Man killed in Angeles Crest Highway motorcycle crash

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> A man died and two other people suffered serious injuries in a crash between a motorcycle and a car Sunday afternoon on Angeles Crest Highway, deep in the Angeles National Forest north of Altadena, authorities said.
The collision was reported about 1:45 p.m. near mile marker 46.35 of the winding mountain road, on the forest road just south of Mount Mooney Road, California Highway Patrol Officer Alex Rubio said.
A man died at the scene of the crash, Rubio said.

Two other patients were flown to a hospital by helicopter for treatment, sheriff’s officials said. Their conditions were not clear, and officials could not immediately confirm initial reports that the two injured patients had been riding in the car that collided with the motorcycle.
The CHP issued a Sig Alert affecting both directions of Angeles Crest highway through the late afternoon, logs show.

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PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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UPDATED: Man’s body found in San Gabriel riverbed in Irwindale


IRWINDALE >> Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a man whose body was discovered in the San Gabriel riverbed in in Irwindale Friday, authorities said.
The death was first reported shortly after 11 a.m. along Rivergrade Road, near the 605 Freeway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Kimberly Alexander said in a written statement.
Investigators from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are helping Irwindale police with the investigation.
Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters said Irwindale police first found the body in the riverbed and summoned firefighters to the scene.
“The victim was pronounced dead at the scene,” Alexander said.
The man’s identity was not released pending positive identification and notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said. He was initially estimated to be in his 50s.
The cause of death was unclear, and was to be determined through an autopsy, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez said.
“There’s no obvious signs of foul play.”
Irwindale police officials did not return calls seeking comment.
Anyone with information can reach 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.

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Man robbed of bicycle at knifepoint in Pico Rivera


PICO RIVERA >> Three men robbed a bicyclist of his wheels at knifepoint in Pico Rivera early Sunday, officials said.
The crime occurred about 9 a.m. as the victim, a 25-year-old man, was riding his mountain bike at Paramount and Whittier boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said.
A 1990s-model Honda sedan pulled up next to the victim and two robbers got out, he said. A third accomplice — the driver — remained in the car.
One of the robbers brandished a knife as they took the man’s bicycle, loaded it into the car and fled, the lieutenant said. The victim suffered no injuries.
Deputies found the stolen bicycle later in the morning, abandoned on a Montebello Bus Lines bus in East Los Angeles, Villanueva said.
Detailed suspect descriptions were not available.

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Woman beaten, robbed in forest while taking photos alongside San Gabriel Canyon Road

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Two men beat and robbed a woman Saturday as she was stopped along San Gabriel Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest north of Glendora to take pictures of the scenery, authorities said.
The violent robbery took place about 11 a.m. near mile marker 19 of San Gabriel Canyon Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Elisabeth Sachs said.
A woman in her mid-20s parked her car and was taking photographs over the roadside when she saw to men approach her car, the lieutenant said.
The woman confronted the men, who attacked. “They struck her with their fists and kicked her with their feet,” Sachs said.
The victim fought back but was overpowered by her two attackers.
The robbers then rifled the woman’s pockets and fled with a small amount of money and other personal items.
The woman suffered significant but non-life-threatening injuries, Sachs said.
Both robbers were described as young Latino men between 16 and 20 years old.
One stood about 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 150 to 170 pounds, with short black hair and clean-shaven, Sachs said. He wore a red short-sleeve shirt, blue jeans and black shoes.
His accomplice stood 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing 240 to 260 pounds, with black hair grown long on top, also clean-shaven, wearing a black jacket, blue jeans and black shoes.
The attackers fled in two separate vehicles, Sachs said. One was a 1990s-model four-door Honda, and the other was a gray, four-door Saturn hatchback.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2700. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Whittier police plan bike safety crackdown

WHITTIER >> Police are planning a special enforcement campaign Tuesday focused on improving safety for bicyclist, officials said.
During the bicycle safety enforcement operation, officers will conduct special patrols seeking both drivers and bicyclists who make traffic violations, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
Officials will focus, in particular, on areas that have seen the highest number of bicycle-involved collisions.
Whittier police have investigated 113 bicycle collisions involving injury or death over the past three years, according to the statement.
Funding for the campaign is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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South Whittier gas station clerk beaten in failed robbery


SOUTH WHITTIER >> Two men attacked a gas station attendant during a robbery attempt in South Whittier on Friday, but fled empty-handed after they couldn’t figure out how to open the cash register, authorities said.
The crime took place shortly before 2 a.m. at a Chevron station at Imperial Highway and Valley View Avenue, in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and logs.
Two men entered the store and punched the clerk, sheriff’s Lt. Robin Limon said.
The robbers tried to help themselves to the store’s money, but were unable to open the cash register and fled without taking anything, she said.
The clerk was taken to a hospital for treatment. The extent of his injuries was not available.
A detailed suspect description was not available.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Security camera helps police nab Azusa package theft suspect


AZUSA >> Police jailed an Azusa woman Friday on suspicion of stealing packages after a police officer recognized her from security camera footage that captured one of the thefts earlier in the day, authorities said.
Blanca Alvarado, 40, was booked on suspicion of petty theft and possession of stolen property, Azusa police Sgt. John Madaloni said.
The investigation began when police were summoned to a home in the 300 block of South Pasadena Avenue after two packages were stolen from a front porch, Officer Mike Bires said.
“Once the officer began her investigation, she learned there was a surveillance video recording of the suspect committing the theft,” Bires said. The officer completed her investigation at the home and resumed her normal patrol.
A few hours later, the officer spotted Alvarado walking about a block to the north, at McKinley Street and Pasadena Avenue, police said.
“The officer who had taken the original theft report passed by Alvarado and saw she was the same suspect depicted in the video stealing the packages,” Bires said. “The officer stopped and detained Alvarado, who was in possession of more packages.”
Police soon determined all of the packages had been stolen, he said.
Alvarado was cited for the alleged misdemeanors and released from custody with a court date, Bires said.
Bires said police recommend residents make use of security cameras, as they can be extremely useful during law enforcement investigations should residents become crime victims.
Police in Alhambra arrested another alleged package thief two weeks ago after she was confronted by the camera-toting homeowner, who posted video of the confrontation online. The video went viral, helping lead to the suspect’s capture one day after the video was published.

