Deputy fires shot during Altadena arrest

ALTADENA — A sheriff’s deputy shot at, but missed, a carjacking suspect before arresting him Thursday, authorities said.
Kyle Traub, 21, of Altadena was booked on suspicion of a San Dimas carjacking, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The shooting took place about 9:20 a.m. in the 500 block of West Terrace Street in Altadena, Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement.
Deputies stopped a car Traub was driving after realizing it had been carjacked from San Dimas, officials said.
No further information regarding the circumstances of the shooting was released, other than that no deputies were injured.
Officials at the sheriff’s Altadena Station deferred all questions to the Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau, which is tasked with handling press inquiries for the department.
No further information about the San Dimas carjacking was available Thursday night.

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Officials crack down on unlicensed contractors in Pasadena, statewide

PASADENA — Fourteen contractors have been cited on suspicion of working without a license in Pasadena, authorities announced Thursday.
The Contractors State License Board engaged in a two day “Blitz” of stings targeting unlicensed contractors throughout California, CSLB officials said in a written statement.
More than 110 people were cited in the two-day operation, which was carried out in nine cities on Oct. 20 and 21. The CSLB conducts such stings twice annually.
“This Blitz is a wake-up call for all California consumers,” CSLB Registrar Steve Sands said. “
“You must check out the people you’re going to hire to work on your home to make sure they’re properly licensed. Your family safety or your finances could be jeopardized by not taking a few minutes to verify the contractor on CSLB’s website or through our toll-free phone system,” he said.
Two of those cited in Pasadena were also booked and fingerprinted before being released, officials said.
In the sting, CSLB investigators posed as homeowner and community organization volunteers as they solicited bids from unlicensed contractors for work ranging from swimming pool repair to painting, according to the CSLB statement.
Those who bid more than the legal limit of $500 for labor and materials received a notice to appear in court for a misdemeanor charge contracting without a license.
Under California law, contractors may work without a license on jobs valued at $500 or less, so long as they advertise that they are not licensed.
Other charged levied against suspected unlicensed contractors included illegal advertising and soliciting excessive down payments, officials said.
With a few exceptions that are noted on the CSLB’s website, it’s against state law to solicit a down payment for contracting work of more than 10 percent of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less.
According to the CSLB statement, “The goal of CSLB’s twice-yearly blitz is to educate consumers about potential dangers of hiring phony contractors, and to encourage people who want to work in the construction trades and who qualify to get their contractor license to comply with California law.”
Contractors working without licenses don’t carry workers’ compensation, leaving homeowners potentially liable if a worker is hurt on the job, officials said. Additionally, if something goes wrong with the project, consumers have fewer options to get their money back when dealing with an unlicensed contractor.
Other cities included in the sting were Fresno, La Mesa, Placerville, Porterville, San Juan Capistrano, Seaside, Visalia and West Sacramento.
The CSLB can be reached online at, or by calling 800-321-2752.

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Mysterious shooting reported in Bassett

BASSETT — A man escaped injury in a mysterious and seemingly unprovoked shooting in a residential neighborhood late Wednesday, authorities said.
A 22-year-old man was walking to his car about 9:10 p.m. on Pellissier Road, near Famosa Street, when he spotted the shooter, described only as male and wearing a dark baseball cap and a dark zip-up jacket, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Katz said in a written statement.
“The suspect was on the embankment of the transition road from the eastbound 60 Freeway to the southbound 605 Freeway when he fired approximately six shots at the victim,” Katz said.
The man was not wounded by the gunfire, though his car was struck twice, Lt. Victor Sotelo said. He moved his car around the corner, then called for help.
No words were exchanged prior to the shooting, he said, and the victim did not report recognizing his attacker.
The victim was not believed to have gang ties, Sotelo added, and a motive in the shooting was unclear Thursday. “This is quite unusual,” he said.
After firing the shots, the attacker was last seen running north up the embankment before he disappeared into the brush, officials said.
Sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers searched the area with the help of helicopters, but the shooter was not found, Katz said.
CHP officers briefly shut down the connector road between the eastbound 60 Freeway and the southbound 605 Freeway during the search, officials said, however traffic in the area was light at the time.

