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Vehicle Burglar Arrested After Call from Alert Neighbor

The quick thinking of a resident in East Altadena resulted in an El Monte man being arrested for four counts of vehicle burglary.

A suspected vehicle burglar was arrested early Wednesday morning near the intersection of Glen Canyon and Roosevelt after an East Altadena resident spotted him looking through a neighbor's car trunk and called the Sheriff's Department.   

James Lewis, 38, of El Monte has been linked to four vehicle burglaries in Altadena, according to Lt. Michael White of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and investigators are still looking into whether he may have committed more.

An East Altadena resident spotted a man looking through the trunk of their neighbor's car around 5:15 a.m.

His wife dialed the Sheriff's Department, and the man who spotted the burglar went out in his car and drove through the neighborhood attempting to track the suspect, who was carrying bags with some of the things he had taken from cars in the neighborhood.

At one point, the suspect hopped a fence to someone's backyard and disappeared from site, leaving his bag of goods behind.  

Shortly after that several neighbors were standing outside and speaking to a neighbor about what had happened, and suddenly the burglary suspect emerged from a driveway and walked right by them, heading for his car.

Before the suspect could take off in his truck, Sheriff's deputies arrived on the scene and made the arrest.

The neighbor also noted that the burglar's behavior was somewhat odd in at least one respect: he left a cup and a lighter in one car that he stole items from, suggesting that he might have been hanging out and smoking in the car.

The photos on right come from resident Steve Bass, who spotted the arrest taking place.

Lewis is in county custody being held in lieu of $20,000 bail, according to Sheriff's Department records.

Editor's note: The name of the couple that spotted the burglar has been removed at their request.

Donna June 10, 2012 at 06:15 PM
cant believe they finally caught this guy, hopefully he's the same man from all the recent car break in's
JuliannaSmith June 20, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Gosh, can you imagine yourself in the shoes of the poor victims? All the savings spent to purchase the things the culprits stole in just a short span of time, it sucks. Luckily, the robberies happened when there was nobody home because it could have been worse. Somebody might have got hurt. My parents had been through that same experience a few months ago. It even led to the heart attack of my father. Luckily both my parents are subscribed to a personal safety solution designed for adults. Seeing my dad clutching his chest on the sofa, my mom pressed the Panic Button which saved my dad's life. That button immediately notified the system of the application and notified the nearest 911 in the area which responded immediately. I checked it out and I found out that it also enables location monitoring through GPS technology. That incident proved that the application works for real. I am impressed and thankful for this innovation. Here is the link: https://safetrec.com/

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