PASADENA — Police arrested four men Saturday in Los Angeles on suspicion of posing as city workers to burglarize a house in Pasadena, authorities said.
George Peres, 33, of Texas, Frank Marks, 51, of Texas, Paul Mitchell, 44, of Arizona and Geno John, an Ohio man whose age was not available due to medical issues that delayed booking, were arrested Saturday by Los Angeles police officers in the LAPD’s Southwest Division, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
They’re accused of posing as Pasadena city workers when they went to a home in the 300 block of Castano Avenue about 3 p.m. May 2, the lieutenant said. At least one of the suspects wore a uniform as he approached a resident claimed to be a city representative wanting to talk about the construction of a new fence.
While the resident was distracted, accomplices ransacked the home and helped themselves to items, Clawson said. Police refer to the tactic as a “distraction burglary.”
While detained by LAPD officers during a traffic stop Saturday, “They discovered evidence inside the vehicle linking the subjects to the original crime,” Clawson said. Uniforms were also found in the car.
The three suspects who had been booked into jail — Peres, Marks and Mitchell — were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each pending their initial court appearance, county booking records show.
Clawson reminded residents to take active steps to secure their homes, businesses and vehicles from opportunistic thieves looking for an easy target.
Side gates, windows and doggy doors should be locked when residents leave, he said, and any suspicious activity should be reported to police immediately.
PASADENA — Police Saturday tracked down a burglary suspect with the help of a Pasadena woman who walked in on an intruder, then managed to take a picture of his car before he fled, officials said.
Hamlet Tavanian, 44, of Glendale is suspected of burglarizing the woman’s home in the 00 block of South Grand Avenue about 6:30 p.m. Friday, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
A woman walked in on the break-in, causing the burglar to flee, he said. The suspect jumped into a nearby car, but the woman managed to take a photograph of the vehicle before it sped away, which included the license plate number.
Investigators went to the home of the registered owner Saturday and identified Tavanian as a suspect in the burglary, Clawson said. He wasn’t hard to find, as investigators found he was already in the custody of Burbank police after being arrested on suspicion of drug possession in their city.
The car involved in the burglary was recovered, and contained “items consistent with stolen property,” Clawson said.
According to county booking records, Tavanian was being held without bail pending an appearance Monday in Burbank Superior Court.
He has several prior drug- and theft-related convictions, court records show, as well as a drug-related case pending against him in Glendale Superior Court.
SIERRA MADRE — An Alegria Avenue resident arrived home to a burglarized house Thursday, police said.
The burglar, or burglars, made off with about $6,000 worth of property, primarily electronics and jewelry, in the break-in, which took place between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the 100 block of Alegria Avenue, Sierra Madre police Sgt. Joe Ortiz said.
“There was forced entry through a window,” he added.
No description of the intruder, or intruders, was available.
A man and woman from Ontario were behind bars Thursday on suspicion of a spree of more than 40 commercial burglaries in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties over the past two months, officials said.
Glendora police investigators arrested Andrew Martin, 47, and his girlfriend Gloria Quintero, 46, Wednesday at the Capri Motel in Ontario, Glendora police Lt. Brian Summers said.
They’re accused of break-ins in Glendora, Azusa, Covina, Diamond Bar, La Verne, Claremont, Chino Ontario, San Bernardino and La Palma, Glendora police said in a written statement. And the investigation was ongoing.
“We believe the suspects will be linked to additional burglaries in surrounding cities,” Glendora police Detective Matt Fenner said.
“We haven’t even scratched the surface in Orange County,” Summer added.
The burglaries largely took place in clusters, with several businesses in the same neighborhood being struck in the middle of the night, Summers said.
“The suspects typically used a large rock or other heavy object to break out the front windows of small commercial businesses, such as hair salons and restaurants,” according to the police statement. “The suspects would steal the cash register or rifle through the till for any money left in the register overnight.”
Police began noticing the trend in early march, officials added.
The amounts of money stolen in the crimes was relatively small, and appeared to be overshadowed by the damage the suspects allegedly caused to the businesses’ windows and cash registers, Summers said.
Detectives got a break in the case when the burglars broke into a Covina deli, the lieutenant added.
Police were able to obtain a clear image of Martin and a pickup truck used as a getaway vehicle, and the images were distributed among law enforcement aencies, he said.
“A Glendora patrol officers recognized the male suspect and vehicle from a crime bulletin as a person he had stopped for a traffic violation a week earlier,” according to the police statement.
Officers located Martin and Quintero at the Ontario motel Wednesday and arrested them without a struggle, police said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, they were being held in lieu of $20,000 bail each and were scheduled to be arraigned Friday in West Covina Superior Court.
