California ‘Flash-Mob’ Burglary Suspect Released Hours After Arrest on Zero-Cash Bail

California ‘Flash-Mob’ Burglary Suspect Released Hours After Arrest on Zero-Cash Bail

A file photo of law enforcement agencies working together in arresting a suspect barricaded in a home in Orange County, Calif., on Oct. 4, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

8/21/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Two high-profile suspects in Los Angeles County were released within hours of their arrests on Aug. 18, drawing criticism by some about the county’s recently reinstated zero-cash bail policy.
Ivan Ramirez, the first suspect arrested in connection with the flash-mob burglary at the Glendale Yves Saint Laurent store this month, was issued a citation and released from custody, just hours after his arrest because of the policy.
Glendale police on Aug. 17 arrested Mr. Ramirez, 23, and booked him on felony charges including organized retail theft, burglary, grand theft, and conspiracy. He is one of at least 30 suspects in the Aug. 10 burglary at Glendale’s Americana at Brand mall.
According to county detention records, Mr. Ramirez was released the same day as state and local officials announced the formation of an Organized Retail Crimes Task Force to “crack down” on escalating flash-mob retail crime in the county.
Also, that same day, Gov. Gavin Newsom also pledged to triple law enforcement officers in the region as a way to tackle the problem.
Tim Lineberger, a spokesman for the Recall District Attorney George Gascón committee, which is suing the county registrar to certify its recall petition, called the task force announcement an “empty gesture.”
“It really is a [public relations] stunt that doesn’t have any teeth, because they’re not willing to enforce the law and prosecute criminals,” Mr. Lineberger told The Epoch Times. “You can put together any type of group like this, but if you don’t enforce it on the backend, it’s completely meaningless.”
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks at a news conference in Los Angeles, on Dec. 8, 2021. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks at a news conference in Los Angeles, on Dec. 8, 2021. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

The group’s petition was rejected by the county’s registrar who claimed nearly 27 percent of the nearly 716,000 signatures collected were invalid. After a 10-month review, the recall group alleges many of the rejected signatures were valid, according to Mr. Lineberger.
Mr. Gascón, the Los Angeles County district attorney, has advocated a controversial policy of reducing charges and eliminating cash bail for nonviolent misdemeanors and felony crimes since taking office in 2020.
Mr. Gascón wasn’t invited to the mayor’s retail crimes task force news conference, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass told FOX LA on Aug. 18.
She said, however, she thought Mr. Gascón would prosecute retail crime suspects charged by the task force.
“I have not talked to the [district attorney] but I have no reason to think that he wouldn’t [prosecute the retail crimes],” Ms. Bass said in the FOX LA interview.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore, who is helping spearhead the retail crimes task force, was “unable to comment” about Mr. Ramirez’s release because it was another law enforcement agency’s case, a spokesperson told The Epoch Times.

Prowler Not Charged

Meanwhile, serial prowler Calese Crowder, 37, of Glendale, was arrested Aug. 17 by Glendale police after he allegedly failed to register as a sex offender.
The suspect has a lengthy record of prowling, burglary, and peeping into residences while people were home, and was released a day before his arrest after serving one day of a 60-day sentence for peeping into a family’s residence when they were home with their children.
He pleaded no contest to the charges and was ordered to complete 52 weeks of a sexual impulse rehabilitation program and register as a sex offender, according to police reports.
Last week, Burbank police suspected Mr. Crowder in connection to a report of a man stalking and sniffing women at the Burbank Barnes and Nobel bookstore on Aug. 7.
Following his latest arrest, Mr. Crowder was released just before 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 18, after Mr. Gascón decided not to charge him for failing to register as a sex offender.
Calese Crowder, 37, of Glendale, Calif., was arrested on Aug. 17, 2023 by Glendale Police Department after failing to register as a sex offender. The Burbank Police Department suspects he may have been involved in stalking and sniffing women at the Barnes and Nobel Bookstore in Burbank in the previous week. (Courtesy of Glendale Police Department)

Calese Crowder, 37, of Glendale, Calif., was arrested on Aug. 17, 2023 by Glendale Police Department after failing to register as a sex offender. The Burbank Police Department suspects he may have been involved in stalking and sniffing women at the Barnes and Nobel Bookstore in Burbank in the previous week. (Courtesy of Glendale Police Department)

Mr. Gascón’s office claims that Glendale police didn’t provide enough evidence to charge Mr. Crowder.
“The law enforcement investigation into Mr. Crowder’s knowledge as to his registration requirements did not reveal sufficient evidence that he was provided adequate notification upon release from custody to prove he was aware of his specific registration duties,” Gascón’s office told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.
According to the state’s penal code, Mr. Crowder had five business days to register with the Glendale police. The law requires detention officials to inform sex offenders of their duty to register.
The district attorney also is unable to file any additional charges against the suspect until a case is presented by law enforcement, Gascón’s office said.
Mr. Lineberger, the recall effort’s spokesman, said not charging Crowder sends a dangerous message.
“It’s just emblematic of so many criminals George Gascón let off easily or has not prosecuted at all,” he said. “People feel like they can get away with anything they want. They know he’s on their side.”
A Glendale Police Department spokesman didn’t return a request for comment by press time.

Crime Wave Continues

Despite facing a tropical storm in the region, groups of thieves struck several establishments again last weekend.
A Nike store in East Los Angeles was burglarized three times on Aug. 19 and 20 by four suspects, according to what appears to be an internal email written by Los Angeles Sheriff’s Sgt. Reginald Hoffman that was posted by former Sheriff Alex Villanueva on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“This is embarrassing,” Mr. Villanueva said in the post.
According to the email, Mr. Hoffman said three men and one woman took over $2,000 worth of merchandise from the store located on Whittier Boulevard on Aug. 20. The store has also burglarized two times the day before, over the span of an hour.
The LAPD also reported a rash of crimes targeting five kosher restaurants on Aug. 19, according to media reports. The smash-and-grab thefts reportedly involved numerous male suspects wearing dark clothing. The thefts occurred in the heart of Los Angeles’s Jewish Community on West Pico Boulevard and involved Nagila Pizza, Fisherman’s Bowl, Shanghai Diamond Garden, SushiKo, and Shalom Grill.
“This is unacceptable in Los Angeles!” Los Angeles County prosecutor Jonathan Hatami, who is running for district attorney in 2024, posted on X. “I’m confident the LAPD will fully investigate these crimes but we all need to make sure Gascon, who has been silent on the matter, files the appropriate charges and does his job.”

Zero-Bail Policy

Los Angeles County returned to a “zero-bail” policy on May 24 after the county was sued by a civil rights organization. A Superior Court judge ordered the county to reinstate its COVID-19 bail policy temporarily while the lawsuit is decided, saying cash bail is unconstitutional for those who can’t afford to pay.
The city, county, and law enforcement agencies didn’t testify in the case but did in a follow-up court hearing on Aug. 7, telling the judge the no-cash bail policy has resulted in increased crime.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore speaks to media about fallen LAPD officer Fernando Arroyos in Los Angeles on Feb. 2, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore speaks to media about fallen LAPD officer Fernando Arroyos in Los Angeles on Feb. 2, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

LAPD Chief Moore told the judge that criminals who offend repeatedly need to be held accountable. He told reporters after the hearing that 76 people released on the zero-bail system since May had been arrested again for another crime.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna’s testimony, since the county reinstated the zero-cash bail policy, his department had arrested 1,573 people, 226 of whom were released and arrested again for a different crime.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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