Tag Archives: Burbank Police Department

Owner Thwarts Armed Robbery in Donut Shop

Burbank Police responded at approximately 5:25 a.m Wednesday to Kim’s Donuts & Coffee at 403 North Victory Boulevard in response to a robbery that just occurred.

The owner of the business said two men entered the shop wearing hooded sweatshirts and masks and at least one of the suspects was armed with a handgun.

One suspect held the owner at gunpoint while he removed items from the owner’s pants pockets. The owner grabbed the handgun and became involved in a physical struggle with the suspects.

Both suspects ultimately left the store and were last seen traveling West on Magnolia Boulevard, possibly in a white sedan.

At this time it is not known whether the suspects stole anything.

The owner was treated by paramedics at the scene for minor injuries he received during the altercation.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Detective Edwards at (818) 238-3210 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) to remain anonymous

Juveniles Arrested For Series Of Trash Can Fires

Between November 2016 and February 2017, five trash can fires were set in the Stough Park Nature Center area. The fires appeared to have been started using a lighter and were contained inside the Mens’ and Womens’ restrooms. There was no structural damage to the Stough Park Nature Center or surrounding area, but the trash cans did suffer minor damage.

Burbank Police Detectives investigating the case were able to obtain a partial license plate number and vehicle description believed to be involved, which was provided by a witness. Using this information, two suspects were identified, both of whom are minors.

On March 6, 2017, Burbank Police Investigators contacted and detained the juvenile suspects. During an interview, the suspects admitted to lighting the fires in the Stough Park restrooms. Both individuals were placed under arrest for arson of property. They were booked at the Burbank Police Department and then released to their parents via citation because of their ages.

The suspects are both males, 16 and 17 years of age, and residents of Burbank. They are both due to appear in court in May.

The Stough Park Nature Center is located in the Verdugo Mountains and is surrounded by wildlife, flowers, trees and other types of natural habitat. Smoking and open flames are prohibited in this area. The Burbank Police Department and Burbank Parks and Recreation Department monitor this and other hillside areas regularly for suspicious activity. Anyone suspected of illegal activities, which includes setting fires or other negligent acts that present a threat to life and/or property, will be held liable both criminally and civilly for damages incurred and any costs associated with the response of public safety personnel.

Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity in any Burbank park is urged to call the Burbank Police 24-hour non-emergency line, at (818) 238-3000.

Magnolia Park Optimist Club Salutes Burbank Police

Three members of the Burbank Police Department were recognized for their outstanding service by the Burbank Magnolia Park Optimist Club during its “Respect for Law” dinner program held at the Burbank Elks Lodge on Feb. 23.

Pictured are Burbank Police Captain Ron Caruso Awardee Sharise Barker, Optimist Chairwoman Doreen Wydra, and Police Chief Scott LaChasse. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Honoring local law enforcement representatives is a priority with members of the Optimist Club, said President Doreen Wydra.

“This event is just the beginning of many very special nights to recognize people in the community,” she said. “Next month we will be giving scholarships to high school students. The Burbank Police Department deserves this and more. That’s what optimism is all about — to see the goodness in everybody.”

The honorees were chosen by their peers, said Respect for Law Chair Vonda Neundorf, who added that all three epitomize the mission statement and core values of the local police department — “to protect life and property, provide professional police services, and work in partnership with the community through respect, integrity and excellence.”

Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse, who served as master of ceremonies, said the difficult task in choosing the honorees is that the department has 200 people — 160 who are sworn-in employees and remainder are civilians — who are all great candidates. Nominations are taken and a selection process follows.

LaChasse introduced Sgt. Mark Stohl who received the Officer of the Year Award for 2016.

Stohl grew up in the Midwest and received his Bachelor of Science degree in social and behavioral sciences. He moved to Burbank in 1999 and obtained his master’s degree in 2015.

He began as a Burbank Police recruit in January 2000 and became a police officer in May 2000. He was promoted to detective in July 2007 working with the Gangs and the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force. He was promoted to sergeant in September 2012 working in the patrol division and then started with the Detective Bureau investigating property crimes. His work now is with vice and narcotics crime investigation.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Sharise Barker received the Non-Sworn Employee of the Year for 2016.

She graduated from West Covina High School and earned her Medical Assistant Certificate from Northwest College.

Barker began her career at the Burbank Police Department in February 2009 as a police technician in the Records Bureau. She became proficient at entering arrest bookings, traffic collision, citation and missing person reports.

