LOS ANGELES, Aug 17 – Twenty-six persons living in an abandoned Western movie set on an isolated Chatsworth ranch were arrested in a daybreak raid by sheriff’s deputies Saturday as suspects in a major auto theft ring.
Officers said they confiscated seven rifles, a 43-caliber automatic pistol and a 9 mm machine gun.
The group-eleven men and fifteen women including several members of a motorcycle gang called Satan’s Slaves-was stealing Volkswagens, dismantling them and converting them into dune buggies, according to deputies.
Seven juveniles, including four infants, were taken into custody and turned over to juvenile authorities.
Parts Strewn About
More than 100 deputies swarmed over the 200-acre ranch shortly after 6:00 AM while most of the suspects were still asleep.
Automobile parts were strewn over the area, they said.
The suspects and their children, said deputies, had been living like animals. “The four infants, all under 2 years old, and four women were found sleeping on the floor of a dirty, broken-down trailer, officers said.
The ranch is owned by George Spahn, a blind, 80-year-old semi-invalid. It is located in the Simi Hills at 12,000 Santa Susanna Pass Road.
Deputies said Spahn, who lives alone in a house on the ranch, apparently knew there were people living on the set but was unaware of their activities. They said he “couldn’t get around and he was afraid of them.”