PHOTOS of Andrew Martin, 47, and Gloria Quintero, 46, both of Ontario, courtesy of the Glendora Police Department.
COVINA — Police are searching for a burglar, or group of burglars, who stole cash registers from three Covina businesses, and tried to break into a fourth, early Saturday.
The four crimes took place within between 4 a.m. and 4:28 a.m., Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
The three successful capers took place at a jewelry store in the 900 block of East Badillo Street, a deli in the 700 block of East San Bernardino Road and cafe in the 900 block of Grand Avenue, the sergeant said. In all three cases, windows were smashed and cash registers stolen from the businesses.
The register stolen from the jewelry store was found emptied of money and discarded in the street in the 1100 block of East Badillo Street, Peterson said.
The thief or thieves smashed a window at a coffee shop in the 900 block of East Badillo Street, in the same shopping center as the burglarized jewelry store, but did not manage to steal the cash register, officials said.
The amount of money stolen in the crimes was not disclosed, however at least of the stolen registers contained only change, Peterson said.
Detectives continued checking area surveillance cameras for clues and studying evidence Saturday afternoon.
Alhambra police are seeking a possible carjacking victim after arresting four burglary suspects earlier this week, officials said.
The incident, part of which was captured by a police car’s dashboard camera, began about 11 a.m. Tuesday when officers responded to a report of a residential break-in in the 500 block of West Ramona Road, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
Four suspects were jailed on suspicion of burglary in connection with the incident, however police were hoping to track down a motorist who was possibly carjacked by one of the suspects, but left the scene before police could speak with him, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said.
The four suspects fled in a car before patrol officers arrived, however they were spotted and followed by a Pasadena Police Department helicopter, Johnson said.
With the helicopter-based officers watching, the fleeing vehicle drove to the area of Del Mar Avenue and Valley Boulevard, “where they exited the car and the four suspects fled in four different directions,” Johnson said.
One of the fleeing suspects — later identified as 18-year-old Donald Trotter of Los Angeles — got into the passenger seat of a blue or gray car occupied by an older Asian man, the sergeant said.
The vehicle began driving, however it was not clear Sunday whether the driver willingly gave the young man a ride without realizing he was fleeing from police, or was ordered to drive by the suspect, which would bring an additional charge of carjacking.
As a dashboard video camera rolled, a responding Alhambra police officer was heading toward the area when he spotted the blue-gray vehicle, officials said.
The burglary suspect exited the car and jumped into a nearby wash, injuring himself in the process, Johnson said.
“He fell about 30 feet and broke his ankle pretty badly,” he said. The suspect was quickly taken into custody, as were the other three.
Meanwhile, the driver of the blue-gray car also exited the vehicle and began pointing police toward the suspect, authorities added.
“The male Asian then left the scene before officers could interview him,” according to the police statement.
The older man was not suspected of participating in the burglary, police added, but officers wanted to talk to him to determined whether he was the victim of carjacking.
“He was either duped, or a victim. Either way, we’d like to know,” Johnson said.
In addition to Trotter, police arrested Steve Gainer, 29, of Paramount; Morgan Gardner, 19, of Downey; and a 17-year-old Los Angeles boy, Johnson said. All were booked on suspicion of burglary as the investigation into potential additional charges continued.
According to county booking records, Gardner was released from jail Tuesday on $50,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, while Gainer was released Thursday after posting $56,000 bail. Trotter was hospitalized for treatment of his ankle injury prior to booking.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Alhambra police Detective Corey Fukumoto at 626-308-4845.
VIDEO courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — Burglars broke into two houses and took antique silverware worth about $50,000, four computers and two weapons Friday.
They tried to hit a third house but fled when a resident spotted them in the backyard. Deputies and a sheriff’s helicopter searched for the silver Porsche Cayenne carrying two men and a woman driver but didn’t find the culprits.
Lt. Brian Fitch of the sheriff’s Crescenta Valley Station said the first break-in occurred sometime between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday in the 4700 block of La Canada Boulevard.
Residents came home to find the back sliding door smashed, Fitch said. The burglars took silverware, two laptops, a handgun and a shotgun.
At 2:45 p.m., a woman rang a doorbell in the 4300 block of Oakwood Avenue. As the resident was walking to the front door, he noticed two black men in red hooded sweatshirts in the backyard, Fitch said, The resident yelled at the intruders. A neighbor saw the two men getting into a vehicle driven by a black woman, according to the lieutenant.
Half an hour later, the trio struck again.
