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January 9, 2013

Six Charged with Santa Monica Art Theft

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , , — fayarfa @ 8:00 pm

LOS ANGELES – Six people are awaiting arraignment this afternoon in connection with the $3.2 million theft of paintings, wine, jewelry and a car from financier Jeffrey Gundlach in September, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Darren Agee Merager, 43, allegedly broke into Gundlach’s Santa Monica home between Sept. 12 and Sept. 13, 2012, and stole valuable art work, jewelry and wine, said Deputy District Attorney Alva Lin with the Airport Branch office. Merager then allegedly returned hours later and stole Gundlach’s Porsche at the behest of Jay Jeffrey Nieto, 45.

Nieto allegedly helped conceal the stolen art and other items at his Pasadena store. Pasadena police, who received a tip, and the Santa Monica Police Department investigated the case.

Charged as co-conspirators are Merager’s 68-year-old mother, Brenda Joyce Merager, and two brothers, 29-year-old Wanis George Wahba and his 26-year-old brother, Ely George Wahba. The three allegedly tried to sell and conceal the stolen items. In addition, Wilmer Bolosan Cadiz, 40, is charged with conspiracy and receiving stolen items.

The six, who are charged in case SA082879 with multiple counts, including first-degree residential burglary, conspiracy and receiving stolen property, are scheduled to be arraigned at the Los Angeles Superior Court, Airport Branch, in Department 144.

Prosecutors will ask that bail be set at $10 million for each defendant.

Merager, who has multiple prior convictions, is facing more than nine years in state prison if convicted.

December 25, 2012


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 4:39 pm

SANTA ANA - The first Orange County Three-Strikes defendant to be resentenced under Proposition 36 (Prop 36) was ordered released today over the objection of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA). Inmate/Defendant Dirk John Thomas, 51, filed a petition in Superior Court for consideration for resentencing.  The defendant was serving a 25 year to life sentence stemming from a 1996 possession of stolen property conviction (see below).

Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey resentenced Thomas to six years in state prison, for which he received credit for time served, and the defendant was ordered to be released from the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad.

Assistant District Attorney Ted Burnett vigorously opposed Thomas’ resentencing on behalf of the OCDA, arguing that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Thomas has a lengthy criminal history (see below), in which he repeatedly commits crimes every time he is released from prison and carious courts have warned that the defendant is a danger to the community. In addition to his many convictions, Thomas confessed to police and probation officers in 1989 that he had committed over 100 burglaries and thefts, for which he had not been caught. The People argued that the defendant’s past history makes him an unreasonable risk to the public and his 25 year to life sentence is appropriate based on his demonstrated propensity for committing crimes while free in the community and failure to cease the criminal behavior despite repeated punishment by imprisonment.

What is Prop 36?
In 1994, California voters passed the Three Strikes Law, which allowed state courts to impose a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for defendants convicted of two prior serious or violent felonies upon conviction of a new felony offense. As Three Strikes sentencing is imposed at the discretion of the presiding judge, less than 10 percent of defendants eligible to be sentenced under Three Strikes in Orange County received the 25 year to life sentence.


December 19, 2012


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 7:05 pm

NEWPORT BEACH - A firefighter has been charged with stealing $40 from a wallet in his Irvine fire station. Gregory Mark Konishi, 49, Rancho Santa Margarita, is charged with two misdemeanor counts of burglary and faces a sentence ranging from probation up to two years in jail if convicted. He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 27, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-8, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.

At the time of the crime, Konishi was a firefighter with the Orange County Fire Authority and worked in an Irvine fire station.

Prior to Sept. 28, 2012, a fire captain working in the same station as the defendant observed that small amounts of cash were missing periodically from his wallet. The captain subsequently placed a small, hidden video camera in his room at the fire station.

On Sept. 28, 2012, and Oct. 22, 2012, Konishi is accused of entering the victim’s room at the fire station and stealing $20 each time from the victim’s wallet without the victim’s knowledge or consent.

