Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:03 am on firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by: "Martha Benedict" mfbenedict
Last night during the regular Monday night CERT radio drill conducted by Rose Hills lead Anthony Manzano, CERT member Frank Linares reported three Hispanic men--shaved heads, late 30s to 40s dressed in camouflage clothing--stealing copper wire out of an installation in Debs Park east of the pond. It was after 7:00 p.m. and getting dark. Frank was in danger by being alone in proximity to these criminals. CERT members and Montecito Heights residents Roy Payan, Danny Duarte, Luis Aguilar and Carlos and Cristina Garcia all responded, contacting LAPD on their radios requesting a car and air support to intervene with the crime in progress.
Danny, Luis and Roy hiked up to the area to support Frank. Carlos and Christina drove to the Debs Park entrance at Monterey Road and discovered the gate wide open. This gate is supposed to be closed and locked at dusk by General Services Police. An LAPD helicopter arrived to shine a light on the area. An LAPD car entered through the unlocked gate from the picnic area parking lot and traveled up the paved road to the site of the crime.
The perpetrators had fled the scene but left about a thousand feet of 5/8" thick copper wire plus their tools, including a device used to roll up the wire out of the installation. The material and tools were collected and taken back to Hollenbeck police station. A motorcycle was found in the parking lot and police are following up with the ownership of it in case it is related to the crime.
I am very grateful for LAPD's response and particularly grateful to the CERT members who took the situation seriously enough to take action. Special thanks are due to Rose Hills resident Frank Linares who reacted appropriately to the crime. No one from Rose Hills, Hermon or El Sereno came, even though those members were on the radio call and closer to the scene of the crime.
I am particularly concerned that four calls from LAPD to General Services did not prompt them to come to the scene. In fact, they advised the officers to leave everything in the park and they would pick it up on the morning! LAPD knew there would be nothing by morning and chose to take it with them. Luis Aguilar transported the copper wire in his truck because it was too much to fit in the police car. Roy, Danny and Frank accompanied Luis to Hollenbeck.
I informed Rec & Parks Maintenance Supervisor Jorge de Loera of the situation this morning. He is also very grateful to those who responded. Many incidents of this kind have occurred in Debs Park and Montecito Heights Rec Center this year. The confiscated equipment that was used to carry out these thefts may slow these incidents down. The community's vigilance is the best tool we have to combat these thefts. Park users are the victims of these crimes. Keep your eyes open and contact LAPD if you see anything suspicious.
Chair, Debs Park Advisory Board