La Cañada ID theft suspect nabbed

Crescenta Valley sheriff's deputies on Tuesday arrested a man in Banning on suspicion of identity theft, the culmination of an investigation that began when he allegedly used a La Cañada Flintridge resident's personal information to open several credit accounts in June.

Sgt. Debra Herman, head of the Crescenta Valley detective bureau, said she couldn't reveal the man's name because the investigation is ongoing, but said he had been linked to identity theft crimes as far north as the Bay Area.

Herman said much of the credit for the arrest goes to Det. Todd Sams, who pursued search warrants for IP addresses — the numerical code assigned to every computer that is connected to the Internet — and combed through search records from cellphone carriers to find the suspect.

“He's fierce,” Herman said of Sams. “Identity theft is something he takes personally, and he will search it down to the end.”

Herman also said the rash of break-ins that saw thieves take narcotics from three La Cañada and La Crescenta pharmacies in August and September appeared to have abated.

“There are some [break-ins] that are occurring in the San Gabriel Valley, but we have not had any,” she said.

Overall, crime in La Cañada increased slightly in October, according to statistics presented Monday to the La Cañada Flintridge City Council by Crescenta Valley Capt. David Silversparre.

October saw 13 burglaries after 11 each in September and August, a steady climb from the year's low of four burglaries reported in July.

La Cañada has had 99 burglaries this year, compared with 64 at this point in 2011 and 75 at this point in 2010.

Silversparre said the burglaries didn't appear to be concentrated in a particular neighborhood, and emphasized that officers rely on residents to help curb residential burglaries.

“They are spread all over,” he said. “If you please report suspicious people to us, we'll roll to each and every case.”

Overall, felony crimes increased from 22 in September to 27 in October.

Thefts increased from eight to 13 over the same time frame. There were no assaults or robberies in October.

Silversparre said felonies for the year — now 262 — are down, compared with 266 in 2011 and 292 in 2010, so trends are pointing the right direction.

Councilman Donald Voss told Silversparre that after a meeting with L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca about burglaries across L.A. County, he felt confident that the local response has worked.

“Baca said what you do is one of the best ways to guard against burglaries — just keep hammering on citizens to be aware,” he said.

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