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Shoplifting: What it is and How it’s Different From Other Forms of Theft

| Police Blotter | January 31, 2019

Recently in Stevenson Ranch, a suspect entered a business on the 24700 block of Pico Canyon Road, put two bottles of perfume into his backpack, and then left the store without paying. He was arrested shortly thereafter by deputies from the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station and charged with shoplifting.

Shoplifting is covered under California Penal Code 459.5 PC and is described as: “entering a commercial establishment with the intent to commit larceny (to steal something) while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that was taken or attempted to be taken is valued at no more than $950.” The law goes on to state that “any other attempt to enter a commercial establishment in order to commit larceny is burglary.”

The term “shoplifting” has been around for decades, if not longer. However, the actual crime of shoplifting has only been on the books in California for 4 years. Prior to the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014, shoplifting could have been prosecuted as burglary.
Burglary is covered under California Penal Code 459 PC and is described as entering any residential or commercial building or room with the intent to commit a felony. The reason shoplifting is no longer considered a type of burglary (even though the elements of the crime can be identical) is because in order to be charged with burglary, a person must enter the residential or commercial structure with the intent to commit a felony. Stealing something with a value of $950 or less is considered petty theft, which is a misdemeanor – not a felony. Therefore, since the crime of burglary requires someone to enter a residential/commercial structure with the intent of committing a felony, it would not apply when the crime committed by the suspect was a misdemeanor (petty theft).

If the value of the items stolen was over $950, or if the individual committed another felony while inside the structure (buying/selling controlled substances, for example), then it’s possible that they would be charged with burglary instead.

Shoplifting is also similar to, but not quite the same, as the crime of robbery. Under California Penal Code 211 PC, robbery is described as taking property from someone’s immediate person or presence, against that person’s will, by use of force or fear. Robbery is always charged as a felony regardless of the value of the item(s) stolen.

The difference between shoplifting from a business and robbing that business depends a lot on how the suspect gains possession of the stolen items. If someone slips a candy bar into their pocket and leaves without paying for it, it’s shoplifting. If a person slips a candy bar into their pocket, then grabs the clerk by the collar and threatens to kill them if they call the cops, it’s likely to be charged as robbery. In both scenarios, the merchandise taken was the same, and not worth much. The key difference was that during the robbery scenario, the merchandise was taken through the use of force or fear, whereas in the shoplifting scenario it was not.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | January 24, 2019

A 33-year-old unemployed Newhall resident was arrested for “mayhem.”

A 20-year-old unemployed Sylmar resident was charged with attempted murder. And an unemployed 20-year-old from New York was arrested for terrorizing/causing fear.

A 26-year-old unemployed Reseda resident was brought up on charges of vandalism.

Three individuals were arrested for burglary this week, including a 25-year-old unemployed Madera resident and a 21-year-old busser from Newhall, and an unemployed 33-year-old Palmdale resident was arrested for first-degree burglary.

Charges of battery against a former spouse include a 46-year-old camera operator from Canoga Park and a 46-year-old security guard from Canyon Country.

A 30-year-old hair stylist from Lancaster was arrested for robbery.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

42-year-old cook from Canyon Country
28-year-old food service worker from Valencia
21-year-old waitress from Stevenson Ranch
23-year-old student from Palmdale
24-year-old bus boy from Palmdale
24-year-old banker from Sylmar
33-year-old Canyon Country resident who works in shipping
49-year-old machine operator from San Fernando
34-year-old unemployed Castaic resident
26-year-old unemployed Sylmar resident
33-year-old recycler from Los Angeles
21-year-old unemployed Hollywood resident
20-year-old laborer from Valencia
33-year-old warehouse worker from Van Nuys

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

32-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
38-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
22-year-old unemployed Inglewood resident
41-year-old unemployed Modesto resident
38-year-old carpenter from Saugus
41-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
25-year-old “repo man” from Castaic
32-year-old construction worker from Valley Village

Child Neglect and Filing a False Report of a Crime

| Police Blotter | January 24, 2019

Recently, police were called to the home of Blac Chyna after it was reported that she was drunk and being neglectful of her child. Upon arrival, police discovered that Blac Chyna, and everyone else at her home, were sober and the child was fine. A nanny was also present.

It’s believed that the false report of a crime was related to a fight between Blac Chyna and her makeup artist on Sunday. However, the reality star is also known to have feuded in the past with ex-lovers’ current girlfriends.

Child neglect is covered under California Penal Code 270 PC and is a serious crime. It can be charged when a parent fails to provide physical necessities for their minor child, without a lawful excuse. Interestingly, the term “parent” is given an extremely broad definition under California law. It includes both adoptive parents, as well as those who hold themselves out as parents (such as foster parents), as well as the husband of a woman who gives birth to a child while the husband is living with her. The term does not cover anyone who no longer has any rights or obligations to the child due to a court decision.

Often times, reports of child neglect are made when a parent or parents are too poor to provide for the physical necessities for their minor child. A prosecutor will typically take into account the family’s financial situation when dealing with child neglect cases. For example, if a parent loses their job and is unable to afford adequate meals, new clothes, or whatever other physical necessities the child needs, and is able to prove that the job loss is the reason why, the prosecutor will likely drop the charges. However, if a lack of money is due to mishandling funds, or if the parent spends their money on something other than their child’s welfare and, as a result, is unable to properly provide for them, the charges will probably still apply.

Often, 270 PC is charged as a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of misdemeanor probation, up to 1 year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, the crime can be charged as a felony under certain circumstances which usually involve a paternity suit. When charged as a felony, the possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail, 1 year and 1 day in California state prison, and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Making a false report of a crime is covered under California Penal Code 148.5 PC and can be charged when someone falsely reports a misdemeanor or a felony to a police officer, prosecutor, grand jury, or state or local employee designated to receive reports from citizens (such as 911 operators). Penal Code 148.5 PC is only charged when the person who makes the false reports knew that it was false as they were making it. There is no penalty or charge if you report a crime and it turns out that no crime was actually committed.