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Wanted suspect jailed after chase leads from Covina to West Covina

Police arrested a wanted man Wednesday after authorities said he led them on a chase from Covina to West Covina that ended in a crash during which he threw a rifle from the car.
Christopher Ventura, 21, of West Covina was booked on suspicion of felony evading, as well as a witness intimidation charge steming from an ongoing West Covina police investigation, Covina police Sgt. Rob Bobkiewicz said.
The incident began about 5:20 p.m. when West Covina police asked that Covina officers check the home of a witness intimidation suspect in the 700 block of North Grand Avenue to see if his car was parked there, Bobkiewicz said.
Covina officers spotted his car and waited about five minutes before Ventura came out and got into it, the sergeant said.
Officers tried to pull over Ventura’s car, Bobkiewicz said, but he continued south on Grand Avenue, initiating a chase.
Police followed as Ventura merged onto the westbound 10 Freeway, he said, weaving in and out of traffic at speeds of up to 90 mph. At one point, Ventura allegedly threw a rifle from his car onto the freeway, which police recovered.
Ventura exited the freeway and headed south on Vincent Avenue before running a red light and crashing into an SUV that was making a U-turn at Vincent Avenue and Lakes Drive, Bobkiewicz said.
West Covina and Covina officers then took Ventura into custody, he added. A handgun was found inside his car.
A man and his mother inside the SUV were not injured in the crash, police said.

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Women, kids struck by cars in Covina, Altadena

In two unrelated incidents that occurred about the same time Wednesday, a mother and son were struck and injured by a car in an unincorporated county area near Covina, and another woman and small child were struck and injured in Altadena:

COVINA — A pregnant mother and her young child were struck and injured by a car Wednesday as they crossed San Bernardino Road in an unincorporated county area near Covina, officials said.
The child, estimated to be three years old, didn’t appear to suffer any severe injuries, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said. The mother, who was seven months pregnant, had stable vital signs but suffered abrasions and complained of pain to her hip.
Both were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment, officials said.
The woman, who was in her early 20s, was using a stroller about 6:30 p.m. to push her child across the street in a crosswalk near Walnut Haven Drive when they were struck, California Highway Patrol Officer William Bury said.
A man driving a car failed to see the mother and son and struck them, Bury said. The investigation was ongoing, however nothing criminal was initially suspected.

ALTADENA — A woman and a young boy were struck and badly injured by a car Wednesday as they crossed Altadena Drive, authorities said.
The incident was reported just after 6:30 p.m. on Altadena Drive near Glenrose Avenue, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
A woman estimated to be in her 20s and a boy of about 5 years old were crossing the street in a crosswalk when they were struck by a small SUV that was eastbound, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Mike McCormick said.
The boy was hospitalized in critical condition, while the woman appeared to have suffered moderate injuries, the captain said.
The driver of the SUV, a woman estimated to be in her 50s, did not appear injured but was extremely upset by the “very unfortunate accident” and was hospitalized as a precaution, McCormick said.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Altadena office of the CHP.

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Hit-and-run victim chases after suspect in Industry

INDUSTRY — Deputies arrested a Hacienda Heights man late Tuesday after crashing into the same man’s car twice and fleeing the scene, authorities said.
Louis Espinoza, 23, was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Katz said in a written statement.
The incident began about 1:45 p.m. at Salt Lake Avenue and Turnbull Canyon Road, the lieutenant said.
After crashing into another car, “(Espinoza) fled the scene of the accident, followed by the victim,” Katz said. The victim called 9-1-1 and got in touch with deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station.
“The suspect drove approximately one mile away from the first accident scene,” Katz said. “The victim followed the suspect to a cul-de-sac where the suspect drove recklessly through two chain link fences and ultimately struck the victim’s vehicle a second time.”
Espinoza abandoned his disabled car and ran to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant, officials said, where he called his mother and had her pick him up.
Deputies found Espinoza at his home after linking his vehicle registration to his address, Katz added,
According to sheriff’s booking records, Espinoza was released from jail Wednesday after posting $35,000 bail. He was due in West Covina Superior Court Thursday for arraignment.

