SPRING VALLEY–The owner and operator of Mortuary Transportation Services, a contracted independent mortuary service, was arrested and charged with residential burglary in Spring Valley and a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
On September 9, Sammy Willie Gates,49, owner of Mortuary Transportation Services, was taken into custody at his home in unincorporated El Cajon.
On August 31, deputies responded to a welfare check at a residence in Spring Valley. A 60-year-old male victim was found by deputies deceased of natural causes in his home. The victim was transported to a mortuary by the contracted independent mortuary service.
On September 2, the victim’s family called to report they discovered items, including a firearm and safe, missing from the residence. On September 4, the victim’s family reported that after reviewing surveillance video from the home, they discovered the house had been burglarized.
Upon review of the video, on August 31, an unknown black male adult, later identified as Sammy Willie Gates,49, arrived at the home in a white utility van. Gates entered the home and exited shortly after with two bags filled with unknown stolen property. Gates then returned to the residence with a gurney and an empty body bag. He exited the residence with the gurney containing the body bag full of property.
The Mortuary Transportation Services was not the original company used for transportation in this case.
On September 9, detectives from the Rancho San Diego Sheriff’s station served a search warrant at Gates’ residence. The victim’s safe and firearm were recovered as well as 16 additional firearms, many believed to be war relics dating back to the early 1900’s. Two additional safes, multiple personal identifying documents, jewelry, watches, war medals, comic books and several thousand dollars in collectable coins were also recovered from Gates’ residence. A gurney and body bags matching the surveillance video at the victim’s residence were recovered from Gates’ white utility van.
Since his arrest, detectives have identified five additional victims.
Anyone with knowledge of additional victims, can contact Detective Dalton at (619) 660-7037. Call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.