Penal Code 148.5 PC is a misdemeanor with the possible penalty of up to 6 months in county jail. However, based on the defendant’s prior criminal history, motive for making the false report, as well as the consequences of the false report, judges often sentence convicted defendants to little or no jail time.

California Penal Codes (Weapons): Did You Know?

| Police Blotter | January 18, 2019

California Penal Code 24310 PC

Carrying a machine gun in a violin case was a common trope in old mobster movies. It’s a practical idea for anyone trying to get a gun someplace without being noticed, and today you can buy all sorts of custom containers to carry your firearms. However, for residents of California, it’s illegal to do so.

California Penal Code 24310 makes it illegal to manufacture, import into the State of California, keep for sale, offer for sale, give, lend, or possess a camouflaging firearm container. The most notable example of a camouflaged firearm container is shaped like a musical instrument, but there are other styles too, including books, globes, clocks, first-aid kits, and more.

24310 PC is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor penalties include no more than one year in county jail. Felony penalties include 16 months to three years in California state prison. The severity of the charge will depend on the circumstances surrounding the case.

California Penal Code 29810 PC

Anyone who is convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors is legally obligated to relinquish their firearms. For example, a defendant is convicted of felony assault and, after the conviction, the defendant turns over his hunting rifle to the local police station.

Under California Penal Code 29810 PC, the courts must instruct the defendant that he or she is prohibited from owning, possessing, or having any firearms, ammunition, or magazines. The courts will provide the defendant with a Prohibited Persons Relinquishment Form, upon which any and all firearms, ammunition and/or magazines the defendant has must be identified. Then, the defendant can either relinquish the items to law enforcement, sell them to a licensed gun dealer, or have them stored by a licensed gun dealer.

Failing to fill out and submit the Prohibited Persons Relinquishment Form is an infraction punished by a $100 fine. If the firearms are not relinquished and law enforcement finds out about it, the defendant will likely be charged with a crime, namely California Penal Code 29800 PC – felon with a firearm – a felony. If convicted, the defendant faces 16 months to three years in California state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

California Penal Code 22010 PC

For the most part, California Penal Code 22010 PC makes it illegal to own or possess nunchakus (nunchucks) in California. Nunchucks are a traditional martial arts weapon that consists of two rods attached at one end by a rope or chain.

Most members of the public are generally prohibited from owning this dangerous weapon; however, there are a few exceptions: self-defense schools with a regulatory or business license that keep the nunchucks on the premises; people who are taking someone else’s illegal nunchucks to the police station where they can be properly disposed of like the menace to society they are; possession of antique nunchuks by a person authorized to own them; authorized museums, libraries, and historical societies; or people making a movie, TV show, or video production.

If an unauthorized person is caught in possession of a pair of nunchucks, they face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if charged as a misdemeanor. Or, up to three years in prison and $10,000 fine for a felony.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | January 10, 2019

A 35-year-old driver from Newhall, a 26-year-old caregiver from Saugus, and a 26-year-old driver from Newhall were arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc. And a 30-year-old unemployed Castaic resident was arrested for battery.

Four individuals were arrested for battery against a former spouse, including a 44-year-old counselor from Canyon Country, a 44-year-old social worker from Canyon Country, a 37-year-old unemployed Newhall resident, and a 56-year-old unemployed Saugus resident.

An unemployed 53-year-old Canyon Country resident was arrested for taking a marked cart from a retail establishment.

A 25-year-old cook from Lancaster was arrested for reckless driving.

A 46-year-old unemployed Valencia resident was brought up on charges of assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm) with great bodily injury.

An unemployed 40-year-old Venice resident was arrested for taking a vehicle without the owners consent.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

22-year-old manager from Clovis
26-year-old Reseda resident who works in finance
35-year-old student from Saugus
26-year-old salesman from Santa Clarita
51-year-old stocker from Valencia
Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

29-year-old self-employed Canyon Country resident
32-year-old unemployed Lancaster resident
29-year-old unemployed canyon Country resident
31-year-old actor from Canyon Country
36-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
37-year-old CEO from Chatsworth
30-year-old unemployed transient
40-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
34-year-old unemployed Hawaii resident
35-year-old cleaner from Texas
39-year-old landscaper from Newhall
50-year-old mechanic from Tulare
18-year-old electrician from Lancaster
25-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident

Felony Probation – What Is It?

| Police Blotter | January 10, 2019

Recently, a 40-year-old Santa Clarita woman was in the news after being arrested for violating her probation. According to the SCV Sheriff Station’s Facebook page, they received reports about a motor home that had been parked for several days outside of a business on Golden Triangle Road. Deputies went to check it out, and while doing so, discovered that one of the occupants was on active probation and also in possession of illegal narcotics. She was arrested and taken to the Sheriff’s Station for her probation violation and the motor home was towed.

Felony probation is not freedom, it’s used as an alternative to prison. It allows for a person convicted of a felony to either remain in the community provided that they agree to live under certain conditions and supervision of the courts and a probation officer.

Probation is a possible sentence for many California felonies – but not all of them. Probation may not be granted to defendants who commit violent or serious felonies, as well as certain sex crimes. Probation is seldom granted for people who commit crimes that include: great bodily harm to the victim, offenses involving deadly weapons, grand theft of over $100,000, furnishing PCP, and being a public official convicted of embezzlement or receiving bribes.

