Auto theft suspect arrested in Glendora

GLENDORA — Deputies and police arrested a Murrieta man Sunday after he was pulled over while driving a pickup truck that had been reported stolen, authorities said.
Adrian Navarro, 18, was booked on suspicion of auto theft, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Grall said.
A deputy from the sheriff’s San Dimas Station spotted a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck driving shortly after 7:30 p.m. and discovered it had been reported stolen out of Murrieta Tuesday, the sergeant said.
The deputy pulled the truck over near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Baseline Road, Grall said.
Navarro did not offer any resistance and admitted stealing the truck, he added.

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It’s the holiday season for crooks, too, police warn

As law abiding citizens prepare Thanksgiving feasts and do their Christmas shopping, authorities want to remind them it’s the season for crooks, too.
The increase in shopping, mail and vacations the holiday season brings can create windows of opportunity for thieves to exploit if citizens are not vigilant, area police officials said.
For those planning to leave town for the holidays, it should not be obvious to passers-by the home is vacant, Whittier police Lt. Bill Webster said. He advised discontinuing mail and newspaper service while on vacation, as to not advertise the home is empty.
“If you trust your neighbors, let them know. They’re probably your best security system, because they know what’s out of the ordinary.”
The lieutenant added that while police always advise residents to lock their cars and keep valuables such as GPS devices out of plain view, the message is especially important in the coming months.
In West Covina, which has two shopping malls, West Covina police Sgt. Jerry Pearman advised holiday shoppers not to leave items in plain view in their cars between store visits.
“They should be secured in the trunk,” he said.
“As long as things are properly secured in your car, you should be okay.”
To help prevent holiday season crime, Pasadena police will begin fielding extra volunteers in shopping areas during weekends, Chief Phillip Sanchez said in a written statement.
“The Pasadena Police Department’s Volunteer Safe Shopping program will begin Friday,” he said, “and will occur every weekend until Christmas. Uniformed police volunteers will conduct foot patrols from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Paseo Colorado, South Lake District, East Pasadena and Old Pasadena, handing out safety flyers and answering questions.”
Pasadena police Lt. Chris Russ said residents can help deter crime in their neighborhoods by doing their part to make them look, “alive.” Police advised residents to be alert, get to know their neighbors and start neighborhood watch groups and never hesitate to call the police if something suspicious is spotted.
“If we can get residents to work together in terms of being pro-active in presenting their neighborhood as one not inviting or vulnerable to crime, it will send a message that the neighbors are working together,” he said.
It’s also a good idea to cut up boxes from purchases and place them inside a trash can, not next to it, in order to avoid advertising to thieves what items you’ve just brought home, police said.
The increased amount of mail and packages being sent during the holiday season can also be targets for opportunistic thieves, officials said.
In a written statement, Arcadia police Sgt. Tom Le Veque offered tips to make sure packages end up in the hands of their intended recipients, and not a lawbreaking grinch.
“This time of year brings out those looking for a crime of opportunity as well as those thieves that actually target your delivery,” he said. “Thieves will follow or watch for the UPS, FedEx or other delivery trucks and then target a home after a delivery is made.”
Most packages sent to homes are delivered straight to the front porch, require no signature for delivery and are usually left at the recipients’ doors even if no one is home to accept them, according to the police statement.
To avoid becoming a victim of a delivery theft, Le Veque offered several tips:
*Use your workplace as the shipping address.
*Track shipments online or by phone so you know what day they’re expected to arrive.
*Ask neighbors to watch for your delivery if you’re not home and hold any packages until you return.
*Report suspicious people or vehicles in your neighborhood.
*Request a signature delivery option, if available, or request the package be held at the shipping facility to be picked up.
“If you do not receive your shipment on time, check with the company of origin and confirm the delivery,” Le Veque said. “If the item was delivered and you did not receive it, then report the theft or loss to the original company, the shipping company and your local police.”