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High-risk sex offender removes GPS tracker

47190-VALENTINO RODRIGUEZ-thumb-300x369-47189.jpg

A high-risk sex offender paroled earlier this month and known to frequent the Pasadena area is being sought after he removed his GPS ankle bracelet and went missing in South Los Angeles, authorities said.
Valentino Rodriguez Jr., 40, was paroled to 5819 E. Olympic Blvd. in East Los Angeles on Oct. 4, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
On Monday, officials discovered that “(Rodriguez) removed his GPS tracking device at the ARCO Station located at Century Boulevard and Main Street in South Los Angeles,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
Rodriguez is known to frequent the Pasadena, LAPD 77th Division, LAPD Southeast Division and East Los Angeles areas.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Anthony Camargo of the sheriff’s East Los Angeles Station at 323-264-4151.
PHOTO of Valentino Rodriguez comes courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Failed heist reported at Norwalk bank

NORWALK — Two would-be robbers fled empty-handed Wednesday after a failed bank robbery in Norwalk, authorities said.
The incident occurred about 11:30 a.m. at a Chase bank branch, 11618 E. Rosecrans Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Kenny said.
Two criminals described only as black men wearing sweat shirts entered the bank and demanded money, the lieutenant said. They motioned as if they had weapons, though none were seen.
“For some reason, something scared them and they left the location before they committed the crime,” Kenny said.
No further details were available.

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Sheriff’s SUV collides with sedan in La Mirada


LA MIRADA – A sheriff’s sergeant and a civilian suffered minor injuries late Tuesday when their vehicles collided in a La Mirada intersection in front of BIOLA University, authorities said.
The crash occurred just after 10 p.m. at La Mirada Boulevard and Oakwood Lane, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Ward said.
Sgt. Brian Neel, assigned to the the sheriff’s La Mirada substation, was taken to a hospital for evaluation but expected to be fine, Ward said.
A 45-year-old woman who was driving a Mercedes-Benz sedan also suffered minor injuries but was not hospitalized, fire officials said.
The investigation remained ongoing, however it initially appeared that “she made a left turn in front of (the sergeant),” Ward said.
Firefighters spent about 15 minutes cutting the sergeant free from his SUV, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Fred Stowers said.
The sheriff’s SUV sustained major damage in the crash, sheriff’s officials said, while the sedan sustained moderate-to-major damage.
The sergeant was driving his black-and-white Chevrolet Tahoe SUV at normal speeds on routine patrol — not with emergency lights and sirens on — when the crash occurred, sheriff’s Lt. Steve Kenny said.
Neel was southbound on La Mirada Boulevard in the SUV and the woman was making a left turn from northbound La Mirada Boulevard into the parking lot of BIOLA University when the vehicle met in the intersection, Kenny said.
The woman was not arrested, he said, and it was not clear Wednesday whether she would be cited.
The investigation is being handled by personnel from the sheriff’s Norwalk Station.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Less a week ’til election day … Irwindale City Officials arrested

It took more than three years but with a week to go before the statewide general election …

IRWINDALE — A San Gabriel Valley Tribune article from 2007 resulted in the arrests of four Irwindale city officials, including a current council member, officials said Wednesday.

The four have been charged with misappropriation of public funds after they allegedly attended Broadway shows and baseball games during trips to New York to get a better bond rating for the city, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said.

Charged are City Councilman Mark Breceda, 50; retired city manager Steve Blancarte, 56; finance director Abe De Dios, 65; and former councilwoman Rosemary Ramirez, 49, said Deputy District Attorney Nipa Cook with the Public Integrity Division.

Defendants Breceda, Blancarte and Ramirez are scheduled to appear this morning in Department 30 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center for arraignment.

De Dios, who is out of town, is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.

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