Up to $230,000 in jewelry, designer purses stolen in Arcadia Nodstrom store break-in


ARCADIA — Police are seeking three burglars who broke into a Nordstrom store at a shopping mall in Arcadia Tuesday and stole as much as $230,000 worth of jewelry and designer purses.
Police responded about 4:10 a.m. to an alarm at the store, inside the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall at 400 S. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said in a written statement.
0102_NWS_PSN-L-NORDSTROMBURG2cropOfficers found a window on the west side of the department store had been smashed out.
Inside the store, the jewelry cases were smashed and an unknown amount of jewelry was stolen,” Castro said. Nordstrom officials initially estimated the thieves made off with between $100,000 and $200,000 worth of jewelry.
The burglars also helped themselves to designer purses, initially valued at between $20,000 and $30,000, Castro said.
“Nordstrom surveillance video shows three suspects wearing dark clothing entering the store,” Castro said. “The suspects exited an emergency exit that activated the alarm.”
0102_NWS_PSN-L-NORDSTROMBURG4cropA further description of the burglars was not available Wednesday, Sgt. Kollin Cieadla said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Arcadia Police Department at 626-574-5150. Tips may also be submitted anonymously via L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.


Burglars enter Pasadena home through doggie door

PASADENA — Police are seeking four young men who burglarized a Pasadena home by breaking in through a doggie door Friday afternoon.
The crime took place about 1 p.m. at a home in the 900 block of North Madison Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
Four burglars entered the home through a doggie door and helped themselves to electronics and other valuables, he said.
But a nearby security camera captured images of the burglars, the lieutenant said.
All four were Latino and between 16 and 20 years old, he said.
One wore a black short sleeve shirt and silver and black plaid shorts. The second wore a gray hat with a black rim and a hooded sweat shirt. The third wore a black beanie and a black T-shirt. No further description of the fourth burglar was available.
Clawson recommended the installation of security cameras, saying they are valuable tools for investigation which increase security not only for the home where they are installed, but for the surrounding neighborhood.

Monrovia burglars captured on surveillance footage


MONROVIA — Police sought help from the public Thursday in cracking a residential burglary case.
The break-in took place about 3 p.m. Dec. 7 at a home in the 200 block of Evergreen Avenue, Monrovia police officials said in a written statement. Images of the two burglars and their car were captured on surveillance footage, which investigators hope will lead to their capture.
The two men arrived in a silver, four-door sedan similar to a Lexus 300-series wit tinted windows, exited and went into the backyard, police said.
“They entered the residence by breaking the rear glass door,” according to the police statement. The silver car drove up and down the street as the burglars were inside the home.
The men fled with cash and jewelry just as the resident arrived home, officials said. The resident did not see the intruders.
Similar burglaries have been reported elsewhere in the area, and police advised residents to be alert.
“This incident is similar to many other burglaries that have recently occurred in the San Gabriel Valley,” according to the police statement. “Several of the incidents involve suspects using luxury model rental vehicles. The suspects knock on the front door, after no answer, they proceed to enter the rear yard and force entry into a rear door or window of the residence.”
Anyone who sees anything suspicious is encouraged to contact local police immediately.
Anyone with information regarding the Monrovia burglar is asked to contact Detective S. Bushmeyer at 626-256-8047, or via email at sbushmeyer@monrovia.laclen.org.

