Man robbed outside Santa Fe Springs bank

SANTA FE SPRINGS — Police asked the public’s help Tuesday in finding two robbers who attacked and robbed a man outside a bank branch.
The crime took place about 10:20 a.m. Friday outside the Bank of America, 9930 Orr and Day Road, as a man was leaving the bank with an envelope full of money, Whittier police said in a written statement.
As the man was walking through the parking lot, two robbers “grabbed the victim, forcing him to the ground in attempt to take an envelope containing cash,” according to the statement.
The victim struggled with his attackers and cash went flying in all directions, police said.
The robbers, described only as black men, snatched up what they could from the ground and were last seen driving east on Telegraph Road in silver, 1980s-model Toyota Camry, officials said.

TV audition ends in death of wife and arrest of husband

“America’s Got Talent” audition, ecstasy, speed, a missing woman and the arrest of a rock musician. This story has some interesting twists:

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Los Angeles police said Tuesday the wife of a man vying for a spot on “America’s Got Talent” was found dead in the stairwell of an upscale hotel where the T.V. show was holding auditions.

Covina native Laura Finley, 48, was discovered about 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning by a guest of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

Police said her death appeared to be accidental, but they are looking into “other possibilities” as a precaution, Los Angeles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said.

The coroner’s office is waiting for the results of toxicology tests before determining Laura Finley’s cause of death, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said.

Laura Finley grew up in Covina and married her high school sweet heart, Joe Finley, four years after graduating from Northview High School in 1980, said Laura Finley’s sister, Jill Sutterlin.

“My sister loved her husband more than she loved her children and herself,” Sutterlin said. “She was his number one fan.”

Joe Finley called hotel security and reported his wife missing after he got out of bed Saturday, Vernon said.

The 47-year-old rock musician then attended an audition for the NBC reality T.V. show, Vernon said. Police later notified him about the death of his wife.

Joe Finley was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of drug possession, Vernon said.

During an interview with detectives, Joe Finley said he and his wife had consumed ecstasy before her death, Vernon said.

MySpace + affair = triple murder

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Manling Williams’ former boyfriend testified Monday that he initially denied having an affair with the woman who sliced her husband to death with a ninja sword and suffocated her two children.

Williams faces the death penalty if convicted of killing Neal Williams, and their sons Devon and Ian.
The judge let our cameras into the Monday. We will return.

PD can’t find former Mayor’s alleged victim, no charges filed

So here’s the scoop, San Gabriel PD can’t find the woman they need to make a case against former Mayor Albert Y.M. Huang.

Two questions…
1) didn’t they get a statement from her at the scene?
2) what happened to the witnesses?
Something might smell here.
Side note: Checkout Adolfo Flores’ story this morning in the PSN. Huang voted to exempt the g/f’s massage parlor from a citywide moratorium. There’s more to this story…stay tuned

Advice for making it look like suicide

This comes via a Facebook status update from Jan Williams, whose son Neal and two grandsons were brutally killed in 2007 by Neal’s wife Manling. Trial is underway in the case. Prosecutors allege that Manling wanted to make it look as if Neal committed suicide. As Jan points out there were a few problems with that plan:

Jan Williams In planning a suicide, it might be well to remember that it is very difficult to stab yourself repeatedly in the back, especially when your hands and fingers have been severed. That’s free advice.

Report: Sheriff Lee Baca ordered detectives to help political supporter

This from the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES-Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca directed detectives to launch a criminal investigation against a tenant of one of his well-connected supporters and contributors, a report published Sunday said.

The department’s investigation, prompted by a handwritten note from Baca, targeted a man in a Beverly Hills rental dispute with Ezat Delijani, a longtime Baca donor.

The sheriff sent the note with his request to his chief of detectives, who gave it a special “rush” status normally reserved for serious crimes, the published report indicated.

The note, written on a printed e-mail from Delijani’s son, read: “Chief Miller-This case involves a ‘lease forgery.’ Could you have our people investigate this.”