If a person is going to be put on probation, it will happen at the time of their sentencing. A judge will either “suspend execution” of the defendant’s jail or prison sentence provided that the defendant adhere to specific conditions upon their release, or the judge will sentence the defendant to probation with no conditions attached.

If a judge does set conditions for a defendant’s probation, they can vary pretty widely. Generally, most probation conditions include: meeting with a probation officer once a month, paying restitution to the victim, participating in therapy, drug testing, performing community service, and, of course, not breaking any other laws.

Probation typically lasts for anywhere from three to five years, and any violations that occur during that period are taken very seriously. If the violation is relatively minor, it’s possible to receive a warning from a judge and not have probation revoked. When this happens, judges have the power to set even stricter conditions with which the defendant must comply for the remainder of their probation. When someone commits a serious probation violation, such as committing a violent crime, not meeting with their probation officer, or being in possession of narcotics, judges are far less likely to be lenient and issue a warning. In these cases, defendants are often sent directly to prison or jail for one or more years.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | January 3, 2019

Several individuals were charged with battery against a former spouse this week, including a 42-year-old Spanish interpreter from Anaheim, a 44-year-old photographer from Valencia, an unemployed 48-year-old transient and a 46-year-old hair colorist from Stevenson Ranch.

Those charged with corporal injury on a spouse include a 31-year-old unemployed Valencia resident, a 55-year-old retired Newhall resident, a 37-year-old unemployed Newhall resident and a 51-year-old manager from Valencia.

A 29-year-old teacher from Valencia was arrested for corporal injury on a child. And a 30-year-old Newhall resident was charged with arson of property.

A 40-year-old salesman from Encino was arrested for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Two individuals were arrested for vandalism, including a 19-year-old unemployed Stevenson Ranch resident and a 21-year-old unemployed Valencia resident. And a 31-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was brought up on charges of attempted robbery.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

49-year-old police officer from Valencia
25-year-old U.S. Marine from Sun Valley
21-year-old delivery person from Canyon Country
22-year-old mechanic from Sylmar
23-year-old Panorama City resident who listed his/her occupation as “tire”
22-year-old delivery person from Lynn
20-year-old car washer from Canyon Country
34-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
26-year-old barber from Santa Clarita
26-year-old construction worker from Newhall
29-year-old driver from Canyon Country
22-year-old cashier from Azusa

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

19-year-old waiter from Santa Clarita
33-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
29-year-old construction worker from Newhall
48-year-old Saugus resident
46-year-old HVAC specialist from Valencia
58-year-old general maintenance worker from Canyon Country
25-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
39-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
50-year-old handy man from Stevenson Ranch
37-year-old waiter from Canyon Country
44-year-old disabled veteran from Canyon Country
56-year-old unemployed Pacoima residents

Violent Crime Drops in Los Angeles in 2018

| Police Blotter | January 3, 2019

Law enforcement agencies throughout Los Angeles have been hard-pressed to explain the rise of violent crimes that the area has experienced over the past five years. However, in 2018, the effort they’ve put in to trying to reverse the trend are beginning to bear fruit. According to recent statistics, Los Angeles saw a total of 253 murders over 2018, a decrease of 9.9 percent since 2017, during which 281 murders took place.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore issued a tweet praising the hard working officers of the LAPD and touting the news as evidence that their crime fighting strategies have been working. He credited the LAPD’s view that personal safety is a “shared responsibility” among the public and law enforcement, and that working together is the only way forward.

One way in which the LAPD has successfully worked with the public to share the responsibility of public safety is through their commitment to community policing. The practice is based upon a partnership between the LAPD and the community. The responsibility of identifying, reducing, eliminating, and preventing problems that erode order and safety within the community is shared by the LAPD and the community itself.

The LAPD believes that if people are able to bring their community’s specific needs to the attention of the LAPD, a plan can be put together by which problems of safety and order can be resolved that increased patrols or police presence may not necessarily solve. Community policing also serves to foster a bond of trust between members of law enforcement and members of the public as it creates greater familiarity between the two parties.

Unfortunately, not all of the LAPD’s crime prevention tactics have been embraced as quickly by the public as community policing was. One major point of contention was the LAPD’s use of the controversial “predictive policing” strategy. The strategy includes technology developed by the CIA that incorporates street-level intelligence with cell phone and license plate tracking of ex-convicts and other things. All of that data is then run through a powerful computer called Palantir to identify specific locations throughout the city where crime is most likely to occur. The LAPD lauds the technology as a way to indicate where best to spend their resources, while some members of the public are dubious about the relative secrecy surrounding the technology.

Much of the blame for the spike in violent crimes that began in 2014 was heaped on the passage of the controversial Proposition 47 which reduced the severity of a host of felonies to misdemeanors, thereby reducing the potency of the punishment’s deterrent. However, a study conducted by UC Irvine found that the spike in crime was not due to the passing of Proposition 47 – a finding which law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys found difficult to accept.

Bad Girls and Boys

| Police Blotter | December 28, 2018

A 55-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was arrested for murder of the second degree on a peace officer.

A 36-year-old account representative from Valencia was charged with cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury or death.

Two individuals were charged with battery against a former spouse, including a 34-year-old electrician from Val Verde and a 39-year-old studio city resident.

