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Thank You to the Community

The men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department and in particular the Metropolitan Division, wish to extend our deepest and most humble appreciation to the Los Angeles Community for its overwhelming support during our time of great loss. As you all know, our Metro Division brother officer, Randy Simmons, was a truly amazing human being. His death is an enormous loss to the entire community. It is due to your support that we are able to continue doing our jobs in a manner that will make Randy proud.

Your phone calls, letters, flowers, and donations for the Simmons and Veenstra families, has been truly incredible. There really are no words to describe your generosity and compassion, but it will certainly never be forgotten. Your show of support while lining the streets of Los Angeles as we traveled to Randy’s final place of rest, was truly an awesome and breathtaking sight. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to be there for us. It means more than you will ever know.

We are honored to serve the residents of Los Angeles. Please know that we are always here for you as you have always been there for us.


LAPD Metropolitan Division

Suspect Commits Homicide in front of Restaurant and Is Quickly Apprehended

Los Angeles: At approximately 1:40 a.m. this morning, a homicide occurred in front of an International House of Pancakes at 4070 Lincoln Blvd.

Prior to the incident, the suspect, 37-year-old Victor Vela, got into an argument in front of a bar across the street from the restaurant. As the bar was preparing to close, the argument was broken up, and the victim, a 44-year-old African American male, crossed the street to the restaurant.

Vela followed the victim, resumed arguing and started a fight. Vela then allegedly struck the victim in the torso with a chain, stabbed him and fled the scene on a skateboard. Several witnesses at the scene called for help, so the LAPD immediately put out a radio broadcast and the suspect was taken into custody shortly after the incident, just a few blocks away.

The victim was transported to UCLA Medical Center but succumbed to his injuries. For the time being, the victim’s identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact Pacific Division Homicide Detectives at 310-482-6313. During off-hours or on weekends, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).

Police Shoot and Miss Charging Pit Bull, Owner Arrested

Los Angeles: Four people were arrested after the owner of a Pit Bull instructed his dog to attack two officers at an apartment in Hollywood.

On February 28, 2008, shortly after 10:15 p.m., officers were dispatched to loud music and yelling radio call at a home in the 6100 block of Afton Place.

While the officers were speaking to a tenant, an aggressive Pit Bull emerged from inside the apartment and charged the officers.  The officers felt their lives were being threatened, so one of them discharged his weapon at the raging dog and missed.

There were no injuries to the officers or other persons inside the apartment.

Three of the suspects were arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and the other was arrested for interfering with a police officer.

The arrestees were; Ovidio Lainez, 22; Nigelsky Moran, 25; Nelson Rodriguez, 22; and Albertina Cordoba, 25.

The officer involved shooting investigation is being handled by Hollywood Division.

Armed Suspects in Two Robberies, Caught on Tape

Los Angeles: Two suspects believed to be responsible for at least two armed robberies have been caught on surveillance tape.

On January 23, 2008 at about 8:00 p.m, two male Blacks entered the Washington Mini-Mart, located in the 3400 block of Washington Boulevard. One suspect acted as a lookout while the other suspect approached the clerk and pointed a handgun at her, demanding money from the cash register. The clerk complied and handed over the money, at which time both suspects left the location.

The second robbery occurred on January 27, 2008, at around 5:30 a.m., at the Winchell’s Donuts located in the 3600 block of Venice Boulevard. Two male Blacks walked into the donut shop, one armed with a handgun. The armed suspect jumped over the counter and pointed the gun at the clerk, ordering him to the ground. The suspect then removed money from the cash register and both suspects ran from the location.

They are described as male Blacks between the ages of 18-27, with dark hair and dark eyes, 5’7” to 6’ tall, weighing between 140 and 200 lbs. Both suspects should be considered armed and dangerous.

Detectives are asking for the public’s help to identify the suspects. Detective Avila said, “We believe someone will recognize one or both of these suspects and we are asking that they call us with any information that may help us put a name to their faces.” Avila also wants to remind the public that they can call and provide information with complete anonymity.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Fernando Avila or Heather Wilbur at Wilshire Division, Robbery Detectives at 213-922-8205. During off-hours or on weekends, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).

