La Cañada Crime: Identity theft discovered via tax refund

La Cañada

March 24

Proof of California registration fraud: Angeles Crest Highway at Lavender Lane. While driving at 5:35 p.m., an officer noticed a white Ford F-150. Although a check showed the vehicle’s registration as expired, there was a blue 2014 sticker on the license plate, so the truck was pulled over. The driver presented a license and a registration slip showing an expiration date of Dec. 31, and told the deputy the truck belonged to his employer. The driver also admitted to taking the registration sticker off his own trailer and putting it on the truck “to avoid tickets.” He was cited for registration fraud and released. The officer removed the sticker from the plate and entered it into evidence.

March 25

Burglary, residential: 4500 block of Belita Lane. A man called police after returning home at 4 p.m. to discover his home had been burglarized and ransacked. The victim and his wife left the home secured around 9 a.m. and came home to find the back door had been kicked open. Several items were missing from a room used as an office, including a small safe under the desk. The victim stated the safe contained passports and several miscellaneous documents. An iPad and various pieces of jewelry, including some 21 gold and silver rings that had been placed on two mannequin hands, had also been taken during the incident. The back door was identified as the point of entry and exit. A neighbor told police she was “looking out the window for most of the day” but only saw gardeners mowing lawns. Another neighbor reported seeing nothing unusual. Fingerprints were taken from the scene.

Driving on a suspended license, no vehicle insurance, failure to maintain lighting requirements: Commonwealth Avenue at Berkshire Avenue. An officer on patrol at 10:55 a.m. saw a brown Toyota Camry with broken taillights making a U-turn. The officer pulled the car over, but after stopping, the driver exited the vehicle and began to walk toward the patrol car. The officer explained why he pulled the driver over and asked for the man’s license. The suspect said he did not have one, so the deputy detained him pending a license investigation. An ID search determined the driver’s license had been suspended. The man also confessed to having no car insurance, so the officer impounded the vehicle on a 30-day hold and transported the suspect to the sheriff’s station, where he was booked. His boss picked him up, retrieving several power tools from the impounded car.

March 28

Identity theft: 4500 block of Leata Lane. A woman contacted police stating that her 2013 taxes had been filed using her and her husband’s personal information. The victim discovered this after receiving a refund check from the IRS, though she had not filed a return. She said she did not know who might have done that and returned the check to the IRS with an identity theft affidavit to clear herself and her husband of any wrongdoing.

March 29

Possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving with a suspended license: 1900 block of Verdugo Boulevard. During a 2 a.m. patrol check of the movie theater, an officer noticed a white Toyota Camry parked in the rear of the location. The driver appeared to be nervous and manipulating an unknown object underneath the steering wheel. The officer asked the man to show his hands and called for backup. An ID check found the man was driving on a suspended license. The driver said he’d picked up the female passenger at her house and then driven to the theater lot. A check on the passenger returned that she was on probation for a DUI and also had a suspended driver’s license for excessive alcohol levels. She was transported back to her residence by an officer. A search of the vehicle recovered a loaded glass pipe containing a substance resembling methamphetamine. The driver said he’d been in a drug recovery program and that he’d been clean for three months but relapsed earlier that day, doing a line of speed. “Give me a break, I’ve been doing so good,” he pleaded with the officer. The suspect was charged with possession of methamphetamine/cocaine and drug paraphernalia, arrested and taken to the sheriff’s station. The vehicle was towed.

Vandalism to a vehicle: 4100 block of Hampstead Road. From 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., a man parked his vehicle so he could bike along Cherry Canyon. At the time, he noticed a man in his 20s with short blond hair wearing a dark gray hooded sweatshirt and sitting in a gray 1990 BMW. He said “good morning” to the man but was met with no response, so said “I guess not then” and left. He returned to find the man gone and both front tires of his vehicle slashed and deflated. Nobody else was seen in the vicinity.

La Crescenta

March 26

Possession of concentrated cannabis: 4900 block of Rosemont Avenue. Someone called police to report a suspicious person selling magazines in the area and described a white male wearing multicolored clothing and a baseball cap. The officer visited the scene and saw a man matching that description standing near a house. He said he was selling magazines and, when asked if he had anything illegal on his person said, “I have some wax in my right front pocket.” A multicolored plastic bottle containing a waxy substance was retrieved from the pocket, and the officer read the suspect his rights. The young man said he did not know possession of concentrated cannabis was a felony. He was arrested and booked at the sheriff’s station. The substance was booked into evidence.

March 29

Identity theft: 2800 block of El Caminito Avenue. A woman contacted police after receiving a letter from the State Franchise Tax Board requesting additional information in regard to her Feb. 10 electronically filed 2013 taxes, although she had not yet filed her returns. A representative from the Tax Board advised the victim to report the incident to the police after indicating that the return lacked the appropriate information. The victim told an officer she was desirous of prosecution.

March 30

Vandalism (graffiti): 4400 block of La Crescenta Avenue. An officer was called to First Baptist Church, where an informant said between 2 and 7:30 a.m. someone had spray-painted graffiti on a church vehicle and a cinder block wall along the rear parking lot. The vehicle had been spray-painted from front to rear on the driver’s side, crossing out the name of the church on the side. The tag on the wall contained an expletive and was accompanied by other illegible writing. The caller said he didn’t know who may have committed the act, but did check video surveillance and was unable to see anything due to low light and poor video quality.


March 29

Vandalism to a vehicle: 4300 block of Ocean View Boulevard. A woman called police to report that sometime between 1 and 8 a.m. someone slashed all four tires of her car while it was parked under her carport. The victim said she had no known enemies. No object was found near the car, and no one in the neighboring apartments answered the door when the officer attempted to conduct interviews. No surveillance was observed near the carports.

-- Compiled by Sara Cardine

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