A 26-year-old unemployed Saugus resident was booked for disobeying a domestic relations court order.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

20-year-old server from Saugus
29-year-old chef from Valencia
24-year-old Canoga Park resident
21-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
27-year-old cook from Valencia
41-year-old Palmdale resident
26-year-old construction worker from Pacoima
58-year-old contractor from Canyon Country
36-year-old chef from Newhall
39-year-old Los Angeles resident
24-year-old assistant manager from Palmdale
40-year-old auto detailer from Canyon Country
29-year-old lead manager from North Hills
64-year-old car mechanic from Granada Hills
31-year-old packager from Valencia
32-year-old packer from Canyon Country
56-year-old hairdresser from Valencia
32-year-old auto detailer from Newhall

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

22-year-old customer service representative from Brandon, Mo.
27-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
37-year-old cook from Newhall
22-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
46-year-old unemployed Mission Hills resident
49-year-old unemployed Mission Hills resident
19-year-old “driver’s helper” from Saugus
62-year-old construction worker from Newhall
31-year-old Santa Clarita resident
27-year-old stage crew member from Sylmar
33-year-old construction worker from Canyon Country
36-year-old Caretaker from Canyon Country
31-year-old Uber driver from Castaic

LAPD Investigating Brazen Burglars

| Police Blotter | December 27, 2018

LAPD detectives are investigating a string of burglaries that began on October 15 of this year. The crimes are unusual for a few reasons. The thieves are hitting homes in rapid succession and all of the homes are concentrated in one relatively small area. Namely, in the Coldwater Canyon Blvd. and Bellaire Ave., between Roscoe and Victory.

According to investigators, the suspects are targeting single-family homes with minimal or no outdoor lighting. The suspects have been seen by witnesses in a Kia Rouge, Cadillac Escalade, and a Nissan – all with paper license plates. Detectives aren’t sure how many suspects there are in all, as those who have been described by witnesses were wearing all black, and all appeared to have similar heights and builds. The suspects are believed to be working in teams of two to four, and are gaining entry to their target homes through rear sliding-glass doors. Once inside, the suspects have taken jewelry, guns, cash, and designer handbags. All of the burglaries happened between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., and the LAPD is asking for anyone with information to call the North Hollywood Station’s burglary detectives at 818-754-9378 or 818-754-8377.

Crimes like this highlight important precautions we all need to take to keep our homes and valuables safe. Adequate outdoor lighting is, by far, one of the biggest deterrents to would-be burglars when they’re out casing houses. The more visible their actions are, the more likely they are to be caught. If the outside of your home has a lot of darkness around it at night, it might be wise to install motion-detector lighting in common entrance areas like in front of the garage and behind the house near the back door.

Your risk of being burglarized increases this time of year, considering all the shopping and gift-giving that is done. Whether you’re out shopping or parked in your driveway, remember to never leave anything of potential value visible in your car. Smashing a car window to steal a pair of sunglasses is easy, and backpacks, shopping bags, or other packages is quick and easy. If you have to keep anything in your car, make sure it’s kept in the trunk and out of view, and always double-check to ensure your doors and windows are locked.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | December 21, 2018

Two Bakersfield residents were arrested for mail theft, including a self-employed 36-year-old and a retired 49-year-old.

Four individuals were arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc, including a 24-year-old receptionist from Canyon Country, a self-employed 38-year-old Saugus resident, a 30-year-old unemployed Northridge resident and a 33-year-old unemployed Newhall resident.

A 25-year-old unemployed Oxnard resident was charged with theft of personal property. And a 27-year-old unemployed Van Nuys resident was arrested for tampering with a vehicle.

A 42-year-old self-employed Saugus resident was arrested for being a fugitive from justice.

A 29-year-old stocker from Castaic was brought up on charges of driving with a license suspended/revoked for another reason.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

34-year-old graphic designer from Ventura
20-year-old construction worker from Palmdale
25-year-old salesman from Palmdale
26-year-old maintenance worker from Canyon Country
20-year-old county worker from Valencia
35-year-old Uber driver form North Hollywood
25-year-old “Weed Server” from Inglewood
38-year-old self-employed Saugus resident
30-year-old landscaper from Newhall
31-year-old electrician from Rancho Cucamonga
44-year-old product reviewer from Canyon Country
21-year-old painter from Lancaster
31-year-old special education teacher from Upland
21-year-old shift manager from Hollywood

Charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance went to:

36-year-old Canyon Country resident
29-year-old Valencia resident
29-year-old Canyon Country resident
33-year-old construction worker from Castaic
26-year-old laborer from Castaic
42-year-old Porter Ranch resident
23-year-old Castaic resident
46-year-old self-employed Canyon Country resident
24-year-old restaurant worker from Canyon Country
20-year-old unemployed Bakersfield resident
42-year-old unemployed Val Verde resident
39-year-old contractor from Lancaster

A New Year, New Laws for Californians

| Police Blotter | December 20, 2018

The year 2019 is a few weeks away, and all that it will bring is anyone’s guess. However, when it comes to road safety, there are a few new laws as well as changes to existing ones that will be taking effect in the New Year.

  • Anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, skateboard, scooter, or skates. If not, they become eligible to receive a “fix-it ticket” from law enforcement. The citation will give the offending party 120 days to show law enforcement that they’ve completed a bicycle safety course and possess a helmet that meets California’s safety standards. On the up-side, people over 18 will no longer be required to wear a helmet on motorized scooters.
  • Beginning January 1, 2019 and continuing until January 1, 2026, all DUI offenders, whether repeat or first-time, whose violations cause injury, will be required to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles for a period of 12 to 48 months. Anyone whose license is suspended as a result of a DUI will be allowed to obtain an ignition interlock device and receive credit toward the restriction period while their license is suspended.
  • Aside from first-time and repeat DUI offenders whose violations cause injury, it will be possible for the courts to order first-time DUI offenders whose violations did not cause injury to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for up to six months.
  • The exemption period for vehicles to require smog checks has been extended from six years to eight years. However, owners of vehicles whose model year falls within that extra two-year period will be required to pay a $25 smog check abatement fee.
  • It is now possible when applying for a California drivers license to choose male, female, or non-binary on the application. Those who choose non-binary will receive an X next to the gender category on their license.