In March 2015 she joined the Investigations Bureau where she records juvenile arrest information and drafts the on-call schedule as well as other investigation-related correspondence. She runs records/information checks for detectives in the field, and provides the city attorney personnel with detective assignment information. She is also a member of the Burbank Police Foundation Awards Luncheon committee.

Barker is the proud mother of two sons who want to follow their mother’s footsteps in public service. Davion, in his third year at the University of Nevada, Reno, plans to join the Air Force after graduation. Devin, an eighth-grader at Luther Middle School, hopes to become a Navy Seal after graduation.

Burbank Police Volunteer of the Year Soon Hee Newbold Rettig. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Soon Hee Newbold Rettig received Volunteer of the Year for 2016.

Rettig was born in Seoul, Korea, and was adopted as an infant by the Newbold family. She grew up in Frederick, Md. She began playing piano at five and violin at seven, winning many prestigious competitions. She performed as a young concert artist, appearing at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and Disney World and in countries like Scotland, England, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

She received her bachelor’s degree in music from James Madison University where she concentrated on film scoring, orchestration and audio production. Upon graduation, she worked at Walt Disney World as a contractor, stage manager and professional musician. She also produced albums and wrote for many recording projects and ensembles.

She expanded her experience to film and television. She got her first break in the film, “The Waterboy,” starring Adam Sandler, and first television role in the family comedy, “Camp Tanglefoot.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

For the past year she has worked with the Burbank Police Department’s Community Outreach and Personnel Services Bureau, producing and directing promotional videos and documenting through pictures and video the different police units, department training and community events. She also assisted with the expansion of the police department’s social media presence.

The Burbank Magnolia Park Optimist Club has served the community for more than 60 years. It meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month. It supports such programs as the High School Girls’ Golf Tournament, Live2Give Childhood Cancer Campaign, Burbank Optimist Halloween Event and the Burbank Unified School District Music and Business Programs.

For more information, contact Wydra at (818) 281-2094 or email harveywydra@yahoo.com.

Police Arrest Suspect in Stabbing that Resulted in Fatal Traffic Accident

Burbank police held a press conference Wednesday morning to announce an arrest in an accident which killed a Burbank man last year.

On December 9, 2016, at around 5:40 PM,  52-year-old Rodolfo Tan, a resident of Burbank, was struck by a minivan which had driven up onto the sidewalk near the intersection of Olive Avenue and San Fernando Boulevard. Tan, who was trapped under the vehicle, was rushed to a local hospital where he died as a result of his injuries.

Photo By Ross A. Benson

Police on scene learned that the driver of the minivan, a 33-year-old Glendale man, was stabbed in the chest prior to the collision and had lost control of his vehicle. The stabbing victim underwent emergency surgery and survived the attack.

Burbank Police Detectives discovered that an altercation and stabbing preceding the collision took place on Palm Avenue between Glenoaks Boulevard and Third Street, adjacent to the Burbank Police Department. Detectives located surveillance video showing the attack, the suspect, and the suspect’s vehicle. The ensuing investigation led Detectives to identify the suspect as Haroution Stepanyan, a 24 year-old man who resides in Glendale.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

On March 6, 2017, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against Stepanyan of one count of murder, for the death of Rodolfo Tan, and one count of attempted murder, for the stabbing of the minivan’s driver. A warrant was obtained for Stepanyan’s arrest.

On March 7, 2017, members of the San Gabriel Valley AB109 Task Force as well as the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force had information that Stepanyan was at a restaurant in the Glendale.

Officers established a surveillance of the location, and within a relatively short period of time, contacted Stepanyan and placed him under arrest.

Stepanyan is being held in-lieu of $3,075,000 bail and is due in court today.

Burbank Police Looking for Reserve Officers

For people who have a strong desire to enter law enforcement but already have an established career, one might consider the Burbank Police Reserve Officers program.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Candidates are put through a rigorous qualification regimen and attend the police academy. After graduation they are sworn in and are authorized to carry a firearm and perform the same law enforcement duties as a full-time police officer.

One difference is that a reserve officer serves without pay, but those interviewed said rewards are many, including a self-satisfaction of giving back to one’s community and keeping it safe. Reserve officers also create a special bond with their partner, working side-by-side problem-solving in stressful situations. Reserve officers do receive an annual stipend to cover uniform and general expenses.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

There was once as many as 45 people in the program and today only nine reserve officers remain, so officials are running a recruitment campaign.

Reserve Associations throughout the state and nation are experiencing a decrease in volunteers because of the level of commitment without renumeration, said Reserve Captain DeWayne Wolfer.

