LEAPS helps catch Walmart thieves

Deputy Jared Fletcher monitors recorded video of the incident using the Lancaster Station's Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System (LEAPS). (Photo courtesy LASD)

Deputy Jared Fletcher monitors recorded video of the incident using the Lancaster Station’s Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System (LEAPS). (Photo courtesy LASD)

LANCASTER – Three male theft suspects were taken into custody late Monday morning after fleeing and being located the Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System (LEAPS), authorities said.

The alleged theft happened shortly before 11:34 a.m. Monday at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, located at 44665 Valley Central Way in Lancaster, according to Sergeant Robbie Royster.

The following is the press release from the Lancaster Sheriff Station:

Anthony Blake (20 years old) and two juveniles entered the Wal-Mart Supercenter, and proceeded to fill a shopping cart full of items, and exited the garden center entrance. Once outside of the store, Blake and one of the juveniles began pushing the cart full of stolen property around the north side of the building, while the second juvenile separated and left towards the south side of the complex.

Wal-Mart loss prevention officers attempted to detain Blake and the juvenile near the automotive area, when Blake simulated having a firearm behind his back and threatened to assault the loss prevention officer.

The loss prevention officer dialed 911 and watched as Blake and the juvenile attempted to push the cart of merchandise out of the parking lot. The shopping cart’s wheels locked once crossing the perimeter line, and Blake and the juvenile abandoned it and fled into the neighborhood west of the shopping center.

 LEAPS was launched on August 2011.

LEAPS was launched on August 2011.

Deputy Jared Fletcher, assigned to the LEAPS program, began scanning the neighborhood via the video console. While scanning the neighborhood directly west of the shopping center, he observed the three suspects had regrouped and were running northbound Tarragon Drive through residents’ front yards.

Deputy Fletcher coordinated responding units to the suspects. One of the juveniles was detained, while Blake and the other juvenile fled into the backyard of one of the homes. Deputy Fletcher used the LEAPS program to watch as the suspects exited the neighborhood through a wash basin and began running Westbound Avenue J from 25th Street West. They traveled south across Avenue J, almost causing a traffic collision, and ran into another neighborhood south of Avenue J off of MacFarlane Drive.

Deputy Fletcher continually updated responding units of the suspects’ locations, and deputies detained Blake and the remaining juvenile on MacFarlane Drive.

The juvenile immediately surrendered to deputies, while Blake continued running southbound into residences’ back yards. At one point, Blake positioned himself in the side yard of a home located in between 25th Street West and Lively Avenue.

Blake continued to run between two sheds in the side yard attempting to hide from ground units containing the location. His attempt to hide from ground units proved unsuccessful, as Deputy Fletcher continually monitored him from the LEAPS console and guided ground units to his exact location. Blake eventually surrendered in the back yard of one of the residences.

Both Blake and the 14-year-old juvenile who threatened the loss prevention officer were booked on charges of robbery. The other 17-year-old juvenile was booked on charges of burglary. All three suspects reside in the Lancaster area. The ongoing investigation is being handled by the Lancaster Station Detective Bureau.

Previous related stories:

LEAPS helps deputies catch armed suspect

LEAPS helps catch absconded sex offender

LEAPS helps catch burglary suspect

LEAPS helps deputies find suicidal man

Progress report on “Eye in the Sky”

LEAPS aids capture of double murder suspect

  22 comments for “LEAPS helps catch Walmart thieves

  1. Nancy P
    September 3, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Did these guys have a car in the parking lot or were they just walking off with the shopping cart full of stuff? Do they live in an adjacent neighborhood?

  2. Turd Ferguson
    September 3, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Kill the fatted calf!Kill the fatted calf!Sound the alarm!Sound the alarm!Ring the bell!Ring the bell!LEAPS to the rescue!LEAPS to the rescue!One year and $1,080,000.00 later and LEAPS catches a criminal! One year and $1,080,000.00 later and LEAPS catches a criminal!Close the BLVD and have a parade!Close the BLVD and have a parade!This could never have been done without LEAPS! This could never have been done without LEAPS!Except with the Sherriff’s heliocopter!Except with the Sherriff’s heliocopter!Which is in our Sherriff’s contract.Which is in our Sherriff’s contract.We pay twice for air surveillance.We pay twice for air survelliance.$90,000.00 a month for LEAPS for 10 years.$90,000.00 a month for LEAPS for 10 years.That is $10,800,000.00. That is $10,800,000.00.For what a Sherriff’s heliocopter can do.For what a Sherriff’s heliocopter can do.Who owns LEAPS?Who owns LEAPS?Who gets the $10,800,000.00.We can hire a lot of Sherriff’s for $10,800,000.00.We can hire a lot of Sherriff’s for $10,800,000.00.No to LEAPS.No to LEAPS.Yes to Sherriff’s.Yes to Sherriff’s.More boots on the ground.More boots on the ground.Frank has enough money.Frank has enough money.Hire more Sherriff’s.Hire more Sherriffs.More boots on the ground.More boots on the ground.

  3. The Anti-REX
    September 3, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Excellent return on our taxpayer money $90,000.00 to catch $300 in merchandise.