Road safety has been a major issue for local law enforcement, particularly in Los Angeles where the LAPD has been on the lookout for pedestrians who don’t exercise proper safety precautions, as well as in Santa Clarita where speeders frequently hit pedestrians trying to cross the street. While most of the new laws will only affect a small portion of the population, they’re a step in the right direction to increasing road safety for both motorists and pedestrians throughout the state.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | December 14, 2018

A 48-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was arrested for vandalism.

Two individuals were charged with defacing property, including a 35-year-old construction worker from San Jose and a 33-year-old transient.

A 30-year-old gardener from Santa Clarita and a 29-year-old warehouse clerk from Saugus were charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc.

A 30-year-old AC Installer from San Fernando was arrested for theft of personal property.

A 35-year-old pool construction worker was arrested for shoplifting after a specified prior conviction.

A 22-year-old demolition worker from Duarte was arrested for burglary.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

25-year-old crew member from Castaic
30-year-old donation worker from Santa Clarita
19-year-old barista from Saugus
32-year-old Newhall resident
22-year-old server from Rancho Cucamonga
32-year-old warehouse coordinator from Southgate
65-year-old tile worker from Canyon Country
49-year-old nurse from Leona Valley
47-year-old restaurant owner from Valencia
21-year-old ER tech from Canyon Country
42-year-old carpet layer from Bakersfield
31-year-old assistant manager from Canyon Country

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

36-year-old construction worker from Saugus
40-year-old carpenter form Los Angeles
25-year-old painter from Newhall
49-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
44-year-old delivery driver from Santa Clarita
23-year-old construction worker from Shula Vista
36-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
26-year-old self-employed Palmdale resident
26-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
29-year-old construction worker from Los Angeles
21-year-old unemployed Saugus resident
23-year-old unemployed Castaic resident

It’s The Most ‘Mail Theft’ Time of the Year

| Police Blotter | December 14, 2018

It’s the holiday season once again, and that means certain types of crimes are going to be on the rise, and it’s up to you to take extra precautions in order to avoid becoming the victim of an opportunistic criminal.

Mail theft, covered under California Penal Code 530.5(e) PC and 18 US Code 1708 has historically been a significant threat this time of year, and recent years have seen a further uptick in reported incidents. The official definition of mail theft under PC 530.5(e) is:

  • To steal or take any mail or packages from a mailbox, receptacle, or other authorized depository for mail, or from a post office letter carrier;
  • Use fraud or deception to obtain or attempt to obtain mail from any of these sources;
  • Remove the contents of any stolen mail;
  • Destroy or hide any stolen mail;
  • Buy, receive, or possess any stolen mail, knowing that it is stolen.

Mail theft is commonly associated with identity theft because thieves usually steal mail to obtain the personal identifying information of the recipients.

In California, 530.5(e) PC is a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of: summary probation, up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, the federal crime of mail theft under 18 US Code 1708 is much steeper, and can result in up to five years in prison.

The thought of someone stealing your mail and using the information contained therein to steal your identity is a scary one, and it’s important to protect yourself. If you’re going to be on vacation, whether during the holiday season or any other time, call your local post office and have them put a stop on your mail delivery until you return. If for some reason you’re unable to do so, or if you’re expecting something with information you need immediately, have a trusted friend or neighbor pick your mail up for you when it’s delivered.

If you live in a neighborhood where mail theft has been an issue before, consider talking to your neighbors and starting a neighborhood watch. If people are on the lookout for suspicious activity, odds are they’ll see something and be able to report it long before anyone notices their mail has been stolen.

Opt for paperless billing. Bills and receipts can contain personal identifying information that thieves need to steal your identity. The fewer bills you receive in the mail, the better. By opting for more paperless correspondences, you’ll cut down significantly on the amount of personal information about you making its way through the postal system.

It’s The Most ‘Mail Theft’ Time of the Year

| Police Blotter | December 13, 2018

It’s the holiday season once again, and that means certain types of crimes are going to be on the rise, and it’s up to you to take extra precautions in order to avoid becoming the victim of an opportunistic criminal.

Mail theft, covered under California Penal Code 530.5(e) PC and 18 US Code 1708 has historically been a significant threat this time of year, and recent years have seen a further uptick in reported incidents. The official definition of mail theft under PC 530.5(e) is:

  • To steal or take any mail or packages from a mailbox, receptacle, or other authorized depository for mail, or from a post office letter carrier;
  • Use fraud or deception to obtain or attempt to obtain mail from any of these sources;
  • Remove the contents of any stolen mail;
  • Destroy or hide any stolen mail;
  • Buy, receive, or possess any stolen mail, knowing that it is stolen.

Mail theft is commonly associated with identity theft because thieves usually steal mail to obtain the personal identifying information of the recipients.

In California, 530.5(e) PC is a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of: summary probation, up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, the federal crime of mail theft under 18 US Code 1708 is much steeper, and can result in up to five years in prison.

The thought of someone stealing your mail and using the information contained therein to steal your identity is a scary one, and it’s important to protect yourself. If you’re going to be on vacation, whether during the holiday season or any other time, call your local post office and have them put a stop on your mail delivery until you return. If for some reason you’re unable to do so, or if you’re expecting something with information you need immediately, have a trusted friend or neighbor pick your mail up for you when it’s delivered.

If you live in a neighborhood where mail theft has been an issue before, consider talking to your neighbors and starting a neighborhood watch. If people are on the lookout for suspicious activity, odds are they’ll see something and be able to report it long before anyone notices their mail has been stolen.

