L.A. County prosecutors have leveled two charges at a man local investigators say stole from a Home Depot and then brandished a firearm when confronted by loss prevention officers.
Deputies first responded to the Home Depot on Newhall Ranch Road on March 4 regarding an assault with a deadly weapon call, according to court documents obtained by The Signal.
The court documents provided the following summary of the incident:
The suspect, later identified as Fernando Cruz, 52, of Reseda, purchased a tool set and left the business, then re-entered the business and grabbed another copy of the same tool set and took it to the front desk to fraudulently return it and steal the cost.
The suspect received a refund of $152 and left the business.
A store loss prevention officer approached the suspect as he attempted to leave the location in his truck and the victim reported that Cruz flashed a gun and then drove away from the store.
Using information the victim left at the scene, including a photograph that was obtained, sheriff’s detectives determined the suspect’s identity and the identity of the person whose card was used for the initial purchase of the toolset, which was not Cruz.
In looking back at another unauthorized card purchase, investigators were able to find another incident in which Cruz is suspected of having performed a similar graft for a $294 toilet, using the card’s history to match with security footage from the Canyon Country Home Depot.
Detectives were able to have Cruz positively identified by the victims, according to court documents, which also indicated Cruz had a dozen firearms registered to his home.
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies later seized about 40 pieces of evidence, ranging from a collectible Jukar SP wood pirate gun to semiautomatic pistols and pump-action shotguns.
The county District Attorney’s Office filed one robbery charge and one shoplifting charge based on the two incidents, according to L.A. County Superior Court records available online.
Cruz was arrested July 12 in connection with the investigation by SCV deputies. He was booked at the local jail and held in lieu of $170,000 bail.
Sheriff’s Department arrest records available online indicate Cruz was released July 12 and charged Aug. 1.
He’s due back in court next month.