SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department has arrested the suspect responsible for burglarizing a Verizon Wireless Store on August 28 at around 4:29 a.m. Authorities have taken into custody Equonne Howard, 25, of Los Angeles, for breaking into the business located at 1322 3rd Street.
According to Sgt. Rudy Camarena of the SMPD, the authorities received two false reports of an emergency prior to the burglary taking place. Police attempted to reach the caller, but had no success. They were unable to locate a reporting party or to identify that a crime took place.
Authorities later discovered the phone used to make the false calls came from Howard, who reported a suspicious package call at 10:15 a.m. near 12th Street and California Avenue. Upon arrival, police found a shoe box wrapped with brown duct tape that was making a ‘humming’ sound on the roof of a car parked in an open carport.
The Los Angeles County Arson and Explosives Detail responded and determined that the package contained an improvised explosive device (IED) manifested from caustic materials. Officials took the box to an off-site location and it was deemed safe.
Leads and evidence from the SMPD detectives and the Forensics Unit resulted in the finding of a link between the false calls, the burglary and the placement of the destructive device. They were all connected to Howard. Authorities served a search warrant at the suspect’s residence where they found additional evidence. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has been presented the case to determine criminal charges.
Canyon News spoke to Sgt. Rudy Camarena via email about the case. When asked about the loss of property to the electronics store, Sgt. Camarena stated, “The loss was approximately $14, 685 dollars in display electronics.” Authorities are not yet certain if an accomplice was involved in the crimes, but the investigation is still ongoing. He informed Canyon News the suspect did not resist arrest and that he does have priors for property crimes.
Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to contact Detective B. Cooper at (310) 458-8478, Sergeant M. Fine at (310) 458-8959 or the Watch Commander (24 hours) at (310) 458-2249.