Opt for paperless billing. Bills and receipts can contain personal identifying information that thieves need to steal your identity. The fewer bills you receive in the mail, the better. By opting for more paperless correspondences, you’ll cut down significantly on the amount of personal information about you making its way through the postal system.

Local Crime

| Police Blotter | December 7, 2018

Three massage therapists were arrested for prostitution with prior knowledge of AIDS, including a 50-year-old from Alhambra, a 47-year-old from Monterey Park and a 56-year-old from Baldwin Park.

A 64-year-old security officer from Canyon Country and a 35-year-old Northridge resident were arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc.

An unemployed 50-year-old Santa Clarita resident was arrested for failure to appear after written promise.

A 27-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident was charged with terrorizing/causing fear. And a 29-year-old unemployed Lancaster resident was brought up on charges of identity theft.

An 18-year-old Castaic resident was arrested for terrorizing/causing fear.

A 36-year-old self-employed Santa Clarita resident was arrested for battery against a former spouse.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

23-year-old train builder from Palmdale
28-year-old cook from Canyon Country
34-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
29-year-old mail carrier from Chatsworth
21-year-old instructional assistant from Pearblossom
45-year-old customer service agent from Palmdale
29-year-old mail carrier from Chatsworth
25-year-old self-employed Canyon Country resident
32-year-old technician from Canyon Country
27-year-old auto detailer from Canyon Country

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

29-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
30-year-old carpenter from Canyon Country
34-year-old board and caretaker from Mission Hills
46-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
25-year-old security officer from Pacoima
45-year-old unemployed Saugus resident
25-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
23-year-old self-employed Lancaster resident
42-year-old technician from Stevenson Ranch
34-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
41-year-old billing assistant from Valencia

Human Trafficking Suspects Arrested

| Police Blotter | December 7, 2018

Recently, San Bernardino County investigators arrested two women on suspicion of pimping, pandering, and human trafficking of a minor. The investigation began when detectives were alerted to an online posting that appeared to be advertising an underage girl for prostitution. According to the ad, the girl appeared to be being prostituted out of the ironically-named Best Ontario Inn on Mission Boulevard in Ontario. Upon further investigation, deputies tracked the girl down at an apartment complex in Highland.

On Wednesday, November 28 at around 9 a.m., deputies arrived at the apartment complex to serve a warrant and conduct surveillance when they noticed a teenage girl fitting the victim’s description walking along with a juvenile male. The two were detained by law enforcement and taken to the apartment where it was believed that the suspect was staying. Police served the warrant at the apartment and arrested two women, one 40-years-old and one 44-years-old, and took them as well as the two juveniles to the sheriff station for questioning.
During questioning, detectives affirmed that the 17-year-old girl they had detained was indeed the victim, though the juvenile male was deemed to be unrelated to the case and was subsequently released to his mother. After questioning, the two middle-aged suspects were arrested. Another young girl, this one 15, who also lived in the apartment was located later on and put into protective custody while an investigation into whether or not she was also a victim of prostitution takes place.

Pimping and pandering are covered under California Penal Codes 266h and 266i PC and are described as knowingly receiving financial support from someone engaged in prostitution or receiving compensation for soliciting a prostitute (pimping), and procures, persuades, encourages, or otherwise assists someone into becoming a prostitute (pandering). Both crimes are felonies in California, and the possible penalties include three to six years in California State prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. However, since the victim was a minor, the suspects face up to eight years in prison and mandatory registration as a tier-three sex offender.

Human trafficking is a separate crime that often goes along with pimping and/or pandering charges. Human trafficking of a minor is covered under California Penal Code 236.1 PC and is described as depriving someone of their personal liberty with the intent to:
Obtain forced labor from them
Violate California laws against pimping and pandering, child pornography, or extortion and blackmail
Persuading or attempting to persuade a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, with the intent to violate one of those same laws.

Human trafficking is always a felony in California and the possible penalties include five to twelve years in California State prison and a fine of up to $500,000. For those who are convicted of human trafficking in order to commit a crime in relation to a commercial sex act, the potential prison sentence is increased to 20 years.

Local Crime

| Police Blotter | December 1, 2018

Three individuals from Bakersfield were arrested for burglary from a vehicle, including two 18-year-old construction workers and an unemployed 19-year-old.

A 43-year-old repo driver from Lancaster was arrested for terrorizing/causing fear. And a 32-year-old unemployed Castaic resident was arrested for trespassing.

A 20-year-old bus boy from Newhall was charged with assault likely to produce great bodily injury (GBI).

Two individuals were arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc., including a 32-year-old caregiver and a 24-year-old warehouse worker from Stevenson Ranch.

A 45-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident was arrested for violating probation.

A 23-year-old barber from Santa Clarita was charged with battery against a former spouse. And a 30-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was arrested for tampering with a vehicle.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

53-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
18-year-old cook from Tustin
29-year-old registered nurse from North Hollywood
54-year-old DWP worker from Castaic
36-year-old machinist from Canyon Country
49-year-old credit card processor from Santa Clarita
21-year-old student from Saugus
26-year-old cashier from Ventura
25-year-old assistant director from Woodland Hills
33-year-old mechanic from East Los Angeles
25-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
41-year-old landscaper from Saugus
40-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:
31-year-old construction worker from Saugus
54-year-old waitress from Santa Clarita
34-year-old machinist from Palmdale
36-year-old construction worker from Saugus
46-year-old caterer from Stevenson Ranch
26-year-old gardener from Newhall
27-year-old construction worker from Saugus
19-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident

Felon Confronts Deputies at Santa Clarita Gas Station

| Police Blotter | November 29, 2018

In the early morning hours of Friday, November 23, deputies were called to a Chevron gas station on Lyons Avenue to respond to a report of an altercation. Once they arrived on scene, the suspect in the altercation immediately confronted the deputies and the row quickly got physical. The suspect is reported to have assaulted a deputy before trying to flee the scene on foot. He was arrested a short while later and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, assault on a police officer and evading a police officer.

