Monrovia man accused of Azusa car burglary

AZUSA >> Police arrested a Monrovia man Sunday after he broke into a car in Azusa, police said.
Martine Larry Gallardo Jr., 28, was booked on suspicion of burglary following his arrest shortly after 1:30 p.m., Azusa police Sgt. John Madaloni said.
Officers responded to the parking lot of a business in the 400 block of north Azusa Avenue after a woman reported her car had been broken into, the sergeant said in a written statement.
Police checked nearby surveillance cameras and realized the burglary had only just occurred, he said. Officers searched the area and detained Gallardo within 30 minutes at Foothill Boulevard and Angelo Avenue.
“He was positively identified as the suspect seen in the video committing the crime and placed under arrest for vehicle burglary — a felony,” Madaloni said. Police found a window punch tool and items stolen from the victim’s car in his possession.
“During the booking process, it was learned that Gallardo was also wanted for an unrelated burglary charge investigated by the Monrovia Police Department,” Madaloni said.
Gallardo was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending an arraignment hearing, Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.

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Covina middle school burglarized

COVINA >> A burglar or burglars broke into two classrooms at a Covina middle school overnight, making off with a drum belonging to the band and video equipment, police said Friday.
The break-in at Royal Oak Middle School, 303 S. Glendora Ave., took place sometime between 11 p.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday, when staff discovered the damage and and theft, Covina police Sgt. Tom Tardiff said.
“Two classrooms on the north side of the campus were broken into. Windows were smashed near the doors,” Tardiff said.
Missing were a video camera and other pieces of video equipment, along with a snare drum, the sergeant said.
Some of the stolen video equipment was found discarded on the campus of nearby Quest Academy, he added.
No information regarding the intruder or intruders was available.

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90 smartphones stolen in Pasadena store break-in

PASADENA >> A trio of burglars smashed their way into a Pasadena cell phone store early Sunday, making off with 90 smartphones, officials said.
The break-in took place about 4:18 a.m. at a MetroPCS store at 664 N. Los Robles Ave., just south of Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
Police responded to a burglary alarm at the store and discovered the front glass door had been shattered, Mercado said.
The store manager came to the scene and discovered 90 smartphones missing, he said.
Surveillance camera footage captured three male burglars smashing their way in and ransacking the rear portion of the shop, the lieutenant said. All three wore dark hooded sweatshirts, with the hoods pulled tight around their faces, and dark pants.
They were last seen running south down Los Robles Avenue.

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Masked men confront woman in front of West Covina home

WEST COVINA >> Three masked men ordered a woman to the ground at gunpoint after she arrived home amid an apparent burglary attempt in West Covina late Thursday, officials said.
The crime took place about 8:30 p.m. as the woman arrived home in the 900 block of South Easthills Drive, West Covina police Lt. Travis Tibbetts said.
Three men wearing dark clothing and ski masks confronted the woman in front of her house, the lieutenant said. One of them brandished a handgun.
They ordered her to the ground before fleeing in a gray or green BMW sedan, he said. The victim was unhurt.
Tibbetts said nothing was stolen from the woman, and it did not appear the men had yet made their way into the home.

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90-year-old Arcadia man awakened by burglar in his home; suspect jailed

ARCADIA >> A 90-year-old Arcadia man awoke to find a burglar inside his home early Saturday morning, authorities said.
Gabino Arellano Jr. 19, of Los Angeles is accused of burglary in connection with the break-in, which took place about 1:05 a.m. at a home along Longden Avenue near Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Vaugn Whalen said in a written statement.
“The victim advised that he was awakened by a male suspect inside of his house,” the lieutenant said. “The suspect fled the location when the victim woke up.”
Police found Arellano walking in the area and discovered he was carrying jewelry and other small items taken from the victim’s home, Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
Investigators determined the intruder had pried open a side door of the house to break in, Crowther added.
Arellano was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.