Altadena men accused of West Covina burglary, robbery

Police Wednesday arrested two Altadena men accused of burglarizing a home in West Covina, then robbing the resident of his cell phone when he interrupted the crime and called 9-1-1, authorities said.
Joshua Washington and Terrance Hall, both 18 and of Altadena, were booked on suspicion of burglary and robbery, West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez said in a written statement.
The break-in took place about 11:20 a.m. Tuesday in the 600 block of South Charvers Avenue, police said.
A man arrived home to find two intruders inside his house, Lopez said. The burglars fled, and the man began calling 9-1-1 on his cell phone.
“However, one suspect returned to the victim and forcible took the phone away,” the corporal said. They then fled in a white Lexus parked in front of the home.
The resident had noticed a Lexus he didn’t recognize when he first arrived home and wrote down the license plate number, which he was able to provide to investigators, Lopez said. Additionally, the West Covina Police Department’s Forensic Identification Unit was able to lift latent fingerprints from the burgled home.
Further investigation led police to a home in the 2700 block of Tola Street in Altadena early Wednesday, where Washington and Hall were taken into custody without a struggle, Lopez said. The Lexus seen in front of the victim’s home was found nearby.
According to county booking records, the suspects were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each pending their scheduled arraignments Friday in West Covina Superior Courts.

Teens accused of trashing, burglarizing La Habra Heights home while owner was away

A group of 16 teenagers is accused of trashing and burglarizing a La Habra Heights mansion while the owner was away.
Detectives recovered stolen items including artwork, electronics, Versace suits and a mounted Snow Leopard valued at $250,000 during their investigation into the alleged illegal escapades, which took place overnight Nov. 23 and 24 in the 1700 block of Chota Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. The total damage and loss associated with the break-in and party is estimated to be more than $1 million.
“It was pretty well-thrashed,” Capt. Tim Murakami of the sheriff’s Industry Station said.
The home is listed for sale and the owner was out of the country when someone apparently noticed his absence and decided to host a party on the large property.
“They call it a ghost party or mansion party, where the suspects go online, look for properties that are high-end, for sale and appear to be abandoned,” the captain said.
“A suspect hosted the party, charged a fee and about 100-plus kids or so attended the party,” Murakami said. The illicit party began in the rear yard as a pool party, but quickly devolved into theft and vandalism.
“At some point during the party, somebody forced entry into the house, which caused kind of a frenzy, where a good amount of the kids went into the house and started stealing,” Murakami said. “And at some point in time, they started damaging property, too.”
The young man who first organized the party had not been arrested Wednesday, though officials said his identity was known to investigators.
“There’s still more property to recover. There’s still more people we’re looking for, Murakami said.
The young suspects aided in their own arrests through social media use, Capt. Tim Murakami of the sheriff’s Industry Station said.
Not only was the party publicized via social media, Murakami said, “They were actually bragging about the party (online), showing themselves within the residence, showing themselves carrying some of the stolen property.”
Detectives spent two weeks identifying everyone they could before heading out Wednesday morning, armed with arrest warrants and search warrants.
The three adult suspects arrested Wednesday were identified as Nicholas Koontz, 18, of La Habra Heights, Kevin Larios, 18, of La Habra and Andres Uribe, 18, of La Habra, sheriff’s department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. They were booked on suspicion of charges including burglary, trespassing and grand theft.
The other teenage suspect were booked on suspicion of crimes ranging from simple trespassing to burglary, investigators added. They live in the Whittier and La Habra areas, officials added. Ten of the juvenile suspects were boys, while the other three were girls.
Sheriff Lee Baca said it was unsettling that so many young people, “felt that they could do whatever they wanted inside someone else’s home.”
“It begs the question of why,” Sheriff Lee Baca said. “Why can’t people have a good time, if they’re going to have one, and at the same time respect property.”
The matter of how the homeowner was to be compensated for the damage to his home would be determined by the courts, Baca said.
“I certainly believe these young people should be held accountable for what they’ve done,” Baca said. “They need to learn a lesson that you can’t do this sort of thing.”
Lt. Arthur Scott said the parents of the involved youths were distraught over the situation and cooperated with investigators.
“The parents were more than understanding,” he said. “They were embarrassed.”


