ATM scams a local craze

Nate McIntire’s story on an ATM scam in Monrovia was pretty thorough and included some interesting information from local authorities. It developed from an email posted here last week that generated some interesting commentary on the Foothill Cities Blog.

Goddess of Pomona has a local tale from the victim’s point of view that makes for a great read:

12908-womantree2-thumb-150x195.jpgThe first thing that was sort of odd, is that when I went inside the store to pay, no one was there, and it was a good two minutes before anyone came inside. The man who came inside did not have a name tag on and that sort of bothered me too. I paid by credit card and what was irregular about that was that it looked like a normal cash receipt, but there was no pre-printed line for my signature. Instead, the checker drew a line in pen along the side of the receipt and had me sign my name perpendicular to the rest of the receipt. I convinced myself that these irregularities were rather charming in a funky Pomona kind of way. The gas station was absent of any other customers, ‘cept a woman and her teenage son in an old caddie.

Otherwise, the pump worked fine and the money I put in seemed to make my gas monitor go up to to the proper level.

Well, fast forward to tonight. A few minutes ago, I turned on the Channel 9 news to see the cashier at Fuel It Up being interviewed about an alleged credit card scam operating out of the gas station.

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Another take on hate crimes

The county’s report on hate crimes, which was released Thursday indicated a 28-percent rise in such incidents. This excerpt from our story gives some local flavor to the report:

The report said there were 94 hate crimes reported in the San Gabriel Valley and another 45 reported in the East Los Angeles area, which includes Montebello, Pico Rivera, La Mirada, Whittier and La Habra.

The spike, which comes as the Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles Police Department reported a 5 percent to 6percent reduction in overall crime, was driven by several factors, including gang rivalries and tensions between African Americans and Latinos, officials said.

The report specifically addressed a series of attacks on Latinos by suspected black gang members in Pasadena beginning in 2006. By August of last year, 69 incidents had been investigated, according to the report.

“We talked about the Pasadena situation – `Sock on Mexicans’ – in detail there,” said Robin Toma, executive director of the commission. “That was a notable challenge.”

Toma also referred to recent gang violence that took the lives of 63-year-old Sanders Rollins, 16-year-old Sammantha Salas and 19-year-old Brandon Lee earlier this year.

Then there’s this from the LA Noir blog:

Continue reading “Another take on hate crimes” »

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Dead End Locos sought by cops*

The *shooting of a sheriff’s deputy’s mother in early July may have been a case of mistaken identity, according to a story by reporter Ruby Gonzales:


WHITTIER – Gang investigators say the July 6 shooting that wounded a deputy’s 60-year-old mother was a case of mistaken identity.

They believe members of the Dead End Locos gang not only shot at the wrong house that night, the group also mistakenly tagged it two weeks ago.

Now deputies are asking for the public’s help in finding three men wanted for questioning in the shooting in the 11700 block of Keith Drive.

One of two suspected shooters is already in custody and deputies have also recovered one gun and the getaway vehicle, a gold-colored Ford Explorer.


As for the mug shot. Here’s the caption:

Ruben Rene ‘Droopy” Amperano, one of the alleged shooters, was arrested during a parole and probation sweep on July 10. (Courtesy)  

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Another Pasadena Weekly update on Richter case

A former Pasadena police lieutenant who disappeared around the holidays only to turn up dead under an Irwindale overpass is the subject of another piece in the Pasadena Weekly by reporter Andre Coleman.

The story, headlined “Body of Evidence” contains a pretty explosive lede:

A former Pasadena police officer thought to have committed suicide suffered a broken jaw sometime shortly before his death. Further, police sources have told the Pasadena Weekly that the head wound suffered by retired Officer David Richter was on the left side of Richter’s head, though Richter used his right hand to carry and fire his weapon, separate sources with knowledge of the case and Richter told the newspaper.

There is also this curious sentence:

The sources used in this story are either high-ranking police officials or former police officials who all spoke on condition of anonymity.

The either/or construction is striking — I’m still trying to parse it as we follow the story.

As for the balance of the story. It is possible that Richter could have held the gun to his lower left jaw; fired the gun so that it broke his jaw and (at the same time left an entrance wound on the “left side of Richter’s head”).

I don’t think this is some magic bullet theory, simply a possibility that is probably being addressed at some level.

I think the possibility is likely given the phrase “sometime shortly before his death.”

Medical examiners typically use terms like “post mortem,” meaning after death, and peri-mortem, meaning around the time of death. I’ll be curious to see how the broken jaw is classified.

All-in-all, Andre’s done a nice job of reporting on this case. These are just my questions.  


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Baldwin Park man keeps boxing flame alive

I saw this story on ESPN about a Baldwin Park restaurant owner who has turned his establishment into a haven for area boxing fans. The main event this weekend?

Miguel Cotto defends his welterweight championship in Las Vegas against Antonio Margarito of Mexico on Saturday.

Here’s the lede:

BALDWIN PARK, Calif. — Old fight posters do not adorn the walls of El Siete Mares, a Mexican restaurant and bar just outside Los Angeles. But make no mistake, the establishment is a haven for Mexican boxing fans.

Instead of posters, six televisions are strategically placed so that no matter where a customer sits, the fights are visible.

It’s a tradition for Rafael Chavez, who owns eight El Siete Mares restaurants as well as five other Mexican restaurants in the Soutern California area. If there’s a fight on the tube, Chavez will show it.

Chavez was born in Mexico, but has been a Southern California restaurant owner for the past 25 years.

