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Sheriff’s deputies in West Hollywood made three arrests recently that ended a series of street robberies and business burglaries that occurred in November.
One suspect was arrested for two armed robberies, while two other suspects were taken into custody for unrelated business break-ins. All three of the suspects are currently in custody awaiting court proceedings, according to Lt. Lawrence Del Mese, with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.
The suspect in the robberies, Catarino A. Gomez, 41, was arrested on Nov. 18 after he allegedly robbed a victim at gunpoint who was sitting in a vehicle in a carport in the 900 block of Phyllis Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Del Mese said the suspect fled the scene, but was found hiding in some bushes a short distance away.
“The victim didn’t have any cash, so all the suspect took was a driver’s license and a cell phone,” Del Mese said. “A witness called police and told us where he was hiding, and we located the suspect.”
Del Mese said deputies found the victim’s stolen property in Gomez’s possession, as well as a pellet gun he allegedly used in the robbery. Authorities also found items stolen from a previous street robbery that occurred on Nov. 13 in the 900 block of Ogden Ave. In that robbery, a victim was walking on the sidewalk around 3:30 a.m. when she saw a brown Toyota drive past and turn out of sight. A few minutes later, the victim heard the footsteps of someone approaching from behind, and was then physically accosted by the alleged suspect, who was armed with a handgun. The suspect stole the victim’s purse and fled. Del Mese said the that victim’s identification was also found in Gomez’s possession when he was arrested. Gomez also gave additional information to investigators during questioning that implicated him in both robberies, Del Mese added. Gomez was charged with two counts of armed robbery and one count of receiving stolen property.
“He had a previous criminal history and was on parole,” Del Mese said. “His criminal history included drug transportation and thefts, and apparently, he hadn’t stopped.”
The series of commercial burglaries occurred on Nov. 21 and 22 at several locations on Santa Monica Boulevard. Del Mese said they involved suspects smashing a window and burglarizing the businesses. The property stolen included cash and small items of value that could easily be sold on the streets, Del Mese added.
The suspects, Henry Kennedy, 63, and David Henderson, 49, were arrested on Nov. 23 in the 8200 block of Santa Monica Boulevard after the owner of one of the businesses that was burglarized — the Green Leaves Restaurant at 8351 Santa Monica Blvd. — recognized them from surveillance footage and called police. Kennedy and Henderson, who Del Mese said were homeless, were allegedly still hanging around the area when the business owner recognized them.
“All of these burglaries occurred in a cluster in the same couple of blocks,” Del Mese said. “They would smash windows and grab anything of value.”
The other businesses that were burglarized included Elite Animals, Joey’s Café, West Hollywood Beauty Supply, The Flowering Tree and Half Off Clothing Store. Deputies recovered items from the suspects that were allegedly stolen in some of the burglaries, including merchandise stolen from the Green Leaves Café. Del Mese said the suspects used a metal utility valve cover to smash the windows. Kennedy and Henderson have both been charged with commercial burglary and remain in custody.
Del Mese said “window smash” commercial burglaries are not common in West Hollywood, but do occur from time to time. He warned business owners not to leave valuables near windows, and added that surveillance cameras are an important security feature.
“They were recognized on the surveillance footage, which was the break in the case,” Del Mese said. “Those are the kinds of things businesses can do to protect themselves.”
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