Man and woman from Bakersfield accused of San Gabriel Valley mail, ID theft spree

SOUTH PASADENA >> Police in South Pasadena arrested a man and woman from Bakersfield on suspicion of stealing packages, mail, credit cards and other items on Wednesday.
Corey Ryan Bihm, 26, and Lauren Helstrom, 29, were booked on suspicion of residential burglary, grand theft, conspiracy and identity theft, according to South Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Police were first summoned to a Vons market at 1129 Fair Oaks Avenue about 5:30 p.m. for a report of shoplifting, South Pasadena police Cpl. Craig Phillips said in a written statement.
“During the shoplifting investigation, officers found dozens of Amazon packages not addressed to either subject inside the vehicle,” Phillips said. Police soon confirmed the packages, valued at $2,700, has been stolen from the front porch of a home in Arcadia.
The suspects’ rental moving van was littered with “bags full of mail,” as well as dozens of stolen credit cards and many items with price tags still attached, according to Phillips. Police determined some of the mail had been stolen in South Pasadena and Arcadia.
Officers also recovered methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia from the suspects, he said. The moving van used by the suspects was later determined to have been stolen.
According to booking records, Bihm was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance. Booking information for Helstrom was not available Thursday afternoon.

PHOTOS courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department

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Caught on camera: Porch pirate pilfers package from South Pasadena home


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


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Have you seen this Alhambra porch pirate?


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.

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Woman sought in theft of package from Covina porch


COVINA >> Police are seeking a woman caught on camera pilfering a package from a porch in Covina earlier this week.
The theft took place about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at a house in the 1300 block of East Puente Street, Covina police Sgt. Trevor Gaumer said.
A resident had been awaiting the delivery of a package, valued at about $150, but it seemingly never arrived, the sergeant said.
The woman reviewed her home surveillance camera footage, which had captured video of a woman walking up to the porch and taking the package immediately after it was delivered, Gaumer said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Covina police at 626-384-5995.

PHOTO courtesy of the Covina Police Department

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Security camera helps police nab Azusa package theft suspect

AZUSA >> Police jailed an Azusa woman Friday on suspicion of stealing packages after a police officer recognized her from security camera footage that captured one of the thefts earlier in the day, authorities said.
Blanca Alvarado, 40, was booked on suspicion of petty theft and possession of stolen property, Azusa police Sgt. John Madaloni said.
The investigation began when police were summoned to a home in the 300 block of South Pasadena Avenue after two packages were stolen from a front porch, Officer Mike Bires said.
“Once the officer began her investigation, she learned there was a surveillance video recording of the suspect committing the theft,” Bires said. The officer completed her investigation at the home and resumed her normal patrol.
A few hours later, the officer spotted Alvarado walking about a block to the north, at McKinley Street and Pasadena Avenue, police said.
“The officer who had taken the original theft report passed by Alvarado and saw she was the same suspect depicted in the video stealing the packages,” Bires said. “The officer stopped and detained Alvarado, who was in possession of more packages.”
Police soon determined all of the packages had been stolen, he said.
Alvarado was cited for the alleged misdemeanors and released from custody with a court date, Bires said.
Bires said police recommend residents make use of security cameras, as they can be extremely useful during law enforcement investigations should residents become crime victims.
Police in Alhambra arrested another alleged package thief two weeks ago after she was confronted by the camera-toting homeowner, who posted video of the confrontation online. The video went viral, helping lead to the suspect’s capture one day after the video was published.

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Video: Alhambra resident confronts package thief

ALHAMBRA >> Police are seeking a woman who stole packages from the porch of an Alhambra home Tuesday before being confronted by the homeowner, armed with a cell phone camera, officials said.
The crime took place about 4:40 p.m. at a home in the southeast portion of the city, near Valley Boulevard and New Avenue, according to Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson.
A man arrived home to see a woman snatching two packages that had just been delivered from his front porch, Johnson said in a written statement.
•Video: Homeowner confronts package thief in Alhambra
“The homeowner exited his car and started recording the suspect with his cell phone,” he said.
0513_NWS_PSN-L-THEFTAs depicted on the cell phone video, which was distributed by police in hoped of identifying the suspect, the woman tried to talk her way out of the situation.
“If I was you, I’d put those down,” the man tells the woman.
“Why?” She responded. “My mom lives here.”
“Because those are my stuff. I live here. This is my house,” the homeowner said.
But the woman continued arguing with the man, trying to persuade him the house was not his.
“You don’t live here. My mom lives here,” she said in an incredulous tone.
The homeowner was not persuaded. When he told the woman he was calling the police, she promptly dropped the packages and walked away.
Anyone who recognized the woman depicted in the video is asked to contact Alhambra police at 626-308-4875. Tips may be submitted anonymously.

VIDEO/PHOTO courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department

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Arcadia package theft suspect nabbed with help of GPS ‘bait package’


ARCADIA >> Police used a GPS-tracked “bait package” to nab a package theft suspect in Arcadia early Sunday, as part of an ongoing initiative launched by police in the weeks leading up to the holiday season, officials said.
Johnny Tang, 24, of El Monte was arrested on suspicion of grand theft following the 8:40 a.m. sting, according to Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores.
Police received notification that one of their GPS-equipped decoy packages had been snatched in the southwest portion of the city, Flores said.
Officers quickly tracked the package to a neighborhood several miles away where they recovered the parcel and arrested Tang, the lieutenant said.
Tang, who also being sought due to a pre-existing warrant, was being held in lieu of $70,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.
Police have arrested numerous alleged package thieves through the use of the GPS bait packages in recent months.
Under the program, police partner with residents and business owners to place the packages, laden with GPS tracking equipment, throughout the city as bait for opportunistic criminals.
Anyone who sees suspicious activity is encouraged to report it to Arcadia police at 626-574-5151. Tips may also be submitted anonymously through L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Arcadia police fighting holiday package theft with GPS ‘bait packages’


ARCADIA >> The problem of package theft during the holiday season is a perennial problem for law enforcement, but police in Arcadia are taking a new approach to the issue, using GPS tracking technology to turn the tables on package-pilfering Grinches.
Police have begun setting out “bait packages” containing GPS trackers that lead investigators to their precise locations once stolen.
“Detectives are partnering with citizens and local businesses and placing bait packages equipped with tracking devices, which notify
police personnel when packages have been 1221_NWS_PSN-L-PACKAGE2stolen,” according to Arcadia police Sgt. Brett Bourgeous.
“This technology allows officers to locate suspects with a high degree of accuracy, in order to stop criminals from continuing their crime spree,” he said.
Six package theft suspect have been arrested in recent weeks through the operation, Arcadia police officials said.
The most recent arrests took place Sunday morning, after one such “bait package” was allegedly swiped from a porch in the southeast portion of town, Lt. Colleen Flores said.
Police were notified about 7:30 a.m. that one of the packages had been picked up and was on the move, she said.
“Officers tracked the package and lcoated the two suspects within a few blocks of where the package was stolen,” Flores added.
Arrested were Steve Lopez, 25, and Dandre Lageman, 30, both of El Monte.
Both suspects were booked on suspicion of grand theft, and both were being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court, records show.
In at least once case, police recovered not only the bait package, but also other packages stolen from other Arcadia residents, Bourgeous said. “This arrest ensured the items intended to be received by our residents were delivered in time for the holidays.”
Anyone interested in participating in the program can contact Sgt. Bourgeous at 626-574-5163.

PHOTOS of package theft suspects Steve Lopez (top) and Dandre Lageman (below) courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.

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