A 21-year-old transient man was in custody Wednesday after committing multiple crimes in La Cañada Flintridge Saturday, including grand theft and entering a residence on Alta Canyada Drive where he confronted a woman and her child, sheriff’s officials report.
Sgt. Alan Chu, a detective with the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, said Oscar Antonio Zavala Rivas was driving a stolen Lexus sedan through La Cañada at around 2 p.m. Saturday, presumably with the intent to break into or steal items from vehicles, when he approached a home on the 5500 block of Alta Canyada Drive.
Reports indicate video surveillance captured the suspect entering the resident’s unlocked 2018 Mercedes SUV while it was parked in the driveway. He stole a black Saint Laurent purse containing the victim’s wallet, license and credit cards, as well as a laptop, an iPad, three pairs of sunglasses and a key ring containing the victim’s vehicle and house keys.
“All the stolen items were taken from the car,” Chu said Wednesday. “The house looked empty, so he walked around to the back and in through an unlocked door.”
The resident was upstairs in her daughter’s bedroom when she heard the rattling sound of the back door opening. Thinking it was her husband, she approached the living room with her daughter in her arms.
That’s when she encountered Zavala Rivas, described in the report as a Latino male about 5 feet 4 and weighing around 130 pounds, wearing a green jacket and black pants. He spoke to her in broken English and raised his hand “in a threatening manner insinuating he had a weapon,” according to the report.
The victim immediately dialed 911 and ran back to her daughter’s bedroom in fear for her and her daughter’s lives. Zavala Rivas reportedly left the property and took off in the stolen car. The sheriff’s report indicates he immediately attempted to use the victim’s credit card at a nearby gas station but was denied access by the clerk on duty.
Chu said that a few hours later, Los Angeles Police Department officers responded to a collision in North Hollywood involving the Lexus sedan. Discovering the vehicle had been stolen, they detained Zavala Rivas and recovered several items that didn’t belong to him, some of which had the La Cañada victim’s name on them.
Among the recovered items was one bullet, a USC pendant and a bag of miscellaneous jewelry, the report indicated. Owing to the La Cañada incident, initially reported as a home-invasion robbery, LAPD officers transported Zavala Rivas to the Crescenta Valley Station for booking.
Chu said Wednesday the matter was determined to be a burglary and not a robbery.
“He didn’t use force or fear, and he didn’t take anything [from the residence],” the detective said. “That why it’s not a home-invasion robbery.”
Zavala Rivas was ultimately charged with residential burglary, grand theft and attempted theft by access card, Chu said, adding that the stolen vehicle charge was likely being handled by LAPD officials.