VIDEO: Suspect caught on camera stealing elderly woman’s wallet in Covina

COVINA >> Police are seeking a young woman caught on camera stealing an 85-year-old person’s wallet at a Covina donut shop last week.
The theft took place about 12:45 p.m. on Dec. 4 at Covina Donuts, 1013 N. Grand Ave., Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
1210_NWS_SGT-L-WALLET1An 85-year-old woman left her purse in a booth as she spoke with another patron of the shop, police said. She returned to find her wallet, containing about $200 and other personal property, was missing.
A review of security cameras revealed that a young woman had sat at the elderly victim’s booth while she wasn’t looking, removed the wallet from the purse and conceal it beneath her clothes, Peterson said. The thief, as well as another woman who accompanied her, left before the elderly woman noticed the theft.
Police described the woman who snatched the wallet as a Black woman between 20 and 25 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 150 Pounds. She had short hair.
Her companion was described as a Black woman between 20 and 25 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 160 pounds, with long black hair.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Covina police detectives at 626-384-5620. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTO/VIDEO courtesy of the Covina Police Department.

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Suspects sought in West Covina mail theft


WEST COVINA >> Police reached out to the public Saturday for help in tracking down a pair of mail thieves whose crime was caught on camera.
The caper, which was recorded on surveillance cameras, took place about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of South Hillward Avenue, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said.
A man and woman arrived at the home in a black or blue, newer-model Ford F-150 pickup truck and pulled into the driveway, Lopez said.
“The female suspect exited the passenger side of the truck, walked to the front porch and removed mail and a package from the porch,” he said. The woman returned to the truck and fled, along with the male driver.
Police described the woman was described as Latina, 20 to 30 years old, 230 to 1122_SGT-L-MAILTHEFT2250 pounds, with brown hair. She wore jeans and a mult-colored top. A further description of the male driver was not available.
With the holiday season approaching, and the influx of package deliveries it brings, police throughout the region warn residents to be cautious of mail and package thieves.
Authorities suggest requiring signatures for valuable deliveries, and having them delivered to a place where someone will be available to receive it.
Anyone with information is asked to call West Covina police at 626-939-8557. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to the department’s 24-hour recorded tip line at 626-939-8688.

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Police recover stolen statue at Whittier home; suspect arrested


WHITTIER >> A probation compliance search Friday led Whittier police to recover a $50,000 bronze statue taken from a Santa Fe Springs, authorities said.
Steven Mercado, 34, was booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property and drug violations following his 8:30 a.m. arrest at a home in the 13800 block of Danbrook Drive, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
As officers visited Mercado’s home to conduct a probation compliance check, “They contacted Steven Mercado, who was in possession of a stolen bronze statue,” according to the statement.
The statue, which depicts a construction workers, was stolen on July 2, 2015 from the Kiewit construction company., 10704 Shoemaker Ave. in Santa Fe Springs, police said.
“Unfortunately, at the time of the recovery, the statue was in several pieces,” the statement said.
According to county booking records, Mercado was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

PHOTO courtesy of the Whittier Police Department

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Armed Upland resident helps deputies capture San Dimas theft suspect following chase

SAN DIMAS >> Two theft suspects led authorities on a chase from San Dimas to Upland before deputies arrested one of the men with help from an armed resident Thursday, officials said.
The incident began about 6:30 p.m. when two men snatched two Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge cell phones from a T-Mobile Store, 738 West Arrow Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tonya Edwards said. They fled in a car, which deputies soon spotted nearby on the 210 Freeway.
Deputies tried to pull over the car when it exited the freeway in Upland, kicking off a pursuit, she said.
The driver stopped the car and fled on foot in the area of 18th Street and Wilson Avenue, according to the lieutenant. The passenger took the wheel of the car and continued driving.
Deputies, aided by a helicopter overhead, set up a search perimeter in the area, Edwards said. As they closed in on the hiding suspect, he bolted.
An armed resident helped deputies stop and detain the fleeing suspect, she said.
Dajuan Robinson, 30, of San Bernardino was booked on suspicion of grand theft evading police, Edwards said.
The car and the second suspect were not found.
Police recovered the stolen cell phones near the spot where Robinson jumped from the car, Edwards added.

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Whittier package theft caught on camera


WHITTIER >> Police and a Whittier family are seeking two Grinches caught on camera stealing packages from the porch of a home earlier this week.
The crime took place shortly after 2 p.m. on Dittmar Drive, near Calmada Avenue, Whittier police Sgt. Terry McAllister said.
A home security camera caught the theft on video, which has received more than 83,000 views on Facebook.
The video shows a woman walking up to the home’s porch and helping herself to a stack of packages as a black pickup truck passes by slowly. The woman then tosses the stolen boxes into the bed of the pickup truck before hustling into the truck, which sped away.
A neighbor who witnessed the theft yelled from her home and asked the suspect what she was doing, but the thief ignored the neighbor and continued the crime, McAllister said. It was unclear exactly what was inside the stolen boxes.
Police described the thief as a white woman between 30 and 35 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 140 pounds. She had brown hair with black streaks in it.
She fled in a black pickup truck similar to a 2005 Toyota, McAllister said. No description of the driver was available.
Package thefts tend to increase around the holiday season, and area police agencies have cautioned residents to be alert.
Police in West Covina offer several tips to avoid being victimized in the seasonal crime trend.
Residents are advised to call 9-1-1 immediately if they notice anyone following delivery trucks, officials said.
Authorities also suggested having packages sent where a person will be able to receive it, if possible; make arrangements with a neighbor to watch for deliveries and retrieve packages; require a signature for delivery; or have the delivery service hold packages for pick-up.

