Scam targets unsuspecting in West Covina


WEST COVINA Police are warning the public about a suspected team of con artists who they say scammed two local women out of thousands of dollars Wednesday.
Both incidents targeted older Latino women, said West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez<NO1>cq<NO>.
The crimes occurred about 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m., he said.
In the first case, a 69-year-old woman was approached by a Spanish-speaking man while shopping inside Longs Drugs store, 727 S. Glendora Ave., said Lopez.
The man told her that his father was dying in Costa Rica, and that he needed to have a document notarized at the law offices of Martinez and Martinez in order to have money sent to him, Lopez said.
A second alleged crook, a woman, walked up and said she knew where it was and could drive him, said the alleged victim, who asked her name not be used for fear of retaliation.
The woman convinced the victim to enter her car by telling her she did not want to be alone with the man, she said.
Once inside the suspects van, the man and woman convinced the woman to use her credit card to withdraw $8,000 from the bank, promising her they would return her money as soon as they got the document notarized, Lopez said.
At first I thought they were just friendly, said the victim. Once they got me in the car, they changed. I was scared, she said.
While at the bank, the alleged woman suspects picture was caught by surveillance cameras, Lopez added.
Shortly after leaving the bank, the man began coughing and asked the victim to get him some water, said Lopez.
When the woman returned with the water, the man and woman had fled with her money, he said.
The victim described the man as being Latino, about 50 years old, 5-feet tall, about 120 pounds, with short hair, wearing a dark-colored suit, said Lopez.
The other suspect was described as a Spanish-speaking Latino woman, in her 30s, with long brown hair, sunglasses, a brown sweat shirt, brown pants, and a scarf around her ponytail.
They drove a white mini-van, police added.
About half an hour later, a similar con was reported in on the Azusa/Covina border, police said.
A 60-year-old Latino woman was walking in the area of Arrow Highway and Citrus Avenue when she was approached by a Spanish-speaking man who told her he had a winning Lotto ticket worth $1 million and needed to go to the law offices of Martinez and Martinez, said Lopez.
As before, a woman posing as a passer-by offered a ride and encouraged the victim to give the man collateral money so he could cash the ticket, which she promised would be promptly returned.
After the con artist took the woman to her West Covina home where she retrieved $1,600 and some jewelry, the man said he had a headache and asked the victim to get him some aspirin, Lopez said.
Once the victim went inside the store, the suspects fled, he added.
The second victim gave police a description of the pair that was similar to that of the first victim, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the West Covina Police Department at (626) 939-8557.
<MC>(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2718

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Quotes from around Monrovia

“I don’t want this to happen to any family. Politicians come on listen to us. This is an election year.” Jeanette Chavez, mother of Sammantha Salas.

“The retailiation and violence is impractical and immoral. The violence must stop.” Bishop William LaRue Dillard, 2nd Baptist Church Monrovia. “We are in a crisis in Monrovia.”

“We should pray for grace and wisdom. We need to promote a culture of life not a culture of death.” Father Charles Ramirez, Annunciation Parish, Monrovia.

“Law enforcement from the San Gabriel Valley has come together. Fifteen agencies are sending officers to assist us, but the problem will not be solved with law enforcement alone.”
Monrovia Police Chief Roger Johnson. “These are sociopaths they have no fear of their families their chruch — anybody.”



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“Stop The Violence”

3384-stop the violence-thumb-300x308.jpgWillie Lee Jr. of Monrovia Calif. and Jeanette Chavez, of Alhambra, Calif. embrace Thursday behind a memorial for Lee’s son Brandon who was shot to death Tuesday night. Chavez’s daughter Sammantha Salas was also the victim of gang violence. Salas, 16, was shot to death Jan. 26 outside an apartment building also in Monrvia, Calif. Police said Chavez and Salas are victims of a gang war between black and Latino Gangs in Los Angeles County.


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Photos from Anbar

I took these pictures this morning outside the home where Brandon Lee was shot to death. The first picture is of the memorial to Lee. The second picture shows the mother of Samantha Salas at the event.

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Woman not so missing after all

So that woman from El Monte who suspiciously went missing from her home Tuesday has been found.

Joellyn Corsaro, 48 was initially reported missing by her husband Tuesday morning after he returned to their Lambert Road home to find it ransacked and his wife gone.
At that point, police said things didnt add up, because Corsaro should have been home and one of the couples cars was missing.
Additionally, the license plates from the missing car had been left behind. And the plates from the couples second car were missing.