“Volunteerism is a thing of the past,” he said. “In the 1980s when we all came in, people were conscientious about volunteering. Nowadays — it’s a generational thing – it’s difficult to find people who will do something without being paid for it. Having said that, there is still a core of people who are willing.”

The commitment to the program is extensive. The police academy alone is a demanding 660 hours and when someone is going on a part-time basis, like all day on Saturdays and two nights during the week, it can take a year to complete. Many people with a full-time job have trouble making that kind of a commitment, Wolfer said.

Burbank Police Reserves left Steve Bellow and Lt. Ken Crossman. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“The recruitment rate is very low because we are very selective,” he said. “To be hired as a reserve officer, one must meet the same criteria as a regular police officer. That’s difficult to do without renumeration and secondly, to work your schedule to be able to get to the academy.”

Generally there are two types of people who join the reserve program, Wolfer said. First is a stepping-stone reserve, who is usually a younger person wth sights set on becoming a full-time police officer. The other is a career reserve, one who has an established profession but wants to volunteer in his off hours.

“They are looking for a change of pace.They want a little bit of excitement maybe or just want to volunteer,” he said.

Recruiters are focusing on candidates who are interested in becoming career reserves, but are also accepting applications from people who wish to use it as a stepping stone, Wolfer said.

Having a number of reserve officers is an integral element of the department, said Lt. John Dilibert, who retired from full-time service in October. Reserve officers not only help out at parades and community events but are instrumental as back-up during times of aircraft emergencies or natural disasters — like earthquakes and brush fires.

Reserve officers can be placed at the scene or assigned to patrolling other areas of the city, relieving full-time officers to devote their time to the emergency situation, Dilibert said.

Having reserve officers who live in Burbank can save time getting personnel out to an emergency call as many officers have moved to other areas, like Santa Clarita, he added.

“The more people we get helping us out, especially living in the city — they are giving back to the community — it makes all our jobs work together.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Each reserve officer now with the department has their own personalized case studies in which they assisted an individual in some type of police action or police intervention, said Deputy Chief Michael Albanese, who worked for 38 years with the Los Angeles Police Department before coming to the Burbank Police Department in 2010.

“The high marks I give these guys is in their professionalism, their dedication, their commitment to the law enforcement mission, which is a big, big deal,” he said.

What makes reserve officers so vital to the police department is the different life experiences they bring to the job. They have a passion for their career goals but they want to serve, he said.

It’s a special person who gives time without pay. One of those reserve officers is Steve Bellow,  Albanese said.

“He is a successful entrepreneur but on Fridays and Saturdays he makes a long drive from his home to serve in Burbank,” he said. “He was a full-time police officer and then became a reserve officer after creating a successful business.”

Another function of a reserve officer is filling in for full-time officers who are taking training courses or attending law enforcement conventions. In addition, reserve officers also participate in many hours of mandated training and all without pay, Albanese said.

Some reserve officers use the program as a stepping stone to joining the force full time, said Captain Ron Caruso, commander of the Reserves, who started his law enforcement career as a reserve police officer.

“They learn more about the job and see if it’s going to be a good fit for them, and others have always had an interest or passion for law enforcement but they already have a good career and they don’t want to give up that career,” he said.

Caruso was always attracted to opportunities that push a team atmosphere, he said.

“I was always involved in team sports and I also liked the appeal of discipline and doing something that was noble, that had a stronger purpose than other types of work, so it feels rewarding to do that type of work that we do although some of it is tedious and boring there are many times you are thrust into some really important situations and it really makes a difference.”

Officers receive great feedback also from the public, he added.

Burbank Police Reserve Steve Bellow. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“People who are either in tears hugging you or thanking you or giving you a thumbs up,” he said. “I’ve been in neighborhoods or business districts where you are maybe at the end of a pursuit or other dynamic situation and people come out and pat you on the back or offer you a Coke or something like that. In Burbank we get a lot of public support. So you feel good about that. You feel like you are one of the good guys. There is a lot of good work being done.”

One 30-year-plus reserve officer has combined his two passions. Ken Crossman, a reserve lieutenant, holds the distinction of being the first and only reserve motorcycle officer.

“I don’t know why,” he said. “It seemed like a lot of fun and hadn’t been done and I wrote a proposal and it took several years before I convinced them to let me try,” he said.

It wasn’t without challenge, however. Crossman had never ridden a motorcycle on the street, only dirt bikes off-road.

He went through two weeks of intense training at the police motorcycle driving school and that gave him the confidence to go out on the street.

“I became motor certified and that was 17 or 18 years ago,” he said.

It’s been a lot of fun, he said, but there are a lot of facets to the law, that when you are coming in only once a week, it’s hard to have that broad basic knowledge.

