COVINA >> Police Wednesday recovered two laptop computers stolen in an elementary school break-in in September and arrested a local teenage boy in connection with the theft, officials said.
Someone stole the computers the weekend of Sept. 19 to Sept. 22 while breaking into two separate classrooms at Glen Oak Elementary School, 1000 N. Sunflower Ave., Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said in a written statement.
The computers, owned by the Charter Oak Unified School District, were equipped with GPS tracking devices, police said.
“During the investigation, information was obtained from the company monitoring the GPS tracking devices that both computers were being used in a residence in located in the 1300 block of N. Sunflower in the city of Covina,” Peterson said. “Based on this information, a search warrant was obtained for the residence.”
Officers served the warrant early Wednesday and found both computers, Peterson said. Investigators arrested a 17-year-old boy who lives at the home on suspicion of possessing or receiving stolen property. The boy was booked and released to his parents with a court date.
“Both laptop computers were still in working order and will be returned to the Charter Oak Unified School District in the near future,” Peterson said.
AZUSA >> An Azusa couple arrived home to find a burglar inside their house late Saturday, police said.
Police jailed Luis Rafael Puga, 22, of Azusa on suspicion of burglary and violating his probation, Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said in a written statement. Puga is already on probation for a past burglary conviction.
The incident took place about 9:50 p.m. in the 400 block of West 10th Street, he said.
“A man and his wife walked into their home through their front door and were terrified to find Luis Puga standing inside,” Sutcliffe said. “The woman fled immediately and called the Azusa Police Department, who dispatched several officers, while her husband stayed inside and tried to talk with him.”
Puga was eating food in the couple’s kitchen when they encountered him, he added.
Officers surrounded the home and the husband emerged from the home, but Puga remained inside.
“After being ordered to exit the residence, Puga surrendered to officers and was immediately arrested,” Sutcliffe said.
Police later learned that Puga had knocked on the door of the home before breaking in, the sergeant said. When no one answered the door, he climbed into the home through a rear window.
According to county booking records, Puga was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his arraignment, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
SAN DIMAS >> Deputies jailed two men early Saturday for allegedly burglarizing a residential garage in San Dimas, officials said.
Officials ultimately arrested Alex Powell of Altadena and Briley Lambert of Covina, both 18, on suspicion of residential burglary following the 3:40 p.m. crime in the 1600 block of Via Alegre, officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s San Dimas Station said.
A resident called deputies to report someone was inside the garage, officials said. Two men were seen leaving the garage, which the resident had accidentally left open, before deputies arrived.
Deputies found Powell hiding nearby, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“Upon checking the location he was hiding, they recovered items stolen from the garage. In addition, he had a checkbook in his pocket that was stolen from an unlocked vehicle on Via Esperanza,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
About two hours after the initial report of a break-in, deputies found and arrested Lambert in the same area in connection with the burglary, according to officials and county booking records. He was allegedly found with items taken from the Via Alegre garage.
Lambert was also being sought by another local police agency, who had previously found his fingerprints at the scene of a residential burglary, sheriff’s officials said.
According to county booking records, Powell and Briley were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.
SAN DIMAS >> Deputies arrested an Oak Hills man early Sunday after a Via Verde homeowner caught him in the act of a residential break-in, authorities said.
Victor Chirino, 40, was ultimately booked on suspicion of burglary, possession of burglary tools and bringing drugs into a sheriff’s station, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Rebecca Rodriguez said.
A man in his 40s called police about 6:50 a.m. to report finding a man inside his home in the 1000 block of Camino Del Cerritos, the sergeant said.
“The homeowner heard noise in the living room,” she said. He encountered a man breaking into the home through a window.
The burglar ran from the home and fled in a car after being confronted by the homeowner, Rodriguez said. The homeowner provided deputies with the intruder’s license plate number.
Responding deputies found Chirino and his vehicle in the same neighborhood, Rodriguez said. He was in possession of a crowbar and other alleged burglary tools.
Rodriguez said Chirino also had a small amount of suspected methamphetamine, which was not discovered until after he was brought into a secure portion of the sheriff’s station, resulting in an additional felony allegation.
According to county booking records, Chirino was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.
Due to technical problems with Los Angeles County booking records Sunday, information regarding Chirino’s bail and initial court appearance was not available.
IRWINDALE >> Police asked the public’s help Saturday in tracking down a man believed connected to a series of mail thefts from five Irwindale businesses late last month.
The thefts occurred Oct. 27 at five businesses in the 4800 block of Fourth Street, Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas said in a written statement.
A thief pried open the locked, outdoor mailboxes and took mail, the sergeant said. “Several checks were stolen during the thefts and subsequently cashed at nearby locations.”
Since the Oct. 27 thefts, several incidents of mailbox tampering have been reported in the same area, officials said.
Police released a surveillance camera image of a man taken as he cashed a stolen check, as well as a photo of an SUV captured on security cameras near where the mail was stolen.
Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has information regarding the case is asked to contact Detective Jose vargas at 626-430-2290.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department.
PASADENA >> A woman arrived home Saturday to find a burglar in her home, police said.
