By Mary O’KEEFE
Alert local residents have helped Sheriff’s deputies from Crescenta Valley Station conduct a drug arrest and reunite a custom bike with its owner.
“We really appreciate what the neighbors have done,” said Sgt. Debra Herman.
The neighbors referred to are residents who began to notice some unusual and suspicious activity at a house on Gertrude Avenue in La Crescenta. On Aug. 26 they called the station.
“Neighbors called about a burglary. When deputies arrived, they detained five people. Everyone gave a false name as their identification,” Herman said.
Deputies found what appeared to be a narcotics clearance-type center where marijuana would come into the home; it would be packaged and then transported out.
“We found some marijuana that [appeared] to have been contained in large packaging material,” she said. “And a commercial meat scale and a sealer that would hermetically seal the package.”
It was also found that two of the five suspects who had been arrested had federal fugitive warrants in their names for transportation for narcotics trafficking out of North Carolina.
Investigators recovered two one-gallon plastic bags of marijuana and about a half a pound of residual marijuana. They also recovered about $30,000 in cash and several pieces of high-end clothing that appeared to have been purchased with cash.
One firearm was found and shell casings were found for another type of gun, but that weapon was not found in the house.
Those arrested were not from the area but from Florida, Sacramento and Bakersfield.
The neighbors had called Sheriff’ deputies to the house in the past due to a loud party, but there did not appear to be anything suspicious at that time. The neighbors continued to monitor their neighborhood and made another call on Aug. 26, which resulted in the arrests.
Someone giving false identification to the owner of the property rented the residence. The homeowner is cooperating with CV Sheriff’s detectives, Herman said.
Since the initial incident, there have been five more people arrested as they attempted to enter the location. The homeowner has placed a “No Trespassing” sign at the property and Sheriff’s personnel continue to patrol the area.
On Aug. 29, a 70-year-old man from Inglewood, a 24-year-old man from Los Angeles and an 18-year-old woman from Sacramento were arrested for attempting to enter the Gertrude Avenue house. They allegedly told deputies they were there to obtain property they had left at the home. On Sept. 1, arrests were made of a 42-year-old woman and a 50-year-old woman, both from Los Angeles, for trespassing. The women allegedly said they were there to get a vehicle that was left at the address.
The CV Sheriff’s station is working with federal agents in the ongoing investigation. Herman said anyone with information concerning the arrests and activity in the area or anyone who sees suspicious activity in their neighborhood are asked to contact the CV Sheriff’s station.
“Call day or night,” she added.
Bike, Owner Reunited
In another incident, a $4,000 bicycle was stolen on June 9 from a carport on Castle Road in La Cañada Flintridge.
The owner, BJ Nicodemus, had custom built the bicycle and it had sentimental value. It appeared the bike was gone but then a friend found the unique bike on Craigslist and contacted CV Sheriff’s detectives.
Det. Frank Diana followed up the investigation with a search warrant served at a home in Santa Clarita. He traced the address through the telephone number that was listed. They found that phone number had once belonged to a woman who no longer had the phone.
“We determined she had no involvement [with the theft],” Diana said.
Diana continued the investigation and found another lead at an address also in Santa Clarita.
“[We determined] the bike was there at one time but the girl that was at the home was away at college,” Diana said. “She sold the bike on Craigslist.”
Upon further investigation, Diana found that a Sunland man who was a friend of the college girl had allegedly stolen the bike from the La Cañada home.
He had apparently given the bike to the girl and asked her to sell it for him in hopes to raise enough money to buy a car, Diana said.
“They gave me the guy’s name who bought the bike [off Craigslist]. He lived in Eugene, Oregon,” Diana said.
The man had bought the bike for $550. He spoke to Diana and told him he was planning a trip to the area and would bring the bike to the station.
The Sunland man returned the $550 to the Oregon man, Diana said. “There have been a lot of bikes stolen recently,” Diana said. He added there have been several bikes stolen in La Cañada but even more in the Santa Clarita area.
Most bikes have identification/serial numbers. Diana advises bike owners to keep a record of those numbers so in case the bike is stolen it will be easier to identify.
“Lock up your bikes,” Diana advised.
Nicodemus was lucky his friend, who is in a bike club, had searched and found his custom bike.
“[Nicodemus] was thrilled,” he said. “It was custom built for him and it was perfect.”
Anyone who sees suspicious activity is asked to contact the CV Sheriff’s at (818) 248-3464.