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Councilman’s son charged with campaign sign theft in Pico Rivera

This from reporter Bethania Palma:

The District Attorney’s Office charged the son of a city councilman with petty theft Thursday for allegedly offering to pay three others to steal campaign signs belonging to his father’s political opponent.

James Beilke, 18, and Paul Puente, 20, of Pico Rivera, were charged with one count each of petty theft, officials from the District Attorney’s Office said. James Beilke is the son of City Councilman Ron Beilke.

If convicted, Puente and James Beilke each could face up to six months in county jail or a fine of up $1,000, said D.A. spokeswoman Jane Robisoncq.
Ron Beilke was not implicated. He did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday but previously said his son is innocent.

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X-Men film victim of pirates


From Deadline Hollywood:

Last night, a stolen, incomplete and early version ofX-Men Origins: Wolverinewas posted illegally on a website. It was without many effects, had missing and unedited scenes and temporary sound and music. We immediately contacted the appropriate legal authorities and had it removed. We forensically mark our content so we can identify sources that make it available or download it. The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law – the courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts in the past. The FBI and the MPAA also are actively investigating this crime. We are encouraged by the support of fansites condemning this illegal posting and pointing out that such theft undermines the enormous efforts of the filmmakers and actors, and above all, hurts the fans of the film.”
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Large stolen emerald recovered

This from the City News Service:

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced
today the recovery of a stolen 850-pound emerald — reportedly worth $370 million —
but released few details about the case.
The so-called “Bahia Emerald” was recovered last Friday in Las Vegas, according to a
sheriff’s department news release.
The gem was stolen from a secured vault in South El Monte in September
and later warehoused in the Nevada gambling town, said Lt. Thomas Grubb of the
sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau.
The unidentified individuals who were in possession of the emerald in Las Vegas
initially agreed to release it once the lawful owner was identified, but deputies
returned to the prearranged location armed with a court order, according to
Grubb said he was precluded from releasing information regarding the owner of the
stone because of pending litigation. He added it was difficult to determine details
about the rightful owner because so many people were involved with the stone.
“A judge is going to have to rule on who the rightful owner is,” Grubb said. “There
is some civil litigation involved, but there will also be criminal proceedings.”
No arrests were made, but the investigation continues, he said.
The stone, which reportedly contains the largest spires of emeralds in the world, is
being stored by the sheriff’s department pending release to the lawful owner. The
emerald is believed to be the second largest stone of its kind in the world,
according to the sheriff’s department.


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Tow fee scandal forces reexamination of policy

Sheriff Lee Baca responded to a series of articles that have appeared in this paper over the past week. Here’s the top of our story:

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is reexamining how it collects towing fees in response to allegations a former traffic sergeant took nearly $500,000 from the city of La Puente in impound revenues, officials said.

“We are doing that now,” Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. “We are probably going to go to a cashless system. Using something like an ATM card to make it more difficult for theft to occur.”

Whitmore also said the department is reviewing several other internal policies and will consult with the Board of Supervisors.

Former Sgt. Joe Dyer, who used to work out of the Industry sheriff’s station until he retired in May, has been under investigation since the beginning of the year.

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From the mail box

I just finished reading your article in today’s SGVT in regard to the “Tow fee controversy.”  It is certainly sad that a “model law-enforcement agency” has been tarnished by the act of one individual and or others who failed to oversee the procedure of collecting tow fees. I would like to refer you to the comment made by John Stites, president of the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association who stated in the article published on Friday, October 17th:  “The higher-ups in the department bear responsibility for the missing money” He goes on to say: “We’re not money men, Oftentimes they put us in positions we are not trained to handle and it ends up going bad.  I’ve seen it happen more than once.” 
Of course this does not mean that someone is not responsible for his or her own lack of honesty, nor does it mean that all the blame should be given to the current higher-up’s.  If my information is correct, and perhaps you would be interested in looking for the facts regarding the policy of where and how money was collected for city tow fees that was instigated years ago during Sherman Block’s term as Sheriff of L. A. County.   It was and is a poorly thought out policy. 
Now, for the main reason I am taking the time to write to you personally.  As I continued to read your article, I was disappointed in you and your comments regarding the “Joe Six-Packs” of the world and the “greasy paws of a tow monkey.”  I don’t think you considered that everyone who gets their vehicle towed does not fall into the category that you so cutely labeled “Joe Six-Packs” .  People get their vehicles towed for many reasons,  Often, it may be because their vehicle was stolen, recovered and impounded.  They are innocent victims of a crime committed against them. I won’t take the time to go into the other various reasons that vehicles are towed, stored or impounded, but I assure you that most of the time it is not for drunken driving as you insinuated.  As for the comment:  “No doubt it would be a helluva lot easier than putting the cash in the hands of a greasy paws of a tow monkey” …..What where you thinking? 
First of all, money collected by towing companies are generally collected at a office counter staffed by reputable employees. Secondly, for you to demean the men and women who perform a service for individuals, the community and the police agencies shows me that you are not in touch with reality.  Have you ever noticed a tow truck on the freeway assisting in the removal of a disabled or wrecked vehicle. Would you not agree that the driver is putting him or herself in danger?  If you should ever have the misfortune to be stranded in your vehicle, would you consider the person who is coming to your aid a….”greasy tow monkey?”
I don’t know anything about you, other than the fact that according to your column you have the title of Metro Editor.  Therefore, even though I might disagree with your published comments, I would never put a derogatory label on you.  I suggest that in the future you might want to refrain from labeling people with inflammatory character references.
Andria Welch

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