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Porch Pirate Busted

Tarzana, CA - Acting on information gleaned from a local resident's home surveillance video, LAPD officers arrested Ramon Sean Horton, 32, at a home in Northridge, October 9, 2015. The investigation uncovered a mass of stolen property and a sophisticated operation of tracking delivery trucks to coordinate thefts. "We were incredulous when we saw the suspect on video following the UPS truck in a rented U-Haul pick-up," explained Capt. Paul Vernon, Commanding Officer of the West Valley Patrol Division. "Once at the suspect's house, we found they were tracking UPS trucks on a phone app, too." The case started the day before when Tarzana resident Rick Deckman got a phone alert that a package had been delivered by UPS on his porch, but when he got home later that evening, there was no package. Deckman scanned his home video system to the time when he first received the phone alert. He saw a tall, thin Black man taking the package off the porch and driving away in a rented pickup. Senior Lead Officer Daryl Scoggins took the lead on this case after Deckman sent him the video. "The video quality was excellent," Scoggins explained. "We were able to trace the license plate to a woman in Northridge. It was a great break for us. It's always a challenge to catch these porch pirates because there's rarely any leads." Officers served a search warrant Thursday evening after detaining Horton and home owner, Olga Efimova, 26, a few blocks away from the house. Detectives seized credit cards in the names of at least four other people, and noted a cache of merchandise, some of it still in the wrapper. They found Deckman's stolen package, plus packages from three other persons living in Tarzana and Reseda. Officers booked Horton and Efimova on charges related to theft by means of using another's credit card access. Horton may also be charged with mail and package theft. He is currently on probation, and his bail was set at $45,000. Efomova may be charged additionally with possession of methamphetamine and car embezzlement, for her failure to return the rented pickup. Her bail was set at $20,000.

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