The Irvine Police Department investigated this case.

November 17, 2012


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 11:36 am

SANTA ANA - A man was convicted today of breaking into five Orange County homes and touching female victims who were sleeping inside, including sexually assaulting an 11 and 13 year old girl. Roberto Jacobo Reyes, 49, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of forcible lewd act on a child under 14, two felony counts of lewd act upon child under 14, and three felony counts of first degree residential burglary with sentencing enhancement allegations for committing lewd acts in the commission of residential burglaries, committing lewd acts on multiple victims, and for having a non-accomplice present during a residential burglary, and a sentencing enhancement for a 2003 prior strike for residential burglary. Reyes faces a maximum sentence of 194 years to life in state prison at his sentencing January 25, 2013, in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 11:00 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2010, Reyes entered the bedroom of 11-year-old Jane Doe #1 through a bedroom window while she slept. Jane Doe #1 awoke and Reyes held down the victim and covered her mouth so she was unable to scream. He fondled the victim’s vagina and breasts over her clothes. Jane Doe #1 was able to escape by kicking and pushing the defendant, who fled the home back out through the open window. Jane Doe #1 immediately told a relative, who called 911. The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) collected DNA evidence at the scene.

At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2010, Reyes broke into 13-year-old Jane Doe #2’s Santa Ana residence. Reyes rubbed Jane Doe #2 down the side of her body while she was sleeping. He woke Jane Doe #2, who immediately screamed. Reyes fled the scene through the back door. The victim’s mother called 911.


October 24, 2012

Defendant Sentenced in Celebrity Burglary Case

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:34 pm

LOS ANGELES – One of three remaining defendants of the so-called Bling Ring pleaded no contest today to burglarizing the home of Lindsay Lohan in 2009 and was sentenced, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Diana Tamayo, 22, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler to three years formal probation, ordered to complete 60 days of Caltrans and given credit for time served in jail.

In exchange for her plea, Deputy District Attorney Christine Kee asked that one felony count of conspiracy to commit burglary and one count of receiving stolen property be dismissed.

Tamayo was ordered to return to court on Nov. 8 for a restitution hearing.

The remaining two defendants in the celebrity burglary case — Courtney Leigh Ames, 21; and Roy Lopez, Jr., 30 – are also due in court on Nov. 8 for a pretrial hearing. Each is charged with conspiracy, first-degree residential burglary and receiving stolen property.

The three are part of a group of five people indicted in 2010. The indictment alleged that between September 2008 and August 2009, the group netted more than $3 million in jewelry, designer clothes and accessories from the homes of Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton, Brian Austin-Green and Megan Fox, Lindsay Lohan and Patridge.

The two ringleaders, Nicholas Prugo and Rachel Lee, pleaded earlier.

October 17, 2012

Transient Charged with Breaking into West Hollywood Home

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 4:25 pm

LOS ANGELES – A 22-year-old transient was charged today with breaking into the West Hollywood home of Frances Cobain, daughter of the later singer Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Marc James Franco, (dob 3-18-90), is scheduled to be arraigned
this afternoon at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Department 30, on one felony count of first degree burglary with a person present. Prosecutors will ask his bail be set at $500,000, said Deputy District Attorney Kaarin Axelsen.

Frances Cobain was out of town when a relative went to her home on Saturday to care for her dog and allegedly discovered Franco inside doing laundry. Franco allegedly claimed he was a friend of the victim, but the relative called police. After LAPD officers contacted the victim who told them she did not know the man, he was arrested.

If convicted, Franco faces up to six years in state prison.

October 12, 2012

A Boy and Two Girls Charged with Residential Burglary

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 3:22 pm

INGLEWOOD - Three juveniles arrested Monday during an alleged residential burglary in Lynwood are scheduled to be arraigned today, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

A 15-year-old boy, (dob 4-18-97); a 15-year-old girl, (dob 5-5-97); and a 14-year-old girl, (dob 11-14-97); are charged with three felony counts each of first-degree residential burglary and one felony count each of receiving stolen property, said Deputy District Attorney Dara Williams, deputy in charge of the Inglewood Juvenile branch.

