GPD Citizen’s Academy: Drugs, Fraud and Physical Abuse

A sampling of various drugs seized by Glendora PD

Week three of Glendora Police Departments Citizen’s Academy featured a barrage of topics facing our residents. Detectives from the department unleashed knowledge on the ongoing drug epidemic, fraud and physical abuse in different forms.

Detectives Tim Crawford and Alex Stein of the Narcotics unit highlighted some interesting statistics on drugs in our community. As the legalization of medical marijuana came about in California, we have had understandably less drug arrests. Total arrests however, have still stayed up due to the fact that those needing money for drugs, legal or illegal, continue to commit crimes to support their habits.

The passage of prop 47 has only made their jobs harder. Before the passage of 47, drug arrests would be a felony with at least some jail time. Now, since many drug possession crimes are a misdemeanor, these criminals are being cited and released even before the arresting officers have completed their paperwork. This expedites the criminal back on our streets in no time at all.

Some of the drugs that are seen in our city according to Det. Stein are a mix of legal and illegal. Prescription pills are legal, but many prescription medications are being distributed and sold to people who they were not prescribed to.

Methamphetamines, heroin, ecstasy and some cocaine continue to make their rounds as well. With a steady case load stacked on the narcotics detectives desks, it is a 24/7 job trying to keep after the sources in an overall effort to combat the spread of these drugs.

Embossing Machine used to make counterfeit credit cards *Photo courtesy of Glendora PD

Embossing Machine used to make counterfeit credit cards *Photo courtesy of Glendora PD

Detective Russell Ziino is in charge of Fraud and Internet crimes which are on the rise. The department and GCN have worked together recently on education residents on IRS and banking phone scams going around but there is so many more ruses that criminals are using.

Some indentify theft equipment are as little as one click away from being purchased on the internet believe it or not. Skimmers placed on ATM and gas pumps are a large source of stolen identity and fraud.

In just a few minutes, Det. Ziino was able to create a fake credit card in the name of “Zak Bushey” using embossing and counterfeiting machines the department has recovered during identity theft arrests.

Ironically enough, just last week I received a call from my bank and a criminal had done just that. My bank called me due to suspicious activity. Sure enough, somewhere in the cyberspace world my duplicated ATM card was being used to purchase over $1,000 at four separate retailers in under 10 minutes.

Credit Card swiper used to duplicate and reproduce credit card magnetic strips. *Photo courtesy of Glendora PD

Credit Card swiper used to duplicate and reproduce credit card magnetic strips. *Photo courtesy of Glendora PD

As technology becomes more prevalent in our society, Det. Ziino foresees these identify theft crimes growing in popularity with oversees criminals out of the reach of U.S. prosecution often times.

“Criminals don’t need to wear masks and rob banks anymore. They only need to hide behind their computer screens. The national loss in traditional bank robberies is approximately 36 million dollars per year. The loss for identity theft nationwide is approximately 50 billion dollars per year”, Det. Ziino noted.

Another set of Detectives, whom may face the toughest of situations, are those who occupy the Domestic Violence, Child and Elder Abuse unit. Detectives Josh Price and Chris Farino work tirelessly to investigate any type of domestic altercation and sex crimes.

Often times these sex crimes revolve around child molestation cases that can become the most difficult to deal with. Relatively low compared with some surrounding cities, yet still alarming, Glendora has on average 80 sexually labeled offenders, known as 290 registrants. Not all of the registrants qualify to be listed on Megan’s Law website. Det. Price and Farino also work to keep track of them, even going as far as updating facial photos and tattoos on an annual basis.

“Glendora PD keeps track of sex offenders who reside in the city. The detectives conduct periodic checks to make sure they are residing in their registered address and keep a file for each one to reference in the event a crime occurs and one is a possible suspect”, Det. Price said.

For more information on registered sex offenders in our community, please visit the Megan’s Law.

GCN Founder Zak Bushey is currently attending the 31st class of the Glendora Police Department Citizen’s Academy. He hopes to further his relations between members of the community and its police force while gaining a perspective from officers. The class runs once a week from September through November and each week Bushey will have a brief overview of what the class experienced.