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14 teens charged in La Habra mansion party, snow leopard theft case

March 18, 2014|By Richard Winton | This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
  • Detectives Larry Villareal, left, and Josue "Josh" Rodriguez of the Sheriff's Department's Industry Station with the recovered mounted snow leopard.
Detectives Larry Villareal, left, and Josue "Josh" Rodriguez… (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles…)

More than a dozen teens have been charged in connection with a break-in at a La Habra Heights mansion, where they allegedly threw a party while the owners were away and stole, among other items, a mounted snow leopard.

The 9,000-square-foot home sustained more than than $1 million in losses and damages in the November incident, authorities said. Among the looted items were pieces of armor, racks of designer clothing and the rare, $250,000 snow leopard.

Detectives with the Los Angeles County’s Sheriff’s Department eventually found the leopard in one of the teens' possession.

The teens threw the party while the owner of the hillside mansion was out of town, investigators said. They spread the word on social media sites; and when the party was over, the estate had broken windows, busted furniture and dozens of valuable items missing, authorities said.

In the aftermath, detectives arrested 16 teens. Only 14 were charged. The 12 males and two females range  in age from 15 to 18, although none were adults at the time of the incident, officials said.

Each faces one count of misdemeanor trespassing, and nine are charged with one count of felony burglary. The burglary charges could lead to six-year prison sentences.

Other charges filed against some of the teens include grand theft, receiving stolen property and petty theft.

The 14 are scheduled to appear at a hearing Wednesday in Pomona Juvenile Court. All of the teens, according to investigators, are from the La Habra-Whittier area and surrounding communities.

[For the Record 8:11 a.m. PDT March 19:

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richard.winton@latimes.com

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