Off-duty officer helps in arrest after suspected package thefts

Santa Clarita Valley deputies shared a picture on Facebook of merchandise found in the back of a car, which they believe was stolen property. COURTESY SCV Sheriff's Station

An off-duty law enforcement officer with a watchful eye helped Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies catch a Van Nuys couple they suspect of stealing numerous packages in the SCV.

Deputies were first alerted to two theft suspects after an off-duty law enforcement officer contacted the station around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Deputies responded to the neighborhood near the intersection of Sunset Hills and McBean Parkway in Valencia, after receiving a “theft-occurring-now call,” according to an email from Deputy Natalie Arriaga of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

Upon arrival, deputies learned the off-duty officer, who was not identified by Sheriff’s Station officials, noticed a vehicle from “past porch thefts” driving near the intersection of Brookdale Court and Springtree Place in Valencia, Arriaga noted.

“The officer proceeded to follow the vehicle and identified the occupants of the vehicle as the suspects wanted for past thefts,” she wrote. The officer initiated a traffic stop off Mcbean Parkway in Valencia and notified the SCV Sheriff’s Station. 

As the off-duty officer was speaking with the suspects, the male suspect, 25-year-old Tobias Gonzalezsandova, “attempted to flee in the vehicle while the officer was attempting to detain him,” Arriaga added. The officer reportedly was able to remove the keys from the vehicle as the suspect was trying to do this, managing to avoid injury while keeping the suspects detained for deputies.

Deputies arrived, took custody of the suspects and searched the suspects’ vehicle. After searching the car, deputies recovered several packages believed to be stolen.

The man was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and petty theft. The passenger, a 28-year-old woman named Yelin Lopez, was arrested on suspicion of petty theft. 

Lopez was released 10:26 a.m. Wednesday. 

Sheriff’s Department records indicate Lopez was also arrested at 1:30 a.m. Dec. 14 by Los Angeles Police Department officers from the West Valley Division. The charge information was not immediately available. She was released 10 hours later per LASD records, on her own recognizance.

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