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MOTHER, SON HAD CRIMINAL HISTORY DUO SUSPECTED IN HOME BURGLARY.

Byline: ALEX DOBUZINSKIS Staff Writer

CANYON COUNTRY -- A mother and son shared more than the car they drove to Canyon Country where the pair was arrested last week in a violent burglary attempt.

Both have criminal histories, according to state Department of Corrections records.

While mother-and-son burglary teams are rare, criminal behavior can be learned, said James Elias, a sociology professor at California State University, Northridge.

``It's basically the kinds of (family) interactions that go on normally,'' Elias said. ``Their rationalizations for what they do, their explanations for what's right and wrong, their views for the police, the society. In other words, it's not a formal instruction, but you learn informally.''

Mike Lugo, 29, of Palmdale is accused of entering the home of a woman on Canvas Street on Oct.18, then fleeing after she shot him three times with a revolver, according to sheriff's reports. He underwent surgery and is recovering.

Lugo's mother, Cynthia Brandon, 51, also was arrested. A sheriff's official said she is suspected of being the getaway driver who flagged down a sheriff's deputy responding to the burglary call to get her son to a hospital.

Brandon has a criminal history dating to at least 1988, according to documents from the California Department of Corrections. She served time for burglary, petty theft, vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, escaping prison and possession of a controlled substance.

Lugo was arrested in North Hollywood in '02, and he was sentenced to prison in that case for carrying a loaded firearm without a license and for vandalism, the District Attorney's Office said. His sentence was more than three years.

He also was sentenced to 16 months in prison in June 2005 for possession of a firearm by a felon, after being arrested by Palmdale sheriff's deputies.

Before hitting the Canyon Country home, mother and son stole a computer and printer from an Acton home, said sheriff's Sgt. David Clark of the Palmdale station. Investigators are looking into whether they committed other burglaries.

Meanwhile, gun-rights activists in other parts of the country have taken note of the case, saying Lugo's shooting by the Canyon Country homeowner is a good argument for responsible gun ownership.

After Lugo broke into the home, the resident grabbed her gun and ran into the backyard, a sheriff's official said. She fired four rounds, three of which hit the suspect.

``It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it,'' said Joe Waldron, executive director of the Washington State-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

alex.dobuzinskis(at)dailynews.com

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 22, 2006
Words:436
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