Blogger burglarized in Sierra Madre

John Crawford over at Sierra Madre Tattler blogs about a break-in at his home that cost him:

a computer of the more traditional kind, two laptops including the one I usually type this blog on, a faux flat screen TV, a kid’s cello (the maestro seemed strangely unmoved by its loss), the stereo including a turntable, some jewelry and, oddly enough, a stack of my shirts.

At the tail end of the post, Crawford reveals how a similar break-in happened at Chief Marilyn Diaz’s home. You can read the entire post and all the comments here.

L.A. County sheriff prompted probe for donor

From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES — A report says Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca told detectives to launch a criminal investigation against a tenant of one of his well-connected supporters and contributors.
A newspaper reported Sunday said the department’s investigation targeted a man who was in a Beverly Hills rental dispute with longtime Baca donor Ezat Delijani.
It was reported that the investigation was outside Baca’s jurisdiction and Beverly Hills police had already concluded there was no crime involved.
The story says the sheriff sent a handwritten note to his chief of detectives requesting the probe and detectives gave it a special “rush” status normally reserved for serious crimes.
Baca told a reporter he had little personal involvement in the probe and Delijani received no special treatment.

Blaze badly damages home in East Valinda

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EAST VALINDA — A large fire displaced a family Sunday and caused an estimated $180,000 worth of damage to a house and its contents, authorities said.
The blaze was first reported at 2:25 p.m. at a single-story house at 17422 Glenthorpe Street, dispatch supervisor Robert Diaz said.
No one was injured in the fire, though a 32-year-man was taken to a hospital for evaluation because he had singed hair, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Gary Black said.
“The house was well-involved (with fire) on fire department arrival,” Black said.
Seven adults and one child had gotten themselves out of the home before rescuers arrived, he added.
Firefighters attacked the blaze from all angles and cut holes in the home’s roof to ventilate the blaze, officials said.
The fire was extinguished in under 20 minutes from when it was reported, Black said, and firefighters began the work of salvaging what items could be saved from the badly scorched home.
The fire gutted the home, causing about $150,000 worth of damage to the structure and about $30,000 worth of damage to the contents of the home, he added.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, though it initially appeared to have ignited in the kitchen, the captain said.
The family made their own arrangements for temporary lodging, officials said, and the Red Cross was not needed.

PHOTO by Brian Day

Man electrocuted, woman badly burned; police allege attempted wire theft

From City News Service:

LOS ANGELES — The family of a father of two who was killed when an electric vault exploded on a vacant lot said today the man had been hired to maintain the property and was not stealing copper wire, as police allege.
Jose Fernando Santillanes, 36, of Lynwood, was killed at 4:14 p.m. Saturday when he apparently triggered an explosion and flash fire on a vacant lot at 3064 Firestone Blvd., while his 3-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son were in a truck about 15 feet away, said South Gate police Lt. Keith Hupp.
Maria Cortez, 33, was critically burned while trying to pull Santillanes away from the vault. She was being treated at the Grossman Burn Center, he said.
The man’s family told a television station that Santillanes had been hired to clean up the vacant lot on a regular basis, but police asserted they had evidence that he was trying to steal copper from the vault.
“The lady was just screaming ‘my husband, my husband,’” neighbor Karla Hernandez told a television station. “The children were crying. And then we heard two more explosions.”
Hupp described the scene as “pretty ugly.”
“We actually had to knock down the fence to try to get over there,” witness Raul Rivera reportedly said. “So we were just knocking down the fence until we got there, but it was too late.”
The children were taken into protective custody and later turned over to an aunt in Lynwood, Hupp said.
“Copper theft has been a problem for the past several years due to the high value of copper,” Hupp told a news station. “Unfortunately sometimes people don’t know when wires are live, and these were definitely live.”
The blast at the former Liberty Cable Co. site also caused an electrical outage in the immediate area, but service was restored to most customers within a few hours.