Fitch said a baby-sitter pulled into a circular driveway in the 4500 block of Loma Vista Drive and saw a Porsche driven by a black woman with a male passenger. She discovered a smashed back door. Fitch said two Mac computers were stolen from the house.
- Ruby Gonzales
MONTEREY PARK — Police are seeking a wanted parolee and a second man in connection with a series of auto break-ins targeting the cars of parents as they drop their children off at San Gabriel Valley day care centers, authorities said.
Brian Gilbert Renteria, 25, and Jerry Angelino Ristich, 27, have been linked to three such burglaries at Alhambra day care centers in January and February, and were being investigated in connection with additional crimes in other cities including Arcadia and Chino, Monterey Park police Lt. Carrie Mazelin said. Renteria is described as a transient believed to be staying in San Gabriel Valley motels, while Ristich is a Monterey Park resident.
Renteria, who has previously been convicted of kidnapping, has absconded from parole supervision and is considered armed and dangerous, officials said.
An alleged accomplice of the men, 20-year-old Tamara Rios of West Covina, was arrested Feb. 13 in connection with one of the auto burglaries, which took place in the 300 block of North Alhambra Avenue, according to Monterey Park police and Los Angeles County booking records. She has since been released on bond.
In the day care center burglaries, the thieves smashed the windows of vehicle of parents whowere escorting their kids to day care and left valuables, such as designer purses, in plain sight, Mazelin said.
After identifying Renteria and Ristich as suspects in the crimes, police recently found and impounded Renteria’s 1999 Dodge Durango, in which more apparently stolen property was recovered, Mazelin said. Police were still working to locate the victims.
After stealing items from cars, the suspects used stolen credit cards throughout the San Gabriel Valley, officials said.
Renteria is described as Latino, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 230-300 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, police said. He has the letters “SSG” tattooed on the right side of his face.
Ristich is described as Latino, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 190 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information is advised not to approach the men, but to call police immediately.
PHOTOS of Brian Renteria and Jerry Ristich courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department.
Police arrested a Riverside teenager over the weekend after he was confronted by a resident while burglarizing a San Marino home, then tried to rob a man of a cell phone before ultimately being captured in South Pasadena, authorities said.
San Marino police responded about 10:15 a.m. Sunday to a report of a burglary in progress in the 2000 block of Winthrop Road, South Pasadena police Sgt. Brian Solinsky said.
The 17-year-old suspect “used a brick to break a window and gain entry into the home,” Solinsky said.
A woman who lives in the home heard a commotion and found the suspect stealing valuables, police said. He fled when confronted, escaping with an ornamental lock from a Japanese cabinet.
Solinsky said the fleeing burglar ran to a home that was under construction nearby in the 1300 block of Garfield Avenue and asked the caretaker to use a phone, Solinsky said.
When the caretaker refused, the teenage suspect claimed to have a gun and demanded the caretaker’s cell phone, the sergeant said. But the would-be robbery victim refused, and the suspect continued on his way.
South Pasadena police then received a call reporting a suspicious person, who was sweaty and appeared to be trying to change clothes, just across the city border in the 2000 block of Edgewood Drive, Solinsky said. Officers found him in the area and arrested him without a struggle.
No weapon was found in the teenage suspect’s possession, officials said. Due to his age, his name was not released.
GLENDORA — Police arrested three men at a Pomona scrap yard Saturday after they were found with a trailer and other items stolen from a Glendora business earlier in the day, authorities said.
Luis Salazar, 30, and Daniel Saldana, 26, were booked on suspicion of auto theft, burglary and possession of stolen property following Saturday morning’s break-in at a business in an industrial neighborhood in the 1100 block of South Nicole Court, according to Glendora police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Alexander Torres, 22, was also arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property, though he was not accused of taking part in the initial burglary, Glendora police Lt. Rob Lamborghini said.
The investigation began about 8 a.m. when police received a report of a break-in at the Nicole Court business, the lieutenant said.
“The suspects stole a trailer registered to the company, they loaded it up with pallets, propane tanks, scrap metal and other items before they hitched a truck to it and drove away,” he said.
At the suggestion of the investigating officer, a business employee began checking area scrap yards to see if he could find any of the stolen scrap, Lamborghini said.
“He located the stolen trailer and the suspects at a scrap yard in Pomona,” the lieutenant said.
Glendora police responded and arrested the three men.
Some of the scrap metal was recovered, while other items remained missing, Lamborghini said.
According to county booking records, Salazar was being held in lieu of $45,000 bail, while Saldana was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail. Both were scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.