MISSION HILLS (CBSLA.com) — Two championship belts have been returned to a women’s boxing champion after they were recovered at the home of a convicted burglar who was about to be deported to Mexico.
The belts had been stolen from the home of Jennifer “The Razor” Barber in a March 20, 2012 break-in at her home in Mission Hills. Detectives were able to track down the belts from fingerprints that were left on a mirror at Barber’s home.
“This represents all the sacrifice I made for myself to accomplish a goal,” Barber said. “And for somebody to come in and violate your house like that and take something that is kind of irreplaceable.”
“The smile on Jennifer’s face says it all,” LAPD Detective William Cooper said. “We were glad we were able to get her back her belts.”
Police say the fingerprints matched those of 20-year-old Jose Pedraza, who had just finished serving time in county jail for two other local burglaries. After finishing his sentence, Pedraza had been transferred from jail to ICE custody, pending an uncontested deportation to Mexico.
“When the print report came in, we had to act fast,” Cooper said. “Unlike the other burglaries, Pedraza was not copping out to this one, and it seemed like he was in a hurry to get out of the country, like he was trying to avoid something.”
An arrest warrant for Pedraza stalled the deportation, and detectives conducted a probation search at Pedraza’s home in Sylmar. The two belts – one from the North American Boxing Federation and the other for International Female Boxers Association – were found at the bottom of a clothes hamper in Pedraza’s home.
“After I interviewed Pedraza, my gut told me he seemed like a guy that might hold onto the belts, rather than hawk them,” Cooper said.
Detectives were unable to find Barber and her husband’s wedding rings and a laptop, which were also taken during the break-in.
“I would like to just be locked in a room with him, and I don’t want to say anything but I’d like to do some things,” Barber said.
Pedraza’s deportation has been delayed so that he can face this latest count of burglary, his third in one year.
Police say Pedraza’s prints also led to his arrest in two earlier burglaries, also committed in Mission Hills, dating back to December 2011. When he was arrested for those burglaries, he was serving his community service time at the Mission Police station for a DUI conviction.