Was it a kidnapping? Were the plates swapped? Police were scratching their heads.
But about 12:05 p.m. Wednesday, Corsaro got into a car accident on the 10 freeway, and the responding CHP officer recognized her face from pictures in news reports.
Shes OK, and police are now saying nothing criminal happened.
El Monte police Detective Tim Siedentopp told reporter Bethania Palma last night that Corsaro told him she had stayed at a motel the night before, and seemed stressed out.

Hmmm? Is it just me or do their seem to be a lot of unanswered questions here. Why was the house ransacked? Why the license plate jumble? Was there something else going on?

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Thursday’s column

Corey Blount, a standout hoop star at Monrovia High School who played in the 1990s for the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, called Wednesday from his home in Cincinnati.
I think about the city of Monrovia, the situation, Blount said. Whats going on is sad, man.
I lived there, was born there thats home, Blount continued. But now, I wouldnt want to raise my family in Monrovia. These gangs took the place of the KKK as far as eliminating the young Mexicans and the young black males. Now that they start taking the innocents, its a problem thats going to continue to escalate.
Blounts call came less than 12 hours after the death of another local athlete: Brandon Lee, 19, a one-time standout football player at Duarte High School.
During the 2006 season, he led the Falcons in tackles as a middle linebacker and picked up 86 yards rushing. People who knew him said Brandon was quick, agile and sure.
Just not quick, agile or sure enough to outrun the bullet that killed him Tuesday night in the 500 block of Almond Avenue in Monrovia.
Lees killing was the latest shooting in a racially motivated gang war pitting Latino gangs Monrovia Nuevo Barrio and Duarte Eastside against a black gang known as Duroc Crips.
The attacks and counterattacks date back more than a few months and are likely being ordered by shot-callers at Pelican Bay, Folsom and San Quentin.
Detectives believe Lee, a black man, was killed in retaliation for the shooting death Saturday of Sammantha<NO1>cq<NO> Salas, a 16-year-old Latina.
Sammantha was killed in a hail of automatic gunfire as she walked to the neighborhood dairy in the dark. A 16-year-old friend walking with her was also shot and severely wounded.
The teenagers death came as retaliation for the murder of 64-year-old Sanders Rollins, a black man killed on the steps of his home earlier in the month, police said.
Detectives now believe that Rollins was targeted in retaliation for the shooting death of Hector Acosta, 24, on Dec. 12 in Duarte.
Even in the midst of the escalation, some community leaders turn aside the suggestion there is a racial component to the violence. No one denies the tension in the air, or how its tearing Monrovias All-American image to shreds.
Elizabeth Roberts, who has lived in Monrovia since coming to California from Great Britain after World War II, said the current state of affairs reminds her of the war.
Its like London during the war years, Roberts said. Its very, very disturbing.
As for Monrovias All-American image, Roberts would say its tarnished if not gone outright.
Were supposed to be one nation, under God.
At almost the same time that Lee was shot to death Tuesday evening, police staged a raid on Rollins home in search of a gun connected to a Jan.<TH>15 shooting, officials said.
It was a show of force. A surge if you will.
Four blocks away, the police presence didnt scare the two men who walked up to Lee and fired. Cops acknowledging the proximity of the two events called Lees killing brazen.
Wednesday morning came bright, cold and breezy to the narrow, oil-stained and well-worn Almond Street just north of Monrovias high-tech business corridor on Huntington Drive.
Bullets left pockmarks in the stucco wall of the home and pierced the tailgate of an SUV in the driveway. Yellow police tape tied to a leaky swamp cooler flapped in the breeze.
Squinting in the early morning sun, James Bush, 45, who lives a few doors down from where Lee was slain, surveyed the scene and thought of his two teenage sons.
With all this going on, I dont even let them out, he said. Whats going on here is ridiculous. Dont shoot innocent people. Cowards shoot innocent people.

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Thrown out

There’s a meeting at the Monrovia Community Center taking place right now. Apparently City Council is in attendance.

Our photographer was thrown out. The bouncer said no pictures. Apparently a reporter has been able to escape detection — so far…

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Doing Rock?


Police now say Brandon Lee, who was shot to death Tuesday night in the 500 block of Almond Street died holding a piece of rock cocaine. Not sure if that meant he was selling it or buying it when he was shot.

Interesting tidbit anyway.

The photo at right is from Tuesday night as police raided the home of Sanders Rollins. lee was shot while all these coppers were in the neighborhood.


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