Two teenage males were arrested Wednesday, Oct. 17 at about 7:23 p.m. after stealing a phone from a Santa Monica College student on campus near the library at 1900 Pico Boulevard.
The SMC student was talking on her phone when one of the teenagers snatched the phone. The student chased after the pair, who police later identified as two 17-year-old males, yelling “Hey stop, give me my phone back,” which caught the attention of a nearby Santa Monica College police officer who also began chase while radioing for back-up.
The SMC police officer was able to detain one of the suspects while the other ran towards Pearl Street.
Officers from the Santa Monica Police Department responded and set-up a perimeter in the area of Pearl Street and 20th.
SMPD Sgt. Richard Lewis said officers at Pearl and 18th Street pulled over a white van and conducted an investigative stop a short time after the perimeter had been set.
“When the officers conducted the stop, the male suspect that fled from the college officer was observed sitting in the back seat in the same clothing and he was sweating profusely,” Sgt. Lewis said. “The Santa Monica College police officer responded and positively identified the outstanding subject.”
The two teenagers, who cannot be named as they are minors, were arrested on charges of grand theft, conspiracy, and obstructing and delaying an officer.
With the two teenagers in custody from the campus chase, the officers turned their attention to the two male adults in the driver and front passenger seats.
Officers searched the vehicle and found illegal drugs and Xanex.
The male driver, identified as 42-year-old Arturo Williams Viray, of Las Vegas, was arrested for possession of narcotics for sale (rock cocaine was found) as well as aiding and abetting (as they were carrying out a crime with juveniles).
The front male passenger, identified as 36-year-old Odell Shaw, of Los Angeles, was arrested on the same charges.
When officers opened the passenger door to remove Shaw, Lewis said he began fighting violently with officers and tried to escape, which is when officers tasered him.
He was transported to a local hospital where he was cleared and then transported to the Public Safety Facility for booking.
The phone was recovered and returned to the Santa Monica College student.
Lewis said phone thefts were common as they are profitable on the black market.
“It used to be the Sidekicks (that were stolen),” Lewis said. “No-one ever stole an iPhone because there was no way you could erase the information and reprogram it. We would catch everyone who tried to register it or try to use it for music. We would turn a locator on and go catch them. Now, software has become available where they can now claim the phone as their own by re-programming it. Now there are a lot of iPhone thefts.”