PICO RIVERA — Deputies caught two men in the act of stealing wiring from an AT&T cell tower site early Friday, officials said.
William Price and Sean Sheets, both 33 and of Downey, were booked on suspicion of burglary and possession of burglary tools following their arrests shortly after 3 a.m. in the 4500 block of Rosemead Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Smith said.
The sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station received a call reporting a burglary in progress at the cell tower site, comprised of a cell tower and a building housing electrical equipment, the lieutenant said.
Deputies arrived to find a gate surrounding the facility had been forced open.
They entered the building and found two men — later identified as Price and Sheets — lying on the floor, Smith said.
The men told deputies they had been accidentally locked inside the building, he said. But deputies found several locked metal boxes had been ripped open and wiring pulled out, along with bolt cutters and a portable reciprocating saw.
Officials had not yet obtained an estimate of the value of the damage from AT&T Friday morning, Smith said.
Price and Sheets were being held ion lieu of $40,000 bail each pending their scheduled arraignments Tuesday in Downey Superior Court, according to sheriff’s officials and county booking records.
SIERRA MADRE – A burglar broke into a home Friday, ransacked the place and fled with a small handgun.
Sierra Madre Police said the burglary in the 700 block of Auburn Avenue happened sometime between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Sgt. Enrique Gonzalez said the residents left the home at 7 p.m. When they returned three hours later, they noticed a suspicious sedan parked on the street.
Gonzalez said the residents hadn’t seen that car in the area before. They called police.
When officers arrived within a minute or a minute and half, he said the car was gone.
Residents also discovered their house had been ransacked and the gun missing, according to Gonzalez.
- Ruby Gonzales
AZUSA — A man interrupted a home burglary late Wednesday before being robbed by the intruder at gunpoint, police said.
The crime took place about 11:10 p.m. in the 800 block of East Haltern Street, Azusa police Sgt. Xavier Torres said.
The victim entered the home of a family member when he was confronted by the burglar, who held him at gunpoint and demanded property, Torres said. Police declined to say exactly what was stolen, citing the ongoing investigation.
After obtaining items from the victim, the robber fled, Torres said.
“Evidence was discovered indicating that the suspect was in the process of burglarizing the residence prior to the victim arriving,” the sergeant added.
Police described the armed intruder as a white man in his 20s, aboutu 6 feet tall, with a shaved head and a goatee.
Anyone with information was asked to call Azusa police at 626-812-3200.
ARCADIA — Deputies arrested to men who allegedly broke into a home while it was being tented for fumigation early Wednesday in an unincorporated county area near Arcadia, officials said.
Miguel Solorzano, 31, of El Monte and Constancio Lopez Jr., 30, of El Monte were booked on suspicion of burglary following the incident, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Dexter said.
A witness reported seeing the two men about 6:30 a.m. burglarizing the home in the 5100 block of Marshburn Avenue, Dexter said.
Deputies responded and found the suspects hiding along Tyler Avenue, just behind the tented home, the sergeant said. They appeared to have made it into the house, though nothing was initially believed to have been taken.
Investigators were looking into the possibility that other items found in the men’s possession were stolen in other area burglaries, Dexter added.
Though not a new phenomenon, incidents of burglars breaking into homes during fumigation is growing trend in Southern California, Dexter added.
Members and organizers of the San Gabriel Valley Young Marines who meet at AMVETS Post 113 in Irwindale arrived at their meeting Wednesday to discover a trailer containing all of their camping gear had been stolen.
The equipment and trailer, valued at about $8,000, was discovered missing Wednesday evening when the group met for the weekly gathering at the post, 14910 E. Los Angeles Street, according to the unit’s commander, Alwyn Torres. It was last seen by group members during their previous meeting Aug. 28.
“Basically, it’s all the gear that we’ve been able to accumulate over the past seven years that we’ve been in existence in Irwindale,” Torres said.
In addition to the 8-foot by 12-foot trailer itself, the stolen equipment included cots, tents, a 5-horsepower generator, a six-burner grill, a recently purchased medical equipment bag worth $500, rappelling gear and other supplies.
More than 80 members of the San Gabriel Valley Young Marines regularly use the equipment, Torres said.
Whoever stole the trailer must have brought their own vehicle with a trailer hitch to remove it, he added.
Police continued checking area surveillance cameras for possible leads, though there was initially not much evidence for investigators, Irwindale police Detective Sgt. George Zendejas said. Information regarding the stolen trailer and items was shared with other area law enforcement agencies.
“We appeal to any witnesses who may have seen anything suspicious,” Zendejas said.
Despite the significant loss, Torres said the Young Marines will continue.
“I’m irritated about it, but we’ll just keep moving forward,” he said.
Young Marines members are planning to take part in a September 11th commemoration ceremony in Montebello Wednesday.
“I will continue. I’m gong to have to do something. Either donations, or borrow from people. Whatever it takes, i can’t neglect my kids.”
Anyone with information was asked to contact Detective Sgt. Zendejas at 626-430-2245, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those interested in donating equipment or funds to replace Young Marines’ stolen items can reach unit commander Torres at 626-241-0055, or by email at email@example.com.
Members of the San Gabriel Valley Young Marines march in La Verne’s 2013 Independence Day Parade. (Courtesy)
More hot weather is predicted for Southern California in the coming week, prompting law enforcement officials to warn residents to be wary of burglars creeping through open windows.
Labor Day was expected to bring high temperatures in the mid-90s to the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys, with temperatures in the high-90s in the Inland Empire, Meteorologist Carol Smith of the National Weather Service’s Oxnard office said. Relative humidity levels were expected to remain high
“It’ll be a little bit sticky,” she said.
