Los Angeles: Los Angeles police and Councilmember Jan Perry announced the arrest of 24-year-old Michael Rivas of Hawaiian Gardens for looting during the June-14 melee that followed the Lakers championship game. The arrest is the twentieth made related to the melee and the first since June 15 when two persons were arrested for receiving stolen property.
"In the pictures, Mr. Rivas is laughing as he loads cases of soft drinks into a car," said Lt. Paul Vernon, head of detectives downtown. "He wasn’t laughing when we showed up at his job to arrest him last Friday."
Detectives used video footage from the Shell gas station, located at 504 West Olympic Boulevard, as well as well public-domain stills and video posted on Flickr and Youtube, to identify Rivas as the man seen loading cases of soft drinks into a car. "It’s nearly impossible to stay anonymous in this age of cell phones, video, and social websites; and that’s a good thing, if it holds people more accountable for their behavior," Lt. Vernon added.
"We hope this arrest will be a deterrent to irresponsible, impulsive behavior during large gatherings downtown," said Captain Blake Chow, who commands the downtown Central Police Station. "We have a state-of-the-art entertainment district surrounded by burgeoning business and residential communities. We cannot allow bad behavior to impose on others’ enjoyment and right to live peaceably."
"Conservative loss estimates are $300,000, in broken windows, damaged cars, and stolen property," said Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz, commanding officer of Operations-Central Bureau. "And that’s a loss to all of us as taxpayers, government, private persons, and business. It isn’t right, and it’s never justified under any circumstances, so let’s do everything we can to deter and discourage it for the future."
City Councilmember Jan Perry, 9th City Council District, thanked the detectives for their good work, and she reminded everyone of the $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of persons responsible for the 29 crimes committed, ranging from assault to vandalism. "There are many more pictures of people acting irresponsibly and illegally. Please help these officers find them so we can all enjoy our many entertainment outlets downtown without the fear of being hurt."
Rivas is a security guard at a Whittier hospital, where he was arrested Friday morning, September 25. He was charged with burglary, with a special circumstance for looting. His bail was set at $20,000.
Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD Central Division burglary detectives at 213-972-1228. Calls also may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247). Callers may text "crimes" with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with "LAPD." Tipsters may remain anonymous.