Text Message Warning about "Popo'' Leads to Man's Arrest

Sergio Fernando Hernandez, 22, told authorities he was responding to a Craigslist ad for DJ equipment, according to a police report.

A man police believe was casing a La Cañada neighborhood, rife with recent residential burglaries, was arrested after authorities allegedly found a text message on his cell phone warning that the "popo'' were coming. 

Deputies from arrested Sergio Fernando Hernandez, 22, on suspicion of reasonable cause burglary, acccording to a police report.

Last month, a resident in the neighborhood of Commonwealth and Berkshire avenues told police she saw a car full of men just sitting in their vehicle "acting suspiciously,'' the report states. By the time police arrived, only the driver and passenger were seated in the car. Both told officials they were looking for work - one said he sought a landscaping job, the other said "pet sitting.''

The deputy pointed out most folks get out of the car when seeking employment.

As for two other men who had been in the car, the report notes, the driver told police they walked to Foothill Boulevard, and had planned to walk back to the car. 

Given that 30 burgalries have plagued the neighborhood since May, according to the report, police didn't buy the men's story. Authorities asked them to leave the area when, moments later, another call came in of a suspicious man trespassing in the 4200 block of Commonwealth Avenue.

Breathless and "profusely sweating,'' the report states, that man was identified as Hernandez. He told police he had walked to La Cañada from Los Angeles to look at DJ equipment he saw on a Craigslist ad. When police asked Hernandez to show them the ad on his smartphone, the man replied that his phone had died. 

Turns out, police had a charger. 

When the phone powered up, a text message to Hernandez from the man later identified as the passenger in the car, warned that "the popo'' were coming. "Popo'' is slang for police. Police arrested Hernandez. 

Ted Trentman August 04, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Lily Chin August 04, 2012 at 05:56 PM
My friend and I were the ones who made the call- I'm tired of them thinking they can come to our little town and think we will not fight back. If you live here, and u see something suspicious, call the sheriff dept. Speaking with the sgt. She told me, "see something, say something."
Donna Roberts August 04, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Good for you, Lily! Your neighbors should throw you a party!!
Donna Evans August 06, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Nice eye, Lily! Did you notice the men in the car or the man who was arrested (he was the guy police say they saw running down the street)?


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