Woman’s body found at Arcadia County Park; no foul play initially suspected

ARCADIA — The body of a woman was found at Arcadia County Park Sunday, though foul play was not initially suspected.
The woman’s name was not released pending positive identification and notification of family members, officials said. She appeared to be a transient.
Arcadia police notified sheriff’s deputies, who patrol county parks, that a woman was being looked at by paramedics by the water fountain in the park, 405 South Santa Anita Ave., Capt. Michael Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau said.
A woman estimated to be in her mid- to late-30s was found slumped on a park bench near the park’s fountain and pronounced dead at the scene, Parker said.
The death appeared to be natural, however the cause of death will be determined through a coroner’s investigation, Parker said.
“There were no signs of foul play,” he added.
Thee partially empty bottles of vodka were found near the body, Parker said.
It was not clear how long the woman’s body had been on the bench, but because the park is heavily trafficked on Sundays, authorities said it was unlikely she had been there for very long.
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Men push woman to ground, rob her of purse in Pasadena

PASADENA — Two robbed pushed a woman down and stole her purse Sunday, authorities said.
A woman was walking to work about 11:10 a.m. at Orange Grove Boulevard and Cypress Avenue when a white car approached and a passenger jumped out, Pasadena police Lt. Chris Russ said.
The passenger pushed the woman to the ground, grabbed her purse and jumped back into the car, which sped away, he said. The woman was not hospitalized.
The driver and passenger in the car were initially described only as black and male.
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Teens rob Pasadena market at gunpoint

PASADENA — Two teens used a handgun to rob a corner store Sunday, police said.
The crime took place just before noon at the Latin American Market, at Villa Street and Mar Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt Chris Russ said.
The robbers entered the store with a handgun, and fled in a white car, possibly a 4-door sedan, after the robbery, the lieutenant said.
One robber was described as a black teenage boy in a black T-shirt, and the other was a Latino teenage boy wearing a white T-shirt, police added.
No injuries were reported.
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Suspects arrested in South Pasadena in connection with Temple City Craigslist robbery

SOUTH PASADENA — Two South Pasadena men are behind bars on suspicion of robbing a man in Temple City who was trying to buy an iPhone through Craigslist.com earlier this month, authorities said Sunday.
Daniel So, 19, and Garret Helstrom, 20, were booked on suspicion of armed robbery Friday after being arrested near So’s home, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The robbery was reported about 3 p.m. on Feb. 19 in a parking lot behind a fast-food restaurant in the 9400 block of Las Tunas Drive in Temple City, sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Walker said.
The man had arranged to meet someone via the website Craigslist.com to buy an iPhone for $500 and met So in the parking lot to do the transaction, Walker said.
Instead of an iPhone, the So pulled a gun and demanded the man’s money, officials said. The man fled after turning over his cash and was unhurt.
Sheriff’s investigators identified So as a suspect in the robbery, went to his South Pasadena home Friday and watched as So got into a car with another man, later identified as Helstrom.
Deputies pulled over the car and arrested So, according to the sheriff’s statement.
When deputies found a handgun replica and what appeared to be stolen property in the car, officials said, Helstrom was also arrested for assisting in the robbery.
According to sheriff’s booking records, So and Helstrom were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each at the sheriff’s Temple Station.
Detectives are looking into the possibility the men may be responsible for other similar crimes, and anyone who’s been a victim of a similar robbery is asked to call their local police or sheriff’s station.
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Fatal shooting reported in Whittier

WHITTIER — Police sought a gunman late Saturday who shot a man to death in the courtyard of the apartment complex where he lived.
The shooting took place about 8:45 p.m. at an apartment complex on Painter Avenue, just south of Lambert Road, Whittier police officials said.
Officers responded to a report of a shooting and found a man lying in the courtyard of the apartment complex, suffering from gunshot wounds, a sergeant said. He died at the scene.
Police initially described the shooter only as male and Latino, and he was last seen fleeing the area on foot.
The victim’s two young children who were inside their apartment at the time of the shooting were safe at the Whittier police station with their mother, who was at work when the shooting occurred, officials said.
A motive in the slaying was not clear.
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Jailed con-artists running phone scams from behind bars

LOS ANGELES COUNTY — Being locked up behind bars is apparently not stopping some criminals from victimizing innocent members of the public, authorities said.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials warned the public Saturday to be ware of jail inmates who have been tricking people into paying for collect and long distance calls.
By conning unsuspecting victims into dialing *72, followed by a phone number being used by the inmate, inmates have been able to have collect and long distance phone calls forwarded to their own phones at the victims’ expense, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The increasing pattern was noticed by deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, who have been receiving an increasing number of phone calls from people who have been scammed,” officials said.
In the scam, an inmate calls a victim pretending to be a sheriff’s deputy, officials said.
The imposter then claims that a family member of the person has been arrested or in an accident, and that the victim was listed as an emergency contact.
The inmate then instructs the victim to call *72, and then a phone number, for more information.
Upon calling the number, the victim is told they have the wrong number.
With many phone carriers, dialing “*72″ with a phone number causes calls to be forwarded from your phone to the phone number entered afterward, investigators said.
If it goes unnoticed, the inmates can build up costly phone bills by taking their via forwarding from a victim’s phone number.
“Do not dial *72 unless you want to forward your calls,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
In addition to sheriff’s officials, the California Public Utilities Commission has also issued a warning about the scam.
The commission and sheriff’s officials advised those who have been received the scam calls to immediately cancel call forwarding services on their phone lines and dispute the charges with their phone company.
The calls can be reported on the California Public Utilities Commission’s consumer hotline at 800-649-7570.
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Suspect found in sewer following Santa Fe Springs hit-and-run

