PASADENA - Three Caltech security guards will be honored in April for assisting the Pasadena Police Department in breaking up a suspected burglary ring, officials said.
Doni Harrelson, Agustin Valadez and Ivan Gaor will be presented with the annual Award of Merit from the California College and University Police Chiefs Association for their cooperation last October, according to Caltech spokesman William Heim.
Their work led to the arrests of William Demarest, 36, of South El Monte and Mark Roe, 33, of Altadena. It also helped connect at least 30 burglaries in Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia and Colorado last year, according to Heim.
Throughout last fall, a series of unsolved burglaries occurred on Caltech's campus, leading to thousands of dollars in property loss and leaving security guards on high alert, Heim said.
Valadez said he was patrolling the campus during his usual midnight-to-8 a.m. shift in late October when he noticed two men suspiciously checking doors on several buildings.
Harrelson and Gaor then arrived and the three requested Caltech identification cards from the men, according to Valadez.
"I thought there was a possibility they might have been graduate students," said Valadez, 31. "But then one of them became aggravated and argumentative and the other one ran away."
Valadez and Gaor gave chase while simultaneously notifying Pasadena police. The man who fled was arrested by Pasadena police a day later, he said.
The other suspect was taken into custody at the scene.
Harrelson determined the latter suspect was on parole for previous burglary charges and may have been involved in those occurring around campus, according to Heim.
Police then used the information to discover that the suspects were involved with several other burglars in the region, said Heim.
Lt. Lisa Perrine of the Pasadena Police Department offered few details about the case, saying it is still under investigation, but said the security guards' cooperation was fundamental to its success.
"Detectives were very happy with the proactive and vigilant stance of the security guards at Caltech," Perrine said. "Pasadena police were able to get suspects into custody. They assisted greatly in our case."
Valadez said he was pleased by the award.
"It feels good. This will be the first award I've gotten in the civilian world," said Valadez, adding that he received several such honors while serving in the Marines.