“I like all sports, but my main love is boxing,” Chavez said. “I did a little bit myself and I’ve followed guys like [brothers] Rafael and Gabriel Ruelas, locals that fought around here. I also have a lot of friends who come here who are boxing fans. It is something we can relate with because we love it.

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Paranormal findings

I love listening to Coast to Coast AM when I’m out late. There’s always some interesting discussion (usually kooky) but hey as PT Barnum said …

Anyway, I noticed the show has linked to Tuesday’s Column about Oregon psychic Beyona Queen and the investigation into the death of Pasadena police Lt. David Richter. It’s one of their “hot stories of the day.”

Thanks Art Bell or George Noory, or whoever is hosting now.

After reading the site, I decided to search Beyona Queen on Google and low and behold I found this:


Continue reading “Paranormal findings” »

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Been out all day

To those of you who turned here for updates on the Sierra Madre standoff, I’ve been unable to provide them today as I’m out of town — which also explains the lack of  any other posts.

I’ll return tomorrow as will Crime Scene.



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Body found in car with parking ticket on window*

This story from Pico Rivera comes via the wire services. I’ll post an update later:

The L-A County coroner’s office plans perform an autopsy on the body of a man
who was found in the driver’s seat of a parked car in an un-incorporated area
near Pico Rivera. The body was discovered at Rooks Road and Peck
Roads last night. A parking citation had been left on the car.

*Here’s what KCBS/KCAL is reporting:

Employees at a nearby truck repair shop said the car — a 1980s four-door Lincoln — had been parked there all day, and, at some point, someone placed a parking ticket on the vehicle’s door.

A worker said firefighters who responded couldn’t believe that someone had issued the citation without noticing the deceased man.


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Pot bust targets SGV residents

The DEA took in $1.68 million in pot and raided five houses in three counties Tuesday as part of an ongoing effort targeting grow homes.

I’ve made an incomplete Google map, because the interface is acting weird on me but here’s what I can extract: 
BTW if you see a weird ad. I have no idea how it got there…anyone with Google experience that can help?
If you click on the link it will take you to the map.

View Larger Map

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Pasadena Police Officer’s Death Cause for Speculation

    The death of retired Pasadena Police Lt. David Richter has highlighted the need for responsible journalism in a time when tabloid reporting and the sentiments of bloggers are confused with news.

    Richter’s abandoned car was found
by a water-filled pit in Irwindale last January. Police assumed the
retired lieutenant had either taken his own life or simply walked
away from his financial troubles.

    The later discovery of
Richter’s corpse and a firearm under a nearby overpass seems to corroborate the theory that Richter took his own life. But then there’s the
conspiracy theorists, and admittedly the case possesses all the
potential of a Law and Order episode.

    Thursday, I read an
article by Andre Coleman of the Pasadena
. Buried on page 13, the article uses an unnamed source and
anonymous letter to create speculation amongst readers. After a short
recap of the facts, Coleman delves into a lengthy digress about an
anonymous letter sent to members of the Pasadena City Council.  The letter
alleges everything from police malfeasance to racism.

sublimation of this anonymous letter leads to another anonymous

According to an earlier
conversation with one coroner’s office employee who did not wish to
be named, among the factors that may have led authorities to reopen
the case
(the case was
never closed)
was that a gun found near Richter’s body
appeared to have been fired four times, and one bullet remained in
the weapon.”

    Keeping in mind that they are a tabloid, I find it alarming
that the Pasadena Weekly published this story. Had someone in the coroner’s office made the statement, a statement that Los Angeles County Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter doubts the legitimacy of, I would have written it off as conjecture, rather
than present it as news. How would someone in the coroner’s office
know this information? According to Winter, homicide detectives would
have taken the weapon and run ballistics on it, not the coroners
office. While the article spends ample time on anonymous sources, it
fails to mention Richter’s financial possible motives for Richter to commit suicide.

    Prior to writing my
article on Richter, I searched for reliable information,
unfortunately reliable sources of information weren’t permitted to

    Friday I spoke with
a psychic who claims the spirit of David Richter awakens her every
morning seeking justice for his murder.

    Monday morning I
listened to a voice-mail from an anonymous caller who presented
himself as law enforcement by using the word “we” often in
his rant. I listened to the message several times in an ill-fated
attempt to extract meaningful insight.

“You’ll never find out what
happened, because that’s what happens to us good cops when we make
promises we can’t keep.”

What promises? Promises to financial
institutions involving adjustable rate mortgages?

    After racking my
brain for three days I had an epiphany: there probably isn’t any
credible information indicating Richter’s death was anything but a

    Let’s face it,
Richter was a retired cop and retired cops kill themselves. By the
age of 55 Richter had spent his entire adult life in law enforcement, and didn’t have a spouse or children.

    Police who survive
years of service, only to take their own lives after retirement is not a new concept. My own grandfather retired after 30 years as a
Philadelphia homicide detective, and spent the next ten years
drinking himself to death.

    Sure, it’s possible that
Richter caught a bullet during an old-west-style shootout
with a crooked cop. However, it’s far more likely that
Richter was lamenting his career, his impending financial doom, and a Christmas without not only kin but comrade, last holiday season when he died.

    Regardless of what
happened to Richter, it’s important that journalists remember their
role: to report the news not create it. That’s why I take it as a
compliment when bloggers like Aaron Proctor recognize me with a “ham
and egger” award for “stealing” a story. So long as
the Associated Press continues to recognize the difference between
news coverage and misleading narratives, there just might be hope
for the media and the role it should play in our society.

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