Good Samaritan Foils Long Beach Burglary

Alert resident notices a trio at home of his neighbor, whom he knows to be out, and gives vital details to dispatcher. Three minutes later, Long Beach police are there, and credit neighbor with trio's arrest.

A Good Samaritan was credited Friday with leading to the arrest of three burglary suspects after noticing they were allegedly prowling around a neighbor's house, the Long Beach Police Department said.

It was Wednesday morning about 10:30 a.m. when the resident of the 3300 block of Los Coyotes Diagonal first spotted a man at a nearby house where he knew the neighbor to not be home, police said. 

"The caller of the incident reported seeing an unfamiliar male subject knocking on his neighbor’s door. Knowing his neighbor was not home, the caller continued to monitor the situation, and noticed two other unknown male subjects walking near the residence, said Lisa Massacani, a police department spokeswoman.

 "Soon there was a loud noise as the neighbor’s recycle bin was knocked over by the suspect who had been at the door, after he used it to get over the fence and into the backyard," said Massacani, in a press release. "The caller provided a detailed description of the suspects and continued to keep dispatchers apprised of the suspect’s actions, which always greatly assists responding officers."

Massacani went on to write in an e-release that patrol officers arrived at the home less than three minutes after the burglary possibly underway was broadcast to police units. The area was blocked off and two suspects matching the description offered by the caller were quickly stopped. They were "found to have been involved in the burglary by serving as lookouts, while the third suspect attempted to make entry," Massacani said.

The rest of the press release reads:

"Additional officers arrived and quickly found the third suspect, who was found to have removed a window screen from the residence, and took him into custody without incident.

"Although entry was not made into the residence, the act of attempting entry into a residence with the intent to commit a theft or any felony constitutes a burglary. All three suspects are culpable for the crime and were arrested for residential burglary.

"The suspects have been identified as 18-year-old Donovan Lee Steverson of Carson, 18-year-old Teyrin Laron Johnson of Bellflower, and 20-year-old Thadduas Lamarr Sistrunk of Long Beach.

The community is quickly able to discern who does and does not belong in their neighborhood, and their involvement greatly assists officers. The “suspicious person” calls that many discount as being trivial can sometimes yield significant results, as in this case....

"Anytime possible suspicious activity is occurring, residents should call 9-1-1 when the activity is occurring, and give a detailed description of the activity, and those involved."

For more tips on how to recognize suspects "casing" a place, click here.

Common suspicious activity prior to a residential burglary includes subjects “casing” the area, sometimes by loitering, or slowly walking near their target location. As is the case in many burglaries, the suspects may also knock on the doors of residences prior to entering the property, which is a common tactic criminals use to determine if anyone is home, or any neighbors are paying attention.


In addition, residents should be sure to secure their homes properly with all doors, windows and entry gates locked. Since entry is often made at the rear of the residence after the burglar determines the home is unoccupied, trash bins and other items that may give a crook leverage over a fence and into a backyard should be moved. Other items such as tools or gardening and barbecue equipment should  be secured also, as these items are sometimes used to force entry into back doors or windows.

"The community is the first line of defense when it comes to preventing crime in neighborhoods, and we can't stress enough the importance of citizens looking out for each other and serving as the eyes and ears of the police," stated Chief Jim McDonnell. "Keeping our neighborhoods safe is a team effort and we thank this community  member, and all others who choose to get involved, for their partnership."

For more crime prevention information, please visit the LBPD website at www.longbeach.gov/police.

Dave Newell September 28, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Also, look for people riding bicycles through the neighborhoods wearing hoodies. I know it may sound lame or putting a stereotype out there, But seeing them in hoodies in the middle of the day AND wearing scarves over their face as they look into cars and homes is a dead giveaway they are out to take your stuff.
John B. Greet September 28, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Excellent work on the part of both the citizen and the cops. Very nice to see pictures of actual LBPD cars and personnel as well! : )
Christopher Clad September 28, 2012 at 09:49 PM
I took the photos, 15 units and 3 canines were there in stealth mode in minutes, great job LBPD!!!!!
Rick Werner September 29, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Why is the handcuff photo of a white guy? The arrestees were black!!!!!
John B. Greet September 29, 2012 at 03:51 AM
I could be mistaken but I believe the handcuff photo is just a stock photo and was not taken as part of these arrests.
Watts September 29, 2012 at 05:37 AM
If I hold my mouse over that photo, it is named "Handcuffs file photo." But even with that, I don't know that those hands could be said with any certainty to be a "white guy." It is almost more like they have this stock photo that is fairly ambiguous as to the race, although I would say that they are most likely male.
Mike Ruehle September 29, 2012 at 07:38 AM
Not too long ago I witnessed a burglary of my neighbor's home. I called the police and gave them the license plate number of the getaway van. The police caught the four crooks and asked me to ID them, which I did. The detective told me the van's driver broke down and cried and confessed to the burglary. Yet, the crooks were NEVER prosecuted because, as the Detective told me, the police were too overworked and, because it was not a "high profile crime," the police did not have enough manpower and overtime available to persue pressing charges. Doesn't it make you wonder how many burglaries afterwards were committed by the same crooks because Long Beach police refused to charge them with a crime?
Nancy Wride (Editor) September 29, 2012 at 08:09 AM
Folks, we have photos from the scene that day, which are uncommon, but before reader Christopher sent them to me, I posted one of our sort of icon photos meant to flag you that an arrest was made. Not having booking photos or photos of the actual arrest, I would have no way of knowing what race the arrested are. The icon photos serve to convey such things as crime or in this case, "arrest."
Shore Resident September 29, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Mike, Mike, Mike......this story again? How many times must we hear the same sob stories about your dealings with the police department. Personally, I think you reap what you sow. Given your loud and vocal criticism of LBPD why would they want to go the extra mile in your case? Should they treat every citizen the same? Certainly they should. But I'd bet that if they had thrown the book at these folks you'd be crying police brutality on the other side.
John B. Greet September 29, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Can you prove your story true, Ruehle? I would be absolutely amazed if you could. You couldn't, or wouldn't, offer any proof the last time you told that story either. So why tell it at all, if not simply to denigrate, impugn, and complain? Here we have an excellent -provable- story of the community and the police working well together to catch three suspected burglars. A success. Yet all you can do is relate a questionable story of failure. Very, very sad.
Mike Ruehle September 29, 2012 at 04:39 PM
What most people WANT to believe is the police are doing their best to put crooks behind bars. But what MOST people don't realize is the cop on the street who caught the crooks is NOT the one who typically press charges against the crooks they catch. It is the police detectives who do the follow-up investigation, organize and present charges to the city prosecutor or district attorney for prosecution. The police department KNOWS the public equates crime fighting with police black & whites on the street. The police department KNOWS the public DOESN'T realize prosecution will not happen unless the detectives behind the scenes file the criminal charges. Therefore, as Long Beach police department has downsized, it has been the behind the behind the scenes detectives that were eliminated, thus assuring the public that crooks are not prosecuted while maintaining black & whites on the street. And it is the media that helps mislead the public by ALWAYS publishing how the crooks were arrested, but never doing a follow-up story about how many of those arrested were actually prosecuted. In a sick sort of way, by catching but NOT prosecuting the crooks, the police justify their existance and hiring even more cops by simply letting the burglars and other crooks go after catching them.
John B. Greet September 29, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Very, very...very...sad.


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