INDUSTRY >> An overturned big rig shut down all northbound lanes of the northbound 605 Freeway in Industry on Thursday evening.
The incident was first reported about 7:45 p.m. on the 605 Freeway just north of the 60 Freeway, according to California Highway Patrol logs. The big rig, which was hauling food products, caught fire after overturning onto its side, block all northbound traffic lanes.
Officials quickly extinguished the fire, then turned their attention to moving the massive piece of scorching hot wreckage off the freeway, logs show.
The carpool lane of the northbound 605 reopened about 8:30 p.m., while the remaining traffic lanes remained closed Thursday night as efforts to clear the freeway continued.
MONTEBELLO >> Police on Thursday released video depicting a man in a clown mask robbing a woman at knifepoint in a Montebello parking garage in hopes of generating leads from the public.
The robbery unfolded just after 8:10 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the parking garage of an apartment complex at 1620 Neil Armstrong Street, Montebello police Detective Paul Antista said.
A woman parked her car and was walking through the garage when the robber, who wore a clown mask, approached, Sgt. Marc Marty said while narrating surveillance video footage of the crime.
“An unknown male who was lying in way inside the garage ran up to her from behind,” Marty said. “The suspect grabbed the victim with his left hand and brandished a small knife in his right hand up to her face.”
After demanding the woman’s belongings and threatening to kill her if she didn’t comply, the grabbed the woman’s laptop computer and began running away.
But when the woman yelled out to the man pleading with him not to steal her computer, he turned around and returned.
The masked robber once again put his knife up to the woman’s face and demanded more property, Antista said. He then fled with both her laptop and her purse. The victim was unhurt.
Police described the robber as a Latino man of about 20 years old, wearing a clown mask, a Dodger hat, a black sweatshirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Antista at 323-887-1200, ext. 249. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LOS ANGELES >> A previously convicted child sex predator from Norwalk who traveled to Cambodia for sex with at least five boys received a sentence of more than two decades in federal prison this week, authorities said.
Erik Leonardus Peeters, 48, received a 22-year prison term in federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday after pleading guilty in 2012 to two counts of engaging in illicit sexual contact with a minor in a foreign place, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
U.S. District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder also ordered Peeters to pay $15,000 in restitution to his victims, officials said. Upon his release from prison, he will be subject to supervised release for life.
“This defendant is a sexual predator who repeatedly victimized young boys, several of whom have physical disabilities, and all of whom come from deeply impoverished communities in the developing world,” according to U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Eileen M. Decker.”This lengthy sentence sends a message to all pedophiles in the United States that they cannot escape prosecution by traveling to other countries to engage in illegal and horrific sexual acts against children.”
Peeters was already a registered sex offender, convicted of crimes against young boys in 1990, when he visited Southeast Asia, according to federal prosecutors and California’s sex offender database.
“According to court documents filed in this case, Peeters traveled to Cambodia in April 2008, and within two months began seeking out youths for sex, targeting victims who were destitute and often disabled,” Mrozek said.
Cambodian National Police arrested him in February of 2009 for violating Camobian laws against child sex abuse, according to Mrozek.
U.S. prosecutors subsequently filed charges of engaging in sexual conduct with minors in a foreign country, authorities said. He was returned to the U.S. to face the American justice system in August of 2009.
Four of Peeters’ victims appeared at his sentencing hearing Wednesday to tell the court how his abuse had affected their lives, Mrozek said.
According to California’s sex offender database, Peeters was convicted in 1990 of committing lewd or lascivious acts on a boy under 14 years old. Records indicate he was released from jail or prison the same year.
“Peeters is the third and final defendant sentenced as part of Operation Twisted Traveler, a joint initiative by (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations) and the Department of Justice to identify and prosecute American men who traveled to Cambodia and engaged in sexual conduct with children there,” Mrozek said. “The defendants were charged under the PROTECT Act, which took effect in 2003 and substantially strengthened the federal laws related to predatory crimes involving children outside the U.S. by adding new crimes and increasing prison sentences.”
Two other men have received prison sentences of 70 years and 10 years, respectively, in connection with the operation.
Special Agent in Charge of HSI in Los Angeles Joseph Macias credited the law enforcement officials who investigated and prosecuted the cases for their “tenacity and tireless dedication.”
“Americans tempted to commit sex crimes overseas should understand that tough U.S. laws will ensure they pay a high price for their criminal actions,” he said. “We owe it to the young victims, many of whom will bear the emotional scars for the rest of their lives.”
PHOTO: Erik Leonardus Peeters, 48, of Norwalk. (courtesy)
ARCADIA >> A man died after being struck by a vehicle along Live Oak Avenue in Arcadia on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The deadly collision took place about 5:30 p.m. on Live Oak Avenue near 6th Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said.
The man, estimated to be 40 years old, was walking in the eastbound traffic lanes when he was struck, Flores said in a written statement.
“The preliminary investigation revealed the man was walking in the roadway, well outside of the designated crosswalk, when he was struck,” she said. Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.
The driver of the vehicle, who suffered no injuries, remained at the scene, police said.
