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Burglary suspects nabbed

Watchful neighbor tips deputies to crime; four arrested in connection with recent rash of break-ins

Posted: March 26, 2009 1:12 a.m.
Updated: March 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Four men were behind bars Wednesday in a string of recent residential burglaries, including one in which a garage door was kicked open and a TV, computers and a video game system stolen.

About 2 p.m. Tuesday a Canyon Country woman called the Sheriff's Station and said she watched a man knock on the door to her neighbor's house, climb the fence into the backyard and later load a TV and other items into a black Mercedes SUV before leaving.

The vehicle description produced by the woman matched that of a black Mercedes sport utility vehicle described in a report of a March 18 burglary in the 20000 block of Dorothy Street in Canyon Country, in which a garage door was kicked in.

Sheriff's deputies combed the Santa Clarita Valley Tuesday searching for the SUV.

Shortly before 4 p.m. deputies spotted a vehicle matching the description on Newhall Avenue near Valle del Oro and performed a traffic stop.

Detectives responded from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station and arrested Daniel Yacoub, 29, of Sherman Oaks; Thomas Nichols, 21, of Van Nuys; and Dino Venturella, 29, of Valencia.

Inside the SUV, detectives reportedly found video-game systems, license plates, cell phones, burglary tools and a pillowcase linked to one of the burglaries, among other things.

Yacoub and Nichols were on felony parole and are being held without bail. Venturella is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail. The trio was set to appear in court this morning.

Around 9:30 p.m., detectives served a search warrant at an apartment on Via Canon in Newhall, where they arrested Christopher Pawlik, 29.

He was booked on felony charges of receiving known stolen property, is being held in lieu of $40,000 bail and is set to appear in court this morning.

Inside the apartment, detectives reportedly found items believed to be stolen in local burglaries.

The cache included: a shotgun, a semiautomatic .22-caliber pistol, iPods, cameras, cell phones, video-game systems, night vision goggles, computers and a television. They also reportedly recovered counterfeit U.S. currency and an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine.

Sheriff's Capt. Anthony La Berge praised the woman who called to report the burglary.

"This is yet another perfect example of the community providing valuable information ... that ultimately helps us solve multiple crimes," sheriff's Capt. Anthony La Berge said in a statement. "We haven't seen the end of this case just yet."

A string of burglaries has plagued the Santa Clarita over the past several weeks.

Deputies are still on the lookout for a white, four-door vehicle - possibly a Mercedes SUV - that has been spotted at the scene of several recent burglaries in Castaic's Hasley Hills area and the Fair Oaks Ranch neighborhood of Canyon Country.

The two suspects have been described as a man and a woman.

Anyone with information on any of the burglaries can call the Sheriff's Station at (661) 255-1121. Tips can also be reported anonymously by calling (661) 284-2-TIP.


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