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3 Men Arrested After Being Trailed by Police Helicopter

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Three men who broke into a car at a shopping center in Westlake Village on Tuesday were trailed by police cruisers and a helicopter until they were arrested at an intersection in Canoga Park, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported.

The suspects appeared to realize they were being followed but made no attempt to escape, said sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Santander.

“They did not want to play their hand and neither did we,” Santander said.

Santander said the trailing deputies were waiting for the right circumstances to make an arrest. “We had to wait for sufficient backup and we generally don’t like to pull people over on the freeway,” he said.

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A witness had reported seeing the men break into a car at a mall at Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Lindero Canyon Road, he said. A sheriff’s deputy spotted a car heading east on the Ventura Freeway with three men who matched the witness’ description.

When the car left the freeway and turned onto Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, the LAPD was called in to help and the car was stopped at Sherman Way and Oso Avenue.

Nelson Aguila, 23, Marco Cortez, 28, both of Canoga Park and Quitin Apatiga, 25, of Reseda were arrested by officers who recovered three car stereos and a cellular phone, all believed to be stolen, Santander said.

The men were being held on $15,000 bail each.

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