Caught in Action

Around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, a surveillance camera from a residence on Pacific Coast Highway recorded a vehicle driving back and forth, according to Detective Justin Solomon with the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station.

“Security that monitors some of the homes in the area … they saw a car driving on PCH driving by a few times,” Solomon said. “The car parks and two people get out. You can actually see one of the guys there open a small window a little bit — it’s ajar. He pulls the window open more. He has pretty good flexibility and he’s in there a few minutes. This was at Scott Nay Realty, right next to CoCo Consign.”

The surveillance showed one suspect handed the other suspect a laptop out of the window. The suspect that was inside Scott Nay Realty then flipped through the small window and the two men then walked toward Tramonto Italian Restaurant.

“The Italian restaurant has an awning and a fairly large glass patio fencing and they climbed all the way over that, still on video,” Solomon said. “Then there’s video from the restaurant. The restaurant didn’t know anything about the incident and while this is happening, deputies arrive and find the two guys hiding under tables.”

The men had entered Tramonto and while they were scoping out the restaurant with flashlights, security from the residence across the street had alerted the sheriff’s department of the men’s whereabouts. 

Within minutes, numerous deputies could be seen pulling up to the restaurant as video surveillance from inside the restaurant showed the suspects hiding under tables in the corner of the patio.

The suspects, Michael Saguanpong, 21, and Christian Trimble, 19, each had a previous arrest for possession of burglary tools on Aug. 3. Saguanpong’s record listed prior arrests for trespassing earlier this year, a petty theft arrest in 2014 and a 2009 burglary charge.

“They both had coverings,” Solomon said. “One had a full ski mask, one had his face partially covered. At one point you can see him look up at the camera and you can see him pull it over. Gloves, flashlights, in the car they found bolt cutters, a crowbar, a good little kit to do what you gotta do to enter places illegally.” 

When Saguanpong was questioned about the incident, Solomon said Saguanpong claimed he was simply looking for a place to use the bathroom after a long night of performing urban obstacle training.

“They were doing parkour down on one of the beaches and at some point they needed to use the restroom, so he found the open window, of course,” Solomon said. “He claims he used the restroom and then noticed the laptop and needed the laptop for school. His just broke, so he took the laptop. He admitted to going through the window and stealing the laptop and that they were trying to get into the restaurant.” 

“I was so impressed that the surveillance cameras picked up these guys trying to break in, and our neighbors surveillance camera saw them and were able to get these guys,” Tramonto owner Nando Silvestri said. “It was pretty incredible. I’m happy for our neighbors and our sheriffs. Who would think that at 2:30 in the morning, somebody would be actually watching the video cameras and watching these guys jump into the office next door?”

Saguanpong and Trimble’s case was heard on Tuesday, Nov. 10, and is set to go to trial on Nov. 20, according to Solomon.

“They may be responsible for more commercial stuff down there than we actually believe, again with coming in with all of those things in the car,” Solomon said. “Burglary tools can be a lot of things, anything from window punches to screwdrivers to bolt cutters, things that you could have innocently as well but in the right set of circumstances can be construed as burglary tools combined with masks and … at two in the morning. They got them with pry bars, bolt cutters, hammer, screwdriver, flashlight, they were both wearing gloves, beanies, ski masks, one had a backpack on which is what they placed the laptop into, pliers, knives … it was a good little setup of things that would assist in a burglary. 

“This was security paying attention and making a good call,” Solomon said.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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