Officers from the Arcadia Police Department’s Major Accident Investigation Team are handling the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5151.
POMONA >> Coroner’s officials have identified a 38-year-old man who died after being struck by several vehicles while running across the 10 Freeway in Pomona on Thursday night.
Daniel Rodriguez of Bell died at the scene of the collisions, which took place about 11:10 p.m. in the westbound lanes of the 10 Freeway, just west of Towne Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Kelly Yagerliner said.
According to witnesses, Rodriguez ran from the center divider into traffic lanes, directly into the path of a 1996 Ford Ranger pickup truck, according to Officer M. Walters of the CHP’s Baldwin Park-area office said in a written statement.
The truck driver was unable to stop in time and struck Rodriguez, Walters said. Several additional vehicles also struck Rodriguez following the initial impact.
An autopsy found that Rodriguez died from “multiple traumatic injuries,” however a mode of death — such as accident or suicide — was yet to be determined, coroner’s officials said.
It was unclear why Rodriguez was on the freeway.
Anyone with information can reach the CHP’s Baldwin Park-area office at 626-338-1164.
LOS ANGELES >> A judge sentenced a West Los Angeles man who formerly worked as a teacher’s assistant to eight years in federal prison for distributing “sadistic” child pornography images online, authorities said.
Steven Petlak, 53, pleaded guilty to a single count of distribution of child pornography in July in federal court in Los Angeles, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
“In court filings, Petlak admitted that he made an effort to seek out the worst types of child pornography he could find — in Petlak’s words, “the really dark stuff,” Mrozek said in a written statement.
Images traded via a peer-to-peer file-sharing system included pornographic pictures of children under 15 years old, “including child images deemed to be ‘sadistic’ under the federal sentencing rules,” Mrozek said.
While out of custody and awaiting trial, “Petlak was caught by a law enforcement officer looking at what appeared to be graphic images of a juvenile female,” Mrozek added.
Officials said Petlak had previously worked as a teachers’ assistant, however DOJ officials did not disclose what school or schools he has worked for.
Petlak received his sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.
“Predators who seek out child pornography online threaten the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable in our real-world community. This defendant’s conduct exemplifies a horrific and dark part of our society, and the sentence today reflects the harm caused by defendants who trade in these heinous materials, ” U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Eileen Decker said.
Upon his release from federal prison, Petlak will be required to register as a sex offender and stay away from places where children are present.
PASADENA >> Police jailed a 19-year-old Pasadena man Tuesday on suspicion of molesting a 13-year-old girl in the preceding days, authorities said.
Police arrested Julio Robles-Castaneda of Pasadena on suspicion of child molestation about 11:40 p.m., according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
A 13-year-old girl told a therapist on Tuesday afternoon that she had been molested by the man days earlier in the 500 block of Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
Officers launched an investigation, locating and arresting the suspect without a struggle within hours, he said.
The victim and suspect were known to one another prior the crime, though their relationship was unavailable, Hettema said.
According to county booking records, Robles-Castaneda was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
SAN GABRIEL >> The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children on Wednesday renewed its call for help in finding a 15-year-old San Gabriel girl who disappeared a year ago.
Lisa Duran was last seen on Dec. 7, 2015, in San Gabriel, according to the NCMEC.
“(She) has been missing for a year and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is asking for your help to bring her home,” NCMEC officials said in a written statement.
“She may be in the local area or she may have travelled to San Bernardino County,” the statement said.
Duran is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall and about 125 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information about Lisa is urged to contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 800-843-5678, or the San Gabriel Police Department at 626-308-2828.
HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Officials have identified a Hacienda Heights man who was found shot to death behind the steering wheel of a car in a shopping center parking lot on Saturday morning.
Isidrio Marquez Jr., 29, died after he was discovered unconscious in his car, suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper body, just after 8 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot in the 15800 block of Gale Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
The death was first reported to authorities as a “person not breathing,” according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau. Authorities soon discovered that discovered Marquez had been shot, and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
No information regarding the circumstances, shooter or motive in the slaying was available.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> An ex-con shot and wounded himself, and grazed a waitress with a bullet, when a gun he was carrying went off accidentally inside a Pasadena Denny’s restaurant on Saturday night, police said.
The incident unfolded about 10:10 p.m. at the diner, 2627 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
“We responded to a call of ‘shots fired’ at the location,” the lieutenant said. “(The suspect) was in one of the booths and a gun discharged on his person somewhere.”
A bullet struck the man in the hand and leg, and also grazed a waitress, Clawson said.
The waitress, 36, suffered a minor injuries and was treated by paramedics at the scene, he said. The gunman fled the restaurant before police arrived.
But police said they soon found the suspect’s car in the parking lot of a nearby hospital.
The suspect, a 32-year-old man, was inside being treated for his wounds, Clawson said. He was listed in stable condition.
Police determined he was a convicted felon, barred from possessing a firearm, he said. Officers recovered a revolver from his car.
Deandre Stringfellow, 32, of Pasadena was expected to face a charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm once released from the hospital, officials said.