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  • Sacramento police

    Lisa C. Lester

  • Sacramento police

    Valente Ortega

  • Sacramento police

    Justin Shawn Berger

Sacramento police say quick-change artist arrested in trash can

Published: Tuesday, May. 27, 2014 - 9:43 am

A quick haircut to change his appearance and hiding in a garbage can did not prevent a man from being arrested Monday, according to Sacramento police.

Police said the unorthodox arrest began when they tried to speak with a woman and a man in a parking lot on Del Paso Boulevard about 3:15 p.m. Monday. Police said that Justin Shawn Berger, 18, bolted and tossed a gun into the backyard of a home in the 2500 block of Erickson Street in North Sacramento.

Police believe that Berger then hid inside a home in the neighborhood where he was allegedly helped by a friend, 32-year-old Valente Perez Ortega. Berger, police said in an activity log, changed his clothes, cut his hair and then tried to escape.

He was spotted by a police helicopter crew at the side of a house in the 900 block of Frienza Avenue. Officers said they found Berger hiding in a trash can.

Berger was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, having a concealed firearm, carrying a loaded firearm registered to somebody else and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Ortega was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory for allegedly assisting Berger. The woman first noticed with Berger, Lisa Colleen Lester, 33, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance for sale.

Several residences were evacuated during the search for Berger.


Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Read more articles by Bill Lindelof



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