Meeting Planned to Discuss Two Armed Home-Invasion Robberies in Pasadena in Just Over a Week

Published : Wednesday, August 22, 2018 | 4:32 AM

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Residents and police alike are expressing concern over two brazen home-invasion robberies against especially vulnerable victims within Pasadena on two consecutive weekends.

One took place last Sunday evening in the 2800 block of Thorndike Road, where a boy of about 13 was home alone. The other unfolded the previous Sunday night, Aug. 12, in the 2100 block of Brigden Road, according to Pasadena police officials.

“This incident is an anomaly in our community but serves as a reminder to be ever so vigilant in our daily lives, safeguarding our property and taking precautionary measures, even in our own home,” Pasadena Interim Police Chief John Perez said in a written statement following the most recent crime. “One victim in our community is one too many and we are working to identify those involved.”

Pasadena City Councilmember Gene Masuda is planning a community meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the robberies. It will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Monte Vista Grove Homes, 2889 San Pasqual Street. Sunday’s crime took place in his district.

“The police will be giving (the community) a report of what they know and then they’re going to give a presentation on how to stay safe,” Masuda said.

“This is very serious,” he said. “There was a similar incident in Councilmember (Margaret) McAustin’s district, which is right next to mine. In fact, that was just down the street from my district… we’re a little concerned.”

“We have to do something and let (people) know how to prepare themselves,” Masuda said. “[Not] leaving windows open in the evening because of the heat, setting our alarms when we should. I think it’s a good time to start talking to one another and to look out for each other.”

“We’re one city and we’re looking out to make our city as safe as it can be. We have a very safe city, but it’s things like this, that get us nervous,” he added.

The two home invasions bore similarities. Both took place on Sunday evenings and involved four men.

In the Thorndike Road crime, one of the men knocked on the front door. He asked for directions when the boy inside answered the door, while three armed accomplices forced their way in through the back.

Lt. Max Dahlstein said the robbers put some sort of cloth over the boy’s head and demanded to know where money and valuables were kept. But there were none in the home.

The gunmen ransacked the home, fleeing with a cell phone, and possibly other items. The boy was unhurt.

An elderly man and woman were victimized in the previous Sunday’s robbery on Brigden Road, police said.

Four men forced their way into the home, pistol whipped the man and demanded money and valuables. They also ransacked the home before fleeing with cash and other items.

Councilwoman McAustin said she’s following developments closely.

“I was really disheartened to hear that there had been another event with some similarities to the home invasion that occurred last week,” she said.

And considering the second crime victimized a child, “That’s really frightening,” she said.

“We’re really trying to emphasize that people be aware of their surroundings at all times,” McAustin said. We want to continue to help and educate or our residents, to encourage them to have neighborhood watch meetings and setup neighborhood watches.”

Councilman Tyron Hampton agreed.

“The community is strong. But I would say to the neighbors, talk to your neighbors. It’s important that we’re all out having conversations with our neighbors. At least talk to the neighbors once a week, if you can,” he said. “Because it’s important that we all look out for one another.”

Hampton urged anyone with information about the crimes to report it.

“If there are any residents that saw any of what happened in both of these locations, please come forward and give us any information that you may have. Descriptions of cars, descriptions of individuals’ outfits, whatever information you have to help lead the police department to find the perpetrators of these crimes,” he said.

“But we do want you to know that the police department is going to be looking hard, working diligently, to make sure and try to prevent these types of things from happening,” Hampton said.

Investigators have not determined whether or not the robberies are linked, Lt. Jason Clawson said.

“We don’t know if they’re the same suspects, different suspects, just happenstance or copycat crime,” he said.

But he said there are common-sense measures residents can take to help secure their homes.

“One thing that commonly people don’t do is locking their side gates,” Clawson said. “It’s much easier to walk through a gate than it is to jump a six foot fence to get to your backyard. So, one simple thing for people to do is make sure your gates are locked.”

“Make sure your light bulbs are working,” the lieutenant said. “Look at and invest in a camera system.”

It’s a good idea not to open the door to visitors without knowing who they are, Clawson said. “If you don’t know who is at your front door, there’s no need to open it.”

“Parents have to have these conversations with their teenage children,” Clawson said.

“It’s just unfortunate that we have to have these types of conversations, because it’s so easy for somebody to be victimized in this age,” he said.

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