We're not sure which fate is worse, for an (alleged) criminal and serial border hopper:
Being picked up by ICE and thrown back to Mexico — only to face repeated, arduous desert/ocean trips north — or being tracked down by LAPD detectives and thrown in U.S. jail for multiple downtown muggings.
Which will it be for Adan Peralta, the 25-year-old illegal immigrant recently identified by an eyewitness as L.A.'s notorious Backpack Bandit?
The Los Angeles Times reports that cops, who had suspected it was him all along, were finally able to issue a warrant for his arrest yesterday.
Only problem (if you can call it that):
Before the bandit's last recorded strike, in which he yanked an elderly woman's necklace off her neck and ran away, like he always does — LAPD TV footage below — Peralta was captured and deported in April. (Perhaps a pro argument for the much-hated Secure Communities program, which lets ICE pick up anyone who comes in contact with local law enforcment?)
Which means he's officially in “deported” standing. So how does one explain this July 24 incident in Little Tokyo:
Still, justice persists. Despite his recent deportation, police are hot on Peralta's trail, carrying around sketches of the suspect under a District Attorney-posted M.I.A. bail of $105,000.
And who can blame them, after all their hard work in the case? Via the Times:
Detectives were initially unable to persuade prosecutors to file charges against Peralta for the robbery of the blind woman because she was unable to identify her assailant.
“We were pretty convinced we had the 'backpack bandit' anyway,” said [Lieutenant Paul Vernon], commanding officer of the Central Detective Division. “Aside from bragging about doing the robberies, Peralta had scratches on his arms, which were consistent with the victim fighting back during the robbery.”
Because, like a good little boomerang, Peralta can't help coming back for more.
“Peralta seems to always land back in the downtown area,” Vernon told the Times. “Every officer has a flier with his face on it, and we'll be ready if he returns.”
Which he obviously has. Right? Goddammit. We're confused.