The three, who allegedly were seen by witnesses carrying property out of a yard in the 24600 block of Falena Avenue in Lynwood on Monday, are scheduled to be arraigned today in Inglewood Juvenile Court, Department 240.

The 15-year-old boy, charged in case YJ37019, and the 14-year-old girl, charged in case YJ37018, are both detained. The 15-year-old girl, charged in case YJ37017, was placed on house arrest through the community detention program.

Sheriff’s deputies said all three ran away carrying stolen property when witnesses shouted at them to stop.

September 7, 2012

Octogenarian Charged with Burglary

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 3:09 pm

TORRANCE – An 82-year-old woman with a history of burglarizing offices was charged today with multiple counts of commercial burglary after she allegedly made after-hours visits to several South Bay doctors’ offices.

Doris Ann Gamble, aka Doris Thompson, is scheduled to be arraigned today at Torrance Superior Court, Department 4. She was charged in case YA085370 with seven counts of second-degree commercial burglary and one count of attempted commercial burglary.

Gamble, (dob 1-24-30), allegedly stole about $17,000 from various doctors’ offices between March and August by hiding out until closing time then pilfering from the cash drawers, prosecutors allege. The complaint alleges multiple prior convictions.

Gamble was arrested Thursday at an El Segundo motel by Torrance police.

Prosecutors are asking her bail be set at $260,000. If convicted, she faces more than five years in county jail.

August 25, 2012

Suspected Burglar Charged with Breaking into Rapper-Actor’s Home

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:51 am

VAN NUYS – A 56-year-old transient who allegedly broke into the Sherman Oaks home of rapper-actor LL Cool J while he and his family were sleeping was charged today with first-degree burglary with a person present, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jonathan A. Kirby, (dob 8-19-56), was charged as a Third Striker in a felony complaint for arrest warrant filed by Deputy District Attorney William Ryder. Prosecutors will ask bail be set at $1.1 million.

Kirby remains hospitalized with a broken nose, jaw and ribs after the actor – who plays a federal agent and former Navy SEAL on the TV show “NCIS: Los Angeles,” subdued the alleged intruder. Kirby allegedly broke into the home of the actor, whose real name is James Smith, Wednesday night, triggering an alarm.

Kirby’s arraignment will be announced later. If convicted, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 38 years to life in prison.

August 9, 2012

Man Charged in South Pasadena Burglary of Elderly Woman

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 6:44 pm

ALHAMBRA – A 49-year-old man was charged by the District Attorney’s Office today with residential burglary and other felony crimes in connection with Sunday’s robbery at the South Pasadena home of a 79-year-old woman.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Michelena said the victim was beaten during the robbery, but is expected to survive her wounds.

Alonzo Bernard Johnson, 49 (dob 10-31-1962), of Los Angeles, was charged in case No. GA 087078 with one count each of residential burglary, residential robbery and kidnapping. It was alleged in the complaint that Johnson personally inflicted great bodily injury on a victim over 70 years old, that he used a knife during commission of the crimes and that he had seven separate burglary or theft convictions dating back to 1981.

Johnson appeared briefly in Alhambra Superior Court this afternoon. His arraignment was put over until Aug. 17 in Dept. 5.

Authorities said a man entered the woman’s home early Sunday morning and overpowered her, threatening her with a paring knife he took from kitchen. He also beat her in the face with his fists and took her to various parts of the home seeking money, authorities said.

The attacker fled with a fistful of jewelry when the victim’s grandchildren arrived. Johnson was arrested a short time later by South Pasadena police.

The victim was hospitalized and is in stable condition, authorities said.

If convicted, Johnson faces a state prison term of life with the possibility of parole. The District Attorney’s Office recommended bail of $1.195 million. The defendant remains in custody.

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