SAN MARINO >> What began as an ordinary traffic stop in San Marino on Wednesday led police to arrest an ex-felon on suspicion of burglary-, drug- and weapons-related offenses and recover property believed to have been stolen from homes in San Marino and Long Beach.
Thomas Gordon Dandurand, 37, of Riverside, was booked on suspicion of receiving stolen property, possession of burglary tools, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, being a convicted felon in possession of a stun gun and possession of an imitation firearm, according to San Marino police Sgt. Robert Cervantes.
Officers pulled a car for traffic violations about 1:14 a.m. at San Marino Avenue and Lorain Road, the sergeant said in a written statement.
While speaking to the driver, later identified as (Dandurand), an officer observed the vehicle was filled with miscellaneous items, including burglary tools,” he said. “Dandurand was subsequently arrested for the burglary tools and was transported to the Alhambra jail for booking.”
Inside Dandurand’s car, police found several laptop computers and tablet computers, drug paraphernalia, methamphetamine, stun guns and an imitation firearm, Cervantes said. “Also located were items that had been stolen from homes in San Marino and Long Beach.”
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Dandurand was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information was asked to contact San Marino police Detective Garcia at 626-300-0726. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
A La Mirada man stole a GPS-laden “bait package” in Arcadia before leading police on a lengthy pursuit in a stolen car, then trying to hide inside a South Gate movie theater before being taken into custody on Thursday, authorities said.
Christopher Cook, 27, was ultimately arrested on suspicion of grand theft, auto theft and evading police following the incident, which began about 6:40 p.m.
“Arcadia police officers were dispatched to the 1600 block of Holly Avenue on a GPS package theft activation,” Arcadia police Lt. Vaughn Whalen said in a written statement.
Arcadia police regularly set out packages and bicycles equipped with GPS trackers to bust opportunistic thieves.
Police tracked the package to a parking lot in Hacienda Heights, where the suspect fled from officers in a Hyundai Sonata which was later determined to have been reported stolen, Whalen said.
Arcadia police soon cancelled the pursuit due to safety concerns, officials said. The fleeing car was speeding through red lights, and at times on the wrong side of the road, according to police radio traffic.
But officials continued following the suspect via helicopter, and California Highway Patrol officers resumed the chase on the westbound 60 Freeway.
The pursuit headed down the 60, 710 and 5 freeways before the suspect ditched his car in a parking structure near Garfield Avenue and Firestone Boulevard in South Gate and ran into a nearby movie theater as television news cameras broadcast live.
“Arcadia officers arrived at that location and with the assistance of multiple agencies, took the suspect into custody without incident,” Whalen said.
Officers could be seen in helicopter news footage escorting Cook from the theater in handcuffs about 9 p.m.
BOOKING PHOTO of Christopher Cook, 27, of La Mirada courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.
WEST COVINA >> A cyber-sleuthing mother helped police to get her 13-year-old daughter’s stolen snowboard back and arrest a man on suspicion of the theft, as well as at least three others, officials said.
Tony Jesus Cruz, 20, was booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property on March 8 after police arranged to meet him in West Covina in response to online advertisements he’d posted for stolen snowboards, West Covina police Officer David Sifling said.
Sophia Hert, 13, was snowboarding at the Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood on March 4 when someone snatched her snowboard, along with others, from a rack, the officer said.
Adding insult to injury, Sophia had worked hard to purchase the snowboard herself, Sifling explained.
“She makes homemade dog biscuits and treats,” he said. Selling the pet treats, “She raised enough money to buy her own snowboard,” he said.
The girl’s mother, Jennette Hert, took to the internet and soon found her daughters snowboard, which was recognizable due to distinctive features, being advertised for sale on the online marketplace OfferUp, Sifling said. She posed as a buyer and arranged to meet the seller at a mall in West Covina on March 8 to complete the transaction, and notified police.
Sifling said he then contacted the same seller, later identified as Cruz, posing as a potential buyer interested in another snowboard. An meeting was arranged about the same time and place as the other meeting arranged by the victim’s mother.
Police arrested Cruz when he showed up at the meeting place with the girl’s stolen snowboard, as well as a second stolen board, Sifling said. A search of a Covina home where Cruz had been staying turned up to additional allegedly stolen snowboards.
Police had yet to determine the value of the recovered snowboards, he said, though each was likely worth several hundred dollars.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Cruz was released from jail the same day of his arrest pending his initial court appearance after posting $20,000 bail.
PHOTO: West Covina Police Officer David Sifling, left, poses for a picture with 13-year-old Sophia Hert after police, aided by the girls’ mother, recovered the teen’s stolen snowboard and arrested the alleged thief on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. (Courtesy)
ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested a package delivery driver after discovering more than $30,000 worth of allegedly stolen goods, primarily destined for Alhambra homes, stashed at his home in East Los Angeles this week, authorities said.