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Roommates lock burglary suspect inside apartment in South Pasadena

SOUTH PASADENA >> Two quick-thinking roommates captured an alleged burglar by locking him inside their home until police arrived Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The incident unfolded about 3:15 p.m. as two men were outside their apartment in the 800 block of Meridian Avenue, South Pasadena police Cpl. Tom Jacobs said.
One of them spotted a man enter their home and recognized him as the same person who had broken in two weeks before, making off with a jacket and backpack, the corporal said.
“They closed the front door and held it shut, keeping the suspect inside,” he said.
The suspect remained trapped in the apartment until police arrived and took him into custody without a struggle, Jacobs said.
Elias Rodriguez, a 31-year-old transient known to frequent Los Angeles, was booked on suspicion of burglary, Jacobs said. He also had outstanding warrants for drug-related cases.

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Ex-con accused of carjacking woman in Irwindale, burglarizing her Pomona home


IRWINDALE >> Police arrested an ex-convict Sunday after he assaulted and carjacked a woman in Irwindale, then burglarized her Pomona home, officials said.
Officers ultimately jailed Jesse Maldonado, 45, of West Covina on suspicion of felony domestic violence, carjacking and burglary, Irwindale police Sgt. Rudy Gatto said.
The series of crimes began about 12:30 p.m., as Maldonado, the 30-year-old mother of their child and their 12-year-old son were riding together in a 2006 Mazda 6 along Los Angeles Street near the 605 Freeway in Irwindale, Gatto said. Maldonado was at the wheel.
The couple became involved in a dispute, and Maldonado pushed the woman from the vehicle as he continued driving it at about 10 mph, the sergeant said. The woman suffered minor injuries.
Maldonado stopped the car and ordered the child out before driving off in the woman’s car, he said.
The suspect then drove to the woman’s apartment in the 700 block of West 3rd Street in Pomona, where surveillance cameras snapped imaged of him breaking in, Gatto said. He stole various household items and fled the scene before Pomona police arrived.
Irwindale police soon found Maldonado when he returned to their city to access a storage locker in the 4300 block of Irwindale Avenue, Gatto said. He was arrested without a struggle. Police recovered the woman’s car, as well as items from her apartment which were found inside the vehicle.
Maldonado was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Baldwin Park Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance, officials said.

*This story has been updated to correct the relationship between the suspect and victim.

PHOTO of Jesse Maldonado, 45, of West Covina courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department

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Whittier man suspected in more than 20 burglaries arrested in Industry

INDUSTRY >> Deputies arrested a serial burglary suspect in Industry Saturday who is believed responsible for more than 20 linked to more than 20 business break-ins in recent months, authorities said.
A sheriff’s sergeant arrested Vernon Palacol, 51, of Whittier, about 6:30 a.m. at Valley Boulevard and 7th Street,, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
Deputies had been seeking unidentified suspects in connection with between 20 and 30 commercial burglaries within the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s Industry Station, which encompasses Industry, La Puente, La Habra Heights and nearby unincorporated communities.
The businesses’ computers were the targets of the burglaries, Lt. David Infante said.
“The suspect utilized a rock or blunt-type instrument to shatter glass doors or windows of businesses,” the lieutenant said. “(Palacol) quickly entered the businesses and stole desktop computers, making hasty getaways.”
While patrolling in the area affected by the burglaries, Sgt. Gregory Gutierrez spotted a man matching the description of one of the wanted burglars driving in the area.
“Within the vehicle, Sgt. Gutierrez recovered several pieces of stolen computer equipment,” Infante said. Palacol was booked on suspicion of burglary.
Investigators continued working Saturday to see if Palacol was also responsible for additional crimes, Infante said.
According to county booking records, Palacol was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.

