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On Monday, January 11, at 10:30pm an officer of the Santa Monica Police Department was on patrol in the area of the 1300 block of Montana Avenue when he was flagged down by a citizen who then told the officer that a traffic collision that had occurred in the vicinity. The officer approached the driver of the vehicle, which had appeared to collide with another vehicle that was stationary and parked at the time, and asked this man for his drivers’ license. After examining the man’s drivers’ license the officer conducted a check on the vehicle license plate via the data link device that was installed inside the officers’ police vehicle. The officer discovered that the vehicle had been reported as being stolen earlier that day from an address in Van Nuys, so the officer asked the driver if the vehicle belonged to him. The driver of this car told the officer that he had borrowed the vehicle from his girlfriend two days earlier. He claimed that this girlfriend was named “Michelle.” The officer concluded that this man’s story was simply not plausible and arrested this 56-year-old Van Nuys resident who was later charged with vehicle theft. This man was also found to be on parole for making criminal threats. Bail was denied.

Big Blue Witness.

This story began back on Saturday, December 12, 2015 when officers of the Santa Monica Police Department were called out to investigate a report of theft that had occurred at the Bloomingdale’s Department Store located in The Santa Monica Mall. When the officers arrived at Bloomingdale’s they learned that a man had parked his automobile on Colorado Avenue and had put his hazard warning lights on. This man had then ran into the store, cut the security cable that was protecting several Tori Burch handbags (many of which retail for $600-800 each), grabbed several of the handbags and ran back to his awaiting car. The suspect had then driven away at a high rate of speed. A Big Blue Bus driver, who had been sitting inside his stationary bus nearby, spotted this suspicious activity and made a note of the license plate number of this suspect’s car before the man was able to drive out of sight. The Big Blue Bus driver gave the license plate number to the attending officers and this was then passed onto detectives who had been assigned to investigate a similar theft at the same store in July of 2015. The detectives believed that the suspect of the more recent theft was also responsible for the summer incident and when they ran the number plate of the suspect’s vehicle they discovered that it was a rental car. The detectives then contacted the rental car company and they gave the detectives the identity of the man who had rented the vehicle. On Thursday, January 14 this year the detectives executed an arrest warrant at this suspect’s home on Los Angeles and the 55-year-old resident was arrested and charged with both incidents of theft. Bail was not granted.

Speed Sale.

On Sunday, January 13, at 11:30pm officers of the Santa Monica Police Department were called out to a beach parking lot, located in the 1400 block of Pacific Coast Highway, in order to investigate a report of a man who had been smashing the window of a parked vehicle. As the officers approached the location they saw a suspect driving an SUV who was attempting to exit the parking lot. The officers conducted a traffic stop on this vehicle and detained the driver. The officers then spoke with several witnesses who identified the man who had allegedly been smashing the window of the parked vehicle. The officers then checked the parking lot and discovered a vehicle with a smashed window in addition to a large steel crowbar that was situated on the ground next to the vehicle. The officers then searched the suspect’s vehicle and discovered a large amount of methamphetamine that was packaged in numerous individual packages that suggested that it was being transported for sale. The officers then discovered that the license plates of the suspect’s SUV did not match the VIN number of the vehicle and it was found that the vehicle had in fact been reported as having been stolen from San Diego in November 2015. This 43-year-old homeless man was charged with vandalism, vehicle theft, and possession of narcotics with intent to sell. Bail was set at $35,000.

Gun But No License.

On Monday, January 14, at 7:30am an officer of the Santa Monica Police Department, who was on patrol on the area of Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue, spotted a vehicle run a red light at the aforementioned intersection. The officer immediately stopped this vehicle and spoke with the driver. The driver of the vehicle told the officer that he did not have a current drivers’ license so the officer invited the driver to exit the vehicle so that he could be issued with a citation prior to the vehicle being towed away and impounded. The officers issued this man with the citation for driving without a current drivers’ license and as the officer was waiting for the arrival of the tow-truck the officer decided to search the vehicle. Upon searching the car the officer discovered a loaded handgun that had been wedged between the center console and the drivers’ seat of the car as well as an open can of beer in the drinks holder of the vehicle. The officer also discovered via the police computer that the driver was on probation for selling narcotics. This 36-year-old Los Angeles resident was arrested and, in addition to the citation, was charged with having an open alcoholic container in his vehicle and for being a prior convicted felon in possession of a loaded firearm. Bail was set at $20,000.

Editor’s Note: These reports are part of a regular police coverage series entitled “Alert Police Blotter” (APB), which injects some minor editorial into certain police activities in Santa Monica. Not all of The Mirror’s coverage of incidents involving police are portrayed in this manner. More serious crimes and police-related activities are regularly reported without editorial in the pages of the Santa Monica Mirror and its website, smmirror.com.

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