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3 men shot in El Monte, circumstances of shooting unclear

EL MONTE — Detectives worked Sunday to determine the circumstances surrounding a shooting that left three men seriously wounded the previous afternoon.
The shooting was first reported about 3:40 p.m. Saturday in the 3500 block of Gilman Road, El Monte police Detective Ralph Batres said.
Responding officers were flagged down about a block away from the scene at Durfee Avenue and Exline Street, where they found two men suffering from gunshot wounds, police said.
A third victim was found a short time later by police in Alhambra, Batres said. The wounded man told officers he had been wounded in the El Monte shooting.
“All the conditions were serious, but all were expected to survive,” Batres said.
The wounded were described as a 48-year-old Los Angeles Man, a 33-year old Soledad man and a 24-year-old Los Angeles man.
Investigators initially received conflicting reports about what happened and were working to sort out what actually took place, Batres said.
A motive in the attack was not apparent, and no shooter description was available.

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2 men, woman, accused of stealing cars during test drives in El Monte

EL MONTE — Two men and a woman were behind bars Sunday on suspicion of stealing two luxury cars from El Monte auto dealerships during test drives, officials said.
Christopher Enriquez, 38, of Fontana, Anthony Gomez, 27, of Ontario and Yvette Zabala, 38, of El Monte were all booked on suspicion of auto theft, El Monte police Detective Ralph Batres said. Enriquez and Gomez were also booked on suspicion of violating parole.
A Mercedes-Benz was stolen, then quickly recovered, about 9 p.m. Friday from El Monte Remate, 3235 Peck Road, by a man and woman who told a salesman they were interested in a test drive, the detective said.
“When the salesman got out of the car, they took off,” he said.
“They were driven to the car lot in a 2004 Audi which was taken three days earlier in a similar incident at (A.M. Motors, 10960 Garvey Avenue) — a male and female posing as customers for a test drive,” Batres said.
Just like in Friday’s crime, he added, the man and woman in the Tuesday auto theft sped away in the Audi when the salesman got out of it.
The Mercedes taken Friday, however, was equipped with a vehicle anti-theft system, allowing police to track its position.
“Luckily, the Mercedes had a LoJack system equipped and one of the officers located the vehicle in the 11000 block of Klingerman Street, where we arrested (Enriquez, Gomez and Zabala),” Batres said.
Enriquez and Zabala stole the Mercedes during the test drive, Batres said, while Gomez was believed to have been driving the stolen Audi, which was parked near the Mercedes.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Enriquez and Gomez were being held without bail at the El Monte Police Department’s jail, while Zabala was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
They were expected to be arraigned Tuesday in El Monte Superior Court.

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Suspected Azusa gang member to serve as own attorney in Pomona murder trial

As Staff Writer Will Bigham reports, an alleged Azusa gang member is planning on representing himself at his murder trial in Pomona. He’s accused of killing a woman in retaliations after she testified against another high-ranking member of the Azusa 14 gang, Ralph Flores, who murdered four people.  We reported extensively on the Flores case.

He’s an excerpt from Bigham’s story:

POMONA – An alleged gang member accused of
murdering a woman who testified in a gang case was granted permission by
a judge Friday to act as his own attorney.

Rodney Colonel Perez, 30, could face the death penalty for
allegedly shooting and killing 24-year-old Roberta Romero last year in

Prosecutors believe that Romero, of Azusa, was killed on May
11, 2009, because she testified against a high-ranking member of the
Azusa 13 street gang who was convicted of four murders and sentenced to

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Motorist’s death on South Pasadena offramp appears natural

SOUTH PASADENA – A man died on the Orange Grove Avenue off-ramp of the southbound 110 Freeway in South Pasadena after apparently suffering a medical emergency, authorities said Saturday.
Steve Snider, 53, of Glendale was pronounced dead at the scene, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Lt. Brian Elias said.
California Highway Patrol officers responded at 7:25 p.m. Friday to a report of a traffic accident, CHP Officer Crystal Carter said.
They discovered a motorist had suffered a medical problem, not been in a crash, she said.
The cause of death will be determined by coroner’s investigators.
Officials closed the offramp for about three hours due to the incident, according to the CHP.

