Teens linked to vehicle thefts

LA CRESCENTA — Police arrested three teens this week who were allegedly linked to a string of vehicles burglaries in the foothill area, officials said.

Kenneth Payer, 19, of Marina Del Rey, Travis Morgan, 19, of La Crescenta and a 16-year-old San Pedro runaway, whose name wasn't released because he is a minor, were taken into custody Tuesday on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime and receiving stolen property, according to Glendale police reports.

"Detectives believe they are related to a string of these burglaries and theft," Glendale police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

An officer on patrol spotted Payer and Morgan about 3:20 a.m. Tuesday on Frederick Avenue near Paraiso Way, pulled up next to them and asked if they could talk, according to police reports.

The pair said they were heading to a friend's home on Markridge Road and Frederick Avenue, according to the reports.

While the officers talked to the pair, they reportedly noticed an iPod on the ground and about four feet way from Morgan, who denied ownership.

Since the area had recently experienced a large number of home and vehicle burglaries, the officers called for additional police support.

"Looking for this kind of criminal activity takes a lot of patience," North Command Lt. Ian Grimes said.

When officers patrolled the area for any burglarized vehicles, they found the 16-year-old boy hiding underneath a Chevy Tahoe, according to a police report.

The boy told officers he was hiding because he ran away from camp and didn't want to get in trouble for being out past curfew, according to the report.

The boy's mother reportedly told police that he was supposed to be on a flight to a camp, but ran away.

Police took the boy over to the other teens after finding another iPod on the ground next to him. The boy told officers he met the pair for the first time that night.

Police continued patrolling the area and found a vehicle with an open door. The vehicle's owner identified one of the iPods found with the teens as belonging to her.

Police have attributed many of the vehicle burglaries to unlocked doors.

Thieves often check car doors or peer into vehicle windows before breaking in.

"One of the simplest ways to guard yourself is to lock your car and safeguard your valuables," Grimes said.

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