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Police Hunt Brazen Thief Who Stole Car, Laptop And Dog From A Dead Man

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SOUTH PASADENA (CBS) — Police in South Pasadena are on the hunt for the thief — or thieves — who stole a dead man’s car, wallet, laptop and dog.

The Coroner’s Office has yet to determine the cause of death of a 51-year-old man found dead Monday inside his burglarized South Pasadena home, a Coroner’s official said today.

Toxicology results are still pending, and could take six to eight weeks, the official said.

It is believed Miguel E. Santamaria died of natural causes. He was found unresponsive by a friend just after noon Monday at his home in the 1600 block of Amberwood Drive, according to the South Pasadena Police Department.

“SPPD detectives are currently operating under the theory that a burglary occurred to Mr. Santamaria’s residence sometime after his death. There (was) no force entry into the location,” according to a department statement.

Missing from the Santamaria home is a green, four-door 2001 Honda Civic — license plate number 4PIM316 — his cell phone, wallet, laptop and dog. The canine — a Shitzu mix — has since been located at a shelter in Downey.

Authorities told Amanda Burden, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, that they believed the burglary was likely an inside job. They believe the culprit had a key to the apartment.

Downstairs neighbor Garland Bush is appalled at the crime, as are many neighbors. And they’re appalled and not just because their neighbor was such a “good guy” — he worked at a homeless shelter downtown.  “I think it’s disgusting. To do that, someone has to have no conscious obviously.”

Bush added, “I talked to him a few weeks ago and he said he had a really bad flu that he was trying to get over and that it was leaving him fatigued.”

Bush theorizes the burglary took place sometime Saturday night. “Late Saturday night, the dog was barking and it was very unusual.”

South Pasadena police detectives asked anyone with information regarding the death or the burglary to call them at (626) 318-5552.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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