Donald Holden, 20, was arrested in connection with the crime, which was reported about 3:30 p.m. at a home in the 100 block of South Roosevelt Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
The victim, a 25-year-old woman, found an intruder inside her bedroom, the lieutenant said. The man ran from the home once spotted by the residence.
An officer spotted a man matching the description in the area about 40 minutes later, Luna said. Police arrested the man after the victim identified him as the burglar, and items taken from the home were found in his possession. Holden was booked on suspicion of burglary.
According to county booking records, Holden was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
PASADENA >> Police jailed a parolee Friday after catching him in the act of an alleged home burglary, authorities said.
Michael Keith Trujillo, 22, of Highland Park, was booked on suspicion of residential burglary following the 10:30 a.m. break-in at a home in the 300 block of North Carmelo Avenue, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
A neighbor called police to report seeing a stranger on his neighbors property, Pasadena police Lt. Art Chute said.
When officers arrived, Trujillo had already forced his way into the home through a rear window.
Police ordered Trujillo out of the home and he surrendered without a struggle, Chute said. He was already in the process of gathering up items inside the home.
According to booking records, Trujillo, who is on parole, was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance.
PASADENA >> DNA evidence links a suspect to the arson of a Pasadena auto body shop last month that caused $375,000 worth of damage, officials announced Thursday.
Jesse Cole Nicholas, 30, was already in jail on unrelated cases when he was linked by DNA Wednesday to the Sept. 27 fire, according to Pasadena fire officials and arrest records.
The 7:20 a.m. blaze badly damaged a rear building used for detailing and prep work at Alliance Auto Body, 826 S. Arroyo Parkway, and destroyed two cars that were parked inside, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
“Believing that the fire was suspicious in nature, a fire investigator was summoned to the scene,” Pasadena fire officials said in a statement. “The investigator was able to determine that the fire was an intentional act and initiated an arson investigation.”
Surveillance footage from the business shows a man hopping a fence and breaking into cars at Alliance Auto Body hours before the fire ignited, officials said. He then stole a car and fled.
But the burglar returned several hours later, broke into several more vehicles and set fire to a car parked in the rear building, authorities said.
Pasadena fire investigators teamed with Pasadena police detectives and distributed a suspect flyer seeking information. “As a result of viewing the video, (the fire investigator) believed the suspect may possibly be transient and began canvasing the areas of the city frequented by the homeless.”
The fire investigator found a man matching the description at Pasadena’s Central Park on Sept. 29, according to the statement. Police helped arrest the suspect on an outstanding felony warrant as the investigation into the arson continued.
Nicholas received a 60-day jail sentence for the unrelated warrant on Oct. 1 at Los Angeles Superior Court, according to Los Angeles County records. He remained in custody Thursday at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic.
Records show he was also sentenced to 10 days for violating the terms of Post-Release Community Supervision stemming from a prior conviction.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Crime Lab notified Pasadena investigators Tuesday that DNA collected from one of the burglarized vehicles matched Nicholas, officials said.
A fire investigator interviewed Nicholas in jail Wednesday.
“Although the suspect denied knowledge and involvement in the break-in, auto theft and arson, he did provide the approximate location of the stolen vehicle, which was recovered,” according to the department statement.
Investigators planned to file their case with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office next week.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department
PASADENA >> A Pasadena man awoke to fund an intruder in his house and chased him from the home before police arrested the alleged burglar Wednesday, officials said.
Police jailed Gary Jones, 21, of Compton on suspicion of residential burglary following the 10:20 a.m. break-in at a home in the 300 block of South Marengo Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Ed Calatayud said. Police described the victim as a man in his 30s.
“The victim was sleeping in a bedroom when he was startled by a noise,” the lieutenant said.
Upon investigating the noise, the resident encountered an intruder in his home, he said.
Calatayud said the burglar ran from the home once confronted by the resident. The burglar grabbed a small bag containing dog treats as he fled.
The resident chased the burglar briefly, then called the police, Calatayud said. Officers found Jones nearby and ultimately arrested him in connection with the break-in.
He got into the home through an unlocked, second-floor sliding glass window, Calatayud said.
Jones was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
PASADENA >> Police jailed a burglary suspect earlier this week with the help of an alert neighbor armed with a cell phone camera, officials said.
Francisco Ricardo Tafolla, 18, of Pasadena who was already being sought for violating his probation stemming from a previous theft-related conviction, was booked on suspicion of burglary, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The break-in occurred about 4 a.m. Friday at a house in the 1900 block of East Villa Street, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
A neighborhood resident spotted a man leaving his neighbor’s house with an oversized bag and became suspicious, the lieutenant said. The witnesses snapped a photograph of the man, which was was passed along to police about 7 a.m. once the homeowner confirmed the house had been burglarized.
An officer recognized Tafolla from a previous arrest, Clawson said. Officers soon tracked down the suspect at his Pasadena home.
Electronics and other items allegedly taken from the Villa Street home were recovered, along with, “other evidence,” Clawson said.
The arrest highlights the successful outcomes that occur, “when people are working together to keep their neighborhoods safe,” Clawson said. “If you see something, say something.”
According to county booking records, Tafolla was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance.