CLAREMONT – A man arrested for looting during the Blue Cut Fire has been connected with additional Claremont Village crimes unrelated to the initial incident. The most recent incident occurred when the suspect was out after posting bail, but after an additional warrant for his arrest was made.
John Vincent Coppini, 45, of Hesperia was already behind bars for other crimes committed when his connection to two Claremont store burglaries was made. Coppini, a career criminal, was arrested in the 11200 block of Oakwood Avenue in Hesperia on September 1, 2016, following the Blue Cut fires which left 37,000 acres burned, destroyed 105 homes, and 213 other structures.
The arrest was made after a San Bernardino County couple who lived in the 8600 block of Swarthout Canyon Road was forced to evacuate their property due to an imminent threat to their home on August 17, 2017. Once they left their home, the couple was understandably glued to the television screen to check the progression of the fire and outcome for their home.
While watching Channel 9 news, they noticed a man interviewed in front of their burned down home. The man identified as Coppini claimed to be the caretaker of their property. The couple, who did not recognize Coppini were shocked by what they just saw but were not allowed to immediately return to their home. When able to return to their fire-destroyed home, they noticed that their truck with work tools were gone. The truck was eventually recovered, but approximately $30,000 in tools, which the husband needed for his diesel repair business remained missing.
Although arrested on September 1, 2017, Coppini posted bail and was released shortly after his arrest. The most recent burglaries were an attempted burglary of The Chama on May 12, 2017, and the burglary of Xeres for Gents on May 30, 2017, stores in Claremont Village. Store surveillance showed the suspects and a dark-colored Dodge Ram which did not have plates. Authorities said that Coppini was identified as a suspect by a San Bernardino County deputy.
Upon further investigation, it was learned that Coppini was in custody at a jail in San Diego County where he was booked on a San Bernardino County arrest warrant, possession of a controlled substance, and the possession of a stolen Dodge Ram captured on surveillance footage. Coppini now faces additional Los Angeles County charges based on his suspected involvement in the Claremont Village burglaries.
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- John Vincent Coppin: San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department