Pasadena Experiencing Rising Number of Home Burglaries

Affluent areas now seem to be targeted much moreso than in past years, authorities say

Published : Wednesday, January 4, 2017 | 7:58 PM

Pasadena police officers arrested two people Tuesday on suspicion of identity theft, after bags of stolen mail were found in their possession. Investigators suspect the stolen mail could be connected to a rise in the number of burglaries in the City.

Pasadena Police Lt. Pete Hettema said the suspects – a 20-year-old man from Los Angeles and a 22-year-old woman from Altadena – were arrested at a traffic stop at about 4:14 p.m. in the area of Roosevelt Avenue and E. Colorado Blvd.

Officers soon discovered the male driver did not have a license to drive, and that he was on parole for burglary.

Hettema said further investigation led officers to the couple’s rented motel room, where they found “a whole bunch of stolen mail.” The suspects were identified as Francisco Tafola and Nicole Hall, who are both in custody.

Detectives are now looking at the possibility that the mail could have been stolen from residents’ mailboxes and then sold to the couple.

Hettema said identity theft suspects typically operate out of motel rooms and rely on local “tweakers,” or drug addicts, in the area who are involved in petty crimes to support their habit.

He suspects petty criminals may also be connected to the uptick in burglaries in the Pasadena area.

Towards the end of 2015, Hettema said, police reported a number of burglaries in which the suspects would knock on the front door, then run around the back of the house and break in through a window, ransack and leave.

That rash of burglaries faded throughout December, he said. But the lull did last.

“We thought maybe they had gone away, but they’re back,” he said.

Hettema said the rising incidence of burglaries is a trend all over the San Gabriel Valley.

Police suspect local gangs may be involved. The gangs, Hettema said, have become bolder and are now operating everywhere.

“For years, the affluent areas were almost untouchable. Typically, the gangs, if they were doing burglaries at all, were hitting in areas that they were comfortable in. Now, it seems like they move everywhere,” Hettema said. “They often use either stolen cars or rental cars. So we’re just asking everybody to stay as vigilant as they can.”

Echoing Police Chief Phillip Sanchez’s oft-repeated phrase (“If you see something, say something”), Hettema said “If they see something in the neighborhood, call us.”

Hettema said there appears to be renewed interest in reviving neighborhood watch groups at the moment. At the same time, police are benefiting from better cooperation from the community at large, possibly in part because of the rising trend in residential burglaries.

“One of the best things is that we have neighbors calling us and reporting,” Hettema said. “We’re getting a lot more cooperation. Sharing information obviously is one thing that helps us out.”

Hettema said residents can always report incidents or suspicious persons to the Pasadena Police Department by calling (626) (626) 744-4241, or 911 for emergency response.

If you’re interested in starting a neighborhood watch group in Pasadena, call (626) 744-4551.

blog comments powered by Disqus