‘Bandaged Hand’ Bandit

Los Angeles:  A man pretending to have a hand injury was caught on camera robbing a discount clothing store.

On Saturday, February 2, 2008, at about 4:45 PM, a suspect entered the Bambi’s Fashion store in the 4800 block of West Washington Boulevard posing as a customer. The suspect’s hand was bandaged and appeared to be injured. Using his bandaged hand as a ruse, the suspect asked the clerk for assistance in holding selected items.

As the clerk assisted the suspect with his items, the suspect suddenly produced a handgun and demanded money from the cash register. After taking money and clothing, the suspect left the location.

The suspect was described as a Black man, black hair, brown eyes, and 5 feet 10 inches tall, and weighing about 160 pound. He is about 25-35 years old. During the robbery the suspect was wearing a white baseball cap, dark jacket, blue jeans, and white tennis shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call Wilshire Robbery Detectives Webster Wong or Ron Kim at 213-922-8205. During off-hours or on weekends, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).

Burglarized Bank ATMs on Ventura Boulevard

Los Angeles: During February 2008, two bank ATMs have been approached during late-night hours by two suspects attempting to force their way into the machines.

The break-ins, both occurring in the 20000 block of Ventura Boulevard, are similar to attempts that have been seen elsewhere in the city on other ATMs. The suspects in question were captured on surveillance cameras and arrived by car in a newer-model, white Volkswagen, possibly a Jetta.

The suspects are described as a male and female in their mid-20s of unknown ethnicity. Anyone with information is urged to call West Valley Area detectives at 818-374-7730. After-hours calls on evenings and weekends may be
directed to (877) LAWFULL / (529-3855).

North Hollywood Area leads Multi-Agency Task Force to Combat Gang Crime

Los Angeles: Operation Wild Card Deals Vineland Boys Gang a Bad Hand.

During the last few months of 2007, LAPD North Hollywood Gang Impact Team (G.I.T.) detectives became aware of a coordinated effort by Vineland Boys gang members to obtain assault weapons. North Hollywood GIT detectives initiated an investigation into the circumstances and determined that the guns were potentially going to be used by the gang members to commit violent crimes in the City of Los Angeles. Further investigation revealed that the guns were still within the North Hollywood community.

A multi-agency investigation was initiated which included the following:

•    Los Angeles Police Department
•    Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
•    Immigration and Customs Enforcement
•    Burbank Police Department
•    Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department
•    Los Angeles County Probation Department
•    Burbank Glendale Pasadena Airport Police Department
•    Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Service

On February 26, 2008, in the early morning hours, fifteen search warrants were served at various locations throughout the San Fernando Valley in an attempt to remove these dangerous weapons from the community before they were used against citizens or law enforcement in a violent manner.

The simultaneous search warrant service resulted in the recovery of six firearms, including parts of a MAC 90-assault rifle, Marijuana and Methamphetamine. A total of nineteen arrests were made for various offenses throughout the course of the investigation.

For Additional Information Contact Detective Dan Fournier or Lt. Alan Hamilton at 818-623-4045

More Details of Stolen Goods Uncovered from Caveda Thefts

Los Angeles: During the latter part of 2005, the LAPD Commercial Crimes Division, Burglary Special Section detectives responded to a public storage facility in North Hollywood in response to a request for assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).

The ATF had discovered that a blind auction was held for a defaulted storage locker. The person who won the auction for the contents paid $300 but entered the wrong locker by accident and discovered a number of firearms. He ended up removing some of them but then realized that they might be stolen and contacted the ATF. Consequently, the ATF went back to the storage facility with him and discovered more weapons, a large cache of jewelry valued at approximately $2 million and a Degas painting valued at $10.5 million. At that point, the ATF removed the contents, put them in another locked storage facility under their control and contacted Burglary Special Section detectives.

Subsequently, detectives identified the storage space renter as Ignacio Pena Del Rio (aka Roberto Caveda) and Burglary Special Section detectives distributed Caveda's photo throughout the Department in an attempt to locate him. Separate from that, West Valley patrol officers arrested Caveda after responding to a burglary radio call. West Valley Detective III Steve Galeria recognized Caveda, who was seated in a holding cell, as the individual wanted by Burglary Special Section detectives.

