South Bay recruiting office, not a creature moved, except for a staff sergeant from California administering the Internet-delivered computer adaptive screening test, PiCAT.

Then a rumble echoed through the Del Amo Fashion Center, a sprawling shopping mall in Orange County. It was 7:30 pm and the recruiters staff sgt. Josué Fragoso and Sgt. Andre Henry ran past Pure Foot Spa and Massage and the Air Force and Army offices, toward the commotion.

“I got out and started running towards Daniel’s Jewelers, and that’s when I saw four suspects,” said Fragoso, 26. Coffee or Die Magazine. “One of the individuals actually had this little mallet.”

It looked like a break-and-grab gem heist, with shards of glass spilling into the hallway and a couple of would-be criminals running past the marines.

Private Tyler Washington, Staff Sgt. Joshua Fragoso, Mayor of the City of Torrance, George K. Chen, Staff Sgt. Andre Henry, Sgt. Sanjay Noronha and Pvt. Dante Cortez meet at the US Marine Corps Recruiting Center at the Del Amo Fashion Center on December 22, 2022. Photo courtesy Staff Sgt. Joshua Fragoso.

But Fragoso, Henry and Scott Elliott, the 33-year-old applicant who was taking the PiCAT, cornered two other suspects in front of the jewelry store.

Fragoso remembered pinning a boy to the ground, but the guy Henry grabbed got away from him. So Elliott jumped after him and ran him over on a bridge that connected the mall to a parking lot.

After a brief struggle, Elliott stopped him as well. He later attributed the takedown to his Jiu Jitsu training.

“Two detained juvenile petitions were filed with the Long Beach District Attorney’s office on December 22, 2022 for robbery,” said Sgt. Ron Salary, spokesman for the Torance Police Departmentsaying coffee or die. “There are still two outstanding suspects and the investigation is ongoing.”

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Josue Fragoso, a recruiter in Torrance, Calif., poses for a photo Jan. 27, 2022. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Sarah Ralph.

Two days after the alleged robbery, the mayor of the city of Torrance George K Chen joined the CEO of Daniel’s Jewelers David Sherwood in praising recruiters for stepping up when others stood still.

“They served our community as they would our country, with courage and unwavering sacrifice,” Chen said in a prepared statement emailed to coffee or die.

But Fragoso shrugs off the exaggeration. he participated in the Los Angeles Police Department Cadet Program as a child, but said it was his training in the Marine Corps that kicked in when the time came to act.

“I had to stay calm and collected to find the best course of action and do a quick analysis, make a quick decision and make sure I made the right decision,” Fragoso said.

U.S. Marine Sgt. Josue Fragoso deployed with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in 2018 to Laos. He had the task of locating the remains of the US military who died in the Asian country decades ago. Photo courtesy of Staff Sgt. Joshua Fragoso.

It’s been an interesting career in the Corps for Fragoso, who enlisted in 2015 for a supply gig after being drafted in Culver City, a 20-minute drive from his office today.

In 2018, it was deployed with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency a Laoswhere they searched for the remains of U.S. soldiers killed decades ago, “to basically restore peace to the family,” Fragoso said.

He has been meritoriously promoted several times for what he said is “doing what I’m supposed to do as a Marine.”

Two years ago, Fragoso decided to follow in the footsteps of the Marine who recruited him, Gunnery Sgt. Vince Webb. He returned to Southern California to court the next generation of volunteers.

“I felt like my recruiter shaped my life in a big way and for the better, and I just wanted to do the same for others,” Fragoso said.

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