A man and woman from Ontario were behind bars Thursday on suspicion of stealing items from a JC Penney store, then beating a security guard who confronted them, while accompanied by two young children, authorities said.
Roman Daniel Landero, 36, and Monica Belen Ortiz, 24, are accused of the Feb. 24 crime at the Westfield West Covina Shopping mall, according to West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez.
A tipster who recognized the suspects from surveillance photographs released to the media led to their apprehension, according to West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez.
“Detectives received a tip from a citizen who saw the suspect photos, which had been posted Tuesday in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune newspaper’s website, which led to the identification of the two suspects,” Lopez said in a written statement.
Officers served search warrants early Wednesday in the 1700 block of East D Street in Ontario, where they arrested Landero and Ortiz without a struggle, police said. The relationship between them was not available Thursday.
“The property stolen from JC Penney was recovered at the residence,” Lopez added.
A 7-month-old baby found at the home was released to the custody of a family member, officials added.
The suspects had a toddler in a stroller and an elementary school-age girl with them when they entered the department store and began placing items inside the stroller, police said. Landero also put on a pare of shoes before he and Ortiz exited the store without paying for any of the merchandise.
When a security guard approached Ortiz, “(Landeros) ran up to him and punched him on his face,” Lopez said. “The male suspect chased the loss prevention agent back into the store where he knocked him down and began striking him several times before running out of the store.”
The security guard suffered injuries including a broken nose, police said.
According to county booking records, Landero and Ortiz were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each pending their scheduled arraignments Friday in West Covina Superior Court.
PHOTOS of Roman Landero and Monica Ortiz courtesy of the West Covina Police Department.