A man accused of stealing items including a car and dog from the home of a dead South Pasadena man he met on the Internet received a jail sentence Thursday, authorities said.
Benjamin Erik Johnson, 20, of Downey was sentenced to 270 days in jail and three years of formal probation, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
He was arrested May 30 on suspicion of stealing Miguel Santamaria’s wallet, computers, car and even his dog on May 21 after Santamaria, 51, died of natural causes, according to South Pasadena police and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
Johnson and Santamaria met on the Internet via Craigslist.com, officials said. Johnson was believed to be a guest at Santamaria’s apartment in the 1600 block of Amberwood Drive at the time of his death.
Though Johnson was not suspected of being involved in his host’s death, authorities began searching for him after discovering items missing from Santamaria’s home.
Initially charged with grand theft auto, grand theft animal and petty theft, Johnson pleaded “no contest” Thursday in Alhambra Superior Court to a single count of auto theft, Robison said. He was immediately sentenced.
Santamaria’s dog turned up at a Downey animal shelter in the days after the theft, officials said.