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Bear tranquilized in Pasadena after straying far from forest

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PASADENA >> Officials tranquilized a 300-pound bear and returned it to the forest after it wandered more than two miles out of the forest and into a Pasadena neighborhood Saturday morning, authorities said.
Police and California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials chased the bear through a neighborhood for about three hours after it was first spotted about 9 a.m. in the 1300 block of E. Washington Boulevard, Pasadena Police Lt. John Mercado said.
Officials followed the bear as meandered through the neighborhood and ultimately settled in a tree in a residential yard in the 1000 block of N. Michigan Avenue, Mercado said.
Fish and Wildlife officials tranquilized the bear before loading it into a pickup truck for lift back to the Angeles National Forest.

PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department.

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UPDATED: West Covina police arrest man and woman following bizarre pursuit, crash in Bassett


WEST COVINA >> In a strange seemingly illogical series chain of events, a man and woman called police on themselves to falsely report a carjacking Friday before leading West Covina police on a chase that ended with a crash in Bassett that injured two bystanders, including a little girl, authorities said.
Britanny Benquenchea, 26, and Joshua Rodriguez, 27, both of Victorville, were accused of crimes including evading police and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the bizarre episode, which began just after 7 p.m. at the Plaza West Covina shopping mall, West Covina police Lt. Travis Tibbetts said. Both are on parole for robbery, and Benquenchea wears a GPS tracking device.
Police first responded to the mall, 112 Plaza Drive, after a woman called 911 to report she had been carjacked of her 2015 Toyota Corolla at gunpoint by a man and woman, the lieutenant said.
Responding officers spotted a car matching the description of the stolen Toyota, containing a man and woman matching the description of the carjackers, driving just south of the mall.
Benquenchea, who was driving, refused to pull over for police, initiating a high-speed chase.
The pursuit ended minutes later when the fleeing car struck a civilian vehicle at Amar Road and Willow Avenue, Tibbetts said.
Both suspects were detained at the scene, he said. Police used a K-9 to help apprehend the male suspect, who refused to comply with officers’ commands.
An 8-year-old girl who was riding in the car struck by the fleeing suspects was initially hospitalized in critical condition, but was expected to survive, Tibbetts said. A woman in the vehicle, described only as an adult, was also hospitalized. Neither victims injuries were believed to be life threatening.
The investigation then took an unexpected turn.
Officers determined Benquenchea herself had called the police to falsely report being carjacked, Tibbetts said.
After being involved in a fight and getting escorted from the mall by security guards, Benquenchea and Rodriguez became involved in a confrontation with security before speeding away from the mall, police said.
The suspects may have struck a parked car as they left, he said. The details of the incident at the mall remained unclear late Friday.
“Apparently, they decided to call and report a carjacking, describing themselves as the suspects,” Tibbetts said.
The call appeared to be some sort of ill-thought-out ruse to divert police attention from the mall incident, he said. Although Benquenchea gave descriptions matching herself and Rodriguez as that of the phony carjackers, she reported the purported carjackers had fled in the opposite direction.
Benquenchea gave her real first name while reporting the carjacking, Tibbetts added. And when police called back the number, Benquenchea’s phone rang through the Toyota’s wireless audio system.
“I’ve never seen that before,” Tibbetts said.
Witness Christopher Morales posted footage of the male suspect being taken into custody with the help of a police K-9 on the social media network.
Another witness, April Aguirre, posted video of the aftermath of the collision in which firefighters can be seen treating an injured patient on Twitter.
The female suspect appeared to be wearing a GPS ankle bracelet, she said. “When they brought her out she seemed like she was on drugs,” the witness added.
In an email, Aguirre said she did not see the crash itself, as she arrived afterward.
“When I got there they had a male on a gurney taking him away. Then a couple minutes later they had a female in the video in handcuffs & she could barely walk or she was resisting it seemed like,” she said.
The woman yelled out, “Please don’t leave me,” and other phrases as firefighters treated her injuries, Aguirre said.
Both suspects were hospitalized prior to booking, Tibbetts said.

VIDEO: Courtesy of Christopher Morales

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Police: Long Beach brothers busted with kilo of cocaine in San Gabriel


SAN GABRIEL >> Two brothers from Long Beach were behind bars Friday after San Gabriel police found them driving through town with a kilogram of cocaine stowed in a shoe box, officials said.
Manuel Eugenio Salazar, 23, and brother Jorge Eugenio Salazar, 22, were both booked on suspicion of transportation of narcotics following their arrests shortly before noon Thursday, according to San Gabriel police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The bust stemmed from a “routine traffic stop” about 10:25 a.m. in the 1300 block of South San Gabriel Boulevard, Lt. Riki Nakamura said.
An officers topped a Nissan being driven by Manuel Salazar, with his brother riding as a passenger, for having no license plates, the lieutenant said. It was also soon determined that the driver had no license.
Police prepared to tow the car, Nakamura said. While conducting an “inventory search,” police found a 2.2-pound brick of cocaine stashed inside a shoebox within the car.
A drug-sniffing dog examined the car but found no additional drugs, he said.
Manuel and Jorge Salazar were being held in lieu of $30,000 bail each at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Tuesday in Alhambra Superior Court, records show.

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