“In my case, with a background in the automotive industry, traffic division, which deals with cars, registrations and license plates, vehicle codes — was second nature. I like it and I like the motor pool — it’s kind of a niche,” he said. “We go to the community meetings and almost always the number one problem is traffic, so we get to go out and make a little bit of a difference. I enjoy that.”

Motorcycle officers’ primary assignment is traffic control, accidents and traffic prevention. They don’t normally take calls for service but in times of peak commuter times, motorcycle officers are often first to get to the scene of a call because they can get there quicker than a police car, he said. There are so many ways the motorcycle officer can assist.

“It’s really a rewarding position,” he said. “We all do philanthropy in our own way and for me it’s the most selfish philanthropy of all time because you are receiving something while giving back.”

At the end of a shift, Crossman said, he feels tired, but he doesn’t want to return to the station just yet because he’s having so much fun.

“But you’ve got to go in because you’re tired,” he said.

Burbank Police closed off the street to preserve the location where the victim was reported picked up from, awaiting Forensic Specialist to record evidence. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

There’s a lot of flexibility in the schedule. One can work as often as they feel like.

“The great thing about the police department is it’s 24/7, so if I want to go to work on Sunday night at 3 a.m., well guess what, they’re open,” he said. “They can always use another cop. You just show up. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Steve Perez, a 28-year veteran and sergeant with the reserves program retired in June but continued to give his time because of the great people.

“There is so much negativity in the world, but you look around at the people in the reserves program, they are very positive, very happy and they love what they are doing and I love being a part of that,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to give back to the city too! I grew up in Burbank. I went through all the schools. It’s a great city. I just wish I could give more time to the reserves program.”

Perez attributes his reserve experience as the reason he was hired as a jailer for the Pasadena Police Department, which is a full-time civilian job.

“A lot of times these young police officers will come into the jail and they’ll ask me ‘I’ve got this going on. What charge do you think I should charge him with’. So it makes you feel important. The only way I know that is because of the training and education I received in the reserves.”

Both men and women can apply. The hiring process for Burbank Police Reserve Officers mirrors that of regular officers. Applicants complete an oral and written exam to test their communication and decision-making skills as well as other qualifications.

After passing the exams, a physical agility test is given followed by a thorough background check. A medical and psychological examination are performed by specialists, followed by an interview with the Chief of Police.

A successful candidate is assigned to a six-month academy class. Upon graduation, a Reserve Officer completes a comprehensive field training program that equips him/her to perform law enforcement functions in support of regular police officers employed in all divisions of the department.

Burbank Police Reserves left Steve Bellow and Lt. Ken Crossman. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

When the reserve officer program started in 1951, the original members were called Auxiliaries and assisted the police department only in times of disaster.

In 1970 the State of California Peace Officer Standards and Training required standardized and mandatory training for all Reserve Peace Officers, who were subsequently given powers of arrest and authorization to carry out most all law enforcement functions.

Then in 1999, the standards and training organization mandated that all Level 1 Reserve Officers complete the same academy and field training as regular full-time officers.

For more information or to apply, contact Reserve Lt. Rick Mathewson at rmathewson@ci.burbank.ca.us.

Suspected Residential Burglary / Auto Theft Suspect Arrested

On February 18, 2017, at 6:20 PM, the Burbank Police Department took a report of a residential burglary that occurred in the 700 block of East Angeleno Avenue. The victims reported that $5,000 in cash had been stolen from their home, along with jewelry, credit cards, clothing, and their 2010 Honda Civic. The Honda was equipped with the LoJack stolen vehicle recovery system.

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

A short time later, while officers were still talking to the victim around 7:15 PM, the Burbank/Glendale Police Joint Air Support Unit picked up a LoJack signal associated with the stolen Honda in the downtown Burbank area. The Flight Crew saw the car driving and alerted responding police officers. The vehicle was then stopped by the Burbank Police near the intersection of San Fernando Blvd. and Magnolia Blvd. One male occupant inside the car was detained.

Further investigation at the scene of the traffic stop led to the recovery of the stolen money taken in the residential burglary on Angeleno Ave. The vehicle was also confirmed to be the Honda Civic stolen from the home. The suspect was identified as 38-year-old Nicolas Megee, a transient from the Santa Monica area. Megee admitted to committing the burglary and was placed under arrest.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s has filed one count each of residential burglary and grand theft auto against Megee. An additional charge of trespassing was also filed, after Megee implicated himself in the unlawful entry of another home in Burbank, where he took a bath and cut his hair.