Humidity levels will drop as the week progresses, but temperatures are expected to rise at the same time, Smith said.
High temperatures across Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire are predicted to reach above 100 degrees, according to the NWS. And the triple-digit temperatures will linger until Sunday, when high temperatures will drop back into the 90s.
Monsoonal moisture travelling up from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California will create a slight chance of thunderstorms in the San Gabriel Valley mountains and Antelope Valley Wednesday through Friday, Smith said.
With more hot weather in the forecast, law enforcement officials are cautioning residents that windows and doors left open create opportunities for break-ins.
“The warm weather that is upon us has us looking for ways to beat the heat during the day and evening hours,” according to West Covina police Public Information Officer Rudy Lopez.
“Please remember that a window left open at any time of the day or night creates an unsecured home that may allow someone an opportunity to attempt to enter, even while you sleep,” he said. “Burglars look for this in order to gain easy access into your home.”
Arcadia police Sgt. Tom LeVeque advised residents to be mindful of any windows that are open and close them before going to bed.
“There are many products available, like window locks and stops, that can be used to limit the amount a window may be opened,” LeVeque said. Such items are available at most hardware stores.
“You may also want to consider an alarm as a great option,” the sergeant added.
PASADENA — Three Pasadena teens are accused of a residential break-in after they were captured fleeing from a Mentone Avenue home with stolen electronics, jewelry and cash, authorities said.
A resident of the 1900 block of Mentone Avenue called police just after 4:15 p.m. Friday to report seeing three teenagers jumping a fence into a neighbor’s backyard, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
“The helicopter was almost immediately on-scene,” he said. “(Officers) observed the suspects running from the location.”
Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Altadena Station who were nearby spotted the three suspects and detained them, the lieutenant said.
“Pasadena officers responded to victim residence and found a (back) door had been forced open,” Clawson said. “The three suspect in possession of stolen property from victim’s home.”
The three teens, whose names were not released due to their ages, were booked on suspicion of residential burglary, he said.
GLENDORA — Police have released composite sketches of three men who posed as tree trimmers to distract two elderly Glendora residents in an unsuccessful bid to empty their safe of valuables earlier this week, officials said.
The crime took place about 5:20 p.m. Tuesday in the 700 block of East Carroll Avenue, Glendora police officials said.
An elderly man answered his front door and encountered a visitor dressed as a contractor, complete with a yellow construction hard hat, Detective Matt Fenner said in a written statement.
“The suspect posed as a tree trimmer and lured the victim into the backyard,” Fenner said.
“While the victim was distracted, two other male suspects entered the victim’s unlocked front door where they were confronted by the victim’s 92-year-old wife in her bedroom,” Fenner said.
The men told the women she needed to exit her bedroom in order to sign paperwork.
Once both residents were distracted, one of the suspects tried to pry open the couples safe, however they did not succeed, officials said. They were last seen driving off in white SUV.
Police offered some advice to help residents avoid becoming victims of similar “distraction burglaries.”
If you are unsure of who is at your front door, do not open it, Fenner said.
If a person claims to be from an agency such as a utility, police advised residents to call the utility to verify the person’s identity. Always look up the number directly, and do not use a telephone number provided by the visitor.
“Do not allow someone to coax you out of your home,” Fenner said. “Be suspicious of anyone asking you to step out of your home, especially during unscheduled visits.”
Anyone who encounters someone suspicious at their door is encouraged to call Glendora police immediately at 626-914-8297.
COMPOSITE SKETCHES courtesy of the Glendora Police Department.
COVINA — A former resident of a Covina adult independent living home arrested earlier this week on suspicion of trashing the home following his eviction has been released from custody without charges, authorities said. The home was also filled with natural gas.
Steven Moss, 44, was booked on suspicion of burglary, vandalism and attempting to explode a structure Sunday afternoon after he was found at the home in the 200 block of West Gragmont Street, Covina police Sgt. Rob Bobkiewicz said. He and another resident had been kicked out of the home the previous day by the homeowner.
But prosecutors Tuesday declined to file charges against him citing insufficient evidence, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.
He was released from jail Tuesday morning, according to county booking records.
After a heated exchange between the two evicted residents and the homeowner Saturday, the home was found vandalized Saturday night, police said. The floor, windows and appliances had been badly damaged.
More damage was discovered Sunday afternoon when the homeowner returned. The home had been flooded with water and filled with natural gas from open but unlit gas ranges, Bobkiewicz said. Moss was spotted inside the home and ultimately taken into custody in the backyard, he added.
ALHAMBRA — Police arrested a man and two teenage boys plus recovered a flat screen TV, laptop, computer speakers and iPod taken from a home on Wednesday.
Officers checking out a call of suspicious people in a residential neighborhood caught the burglary suspects before they left with their haul.
The incident started at about 11 a.m. when a caller reported seeing strangers walking down a driveway in the 300 block of North Monterey Street.
Arriving officers spotted the culprits who then fled. Lt. Gabriel Ponce said one suspect was immediately detained, a second was caught a block away and the third suspect was nabbed on Monterey Street.
A 2001 Ford Focus believed to the getaway vehicle was found parked to the rear of the home that had been burglarized, according to Ponce.
Police think other property found in the car were from other burglaries. Ponce said several items were taken in a burglary reported to the LAPD on Wednesday.
A 20-year-old Pasadena man and two teens were arrested on suspicion of burglary. The man, whose name wasn’t released, was being held at Alhambra jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. Ponce said one boy was released to the custody of his parents while the other teen was taken to Eastlake Juvenile Hall.
– Ruby Gonzales