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UPDATED: ‘Sophisticated’ burglary team devastates longtime Whittier jewelry business

WHITTIER >> A crew of burglars devastated a 40-year-old Whittier jewelry business when they made off more than $1 million worth of jewelry and precious metals during a “sophisticated” break-in at the Whittier Boulevard business over the weekend, authorities said.
The crime took place sometime between Saturday evening and Monday morning at Whittier Jewelry Mart, 14414 Whittier Blvd., Whittier police Lt. Mike Przybyl said.
An exact tally of what was stolen was not available, however the stolen jewelry and precious metals were believed to be worth between $1 million and $3 million, the lieutenant said.
“Based on what was done, there were multiple people involved. It was a fairly sophisticated effort,” Przybyl said.
Owner Alberto Montes De Oca said Wednesday that he remained “numb” from the loss of his livelihood, but was grateful the heist took place when no one was present and that no one was hurt.
But he said he did not yet know how the family business could recover from the devastating loss of its entire inventory of valuables.
“Forty years of work, it just went down in one second,” Montes De Oca said.
“For me, it’s a terrible hit. And for my family,” he said. “It feels like a dream. It’s hard to comprehend.”
Police declined to discuss specifics of how the burglary occurred, citing an active investigation.
But officials confirmed that the crime showed signs of planning and seasoned burglars.
“The people who did it, they knew what they were doing,” Przybyl said.
Police received no alarm activation from the business, he said.
“They came in through the roof,” Montes De Oca said, adding that he suspected the burglary took place early Sunday morning.
The burglars cut their way into a fortified safe, as well as smashed open display cases to help themselves to valuables, he said.
The stores alarm system, phone line and electricity line were cut, Montes De Oca said.
“It looks to me like they were professionals,” he said.
Montes De Oca said he was yet to determine the exact value of the stolen property. “It’s in the millions,” he said.
The proprietor said the family business would remain closed as he contemplated how to move forward. The needed repairs to the business alone will be costly, let alone the loss of his entire inventory.
Among the stolen items were pieces of jewelry and other precious items customers had set aside on layaway, as well as some brought by customers for repairs.
The Whittier Jewelry Mart has been operating in Whittier for four decades, Montes De Oca said.
The store was located in Uptown Whittier for its first 20 years, until it was destroyed by the Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987. The business was relocated to Whittier Boulevard, where it has remained ever since.
Anyone with information can reach Whittier police at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Police: Man breaks into Arcadia home, robs woman of car keys, steals car


ARCADIA >> Police in Monrovia arrested a man early Friday after he broke into a woman’s home in Arcadia, robbed her of her car keys and stole her car the previous afternoon, authorities said.
Troy Lucarelli, 43, of Temple City was being held on a domestic violence warrant as officials prepared to seek charges of burglary, robbery and auto theft, Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said.
He showed up at a home in the 900 block of Paloma Drive shortly after 4:30 p.m. Thursday and entered through an unlocked door, Flores said in a written statement. Minutes earlier, he was believed to have tried, but failed, to break into another home less than a mile away in the 800 block of Balboa Drive.
Once inside the Paloma Drive home, “The suspect confronted the homeowner and demanded the keys to the victim’s vehicle,” Flores said. “Fearing for her safety, the victim complied with the suspect and he left the location in her vehicle.”
Police soon found the stolen car abandoned several blocks away, she said.
Investigators identified Lucarelli as the suspect, Flores said. He was already being sought by Monrovia police due to a domestic violence-related warrant.
Monrovia officers found and arrested Lucarelli about 4 a.m. Friday.
He was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, records show, however his bail amount was likely to increase as additional expected charges are added next week. He’s scheduled to appear for an arraignment hearing Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.
The crimes took place the same day that two masked gunman forced their way into a home in the 1900 block of South Tulip Lane and attacked a resident in his bed, Lt. Mike Castro said. The suspects in the morning break-in were not caught. The Tulip Avenue incident was not believed to be connected to the break-ins on Paloma and Balboa drives Thursday afternoon.

PHOTO of Troy Lucarelli, 43, of Temple City courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.

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