Eden Sergio Ortega, 37, was booked on suspicion of grand theft following his arrest on Tuesday night, according to Alhambra police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He worked a route in Alhambra, delivering packages for companies such as Best Buy, Nordstrom, Sephora and UGG, according to Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson.
Alhambra police launched an investigation in January in regard to a rash of package thefts.
“Detectives soon learned that these package thefts were not random acts, but in fact thefts perpetrated by one individual,” Alhambra police officials said in a written statement. “The thefts are believed to have begun approximately two years ago, with a majority of the thefts taking place in the later part of 2016.”
Upon examining delivery records of to the stolen packaged, and aided by an anonymous tip, detectives identified Ortega as a suspect in the ongoing thefts, Johnson said. The vast majority of thefts took place along Ortega’s route, and packages were often reported missing after being marked electronically by Ortega as having been delivered.
Police showed up Tuesday night at Ortega’s home in the 5300 block of Verona Street in East Los Angeles.
“During the search, detectives collected over seventy pieces of evidence and merchandise believed to have been related to packages that were never delivered by the delivery driver,” according to the police statement. “Some of the items were found in their original packaging stored in the suspect’s closet. Other items found inside his home were relatively new and being used by the suspect and his family.”
Recovered items included cell phones, computers, high-end clothing, toys and three big-screen TVs, still in their original packaging.
“Detectives also found shipping boxes and labels listing the intended buyer’s information,” the statement said. All of the victims identified as of Thursday were Alhambra residents.
Police declined to name the delivery company, citing a request by the business to withhold it.
“The company asked us not to use their name. We’re going to respect their request,” Alhambra police said via their Facebook page.
When pressed further, Johnson said that Police Records Manager May Ung related that the department was withholding the company’s name because it would jeopardize the ongoing investigation.
Several local residents who took the Alhambra Police Department’s Facebook page to comment on the arrest, however, said they recognized the suspect a driver from OnTrac shipping.
An executive with OnTrac said the company is taking the matter seriously, and thanked the Alhambra Police Department for their “swift action on the initial reports that we provided on Eden Ortega.”
“OnTrac has been aware of the situation as the OnTrac Loss Prevention team investigated the independent contractor prior to turning the information over to the authorities,” OnTrac Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing Laura Peterson said in a written statement.
“OnTrac has zero tolerance with this type of behavior,” Peterson added. “We will continue to aggressively pursue investigations and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to county booking records, Ortega was released from custody Wednesday, pending his initial court appearance, after posting $20,000 bail.
PHOTO of Eden Sergio Ortega, courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department
SOUTH PASADENA >> Police are seeking man who was caught on camera stealing a large package, which contained a trampoline, from the fron porch of a South Pasadena home on Wednesday.
The theft took place just before 12:10 p.m. at a home in the 1400 block of Milan Avenue, South Pasadena police Detective Richard Lee said in a written statement.
A man wearing a utility vest arrived at the home in a silver, four-door sedan and parked in the victim’s driveway, Lee said.
Home surveillance cameras rolled as the thief walked up to the victim’s porch and draged away a large package, which contained a trampoline, Lee said. He then loaded it into his car and drove off.
Police described the package thief as a Latino man between 30 and 35 years old, with brown hair and brown mustache. He wore a yellow utility vest, a black shirt, blue jeans and black-and-white Converse sneakers.
Anyone with information is asked to contact South Pasadena police detectives at 626-403-7280. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department
ALHAMBRA >> Police posing as a Craiglist shopper arrested a moving company employee Tuesday after he offered to sell them a Rolex watch stolen from the home of one of his customers during a recent moving job, officials said.
Stanislav Kirsanov, 30, of Sherman Oaks was booked on suspicion of grand theft after police set up a sting operation, Alhambra police Sgt. Edward Elizalde said in a written statement.
A couple called police on Monday to reports several items of jewelry had gone missing from their home as they were moving from one part of the city to another, Elizalde said.
“The couple suspected the workers from the moving company were involved,” he said.
Within days, the couple noticed one of the missing items, a men’s Rolex watch with distinctive markings, was being offered for sale on the online marketplace Craigslist.com.
Posing as a Craigslist shopper interested in the expensive watch, detectives arranged to meet the seller, later identified as Kirsanov, police said.
“Detectives conducted the undercover sting operation in Sherman Oaks and took possession of the stolen watch and detained the person selling it,” Elizalde said.
Police found additional pieces of high-end jewelry, jewelry bags and jewelry cases which they believe were stolen in similar thefts, he said.
Moving company’s Kirsanov was believed to be associated with include Mr. Low Prices, Affordable Movers Co. and Best in the West Moving and Storage, Elizalde said.
“It is possible Mr. Kirsanov may have committed similar thefts while working as a mover for one of the above mentioned moving companies,” he said. “Mr. Kirsanov has used different names in the past and may be known by a variety of aliases.”
Anyone who has hired Kirsanov or the companies he’s affiliated with and noticed items missing are encouraged to contact Alhambra police at 626-570-5157.
