Nearly 100 law enforcement officers from local, county and state agencies carried out 36 searches and made 17 arrests during a parole and probation compliance sweep in the central San Gabriel Valley on Thursday morning.
The series of raids focused primarily on the West Covina and La Puente areas, including the surrounding unincorporated county areas, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The operation was spearheaded by Los Angeles County sheriff’s La Puente Special Assignment Team and the West Covina Police Department, with help from agencies including Irwindale police, Azusa police, state parole officials and prison investigators, county probation officers and officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, according to sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro.
The arrests were for alleged crimes including drug violations, gang injunction violations, parole violations, probation violations and outstanding warrants, Cacheiro said.
“We specifically targeted individuals that had a nexus to gang related crimes,” Patton said.
The majority of the homes visited by police and deputies on Thursday were those of probationers or parolees, though some of the visits were the result of investigative leads, he added.
The task force set out to focus on emerging crime trends, as well as, “to bring a better sense of quality of life back to our communities,” Patton said.
“As we realize crime has no boundaries, our partnerships with our allied partners allow us to effective combat those quality of life issues,” Patton said.
La Puente Mayor Valerie Munoz applauded the effort.
“Our priorities are to safeguard our residents,” she said. “La Puente appreciated the efforts of our sheriff’s department and their collaboration with our surrounding municipal police agencies.”
PHOTO: Law enforcement officers prepare to visit three-dozen locations, primarily homes of probationers and parolees, during a compliance sweep in the La Puente and West Covina areas on Thursday, May 25, 2017. (Courtesy, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)
SAN GABRIEL VALLEY >> San Gabriel Valley sheriff’s deputies and police officers arrested four suspects and recovered weapons and drugs Tuesday when they teamed up for a compliance sweep targeting parolees and those under AB 109 felony probation in the San Gabriel Valley, officials said.
More than 40 law enforcement officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the West Covina, Covina, Baldwin Park took part in the early-morning operation, joined by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, state parole agents, county probation officers and representatives from the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, according to sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro, who oversees law enforcement for the city of La Puente.
After visiting more than 30 homes of convicts, officials arrested a parolee for being a felon in possession of a loaded handgun in La Puente, Cacheiro said.
Officials arrested three AB 109 probationers in West Covina, he said. One was arrested for possession of a Taser by a felon, one was jailed for possession of ammunition by a felon and one is accused of possession of methamphetamine for sales.
The task force operation, “exemplified out community policing strategies,” Cacheiro said.
La Puente City Manager David Carmany commended the effort in a written statement. “
“Our local law enforcement strives to maintain our communities safe and provide quality services to our residents,” he said.
Law enforcement officers from agencies throughout the San Gabriel Valley prepare for parole and probation compliance sweep at their command post at the Plaza West Covina shopping mall on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Courtesy, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)
The LA Times follow up on the John Floyd Thomas arrest contains a summary paragraph that pretty much says it all:
DNA leads detectives to John Thomas Jr., 72. He is held in two slayings, but police suspect he may have killed up to 30 elderly Westside and Claremont women a decade apart.
The story also contains some interesting background including a tidbit about Thomas’ job as an insurance adjuster in Glendale:
Thomas had been working as an adjuster handling workers’ compensation claims since 1989 — the year the killings stopped. He resigned after his arrest March 31.
Jennifer Vargen, a spokeswoman for the State Compensation Insurance Fund, would not comment on whether the employer was aware of Thomas’ criminal record, saying it was a personnel matter.
Co-workers at his office in Glendale described Thomas as quiet but friendly. They said his job mostly involved paperwork.
His steady employment masked a troubled past.
Thomas was born in Los Angeles. His mother died when he was 12 and he was raised by his aunt and a godmother. Thomas attended public schools, including Manual Arts Senior High School.
He briefly joined the U.S. Air Force in 1956. At Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, a superior described Thomas as often late and slovenly. He received a dishonorable discharge, according to his military records, and was arrested for burglary and attempted rape in Los Angeles. He was convicted and sentenced to six years in state prison in 1957. Two parole violations sent him back behind bars until 1966.
Meanwhile Pasadena Police are cracking what cold case files they may have left, according PD spokeswoman Janet Pope Givens:
Since Thomas had a prior arrest in Pasadena, detectives are looking into whether any unsolved cases may fit the same description.
“The cold case unit is taking a look at it in terms of some of the other unsolved homicides that may have taken place prior to and after, to see if there is any relation,” said Police Department Spokesperson Janet Pope Givens.
Specifically, they are looking into cases involving women who were killed around that time period.
Thomas was originally arrested in Pasadena in 1978 on suspicion of rape, but was convicted of lesser charges, she said.
The file on his arrest, which is more than 30 years old, is no longer available, she said.
Jennifer McLain and Raul Roa took a ride with Baldwin Park police officers during an early morning raid of suspected gang members and taggers. Among the crews hit were North Side and East Side Bolen as well as KHA and MIK. Their criminal backgrounds included felony vandalism, grand theft and assault with a deadly weapon.
Apparently some of the gang members are involved in weird rituals. There were Oreo cookies sacrificed to statues of the Grim Reaper and tales of Brujo blessings that included cutting the head off a rooster to bless a cocaine stash:
Here’s a bit of Jennifer’s story:
BALDWIN PARK – Twelve people were arrested
Thursday morning in sweep targeting the homes of 32 Baldwin Park area
parolees, most of whom were juveniles, and some who had ties to local
Neither the fog nor the sun had risen yet as officers pounded the door of a 17-year-old parolee.
Around 5:45 a.m., five men shuffled out of the one-bedroom
apartment next to the on-ramp of the 10 Freeway as Baldwin Park Police
hunted for the teenager who was on probation for tagging and resisting
They sat, some shirtless, others sockless, and all shivering,
on crates and the cold cement as police searched the house for the
After a 15 minute search, cops found him hidden in the closet
under a pile of clothes. Police also found two bongs, baggies of
marijuana, a drug scale, two cans of empty spray bottles and a tagged
bottle of Miller High Life.