Suspect jailed, others sought in series of car burglaries outside Pico Rivera gym


PICO RIVERA — Deputies are continuing to hunt for suspects and are seeking the public’s help in connection with a spike of burglaries in the parking lot of a Pico Rivera gym, officials said.
One suspect was jailed Tuesday in connection with one of the 30 or so vehicle burglaries reported over the past six months in the parking lot of L.A. Fitness at Washington and Rosemead Boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Van Damme said. Eight break-ins have been reported in the past three weeks alone.
Another suspect in the string of burglaries has been recorded on surveillance tape, he said, though detectives asked the public’s help in determining his identity.
Detectives Tuesday jailed a 21-year-old man at his Van Nuys home late Tuesday after he was linked to a Nov. 10 car burglary outside the gym, Van Damme said. Surveillance camera images captured the license plate of his car and his image as he took part in the break-in, along with two other accomplices, the sergeant said.
David Zulalyan was booked on suspicion of auto theft and was released from custody after posting $20,000 bail, according to sheriff’s officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
And detectives Wednesday released images of another man sought for a Nov. 15 burglary in the parking lot as he used a stolen credit card at a Montebello store within hours of the 1129_NWS_WDN-L-FITNESS2crime, Van Damme said. He was described as a Latino man between 18 and 25 years old, and a Chevrolet Uplander SUV was linked to the burglary as well.
Deputies keeping watch over the parking lot Friday afternoon briefly chased two men they spotted burglarizing a car in the L.A. Fitness Parking, however the thieves ultimately eluded deputies during the chase.
Anyone with information was asked to contact sheriff’s Deputy Chris Lopez at 562-949-2421, ext. 5523.

Intruders steal jewelry from elderly Pasadena woman

PASADENA — A 93-year-old woman woke up to find two prowlers rummaging through her room Tuesday night.
Pasadena Police Lt. Tom Delgado said the burglars took jewelry but didn’t have the estimated value. Police said she chased the suspects but they got away.
The burglary in the 500 block of Toolen Place was reported at 10:14 p.m. Tuesday.
The woman went to bed at 10 p.m. About 14 minutes later, Delgado said the woman was awakened by a loud bang and her security alarm going off.
She saw two men ransacking her bedroom. Delgado said one of the men took a bureau drawer containing jewelry. Both prowlers left through the back door.
Delgado said the suspects were only described as two black men.

- Ruby Gonzales

Spate of car burglaries reported outside Pico Rivera gym

PICO RIVERA — Deputies are carrying out extra patrols and advising the public to remain vigilant in response to a spate of more then two-dozen auto burglaries in recent months in the parking lot of a Pico Rivera gym.
About 30 car break-ins have been reported over the past six months outside L.A. Fitness, at Washington and Rosemead boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Van Damme said. And the trend has been increasing lately, with eight burglaries reported over the past two weeks.
Van Damme and other deputies keeping watch over the parking lot Friday afternoon in an undercover operation spotted two burglars in the act, though the men escaped following a brief pursuit.
Deputies saw two men arrive in a four-door, pewter-colored, 2003 Nissan Maxima and break into a car parked in the parking lot, Van Damme said.
The driver of the Nissan swerved head-on toward a sheriff’s vehicle when deputies tried to pull the car over, then sped away, initiating a chase, Van Damme said.
The car blew through red lights before deputies lost sight of it in the area of Paramount and Whittier boulevards, the sergeant added. The driver was described as a Latino man between 25 and 30 years old, with a stocky build. The passenger was a thin Latino man between 18 and 25.
In addition to the car that fled from deputies Friday, two other different vehicles — a late-model Chevrolet Uplander minivan and a late-model Infinity coupe — have also been connected to the string of break-ins via surveillance cameras, Van Damme said.
The thieves have been smashing windows and forcing locks to access the vehicles, though they primarily appear to be targeting cars with valuables left in plain sight.
Van Damme encouraged the public to always stow valuables out of the sight of opportunistic burglars if leaving them behind in a vehicle.