Under California Penal Code 29800 PC, the acquisition or owning of a firearm or ammunition is illegal for anyone convicted of a felony, several specific misdemeanors, or narcotic drug addicts. Anyone in one or more of the aforementioned groups cannot own, possess, purchase, or receive a firearm and, if they are found to have done so, can lose their gun rights for a minimum of 10 years, and some can have their gun rights revoked for life.

The misdemeanor convictions that make one eligible for charges under PC 29800 include certain violations of PC 245 – assault with a deadly weapon, certain violations of PC 417 – brandishing a weapon, and several California sex crimes. California Penal Code 29800 PC is always a felony, and the possible penalties include 16 months to three years in county jail and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.

California Penal Codes 243(b) and 243(c)(2) PC cover battery on a peace/police officer. The crime can be charged when a suspect commits battery, and the suspect either knew, or should have reasonably known that the victim of the battery was a peace/police officer. Peace/police officers are a class of protected officials which includes custodial officers, firefighters, EMTs, process servers, employees of a probation department, and doctors and nurses providing emergency medical care.

California Penal Code 243(b) is a misdemeanor and is typically charged when battery of a peace/police officer occurs but no injury is inflicted. The potential penalty includes summary probation, up to one year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,000. If injury does occur during the commission of the battery, then it is likely the suspect will be charged under PC 243(c) which can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties are the same as those previously stated. If charged as a felony, the penalties include formal probation, 16 months to three years in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Finally, evading a peace officer, or resisting arrest, is covered under California Penal Code 148(a)(1) PC and makes it illegal to willfully resist, delay, or otherwise a law enforcement officer or other emergency personnel from performing their duties. The crime is a misdemeanor with the possible penalties including up to one year in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | November 22, 2018

A 27-year-old unemployed Castaic resident was arrested for assault likely to produce great bodily injury (GBI).

A 45-year-old unemployed Newhall resident was charged with damaging property. And a 27-year-old self-employed Canyon Country resident was arrested for carrying a concealed dirk or dagger on his/her person.

A 44-year-old caretaker from Castaic was brought up on charges of obstructing/resisting an executive officer.

Two individuals were arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant etc., including a 45-year-old director of information technology from Newhall and a 36-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident.

Three people were arrested for assault with a deadly weapon (ADW) with firearm, including a 21-year-old self-employed Arleta resident, a 21-year-old self-employed Canyon Country resident and a 33-year-old cook from Canyon Country.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

26-year-old truck driver from Los Angeles
28-year-old children’s clinician from Los Angeles
34-year-old transient from Tulare
27-year-old warehouse manager from Canyon Country
30-year-old landscaper from Newhall
33-year-old makeup artist from Santa Clarita
34-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
62-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
65-year-old publisher from Canyon Country
29-year-old forestry technician from Canyon Country
33-year-old surgical technician from Canyon Country
55-year-old IT tech from Santa Clarita

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

50-year-old unemployed Castaic resident
38-year-old clerk form Newhall
52-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
39-year-old recycler from Canyon Country
28-year-old unemployed Sylmar resident
50-year-old HVAC repairman from Canyon Country
21-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
34-year-old general laborer from Canyon Country
50-year-old self-employed Castaic resident
55-year-old welder from Castaic
28-year-old cleaner form Lancaster
38-year-old driver from Pasadena
29-year-old stucco worker from Canyon Country

Robbery – California Penal Code 211 PC

| Police Blotter | November 21, 2018

On the evening of Saturday, November 17, a man allegedly held up a cashier at the Stevenson Ranch Walmart located on the Old Road. Afterward, the suspect successfully fled with an undisclosed amount of money, as his flight through the parking lot was tracked via security cameras. Eventually, the suspect made it out of the cameras’ field of view. Nobody was hurt during the incident and deputies are currently searching for the suspect.

Robbery is described under California Penal Code 211 PC as “the unlawful taking of property from another person or their immediate presence, against the property owner’s will and by using force or fear to do so. Interestingly, the person in possession of the property does not need to be holding it, nor does the property actually have to belong to them. For example, the cash in the register at the Walmart didn’t belong to the cashier, and they likely weren’t holding it all when the suspect endeavored to relieve them of it. However, the cashier was working the register which held the money, and was therefore in control of it, thus fitting the definition of possession as required by law.

In order for someone to be charged with robbery, as opposed to another of California’s theft crimes, the use of force or fear must be employed when the suspect is attempting to take possession of the property from the victim. Force is defined as physical force for the purposes of robbery charges, and fear is defined as the fear of injury to either the victim, their family, the property being taken, or someone else present during the robbery. Additionally, California courts have held that drugging someone in order to relieve them of property in their possession counts as robbery, even though the use of “force or fear” as defined by PC 211 isn’t necessarily present.

Robbery is divided into two types: first-degree robbery and second-degree robbery. First-degree robbery is always a felony and occurs in situations where the victim is the driver of a bus, taxi, cable car, street car, or other similar form of transportation for hire; the robbery takes place in an inhabited house, trailer, or boat; or the robbery takes place during or immediately after the victim uses an ATM machine. Felony robbery charges include the possible penalties of formal probation, three to six years in California state prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Second-degree robbery includes any type of robbery that doesn’t meet the criteria for first-degree robbery. The potential penalties include formal probation, two to five years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Robbery also counts as a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law.