  4. where is the JUSTICE
    September 3, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    okay wow wooopty do LEAPS CAUGHT A person out of all the crimes that have been comitted a couple of people have been caught , but its bull crap cause where the hell is it at when we need it like when my child ran away she could of been found right away if the leaps was really doing its job or even better it should of caught the robbery suspect who robbed my nieghbors instead the invade my privacy , embaressed in front of the whole nieghbor hood had us detained for 7 hours including my 89 year old great gma who has cancer and made her get out of bed and come out her room and even questioned her and the rest of my fam like we were some criminals…..so messed up that we have no one to help us poor helpless people against being violated by law enforcment…… instead of them using leaps to catch these skanless people and the poor familys property they didnt they just thrashed our house and found nothing …….all these cops need to be transfered out of the av. besides dep. hodrick hes tight!

    • Gemini
      September 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      Whaaaaat? Why did your kid run away? As for what you’ve written, sounds like you are very uncooperative with the police and all you do is rant and rave.

      They gotta do what they gotta do. I wouldn’t like it either but if they didn’t, I would think they’re not doing their job. Our LASD in the AV is basically good. Maybe a few are bullies but if you cooperate, they’ll be easy on you.

      Hope they found your daughter!

  5. Yo Mama
    September 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Turd? Turd?

  6. Nancy P
    September 3, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Thanks you for sharing this example of how LEAPS should and can work. I wonder why it worked so well this time and has not been successful other times. Was it the 911 call from Store Security? I hope this is the beginning of a trend for more robbers being caught.

    • Rooney
      September 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      I agree Nancy. From what’s on the post up top, many criminals have been caught.

      My husband, a retired LASD, says they should use a helicopter, not a plane because it’s much cheaper and they can go places a plane can’t.

      As for Walmart, a friend of mine in the corporation says they have cut down on their security, but whether or not that’s true now is another story.

      If we see something suspicious, take a pic with your cell phone and call 911. We should help too, not just complain about what’s not being done.

      • Adam Chant
        September 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm

        You can even search this information here, but a helicopter costs over twice as much to operate per hour as LEAPS does. $800/hr vs. $300/hr. Those are real numbers based on the most resent LASD contract.

      • Nancy P
        September 3, 2013 at 4:10 pm

        I realize there have been a few other criminals caught with assistance from LEAPS. Not enough to pay for it or make most of the community happy about the Mayor paying so much for it.
        Since Lancaster is paying for the plane, we should use it and expect it to be an effective crime fighting tool.
        Where can a helicopter fly in the open sky above this city that the plane can’t fly? Just curious.
        If I see suspicious activity around a friends house, I let them know. They can call the cops if they want to. I don’t call the station for anything anymore.

        • Rooney
          September 3, 2013 at 7:33 pm

          Actually, the helicopters have been used for flying over the desert, looking for criminals, dead bodies, empty cars etc., as they can fly low and land.

          So many up here complain about the crime we have but they don’t want to spend the money to clean it up. How funny! Whatever it takes to pay our cops and hire more, I’m all for.

          • Turd Ferguson
            September 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm

            Yes pay our Sherriff’s.Yes pay our Sherriff’s.Quit wasting money on LEAPS.Quit wasting money on LEAPS.How many Sherriff’s can you hire for $90,000.00 a month?How many Sherriff’s can you hire for $90,000.00 a month?We are paying twice for aerial support.We are paying twice for aerial support.No to LEAPS.No to LEAPS.

  7. Aaron P
    September 3, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Ok so how much does WAL Mart pay for LEAPS to catch their scumbag thieves. A few hundred dollars worth of merchandise vs the $90,000.00 a month for LEAPS. Wal Mart has a very poor Loss Prevention group plus they usually don’t prosecute but just get there merchandise back and kick them loose. The Loss Prevention person should of been armed and blasted the guy who appeared to carrying.

    • AvGirl
      September 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Then we will have people holding rallies and marches for the thieves if someone shoots them.

      • sikntired
        September 3, 2013 at 3:56 pm


  8. Scott Pelka
    September 3, 2013 at 9:04 am

    The moral of the story.. Shop Palmdale.

    • sikntired
      September 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Yeah dawg!

    • Rooney
      September 3, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Palmdale Walmart has been robbed many times. It’s everywhere all over this valley.

      As far as LEAPS, they’re doing their jobs and doing it well. Aaron, I hope you’re never in need of help because you’d probably as how much it costs first. We have so much crime up here now that we need all the help we can get.

      • sikntired
        September 3, 2013 at 11:01 am

        Shop Palmdale!

        • thomas
          September 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm

          Shop Santa Clarita

          • Yo Mama
            September 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm

            Amazon. Keeps you away from idiots at the stores altogether. The only way to go. Now I love shopping for the Winter Solstice!

          • Chris
            September 3, 2013 at 4:07 pm

            The Santa Clarita walmarts are just as bad. The one off of Carl Boyer was the first one in SoCal to bar up its makeup, because they were having record breaking thefts.

Comments are closed.