SAN MARINO >> San Marino police arrested a woman on suspicion of embezzling nearly $200,000 from her elderly employer over the past two years, authorities said.
Rebecca Diaz, 44, of Los Angeles is accused of embezzlement and grand theft following her arrest, which took place just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to San Marino police officials and Los Angeles county booking records.
Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services officials contacted San Marino police regarding possible financial elder abuse earlier in the afternoon, San Marino police Sgt. Tim Tebbetts said in a written statement.
The victim, a San Marino man in his 70s, employed Diaz as the account manager at his South Pasadena-based agricultural business, Detective Brian Wong said.
“The initial report claimed there were abnormally large amounts of money being deducted from the victim’s bank account,” Tebbetts said.
“Further investigation revealed (Diaz) had been making cash advances and purchases using the victim’s business credit card and business checking account,” Tebbetts said. “It is believed the suspect embezzled over $195,000.00 in just over two years.”
Diaz had worked for the victim even longer, and detectives continued looking into the possibility of additional theft, Wong said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Wong a 626-300-0719.
LOS ANGELES >> A Pasadena man received a two-year prison sentence Thursday after admitting to selling bogus Disneyland tickets online, authorities said.
Brian Edward Anderton, 43, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court to one county of grand theft, a felony, and four misdemeanor counts of petty theft, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said in a written statement.
Judge David Horwitz immediately sentenced Anderton to a two-year prison sentence, to be served in county jail under AB 109 guidelines.
“Anderton contacted victims through an online site where he advertised Disneyland tickets for sale,” Risling said. “Over an eight-month period, Anderton stole more than $2,400 from five people.”
One victim lost $1,300 in the con, resulting in the grand theft charge, Risling said. The other four victims lost between $180 and $400 dollars in the scheme.
California law defines grand theft, in part, as the theft of property valued at more than $950.
The victims discovered they’d been scammed when they arrived at the park and were told their tickets were invalid, officials said.
Anderton is no stranger to a jail cell, with a length criminal history, primarily comprised of theft- and drug-related offenses, dating back to 1992, when he was 18 years old. He’s garnered more than 20 criminal cases in Los Angeles County in that time.
Among Anderton’s more recent cases:
He was already on probation after being convicted of theft by false pretenses in a separate case in May, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records. In that case, Anderton was sentenced to three months in jail and three years of summary probation.
He was convicted of making false financial statements in April, and again in May, records show.
Anderton was convicted of petty theft in November of 2015.
He was also convicted of grand theft and four counts of petty theft in September of 2015, records show.
And he was convicted of possession of drugs for sales and petty theft with a prior theft conviction in December of 2013. He was convicted of another petty theft and drug possession two months earlier.
In 2005, Anderson was convicted of identity theft and carrying a concealed dirk or dagger.
SOUTH PASADENA >> A Highland Park woman is facing federal charges after she was found driving through South Pasadena early Saturday with a treasure drove of identity theft-related items, including hundreds of pieces of stolen mail, stolen driver licenses, mailbox keys, blank credit cards and a credit card embossing machine, police said.
Marisa Rae Delgado, 27, was accused of mail theft, a federal offense, and other crimes, according to South Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
She was speeding along the 110 Freeway when an officer pulled her over, South Pasadena police Cpl. Craig Phillips said in a written statement.
“The female driver was found to have an outstanding felony warrant for grand theft auto,” he said.
Police arrested Delgado and searched the rented BMW she was driving, which she told officers had been rented by her boyfriend.
“An inventory search of the rented BMW found over 200 pieces of U.S. mail not addressed to the driver, which officers believe to be stolen,” Phillips said. “Officers also found dozens of blank credit cards, a credit card embossing machine, multiple mailbox keys for multi-unit housing complexes, several stolen driver’s licenses and other tools commonly used to commit thefts.”
Delgado, who has previous arrests for auto theft and identity theft, was being held without bail pending her initial court appearance, police said.
PHOTOS: [ABOVE] South Pasadena police seized hundreds of documents belonging to other people and other identity-theft-related items during a traffic stop on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. A Highland Park woman was arrested. [CENTER] Marisa Rae Delgado, 27, of Highland Park. [BELOW] South Pasadena police seized this credit card embossing machine, used to create fraudulent credit cards, along with hundreds of documents belonging to other people and other identity-theft-related items during a traffic stop on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. A Highland Park woman was arrested. (Courtesy, South Pasadena Police Department)
ALHAMBRA >> Police are seeking a bicycle-riding thief caught on camera snatching a package from the front porch of an Alhambra home on Tuesday, officials said.
The crime took place about 4 p.m. in the 1700 block of South Hidalgo Avenue, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
“The victim’s surveillance footage recorded the theft,’ according to the statement.
Anyone who recognized the suspect is asked to contact Alhambra Police Department’s Investigation Division hotline at 626-308-4875. Tipsters may remain anonymous.
PHOTO courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department.