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Arrests after disabled couple victimized

April 11, 2008 1:17:40 PM PDT
Arrests were announced Friday morning in a well-publicized crime against a woman, whose purse was snatched in plain view of her husband, a disabled man who was nearly killed two years ago after being attacked by two chimpanzees.Authorities said good police work, help from the news media and the public, led to the arrest of the 46-year-old Karen Jean Cervantes of Baldwin Park and 44-year-old parolee Michael Dean Huffman of Baldwin Park.

The theft happened on March 30 when La Donna Davis was shopping at a Target store in West Covina with her husband St. James Davis.

La Donna said her purse was snatched when she leaned over to pick up some merchandise. Security camera videos caught the suspect walking out of the store. Police said within 90 minutes, the Davis' credit cards were being used to make purchases.

After the video aired on television news programs, police received tips that eventually led them to the two suspects.

"Yesterday evening, state parole contacted us and advised us that they had located the vehicle that we were looking for and observed the male suspect enter the vehicle and begin to drive away, at which time they took that suspect into custody. He then advised them where the female was at, and in fact, she had been staying with him the entire time," said Cpl. Rudy Lopez of the West Covina Police Department.

Police arrested Cervantes at an undisclosed location in Claremont, Lopez said.

Cervantes was charged with three counts of burglary, one count of forgery and one count of petty theft, and was being held with bail at $20,000. Huffman was charged with three counts of burglary and two counts of forgery, and because he was on parole, is being held without bail.

The Davis' are known for their battle to keep Moe, their pet chimpanzee, at their West Covina home. The couple was visiting Moe after he was moved to an animal sanctuary in 2005, when two other chimps escaped their cage and attacked them.

La Donna lost her thumb, and St. James lost his foot, genitals and face.

Police said they spoke to the Davis couple, who said they were very pleased to hear of the arrest.

 

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