Megee is currently being held in-lieu of $150,000 bail and is due in court later today.

Man Arrested After Pointing Airsoft Rifle at Mother and Son

Burbank police responded to the 1200 block of Reese Place on Thursday about  11:40 AM, the  regarding a man armed with what appeared to be an assault rifle.

Officers responding to the area and learned that the suspect had exited a nearby home holding the rifle, and then pointed it at a 47 year-old female victim who was with her 17 year-old son who believed the rifle was real and felt their lives were in immediate danger.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

A perimeter was established around the house in which the suspect was believed to be. With the assistance of an air support unit, several verbal announcements were made instructing the suspect to exit the home.

After a short time later, the suspect approached officers on foot and surrendered. The suspect was not in possession of the rifle at that time, but declared to officers that it was a BB gun.

Burbank Police Detectives conducted a search of the suspect’s residence pursuant to a search warrant and recovered an airsoft rifle resembling an automatic assault rifle (pictured).

The suspect has been identified as Jose Luevanos, 25, of Burbank. He was placed under arrest and booked for displaying an imitation firearm in a threatening manner, and is being held on $15,000 bail. Luevanos is due in court on Friday, February 17.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Police wanted to remind the community that the misuse of an imitation or replica firearm, like the one pictured, can result in potentially deadly consequences. Because of this, there are strict laws governing their misuse which carry serious penalties.

Suspected Gang Members Arrested For Little Caesars Armed Robbery

Burbank Police announced that they have arrested three documented gang members responsible for an armed robbery at Little Caesars Pizza, located at 1009 West Alameda Avenue just before 10:00 PM on December 27, 2016.

The robbery took place Shortly after closing when two suspects approached the business and were greeted at the door by a female employee. One of the suspects pointed a handgun at the employee and forced their way into the store. Once inside, the suspects demanded money from the register and before fleeing stole the employee’s purse, wallet and cell phone.

Within a short period of time, the suspects used one of the victim’s credit cards at a convenience store in Sun Valley.

On January 5, 2017, an attempt was made to purchase goods using the victim’s identity in the city of Glendale.  Glendale Police stopped the involved vehicle and found the victim’s identification and other documents inside the car, which was identified as the getaway car used in the Little Caesars robbery.

Burbank Police Detectives identified two juveniles and one adult involved in the robbery. The adult is Carlos Ramirez, 25, from North Hollywood. The two juveniles are both male, 15 and 16 years of age, from Hollywood and Los Angeles, respectively.

On January 25, Burbank Police Investigators served a search warrant at Ramirez’ residence and found clothing worn by the suspects during the robbery as well as a handgun, ammunition, and methamphetamine.

All three suspects were arrested and booked for armed robbery and identity theft with a gang enhancement. Both juvenile suspects were transported to Juvenile Hall. Ramirez is currently out on bond, pending his next court appearance.

Burbank Police Respond Quickly To Empire Center And Stop Shoplifting Suspect In Escape

The Burbank Police Department Responded Saturday night to the Empire Center For shoplifting that just occurred at the Nordstroms Rack in the Center. Once they arrived on scene, police were assisted by the 911 caller who tailed the suspect until officers could take over and was able to provide a good enough description of the suspects location and clothing description for a police helicopter to spot the suspect and guide units to him as he fled.

Officers on the ground were able to subdue the suspect without incident in the east side of the complex between some parked cars.

Photo gallery by Edward Tovmassian

Purse Snatcher Snatched Up by Burbank Police

Last week,  a woman sitting inside of McDonalds, located at 2565 Hollywood Way, saw a man enter the restaurant and stole her purse. The victim’s purse was sitting next to her at the time it was taken.

The victim chased the suspect as he ran towards the exit and struggled with him in the doorway, although the suspect was able to overpower the victim and fled with her purse to a vehicle nearby. A witness obtained a partial license plate number and a description of the suspect and the getaway car.

Within a short period of time, the suspect attempted to use one of the victim’s credit cards at a nearby business.

Investigators learned the suspect’s vehicle was a rental car recently leased to a Lance MacClellan, 29, of Los Angeles, who was on probation for robbery.

On January 20, Burbank Police Investigators went to MacClellan’s residence and located the rental car. They contacted MacClellan at his apartment, where they found the victim’s driver license, social security card and several of her credit cards. MacClellan was placed under arrest for robbery.

On January 24, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed one count of robbery and one count of identity theft against MacClellan. He is currently being held in-lieu of $75,000 bail. His next court date is scheduled for February 8.

The victim’s purse has not been located, with MacClellan telling investigators he discarded the purse shortly after the robbery.