Crime in Rossmoor is up this year largely because of a spike in home burglaries and vehicle thefts, but investigators believe they may have made a major break in the case.
Last month, an Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy made a traffic stop in the middle of the night, pulling over Brandon Lawrence Lebo, who was in possession of burglary tools and stolen goods, according to investigators.
According to the sheriff’s department, Lebo’s girlfriend, Rossmoor resident Melissa Hannaki was arrested in Corona in possession of a stolen car and drugs.
When police attempted to pull her over, “she took off and was throwing Methamphetamine and other stuff out the window,” said Lt. Bob Wren of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. “Methamphetamine and burglary go hand in hand.”
The two are believed to be part of an identity theft ring, and investigators are pouring over leads and DNA evidence to find out if the two are linked to some of the burglaries that have plagued the community, Wren said.
Hannaki is being held in Riverside County. Lebo pled not guilty to three counts related to stolen property, drugs and possession of burglary tools and remains in custody at the Orange County Jail. He is expected back in court for a pretrial hearing Friday.
There have been 28 residential burglaries in Rossmoor this year.
“The numbers are up in 2011, most of which can be attributed to property crimes,” Wren told the Rossmoor Community Services District Board of Directors last week. “We have had a very rough month as it relates to all types of theft from cars, just thefts in general.”
In addition to the property crimes, Rossmoor had one robbery in August in which a teenager was beset by four other teens, who robbed him of $13 at knifepoint, said Wren.
There has not been an arrest as, “there was just no additional information to go on whatsoever in that case,” added Wren.
While crime may be up in Rossmoor, deputy response times are way down - cut in half from last quarter, said Wren. Deputies have received 337 calls for service, and response times for priority one, or significant calls, have dropped from last year, he said. The drop is attributable to a new strategy aimed at having a deputy on duty in Rossmoor at all times, he added.
“Now we are going to expect you to keep replicating the same effort,” replied Board Second Vice President Ron Casey.
The accompanying video is provided by the Community Schools and Media Partnership, which records Rossmoor Community Services District and Los Alamitos city meetings along with community events and Los Alamitos High School sports games for viewing on Youtube.com.