Ontario Metal Theft Leads to Hostages and StandoffWritten by staff
A Whittier man held two family members hostage near Montclair, CA after fleeing from police for alleged metal theft.
Felipe Vega, 43, was arrested by Ontario police officers after taking the hostages and barricading himself for more than two hours in their residence on Kadota Avenue.
The hostages were able to safely escape during the ordeal, Ontario police Sgt. David McBride said.
Vega was arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property, grand theft, burglary, kidnapping and false imprisonment.
Vega had allegedly been involved in metal thefts along with Steven Ray Harris, 53, of Rancho Cucamonga and Jason Isaac Day, 32, of Norco.
Detectives had been investigating the theft of more than $1,500 worth of recyclable metal products and pallets taken from an Ontario business.
Their investigation led to a Pomona recycling center on East Mission Boulevard where three men were trying to sell what was believed to be stolen metal products.
Police officers had made area scrap yards aware of the theft and were informed about 4 p.m. Tuesday by a worker at the Pomona center that someone was trying to sell the metal, McBride said.
Detectives arrested two of the men - Harris and Day - for possession of stolen property and grand theft.
A third man - later identified as Vega - fled to a nearby neighborhood and forced his way into the home on Kadota Avenue. The house was surrounded and officers tried for two hours to order him out of the house.
Vega retreated to the attic of the house, but was taken out of the house after a police dog bit him, McBride said.
More than 20 police officers responded to the house. San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies assisted in the investigation.
The battle with metal thieves has been an ongoing problem for Ontario as well as many Southland cities as the price of metal increases, McBride said.
The Ontario Police Department has even dedicated two detectives and a technician to track metal thefts in the area, he said.
“Most cities battle with these thieves because metal brings in top dollar,” McBride said.