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Deputy nabs 3 reputed gang members found in La Cañada neighborhood with burglary tools

Deputy nabs 3 reputed gang members found in La Cañada neighborhood with burglary tools
Det. Jaime Huerta indexes bags of evidence taken from a traffic stop on Forest Green Drive Wednesday, which resulted in the arrest of three men for reasonable cause burglary and possession of burglary tools. (Photo by LASD Lt. Mark Slater)

Three men from the Los Angeles area were arrested in La Cañada Wednesday after a Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station deputy pulled over a pickup truck with paper license plates and found the occupants in possession of burglary tools.

Rodger Burt, a detective with the local station, confirmed Thursday Det. Jaime Huerta was on a routine patrol Wednesday at around 9 p.m. when he noticed a vehicle on Forest Green Drive with dark tinted windows and no license plates.

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“They obviously didn’t have a good reason to be there,” Burt said.

Lt. Mark Slater, acting captain for the Crescenta Valley Station, filled La Cañada City Council members in on the details of the May 15 arrest during a council meeting Tuesday. He said Huerta conducted a traffic stop after seeing the paper plates on the truck.

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The occupants said they were in La Cañada to meet a female who lived there but didn’t know her address so were driving around waiting for her call.

“The driver ended up having a suspended license, which allowed [Huerta] to arrest the driver and get the passengers out of the car,” Slater said. “They prepared to tow the car and inside the car there were numerous items that were consistent with burglars.”

Masks, gloves, flashlights and a crowbar were among the items discovered inside the vehicle and taken into evidence. Slater said the three men — who have been identified as Wesley Coleman, Gerard Marshall and Antoine Davis of Los Angeles — were reputed South Central-area gang members with prior arrests.

One of the suspects had eight previous burglary arrests and had also been arrested for robbery and possession of firearms. Another had four previous firearms-related arrests on his record, in addition to an arrest for possessing tear gas and another for resisting an officer. The third had six previous robbery arrests, as well as one related to a stolen vehicle and one arrest for assault with a deadly weapon.

“These guys were not looking for a young lady up here,” Slater said.

The three men were arrested for reasonable cause burglary and the driver for driving on a suspended license as well.

Two of the suspects had bonded out by the following day, the detective said, while the third suspect remained in custody for a suspected parole violation. Burt said officials believed Huerta’s actions likely may have prevented a home break-in.

“There was reason for us to believe, based on the tools and the car situation, they were there to commit a burglary,” the detective said Friday.

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