Burglary Special Section detectives worked in conjunction with West Valley Area detectives, conducting an intense, lengthy follow-up investigation that included a search warrant. A public showing of the recovered property resulted in the identification of numerous victims of residential burglaries throughout the San Fernando Valley, Glendale, and Pasadena who were later reunited with their property.

On December 18, 2007, Caveda was convicted of six felony counts of first-degree (residential) burglary, nine counts of receiving stolen property, and one count of attempted escape. He was sentenced to eight to 10 years in state prison.

On February 25, 2008, Burglary Special Section detectives, through Caveda's attorney, received a virtual treasure map depicting an area in which Caveda claimed to have buried a cache of jewelry along the 118 Freeway at White Oak Avenue.

On February 26, 2008, Commercial Crimes Division, Burglary Special Section detectives responded to the lightly foliaged location on a 118 Freeway right-of-way. The detectives then unearthed a piece of plastic pipe buried in the ground and examined the contents. A significant quantity of jewelry was recovered from within the pipe, which may be valued at several hundred thousand dollars. Victims are yet to be identified, Devonshire and West Valley Area detectives have been notified of the recovery, and detectives are currently conducting a detailed inventory.

Burglary Special Section detectives are asking the media's assistance in an attempt to locate the owners of the recovered property, and potential victims are asked to contact LAPD detectives in the Commercial Crimes Division, Burglary Special Section 213-485-2524 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. Off-hours, callers may contact the LAPD Realtime Analysis and Critical Incident Response Division at 213-978-6500.

Fundraising Dinner to Benefit LAPD SWAT Officers

Join the San Fernando Valley Jaycees at California Pizza Kitchen for a flavorsome fundraising event. On Saturday, March 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., proceeds from meals at California Pizza Kitchen at Topanga Plaza Mall - upon presentation of the coupon below - will benefit the families of LAPD SWAT Officers Randall Simmons and James Veenstra.

To view coupon Download lapd_cpk_fundraiser_flyer_color.pdf.

Officers Simmons was the first SWAT Officer killed in the line of duty, when he was with the SWAT team that responded to a hostage situation in the West Valley. Officer Veenstra was also shot and critically injured that day. 

Saturday, March 1, 2008, 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
California Pizza Kitchen, Westfield Topanga Plaza, 6600 Topanga Cyn. Blvd., Canoga Park 818-884-8858

The coupon below must presented to your server, so please print out this email and bring it to the restaurant. For more information, please email Max Haghighi at [email protected].

Huge Stash of Stolen Goods Uncovered Long after Prolific Thief Is Apprehended

Los Angeles: On Feb. 25, 2008, LAPD Burglary Special Section detectives received a map leading to stolen goods buried in the ground near the 118 Freeway at White Oak Avenue. The unearthed treasure may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and is yet another chapter in the arrest and conviction of Roberto Caveda.

The Caveda story began when LAPD West Valley patrol officers arrested him leaving the scene of a local burglary in February 2006. A follow-up investigation lead to a North Hollywood storage facility filled with jewelry, coins, tools and fine art. The value of the jewelry was estimated to be approximately $2 million, and the fine art pieces included a Degas painting valued at $10 million. A public showing of the goods identified many residential burglary victims throughout the San Fernando Valley, Glendale and Pasadena.

On Dec. 18, 2007, Caveda was convicted of six felony counts for first-degree residential burglary, nine counts of receiving stolen property and one count of attempted escape…resulting in a sentence of eight to 10 years in state prison.

Recently, the case resurfaced with the discovery of the buried treasure, based on information Caveda relayed through his attorney. To safeguard it, Caveda stuffed it into a plastic pipe and placed it in the ground on a 118 Freeway right-of-way. As before, when detectives sorted through the stolen material, they discovered a lot of jewelry.

Burglary victims from the latest discovery have yet to be identified, but detectives are scheduled to conduct a detailed inventory of the stolen material today. They will then initiate contact with victims of reported burglaries within the time-frame of Caveda’s crimes, and consequently may be able to return at least some of the stolen property to the rightful owners.

Questions may be directed to Detective III Dan Schultz after 2:00 p.m. today, Burglary Special Section, 213-485-2524.