SANTA FE SPRINGS — Three men fled the scene of a car crash on foot Friday, and two of them fled into a sewer to hide from police, authorities said.
The crash was reported about 3 p.m. at Carmenita Road and Orden Drive, Whittier police Lt. Randy Inman said.
A woman suffered minor injuries in the crash but was not hospitalized, he said.
Three men were inside the other car, an older-model Buick Regal, the lieutenant said.
One man was taken into custody near the car, Inman said, while two others ran away and fled into a nearby drainage ditch.
Officers were able to find one man inside the sewer, however the third suspect remained at large, he said.
Inside the Buick, police found women’s purses and other items that appeared to be stolen, Inman added. Police continued looking into where those items came from.
The suspect’s names were not available late Friday pending booking, Inman said.
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Man gets 50 years to life for fatally shooting Pico Rivera teen

PICO RIVERA — A gang member received a sentenced of 50 years to life in prison Friday for shooting a 17-year-old Pico Rivera boy in 2009, authorities said.
Edward Ortega, 23, was convicted along with Dennis Flores, 20, in February in of murdering Erick Roche Jr. on Nov. 19, 2009. The jury also found true the special allegation that killing was carried out for the benefit of a criminal street gang — Rivera 13.
The men confronted Roche at the entrance to an alley in the 6400 block of Rosemead Boulevard in Pico Rivera and asked him what gang he was affiliated with, a homicide detective testified during court proceeding.
When the teen replied that he was not in a gang, Ortega fired twice, killing Roche, officials said.
Flores is due back in Norwalk Superior Court to be sentenced for his role in the killing March 4, court officials said.
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Suspect arrested in 2009 Santa Fe Springs killing

SANTA FE SPRINGS — Police Thursday arrested a longtime suspect in the stabbing death of a 19-year-old Santa Fe Springs woman found fatally stabbed inside an apartment in late 2009.
Manuel Duron, 28, was booked on suspicion of murdering his then-girlfriend, Crystal Coronel, Dec. 21, 2009, in an apartment in the 8200 block of Santa Fe Springs Road, Whittier police spokesman Officer Mike Dekowski said.
Whittier police initially jailed Duron the day after Coronel’s body was discovered stabbed to death, however he was released after prosecutors determined there was insufficient evidence for a case.
After further review, Dekowski said, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office determined a a murder charge was warranted.
On Thursday, “Our detectives received information on his whereabouts,” Dekowski said.
He was arrested at a Home Depot store in Anaheim, where he was looking for work, without incident, he said.
Dekowski said investigators were eager to bring justice to Coronel’s killer.
“We want to bring the family some closure,” he said.
Coronel’s mother declined to comment Friday.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Duron was being held in lieu of $1 million bail and was due for arraignment Monday in Whittier Superior Court.
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Ex-Pasadena teacher accused of furnishing alcohol to students

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SOUTH PASADENA — Police booked and released a former Blair High School teacher Thursday on suspicion of inviting current and former students to his home to drink alcohol, authorities said.
David Lyman, 66, was booked on suspicion of furnishing alcohol to minors and released on his own recognizance, South Pasadena Police Department officials said in a written statement.
He retired from his position as a special education teacher at the Pasadena Unified School District high school Feb. 1 in the midst of an internal internal district investigation, PUSD officials said.
“The Pasadena Unified School District contacted SPPD last month after their internal investigation revealed current and former Blair students were visiting Lyman’s South Pasadena home in the 1700 block of Oxley Street, where Lyman was furnishing alcohol to them and allowing them to view pornography on his computer,” according to the police statement.
After interviewing students and presenting the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for review, an arrest warrant was issued for Lyman on a misdemeanor charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor, police said.
According to the statement, “The D.A. determined that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a charge related to the pornography.”
Lyman said he received a call from a South Pasadena police sergeant asking him to come to the station to be booked and he immediately complied.
He declined to discuss the specifics of the allegations, but said he does not dispute them.
“They’re accurate,” he said of the charges of furnishing alcohol to minors. “I know that I made a mistake in judgement, so these are the consequences.”
“I did retire, given all this stuff,” he added. “I will go to court and deal with what the judge has to say.”
PUSD spokeswoman Binti Harvey called the suspected wrongdoing a “serious allegation.”
We’re concerned that any minor would have the opportunity to be served alcohol by an adult, especially by a teacher,” she said.
The district placed Lyman on leave and launched an investigation as soon as officials were notified of a problem in January, Harvey said. When apparent inappropriate behavior was found, the police were immediately notified.
He had been teaching at Blair High School since 1983, she added.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Lyman was due for arraignment April 25 in Alhambra Superior Court.
PHOTO of David Lyman courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department
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