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Prowler steals car following burglary in Arcadia

ARCADIA — A resident awoke Friday to find his home had been burglarized and his car stolen, police said.
A man woke up shortly after 6 a.m. in the 300 block of Oxford Drive and noticed a front window of his house open, Arcadia police said in a written statement.
Sometime overnight, officials said, a burglar or burglars forced their way in through the window and stole cash, a Wii video game console, a purse and keys from the home.
The crook or crooks then fled in the victim’s car, which police described as a dark blue, 4-door, 1998 BMW 740 with a license plate number of 3WTP022. It also had a yellow sticker reading “Carmel” on the rear bumper.

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Gunman poses as delivery man in Arcadia home-invasion

ARCADIA – A gunman posing as a delivery man bound a housekeeper Thursday during a home-invasion robbery, police said.
A man knocked at the door of a home in the 300 block of California Street about 10 a.m., claiming to be a delivery man, Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said. The housekeeper, a woman in her early 40s, answered the door.
“The male suspect pointed a handgun at the victim, bound her hands with duct tape and lead her to a room inside the residence,” Sgt. Tom Le Veque said in a written statement.
A second robber then joined the gunman, he said, and both ransacked the home.
“The victim did not see the suspects leave but waited for a period of time and was then able to free her hands,” according to the police statement.
She called her employer, who then called the police.
The housekeeper suffered bruises to her wrists but was not seriously hurt, officials said. A safe, jewelry and watches were stolen in the heist.
The safe contained jewelry and other miscellaneous items, Crowther said.
Authorities described the first robber as a Latino man, about 40 years old, of average height and weight, with moles and acne on his face. He wore a dark baseball cap, a white long-sleeved shirt and carried a silver, semi-automatic handgun.
The second robber was described only as a Latino man.
Both suspects spoke only in Spanish during the crime, police added.
Anyone with information is asked to call Arcadia police detectives at 626-574-5160.

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16-year-old boy shot six times following fight at party in Bassett

BASSETT — A group of men chased down a 16-year-old boy and shot him six times following a fight at a party late Friday, authorities said.
The shooting took place just before 10 p.m. in the 300 block of Santa Mariana Avenue in the unincorporated county area of Bassett, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Liza Vera said.
The victim was at a party when a fight broke out and he left, the sergeant said.
Five attackers — initially described only as Latino men wearing hooded sweat shirts and baggy pants — followed the teen out of the party, Vera said.
“He was chased by the suspects,” she said.
The victim told authorities he then heard gunshots and felt pain in his body, Vera said. “He sustained six gunshots to his arm, thigh, right shoulder, buttocks and calf.”
The wounded teen was hospitalized at a trauma center where he was expected to survive, officials said.
A car was heard speeding away from the scene following the shooting, Vera said, though no description of it was available.
Authorities added that witnesses and the victim did not appear to be fully cooperating with investigators.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Industry Station.
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Drive-by shooting in Covina leaves teen wounded

COVINA — A teenage boy was wounded Friday in a drive-by shooting, police said.
The crime was reported as a “shots fired” call just after 3:10 p.m. at Barranca Avenue and Dexter Street, Covina police Sgt. Rob Bobkiewicz said.
No victims or suspects were initially found at the scene, he said, however witnesses reported that a white compact car had passed by and opened fire on two people walking down the sidewalk.
A short time later, officials from an area hospital reported receiving a teenage boy in the emergency room suffering from an apparently non-life-threatening gunshot wound, the sergeant said.
The motive in the shooting remained under investigation, he said, and no further details were available.
Police continued seeking the attacker or attackers late Friday, Bobkiewicz said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Covina police detectives at 626-384-5808.

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