Police Nab Squatters for Burglary and Vandalism

An El Molino Avenue resident saw something, said something and ultimately helped the San Marino Police Department arrest four people accused of squatting in a vacant home and also suspected of numerous separate burglaries.
Two Pasadena men, a Pasadena woman and a Rosemead woman face charges of burglary, vandalism and trespassing after being arrested at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 4. The four are alleged to have broken into and damaged a vacant house for sale in the 1900 block of El Molino Avenue.
“Three of them admitted to being there at least two or three days,” said Sgt. Tim Tebbetts with SMPD.
According to SMPD reports, a neighbor contacted police after seeing an unfamiliar vehicle parked in the home’s driveway with a suspicious man standing nearby. Tebbetts said the home in question was vacant because it is for sale.
Officers ran information on the car and, after discovering it was reported stolen in Pasadena on Jan. 2, set up containment around the home. Officers with Alhambra Police Department assisted.
APD and SMPD are among the four departments in the area collaborating on a burglary task force.
“It’s really a good two-way street we have with assistance from neighboring departments,” Tebbetts said.
Officers arrested three of the suspects as they exited the home and they quickly found the fourth suspect hiding near the home’s garage.
The investigation shows that someone forced their way into the home by damaging the back door. There also was damage to the interior of the home and it was clear someone had been using its utilities, Tebbetts said.
Two of the suspects also are suspected in burglaries in neighboring cities and one of those two is suspected in another San Marino burglary, Tebbetts added. All four remained at Alhambra Jail this week and the investigation is ongoing.
San Marino Police Chief John Incontro’s departmental mantra is “See something, say something,” and Tebbetts said this arrest magnifies the importance of that attitude.
“This really wouldn’t have occurred if it wasn’t for a neighbor reporting suspicious activity,” Tebbetts said. “That’s one thing the chief has stressed for years, ‘See something, say something.’ Unfortunately, not that many residents do. I’ve been here for 15 years and people still say they want to see what someone is up to first or they don’t want to bother us. Please, bother us.”

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