Monrovia man arrested after confronting burglar with swords, pocket knife won’t face criminal charges

A Monrovia man arrested last week on suspicion of assault after confronting a burglar with ninja swords and a pocket knife will not face criminal charges, officials said.
Jesse Runge, 35, was initially booked for assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the incident, which unfolded late Nov. 12, according to Monrovia police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Prosecutors reviewed the case Friday and elected not to file charges against Runge, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said. “The case was declined due to insufficient evidence.”
Runge returned home shortly before midnight Tuesday to find his house ransacked and several items missing, both police and Runge said. Runge said he immediately suspected acquaintance Jeremi Weber, 30, as the culprit, and called police to report the break-in and the identity of the possible suspect.
While still on the phone with police, Runge said tracking software on his cell phone alerted him that his iPad was located at Weber’s home nearby in the 400 block of East Foothill Boulevard. He said he handed the phone with which he was talking to police over to his fiancee and rushed to Weber’s home to confront him and get his property back.
As he exited his car, Runge said he grabbed two sheathed, ornamental ninja swords that were in his vehicle. He said he did so because Weber had previously bragged to him about having guns.
“I admit it was stupid to walk to the door with those,” Runge said, but added that the swords never left their sheaths.
About that time, his fiancee joined him outside Weber’s home and took the swords from him, Runge said. She began yelling at Weber’s home, and Weber emerged.
Weber threw a soda, swung a backpack and threatened to “blast” both Runge and his pregnant fiancee as the men argued and slowly moved along Foothill Boulevard, according to Runge. When Weber began reaching into his pocket and backpack as if for a weapon, he said his fiancee then handed him a pocket knife she had been carrying. But he said he did not use it or try to use it on Weber.
Runge then flagged down a police officer that was nearby as Weber darted between two houses, Runge said. Police detained Runge, and soon also had Weber in custody.
Weber’s backpack was found to contain most of the items stolen from Runge’s home, Monrovia police Lt. Michael Lee said. Police also found Weber to be in possession of heroin and prescription pills. Weber had a small cut on his arm which he claimed Runge inflicted with the pocket knife. Officers took both men to jail.
Runge said he was not only infuriated to be locked up in jail alongside the man who burglarized his home, his father paid $3,000 to a bail bondsman to free him from jail, which is not refundable even though charges are not to be filed against him. “That’s the worst part about the whole thing.”
Weber, who was arrested for burglary and drug possession, pleaded “no contest” to a charge of first-degree burglary when he appeared Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said. Two drug-related charges were dismissed, and he was immediately sentenced to one year in jail and three years of formal probation.
In addition to the burglary and drug possession case stemming from the Nov. 12 incident, Weber also appeared in court Tuesday in connection with a pre-existing case for receiving stolen property, Davila-Morales said. He pleaded “no contest” in that case as well and was immediately sentenced to another year in jail, along with three years of formal probation.
Even after all the trouble, Runge said he did not entirely regret his actions. He said he believed police would not have arrived at Weber’s home in time to prevent him from leaving the with stolen property.
Among the items recovered from Weber’s backpack was a gold, family heirloom pocket watch that had belonged to his great grandfather, Runge said.
“I can’t say I would do it differently, because I got that back,” he said.

Alleged burglar found hiding in closet of Via Verde home

SAN DIMAS — Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Fontana man for burglary early Sunday after finding him hiding in the closet of a Via Verde home, sheriff’s officials said.
Kaleb Cooper, 18, was booked on suspicion of burglary following his 8:15 a.m. arrest at a home on Paseo Marlena, just east of Via Esperanza, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and county booking records.
Officials first received a report of a possible trespasser in a nearby backyard just after 6:45 a.m., however he was gone when deputies arrived, sheriff’s Sgt. Rebecca Rodriguez said.
But a woman called the sheriffs San Dimas Station about an hour later to report hearing noises in her home, and finding a screen had been removed from a window, the sergeant said.
Authorities advised the women to get out of her home, which she did. Rodriguez said. Deputies then searched the house and found Cooper hiding in a closet.
He was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court, records show.