Venice: Collaboration and communication between community members, patrol officers and detectives in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Area led to the identification and arrest of a fugitive sex offender wanted in a series of sex crimes in the Venice canals area.
In the early morning hours of July 2, 2021, a female resident in the 500 block of Rialto Avenue awakened to find the suspect, 46-year-old Arnoldo Cruz of El Monte, reaching into her window and groping her. She screamed and fought him off, but he continued to lurk outside her window while indicating he wanted to sexually assault her. The victim called 911 and the suspect fled.
Detectives from LAPD Operations West Bureau’s Special Assault Section responded and began searching for video evidence. Detectives discovered a second victim who saw the suspect exposing himself outside her window several blocks away.
Using social media, they circulated a request for video footage and obtained photos of Cruz nearby. As they continued to look for additional cameras, detectives observed Cruz a few blocks away and arrested him on suspicion of assault with the intent to commit rape during the commission of a residential burglary. Neighbors later directed them to Cruz’s getaway vehicle, which he had left running near the original victim’s home.
"The Venice community united once again help us catch a very dangerous predator," said Captain Steven Embrich, Pacific Area’s commanding officer. "As soon as we asked for help, the leads started pouring in. Due to the great community partnership and a swift response by our officers and detectives, our community members can sleep soundly once again."
Investigators from Operations West Bureau’s Registration, Enforcement and Compliance Team researched Cruz’s criminal history and discovered that he was a registered sex offender in Colorado, but that he never registered with any California law enforcement agency.
Detectives are requesting that anyone with information that could lead to the identification of additional victims or witnesses to contact LAPD’s Operations West Bureau, Special Assault Section, at 213-473-0447. During non-business hours, or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may also visit www.lapdonline.org and click on "Anonymous Web Tips" under the Get Involved-Crime Stoppers" menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the "P3 Tips" mobile application and select the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.