SOUTH PASADENA (CBS) — Police in South Pasadena have announced the arrest of a suspect accused of stealing a dead man’s car, laptop, wallet and dog.

Benjamin Johnson, 20, a resident of Downey, was taken into custody Wednesday.

Johnson is accused of stealing from Miguel Santamaria who was found dead in his apartment in the 1600 block of Amberwood Drive in South Pasadena on May 21.

A preliminary report from the LA Coroner’s office said Santamaria died of natural causes.

Wednesday, about 1 a.m. police in Downey spotted the stolen car — a green 2001 Honda Civic — in the parking lot of a motel in the 9400 block of Firestone Boulevard.

Officials determined the car was linked to a male and female registered at the hotel. After determining the woman was not involved in the case, she was released.

Johnson told police that he and Santamaria had been corresponding via Craigslist and that they arranged to meet on May 17.

He said Santamaria picked him up and took him back to his apartment when he suddenly died. Johnson took the dead man’s property — later leaving the dog at a shelter in Downey.

Johnson is currently being held on $35,000 bail and was transported to Alhambra Superior Court Saturday morning for his arraignment.


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