The potential sentences for robbery charges are eligible for significant enhancement if the defendant used a gun during the commission of the crime. Under California Penal Code 12022.53 PC, California’s 10-20-Life Use a Gun and You’re Done law, the defendant will receive an additional 10 years for personally using a firearm during the robbery, 20 years for personally and intentionally firing a gun during the robbery and, 25 years to life by causing great bodily injury or death with a firearm during a robbery. Since nobody was hurt during the robbery of the Stevenson Ranch Walmart, and the gun was not fired, the suspect stands to have their penalty enhanced to an additional 10 years in California state prison.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | November 15, 2018

Two Santa Clarita residents were charged with robbery, including a 23-year-old assembly technician and a 29-year-old welder.

Both a 59-year-old warehouse worker from North Hills and a 29-year-old hair stylist from Canyon Country were charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc.

A 34-year-old Canyon Country resident who listed his/her occupation as “cookchef” was arrested for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

A 29-year-old unemployed San Diego resident was charged with concealing illegal proceeds.

A 30-year-old leasing agent from West Covina was arrested for battery.

A 33-year-old unemployed resident was brought up on charges of assault likely to produce GBI (great bodily injury).

DUIs with prior arrests include:

36-year-old audio video worker from San Diego
24-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
64-year-old customer service employee from Canyon Country
45-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
22-year-old waiter form Simi Valley
42-year-old teacher from Stevenson Ranch
40-year-old stocker from South Gate
23-year-old dishwasher from Littlerock
42-year-old nurse from Monrovia
20-year-old student from Fontana
33-year-old teacher from Sanger

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

31-year-old construction worker from Los Angeles
44-year-old unemployed Huntington Beach resident
34-year-old recycler from Newhall
33-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
28-year-old warehouse worker from Lancaster
47-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
33-year-old gardener from Newhall
32-year-old caretaker from Canyon Country
37-year-old construction worker from McFarland
32-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
31-year-old unemployed Long Beach resident

Zero Tolerance for Hate Crimes

| Police Blotter | November 15, 2018

Last September, on the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur, a man in North Hollywood snatched the wig from an 80-year-old Jewish woman’s head. The man then smiled at the elderly lady before handing the wig back to her and walking away. Later that day, he attempted to snatch the wig from a 36-year-old woman walking down the street in the same area. Then on Tuesday, November 6, the same man approached a 58-year-old woman and tore off her wig. Afterward, he threw the wig to the ground while sarcastically claiming to be “sorry” before walking away. After the third wig-snatching incident, police released information about the suspect and made an arrest shortly thereafter.

Normally, someone doing something like this would probably be charged with battery and little else. However, due to special circumstances in these incidents, the man is facing possible hate crime charges as well.

In California, a hate crime is defined as harming, harassing, or threatening someone because of their disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Since all three of the suspect’s alleged victims were Jewish women, and the wigs, scarves, or other hair coverings are considered symbols of modesty in Orthodox Jewish culture, it’s possible that the man’s actions were motivated by anti-Semitism. When a person harms, harasses, or threatens someone and the motivation to do so stems, at least in part, from the fact that the victim has one or more of the aforementioned characteristics, it’s possible to have the crime they are charged with upgraded to a hate crime.

Hate crimes don’t have to include assault, battery, or even happen in front of the victim. Vandalism, for example, can be considered a hate crime if it fits the above criteria. Additionally, it’s possible to commit a hate crime in California even if the intended victim didn’t actually possess any of the characteristics protected under law. What matters is if the suspect is motivated by the belief that the victim had one or more of the characteristics.

The penalties for hate crimes are much harsher than those of the underlying crime, and it’s possible to be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony hate crime. If the underlying crime an individual is charged with is also a hate crime, a misdemeanor-level offense becomes a “wobbler” which could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties include informal probation, up to 1 year in county jail, a fine of up to $5,000, and/or up to 400 hours of community service. If charged as a felony, the penalties include formal probation, 16 months to three years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

If the underlying crime for which the defendant is charged is a felony and not a misdemeanor, the sentence for that underlying crime is enhanced to include an additional prison sentence of one to three years – on top of the sentence for the underlying crime. So, if a person were to commit felony robbery as a hate crime and receive a sentence of five years in prison, they would receive an additional one to three years in prison as an enhancement.

The International Day for Tolerance falls on November 16 and is an annual observance day declared by UNESCO to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance. Read more about it and do your part to help end any hate in your community.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | November 9, 2018

A 25-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident was arrested for assault likely to produce great bodily injury.

A 25-year-old plumber from Valencia was charged with vehicle burglary.

There were several individuals charged with battery against a former spouse, including a 39-year-old nurse from Valencia, a 59-year-old healer from Calabasas, a 41-year-old manager from Valencia, and a 46-year-old firefighter from Saugus.

A 23-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was charged with making obscene/threatening telephone calls.

A 39-year-old janitor from Canyon Country was arrested for entering/remaining on posted property.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

23-year-old cook from Canyon Country
28-year-old unemployed Stevenson Ranch resident
22-year-old baker from Newhall
33-year-old unemployed Saugus resident
28-year-old unemployed Los Angeles resident
55-year-old handyman from Torrance
23-year-old cocktail server from Santa Clarita
38-year-old accountant from Newhall
41-year-old railroad worker from Paramount
23-year-old cashier from Northridge
27-year-old mechanic from Lancaster
28-year-old self-employed Valencia resident
24-year-old bartender from Saugus
29-year-old grocery manager from Hawthorne
58-year-old mechanic from Santa Clarita
18-year-old Dominos worker from Newhall
30-year-old dental tech from

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

18-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
44-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
41-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
23-year-old unemployed Saugus resident
26-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
49-year-old ranch worker from El Monte
41-year-old construction worker from Newhall
65-year-old retiree from Frazier Park

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