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    Observant, Off-Duty LBPD East Division Watch Commander -- On His Way Home -- Spots Suspicious Activity in ELB Neighborhood; Cops Nab Suspect Allegedly Finishing All Night Burglary Spree Near Spring/Studebaker, Allegedly Targeted Area b/w Spring-Willow, Bellflower-Studebaker

    (July 16, 2003) -- ELB residents in the area of Spring St. and Studebaker Rd. may not have realized it when they heard an LBPD helicopter whirring above them about 6:00 a.m. today...but they were hearing the sound of some quick thinking police work -- beyond the call of duty -- that LBPD now believes has made a large part of ELB safer.

    LBPD Public Information Officer Paul LeBaron tells that East Division Watch Commander Lt. Tom Morgan had just finished the graveyard shift, was off-duty and on his way home when he noticed something out of place: a man coming out of a garage in the 2800 block of Petaluma Ave. wearing a backpack.

    Lt. Morgan had worked all night -- and had no back up or protective gear -- but followed the suspect...and the suspect ran. Lt. Morgan called for assistance and LBPD East Div. morning Watch Commander Lt. John Lembe and LBPD officers moved swiftly to set up a perimeter.

    In the 3100 block of Petaluma Ave., LBPD apprehended William Shelton, 24 (photo right) of Huntington Beach.

    Then LBPD Detective Jose Yarrus went to work. LBPD's investigation revealed that Shelton was allegedly finishing an all night burglary spree and was targeting unlocked garages and cars in the large ELB residential area extending from Spring Street to Willow St., Bellflower Blvd. to Studebaker Rd.

    Sgt. LeBaron told that Shelton allegedly victimized unlocked cars and garages...meaning an effective defense for residents would be to make sure their cars and garages are locked.

    Suspect Wm Shelton
    LBPD released photo

    LBPD's investigation indicated Shelton might have committed similar crimes in the cities of Bellflower, Lakewood and Fountain Valley and Garden Grove (in the latter allegedly using the cover of darkness on July 11 and 12).

    Shelton has been booked on charges of burglary, garage burglary, possession of a controlled substance and parole violation.

    All this, thanks to an off-duty LBPD Lieutenant who showed selfless and sharp police instincts, backed up by fast work from East Division's on-duty crew.

    LBPD is interested in hearing from anyone (especially in ELB) who may have seen Shelton in the neighborhood. Contact Det. Jose Yarruhs of LBPD's Burglary Detail at (562) 570-7351.

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