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Suspects face felony burglary charges

Trio of alleged thieves are part of a larger crime network, police say.

April 09, 2012|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Prosecutors on Monday filed charges against three burglary suspects who police say are connected to a network of thieves targeting affluent neighborhoods.

Billie Bell, 24, of Inglewood, Andre Piolet, 26, of Ladera Heights and Lanay Pennel, 19, of Los Angeles were charged with felony first-degree residential burglary and felony evading an officer, according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court complaint.

The trio were arrested Thursday after witnesses spotted them fleeing from a home on the 800 block of Cumberland Road, police said. They led police on car chase to Atwater Village, where they fled on foot and were eventually arrested.

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Piolet faces an additional charge for misdemeanor resisting arrest, according to the complaint. Piolet has been convicted of the negligent discharge of a firearm as well as two convictions for first-degree burglary, according to court records.

As of Monday afternoon, Piolet and Pennel remained in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail. Bell, whose nickname is “Hitman,” was released Sunday after posting $75,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Police said the three are part of a burglary group, made up of South Los Angeles gangs that are breaking into upscale homes in Glendale and the Valley.

The Los Angeles Police Department has been working with Glendale police in a task force, which was created to better identify, locate and arrest burglars connected to the group.

The thieves operate by knocking on front doors during daytime hours to check if anyone is inside. Once convinced the home is empty, police say the thieves force entry and steal valuables that can be sold quickly for cash.

Police arrested four other men — Los Angeles residents Makalle Womack, 18, and Sammy Hodges, 20, as well as Inglewood residents Travis Bryant, 24, and Kevin Childs, 23 — they say are connected to the group last Tuesday. A seven-hour search for those three prompted a lockdown of some West Glendale neighborhoods.

They were later charged in connection with burglarizing an east Glendale home, police said.

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