Following the Leader

a lineup of updates and tidbits Burbank and beyond

More details on the 2007 Porto’s robbery

with one comment

I’ve read a number of blog posts, comments and emails regarding the 2007 robbery of the Burbank Porto’s, and its connection to the current FBI probe of the Burbank Police Department. Those comments, essentially, asked why in the world the Burbank Leader failed to cover this take-over style robbery at the city’s most popular bakery? Since I’ve only been editor of the paper since April of this year, I have no answer. However, we did print details of the Porto’s incident in today’s paper. Here’s an excerpt:

[…] The FBI investigation involves at least two incidents — the Aug. 23, 2007, arrest of Rene Escarsega; and the Dec. 28, 2007, robbery of Porto’s Bakery.

Details as to each of the officers’ involvement have not been made public.

In addition, details of Escarsega’s Aug. 23 arrest were not immediately available.

In the Porto’s case, officers responded about 8:23 p.m. after six suspects entered the bakery at 3614 W. Magnolia Blvd. after hours and committed a takeover-style robbery, Burbank police Sgt. Thor Merich said.

The suspects allegedly bound the hands of 13 employees with zip ties, struck one with a handgun and kicked another before forcing an assistant manager to go upstairs where two safes were kept. He was then forced to remove a large amount of cash, Merich said.

A police investigation revealed that the suspects were MS-13 gang members, and that the robbery was an inside job, Merich said. Eight of the 10 suspects were charged with kidnapping, robbery and false imprisonment.

After internal Police Department reviews of the Porto’s robbery, city records from 2008 show that an outside investigator was brought in as part of a departmentwide use-of-force audit.

Stehr called in the Sheriff’s Department in April 2009 to investigate at least two allegations of police misconduct, he said. […]

The full story can be read here.


Written by Dan Evans

October 3, 2009 at 10:01 am

One Response

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  1. you really need to do a follow-up, focusing in on this robbery because it’s an extremely popular location and even if it’s two years old, people are going to get nervous if they think their favorite Cuban bakery/restaurant is a dangerous place, or has mob ties.

    The information in this article is threadbare; I assume this is because you had nothing more. For instance, you say SIX suspects entered the restaurant and held it up; then two grafs later you say there were TEN suspects and that EIGHT of them were arrested. This doesn’t compute (and really should have been caught by your copy editors!).

    Even more importantly, there’s nothing about how the robbery situation was resolved. Did the cops show up and the suspects decided to simply give up? Doesn’t sound like MS13.

    Thanks and good luck w/the story.


    November 23, 2009 at 1:39 pm

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