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A Year of the Most Serious and Bizarre Crimes in South Pasadena

A roundup of burglaries, robberies, assaults, thefts and an arson that made the news and kept the SPPD on its toes in 2013.

Every week, the South Pasadena Police Department issues a summary of crimes in the city, which are posted on Patch. Many of the crimes are egregious and potentially deadly, such as home-invasion robberies. Others, such as a burglary in the South Pasadena Post Office on Fremont Avenue in July, result in nothing more than missing mail—some of it containing checks and valuable documents. And some crimes are either inherently odd—or there's something decidedly "funny" about the way they're presented in the police department's crime summaries.

Below are links to some of the major crimes, followed by brief accounts of arguably bizarre incidents that kept our police department busy in 2013:

Detectives Find 200 Credit Cards During Fraud Arrest

Burglary Suspect Allegedly Force-Fondles Teen Boy

Police Bust Alleged Parcel Thieves, Find Lots of Meth

Arson Suspect Arrested After Allegedly Setting Dozens of Fires

• Three Guns, Cash, Jewelry Stolen in Home Burglary

South Pasadena Post Office Burglarized

Off-Duty Officer Shoots and Kills Suspect in South Pasadena

Burglars Tie up Woman, Take $40,000 in Jewelry 

• Feb. 26: An unidentified man whom police say stole a South Pasadena resident's tools returned the goods after the resident chased after him. 

A resident who lives in the 100 block of Warwick Place saw the burglar in his opened garage just after 11 a.m. on Tuesday, according to a bulletin from South Pasadena Police. The resident saw the thief leaving his garage, carrying away his gardening tools and ran after him.

The resident confronted the suspect, who then returned the property and walked away. The man got into a gray 1990s Honda Accord and drove away, the bulletin states. The suspect is described as 35-40 years old, 5-feet 10-inches tall, 170 pounds, dark complexion with a mustache, black hair and wearing a blue T-shirt and jeans. 

• March 8: A Pasadena man was arrested after he yelled and hit an employee at Carmine's Italian Restaurant & Bar, according to a South Pasadena Police bulletin. 

The 47-year-old man believed he received poor service and proceeded to assault one of the restaurant's employees, the bulletin states. Several employees escorted the unruly customer out of the restaurant at about 8 p.m. on Feb. 27.

A short while after the suspect left, police spotted him on the street and arrested him on suspicion of assault. 

• April 17: A customer listening to loud music, threw a cup of water and yelled at a Starbucks employee who asked her to turn down the tunes, police said.

The customer then tried to slap the employee in the face, so the employee called the South Pasadena Police. The April 17 incident happened at 10:48 AM at the coffee shop at 454 N. Fair Oaks Avenue. When police arrived, officers arrested the 28-year-old Los Angeles woman on suspicion of assault.

• May 8: A 24-year-old Los Angeles man learned a valuable lesson on Tuesday: Someone else's dirty car with expired registration tabs is still someone else's car

South Pasadena Police say Emmanuel Oliver attempted to steal a 2002 Ford F-150 from the 1600 block of Fair Oaks Avenue. Oliver believed that the car, dusty and showing an expired registration, had been abandoned, Officer Richard Lee said Thursday.

According to the crime report, Oliver called a locksmith just after 5 p.m. and asked that he re-key the car. The locksmith, paused, Lee said, and told the alleged thief that he would need proof that Oliver owned the truck. Oliver reasoned that all of his proof and identification was inside the car, and he's happily supply it, once the locksmith opened it, Lee said.

So, the locksmith got to work. That's when the car's owner came out of the apartment complex and asked the men what they were doing to his car. The victim opted to call police and let the officers sort it out.

Oliver was arrested on suspicion of attempted vehicle theft. 

• July 12, 2000 block of Stratford: Suspect(s) throw egg at victim’s window, cracking it. 

(Editor’s note: What cracked—the window or the egg?)

• July 30: 1100 block of Huntington. Suspect(s) takes loss that is left leaning against a wall. Loss: Bicycle.

• Aug. 14: 1000 block of Fair Oaks. Victim is walking on the street when suspects drive up and stop next to victim. S2 (passenger) ask victim for money because S1 (driver) is ill and needs to buy medication. Victim complies and gives cash. S1 then asks for more money, and again victim complies. Suspects tell victim they would repay victim later in the evening and to meet back here. Suspects provide their cell phone number to victim. Suspects do not show up at designated time and officers contact suspects. Suspects send money to police station via a courier to be returned to the victim. Loss: None, cash returned to victim. Suspect Vehicle: White, Mercedes. Suspects Description: S1 – Female, Hispanic, 45-50 years, heavy build, dark hair, wearing a blue shirt. S2 – Male, Hispanic, 60 years, wearing a black shirt.

• Aug. 17: Fair Oaks/Oak. Victim is walking on the sidewalk when suspects approach from behind and tell victim to lie down. Victim complies and suspects take loss, and then walk away. LOSS: Purse and bag. Suspect Description: (2) Male, Blacks, 28-33 years, 600.

• Aug. 30: 900 block of Mission (South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital). Suspect and victim are patients, and get into an argument. Victim walks away and suspect follows in a wheelchair. Suspect runs into victim with wheelchair.

• Oct. 12: 1100 block of Fair Oaks (Vons). Officers respond to a shoplift in progress. Officers locate suspect loading pumpkins into a vehicle. Suspect returns pumpkins and employee is not desirous of prosecution, but suspect is found to be under the influence of alcohol. Suspect Arrested: Female, White, 47 years, Los Angeles. 

• Nov. 27: 1400 block of Mission (Chevron Gas Station). Suspect enters store and demands money. Employee refuses and suspect pulls out a butter knife and again demands money. Employee again refuses and suspect pulls out another butter knife and demands money. Employee refuses and suspect grabs item from shelf and leaves. Loss: Bottle of soft drink. Weapon Used: Butter knives. Suspect Description: Male, White, 18 years, 5 feet 2 inches, wearing glasses and dark clothing.

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