Last Update: Thursday, December 05, 2013
|Arleta Neighborhood Eyesore Raided by Police|
|Written by Alex Garcia|
|Thursday, 12 September 2013 06:07|
For months, neighbors had avoided and complained about the house at 9147 Hazeltine Ave. in Arleta, a residence that had gone into disrepair and become an eyesore in the neighborhood. Even more problematic was the fact that strange people seemed to go in and out of the house.
All that came to a stop on Sept. 5 when various law enforcement agencies, acting on a tip about two women burglars, converged on the property.
Detectives from the LAPD Mission Station, building inspectors, U.S. Postal inspectors, and investigators from the county Department of Children and Family Services combined to conduct a probation search. The inspection led to the arrest of two people for charges related to drugs, and another person being charged for having an outstanding arrest warrant for building and safety violations.
The home also contained eight dogs, one of which bit a postal inspector on the butt. She was not seriously injured, and the Department of Animal Regulations removed the animals.
"Melissa Reis, who was on probation, was at the home which gave us the authority to search the house," explained Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division. "The home had become a flop house for meth users and a total blight on the neighborhood."
Detectives believed Reis and another woman were responsible for thefts of mailed packages off porches in the neighborhood, hence the postal inspectors' interest. And city building inspectors have the authority to red-tag homes that are unsafe.
Senior Lead Officers Sean Smith and Phil Ruiz made the house a special project of theirs, knowing it had become the unattractive nuisance of the neighborhood. But without any real proof of any law breaking at the house, they had no way of going inside.
"Everyone knew the house was a problem, but we have to follow the law to do something about it," explained Officer Ruiz. "It takes time, and sometimes we have to be creative in how we address these qualityof- life issues."
"This place was a real hovel, and the stream of illicit visitors was causing havoc in the neighborhood," added Vernon. "The building inspectors were able to board up this house and place a lien on it so we can legally keep people out.
"The neighbors were really appreciative, too."
At the house, detectives seized one of the biggest rocks of methamphetamine any of the officers had ever seen. They also found stolen mail, evidence of identity theft operations, and filthy conditions of human and dog excrement throughout the house and property.
Reis, 40, was booked on a charge of methamphetamine possession and her probation was revoked. Daniel Brody, 38, was booked on a charge of possession of methamphetamine for sale. And Shay Sowden, 37, the homeowner was booked on a warrant for building and safety violations. He had failed to appear in court the day before the home search to address building and safety violations.
According to police, Sowden admitted to detectives that he has been addicted to opiates since he was 9-years-old, yet is able to function as a robotics expert for Honda. "By all accounts, he's a genius, but he's taken his life down a path of addiction that's affected his quality of life and his neighbors', to say the least," Vernon said.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 12 September 2013 06:12|