Los Angeles police late Friday confirmed at least some of city Councilman Richard Alarcon's bizarre story about how his home was broken into: A suspect was indeed arrested for burglary at Alarcon's residence in the 14000 block of Nordhoff Street in Panorama City, according to Los Angeles Police Department Det. Gus Villanueva.
The suspect was identified as 42-year-old Lawrence Lydell Payton. He was arrested about 4 p.m. Oct. 28 after officers pushed open the front door. Villanueva said the door might have been locked or even purposefully blocked by a piece of furniture. Payton was subsequently charged with burglary by the District Attorney's office. Alarcon alleges the man tore up the house, defecated in a bathtub, tore pictures off walls and pulled doorknobs out of their sockets, inspiring him to move his family to another residence outside his district.
And therein lies the rub: It's illegal for a city council member to live outside his or her district, and the District Attorney's office searched both of Alarcon's residences in an investigation of the possibility that he's been defying this law.
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News of the D.A.'s investigation broke Thursday, and on Friday Alarcon spread this story of a man having nearly ransacked his place in order to explain why he hadn't been living there. Strangely, Alarcon couldn't explain where he had been in the 24 to 48 hours he said he had left the home, during which time the breach had happened.
Let's throw out this scenario, just for fun: (Allegedly) crazy, (possibly) homeless burglary suspects don't "squat" in homes that are lived in, mainly because other people who live there will see them and probably ask them to leave. Do you know where squatters squat? In abandoned homes -- places that are not lived in. Usually. Right?
What's more, such suspects usually don't target the homes of suit-wearing, official-city-car-driving council members. But they do, however, target run down homes that haven't been lived in in a while. And, eh, if you left your home for a day or two and found a strange person living in it when you got back, wouldn't that etch the event into your mind. Wouldn't you remember -- probably for as long as you had a memory -- where you had gone? Just saying.
Alarcon said his daughter wouldn't sleep at the place after the break-in, and that he was in the process of making it habitable again. However, a neighbor interviewed by the Los Angeles Times said no one had been seen living at the home for three years.