A former martial arts instructor is being sought on a felony warrant of embezzlement and possession of assault weapons and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department is asking for the public’s help in tracking him down.
A $40,000 felony warrant has been issued for Dante Lusica, 65, a male Asian resident of Canyon Country, who should be considered armed and dangerous.
Detective Elsee of the Santa Clarita Valley station said that the embezzlement involved Lusica’s alleged taking of $25,000 from monies paid by residents of his community for water.
“The neighborhood off of Sierra Highway at Fitch has to buy their water as a group from Santa Clarita Water Company,” Elsee explained. “What happens is that all the residents pay their water bills to the group and the water gets distributed.”
The company formed by the Fitch Avenue area residents was called “New Mint Water Systems.” That company, according to Elsee, reportedly showed a loss between January 2009 and December 2010.
“There’s supposed to be a board of directors so that there are check and balances, so there is no misuse of funds or misappropriations,” Elsee said. “Over the years, everyone on the board went away and Lusica was the only one in charge. According to the bylaws, the residents checked records and they believe that Lusica took $25,000 from the company, allegedly for his own use.”
A search warrant was issued for his Canyon Country home; Lusica was not there when the warrant was served on August 28, but assault weapons were found at that location, which added to the seriousness of the charges.
In January 2011, Lusica was arrested on suspicion of inappropriately touching a young female student of his Tae Kwon Do studio in Saugus. Charges were not filed by the District Attorney, who said that there was insufficient evidence. Detectives then put out a call for other victims to come forward, but it is not known if others filed reports.
The Tae Kwon Do studio appears to have gone out of business.
If Lusica is seen, he should not be approached. Deputies advise calling 9-1-1 and reporting his location.