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Two suspects charged with burglary of Rep. Karen Bass' home, accused of taking guns

Two men were charged Friday with breaking into the Los Angeles home of Rep. Karen Bass and stealing two handguns, prosecutors said.

Patricio Munoz, 42, and Juan Espinoza, 24, were each charged with one felony count of first-degree residential burglary and two counts of grand theft of a firearm, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said in a statement. Both men were arrested Wednesday.

Bass’ home in Baldwin Vista, where the neighborhood has numerous signs informing visitors that the area has 24-hour video surveillance, was broken into Sept. 9. After the break-in, the congresswoman and L.A. mayoral candidate said the perpetrator had taken two guns but left behind cash and electronics.

Bass later confirmed that the weapons, handguns that belonged to her, had been stored in a lockbox stashed in her closet. She said she had the guns for her protection.

The weapons were identified as .38-caliber revolvers in the criminal complaint filed Friday.

Munoz and Espinoza each gave false names when they were arrested Wednesday, police said, leading to more questions about their identities and the crime.

The Los Angeles Police Department said in a release that the suspects’ car was seen at Bass’ home during the crime.

Police found the car in the area of Hazeltine Avenue and Sylvan Street in Van Nuys on Tuesday, watched as the suspects entered the car and drove away, and then stopped the vehicle, according to the release.

Espinoza was held on no bail, and Munoz was held on $500,000 bail, police said.

Espinoza was on parole for burglary and had a warrant out for violating parole, said LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz.

Suspects arrested on suspicion of burglary are typically held on $35,000 bail, far less than the bail set for Munoz. It wasn’t immediately clear why Munoz’s bail was so high.

The two men were expected to be arraigned Friday, according to the district attorney’s office.

“Everyone deserves to be safe in their home. Residential burglary is a violation of that safety in the most fundamental way,” Dist. Atty. George Gascón said in a statement. “Gun thefts have increased since the pandemic began. Many of these stolen guns are then used to commit violent crimes.”

A Bass spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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