In the early morning hours of Tuesday, March 10, Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena (BGP) Airport Police observed a vehicle driving eastbound on an Empire Ave. access road not open to the public, near the 4500 block of W. Empire Avenue. The driver, Charles Hampton, was stopped at 2800 W. Empire Ave. at 3:10 a.m. by Airport Police, with additional Airport Police units providing backup.
Airport Police had been on increased patrols in the 4500 block of Empire Ave. and surrounding areas since a few cars had been recently stolen from rental car company lots in the vicinity.
Hampton could not provide evidence of car ownership or a rental car agreement, so he was detained and searched by officers. During the search, officers located two additional sets of keys to two rental cars and burglary tools, including bolt cutters and a pry bar in his vehicle, according to Sgt. Darin Ryburn of the Burbank Police Department.
Airport Police officers conducted a search of the area of 4500 W. Empire Ave. and determined the fence line had been cut open to reach the rental car agency storage lot and a vehicle could be driven through the large opening, added Ryburn.
BGP Airport officers also determined the two sets of keys located in the suspect’s vehicle belonged to two rental cars from the lot. Although the officers recovered the keys to the rental vehicles, they could not locate them during the morning of March 10.
Hampton, age 36 and a resident of Los Angeles, was arrested for violation of section 459 of the California penal code for felony burglary. He was booked at the Burbank Jail and his bail was set at $20,000. The vehicle Hampton was driving was not reported stolen and was impounded.
After an extensive search, Burbank Police investigators located the two reported stolen vehicles on Wednesday, March 11, parked on streets nearby the Empire Ave. location. Investigators believe that Hampton removed the vehicles from the rental car lot just prior to him being stopped by BGP Airport officers and had intended to return at a later time to collect the stolen vehicles.
As of 2:00 p.m., March 12, Hampton has posted bail and left the Burbank Jail. BPD will present the case to the District Attorney for possible additional charges, said Ryburn.