Resident Encounters Burglary Suspect

A La Cañada Flintridge homeowner encountered a burglar in her home Saturday afternoon, one frightening part of a bizarre sequence that began with a stolen car in Burbank and ended with a crash and an arrest in North Hollywood, authorities said.
Crescenta Valley sheriff’s deputies responded at 2:15 p.m. to a report of a burglary in progress in the 5500 block of Alta Canyada Road, according to sheriff’s Capt. Chris Blasnek.
The suspect, who has no known home address, was charged this week with burglary, grand theft and identity theft, Sgt. Alan Chu said. The suspect allegedly stole more than $950 worth of items from an unlocked car parked in front of the home he attempted to burglarize.
The resident reported that she entered her living room with her young daughter in her arms and encountered the unfamiliar man. She told authorities that she spoke to the suspect, who then raised his hand in a threatening manner to insinuate he had a weapon, according to the incident report.
The woman said that, fearing for her life, she ran to her daughter’s bedroom and called 911. Her call went out at 2:03 p.m., Blasnek said.
After the encounter, the suspect fled, authorities said. The woman and child were not injured.
Earlier Saturday, the suspect allegedly stole a vehicle in Burbank and drove it to LCF, where he is accused of taking property that was in the woman’s Mercedes-Benz. Items included a laptop, an iPad, a purse and wallet, a bag of dry cleaning and three pairs of sunglasses.
According to the sheriff’s report, the homeowners have surveillance footage of the suspect entering the car and searching for items before he entered the residence.
Soon after leaving the home, the suspect attempted to use one of the woman’s credit cards at a gas station in LCF, Blasnek said. A clerk, however, was suspicious and took a photo of the man and the vehicle he was driving and alerted authorities, with whom he shared the image and a description.
“So we had a license plate to go by, only to find out the car had been reported stolen in Burbank,” Blasnek said.
Four hours later, the suspect surfaced again when he was involved in a collision in North Hollywood, where L.A. police investigating the crash found him at the scene and tied him to the incident in LCF. The missing items were recovered from the suspect, authorities said.
LAPD officers transported the man to the Crescenta Valley sheriff’s station, where he was booked and the recovered property was entered into evidence. According to the sheriff’s report, the suspect agreed to speak without an attorney present and admitted to being at the LCF home.
“I don’t think he intended to enter the house knowing somebody was inside,” said Blasnek, who noted that the suspect appeared to be acting alone. “I would characterize this as a residential burglary where a homeowner was home and confronted the person and he fled.”
Blasnek acknowledged that it took longer for deputies to arrive at the scene than it usually does after an emergency call. In May, he told the City Council that deputies were averaging a response time of 3.8 minutes for such incidents. On Saturday, however, local sheriff’s personnel were helping with crowd control in East L.A. and Huntington Park after Mexico’s victory over South Korea in the World Cup.
“There are times when we have to send some of our field forces to assist and deal with civil unrest in a city with 10 million people,” Blasnek said. “It’s protocol, whether you’re a private police force or the sheriff, when you’re requested, you roll.
“So for what we’re used to in La Cañada, it was longer than usual. But for other areas, it was a great response time. Under the circumstances, it’s unfortunate, but it was unavoidable.”
After a surge around the start of 2018, residential burglaries tapered off in LCF. Fourteen were recorded in January, followed by four in February, none in March, four in April and two in May.

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