Suspect returns to scene of crime, gets busted

A man who stole a wallet in La Cañada last week was captured after he returned to the scene of the crime.

The suspect, Ronald Quiroa, 28 of Van Nuys, walked into La Cañada Liquor at 1535 Foothill Blvd. on Sept. 15 and stole a wallet that had been inadvertently left on the counter by another customer.

The victim returned to the store after realizing he had left his wallet, but discovered it had already disappeared from the counter.

Quiroa could be clearly seen picking up the wallet in surveillance footage reviewed by the store owner and the customer whose wallet was missing.

When Quiroa returned to the store on Sept. 23, the victim was coincidentally in the shop at the same time. He recognized the suspect from the surveillance video and followed him to a construction site in the 1400 block of El Vago St. It was later revealed Quiroa is a construction worker at the site.

“Deputies responded to that location and located the suspect,” said Sgt. Ray Harley of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station. “[Quiroa] was then positively identified by the victim.”

Harley noted that the victim’s awareness in this instance was crucial and impressive.

“The victim did a good job familiarizing himself with what the suspect looked like so he’d be able to recognize him if he saw him again,” Harley said. “We’re not like Route 66, where people are passing through town on their way to St. Louis or anything. A lot of the people who frequent these stores are locals and regulars that maybe work here. Chances were pretty good that the suspect was somebody who frequented the store.

“It sounds like he frequented that store out of convenience and didn’t realize his actions were caught on video.”

Quiroa, shortly after being caught, admitted to the crime. The wallet was not recovered, however. The suspect reportedly threw the wallet away after taking the cash inside.

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