His grown children denied taking the wine. He changed the lock on the rack and still the bottles kept disappearing.
Five to six breaks-ins later where only wine was stolen, Booth decided to set a trap Friday which led to the arrest of the suspected burglar.
The 48-year-old Booth took the day off, parked his car about a block away and went back to his duplex in the 1800 block of Wayne Avenue. He closed the curtains and waited in a bedroom with his camera and a cell phone at the ready. He was careful not to make a sound. No TV either.
“I thought he’d come in through the kitchen window,” Booth said.
About 12:30 p.m., there was a noise and a man trying to force open the window of the bedroom Booth was in.
“He snapped the window hard. He sort of popped it open. I snapped a couple of pictures,” Booth said.
The man tried to reach for and grab the camera then told Booth he was going to call the police on him.
“What? You are going call the police on me?,” Booth told the intruder.
He then uttered a couple of expletives at the man and called the police. The culprit fled.
South Pasadena police Sgt. Tony Abdalla said within minutes, responding officers spotted the man pictured in Booth’s photograph and detained him about a block away.
Joshua Rivera, 27, of South Pasadena was arrested on suspicion of burglary.
“Generally, we do not recommend people confronting burglars because they are known to carry weapons, but in this case, nobody was hurt and the burglar was caught,” Abdalla said. “That’s a happy ending in my book.”
Rivera, who lives in the neighborhood where the burglaries occurred, was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, officials said.
Alcohol was the only thing taken during the burglaries. It was mostly wine plus a bottle of Bacardi which was in a kitchen cabinet. The burglar bypassed Booth’s watches and laptop.
“I was going crazy. I even asked my kids, ‘Are you taking my wine?’,” Booth said.
He came up with a plan. Take a picture of the burglar, get out of the place and call the police.
“I had the morning free. It worked out fine,” Booth said.
– Ruby Gonzales and Brian Day