Duarte check cashing business robbed

DUARTE — Two teenagers on bicycles robbed a check cashing business Friday, authorities said.

The crime was reported about 6:50 p.m. at Check ‘n Go, 1104 E. Huntington Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Mariscola said.

One of the robbers was described as a 17 years old, Latino and wearing black clothing, while the other was described as 17 years old, black and wearing gray clothing, the sergeant said. They were armed with a handgun, and both fled the area on bicycles.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Temple Station.

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Public’s help sought finding missing Hacienda Heights man

51081-Ulises Rodriguez-thumb-300x351-51080.jpeg
HACIENDA HEIGHTS — Sheriff’s officials asked the public’s help Friday in finding a 76-year-old man who went missing from his home.
Ulises Rodriguez was last seen about noon Thursday at his home on Folger Street in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
He suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease as well as hypertension, officials added.
“His family is very concerned and is also asking for the public’s assistance,” the statement said.
Rodriguez is described as 5 feet 1 inch tall, 125 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. He’s missing the tip of his index finger on his right hand and his upper front teeth.
He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a white and blue striped shirt and a red hat.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, Missing Person’s Detail, at 323-890-5500, and ask for detective Harris or Abraham.
*PHOTO of Ulises Rodriguez courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
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Deputies investigate shooting in Hacienda Heights

HACIENDA HEIGHTS — A shooting was reported in Hacienda Heights Friday afternoon, however no victims were found, authorities said.
A single shot was fired about 4:35 p.m. at Lujon Street and Hacienda Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Carlos Herrera said.
Witnesses indicated the shot may have been fired at a group of men who were standing alongside the road, he said, but those men fled before deputies arrived.
A single bullet casing was found at the scene, the sergeant added.
The shooter was described as a Latino man of about 18 or 19 years old, Herrera said. After firing the shot, he got into a white or gray Ford F-150 pickup truck with several other Latino men of the same age.
The truck was last spotted heading south on Hacienda Boulevard.
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Man sentenced for violent string of video game store robberies

POMONA — A judge Friday sentenced the last of three gang members convicted of carrying out a violent string of robberies targeting video game stores — including ones in West Covina and Baldwin Park — to state prison.
Gregory Todd, 23, of Los Angeles received a sentence of 20 years and eight months after having pleaded no contest to three counts of robbery, along with special gang and gun allegations, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Guns, Tasers, zip-ties and duct tape were the tools of this robbery crew, who are all members of the Family Swan Bloods street gang, according to the D.A.’s statement.
“More than a dozen victims were bound, stunned with a Taser and terrorized at gunpoint,” it said.
Pomona Superior Court Judge Mike Camacho sentenced co-defendants Thomas Stringer Jr., 24, of Los Angeles and Jimmy McCallum, 20, of Carson, on March 15, officials said. They each received seven consecutive life terms in prison, and will not be eligible for parole for more than 150 years, after being convicted of charged including robbery and kidnapping, as well as special gang and gun allegations.
The spree of robberies, which targeted Gamestop video game stores, were, “very well organized crimes,” Deputy District Attorney Lalit Kundani said.
The Gamestop robberies took place in Baldwin Park and West Covina on Sept. 16 of 2009, in Los Angeles on Sept. 11 of 2009, in Lynwood on Sept. 8 of 2009 and in Tarzana on July 25, 2009, he said.
In each case, employees were forced into a back room and bound with tape or zip-ties, the prosecutor said. The robbers then removed the surveillance camera systems from the businesses before leaving.
In the Lynwood robbery, he added, two employees were shocked with a Taser gun before being bound and robbed.
Todd, Stringer and McCallum were arrested by West Covina police officers shortly after the heist in their city, Kundani said
A witness reported seeing a suspicious van parked at an apartment complex shortly after the West Covina robbery, he said, with several men transferring large bags from the van to another vehicle.
The van was abandoned and the second vehicle was gone by the time officers arrived, but they found and arrested Todd, Stringer and McCallum on foot in the area, Kundani said.
Continued investigation into the robberies led investigators and prosecutors to build a case against five other members of various Los Angeles-based street gangs in connection with the Gamestop robberies, as well as at least eight additional robberies in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, Kundani said.
A 37-count felony indictment was filed against the five new defendants in May, officials said, and they’re due in Pomona Superior Court April 8 for a pretrial conference.
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Woman killed in crash on 10 Freeway in El Monte identified

EL MONTE — Authorities Friday released the name of a Whittier woman killed earlier this week in a crash on the 10 Freeway in El Monte.
Antoinette Nadine Gutierrez, 28, died at the scene of the 2:30 p.m. crash on the westbound 10 Freeway, just east of the Durfee Avenue undercrossing, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
She was driving a 1995 Nissan Maxima when the vehicle veered to the left and struck the center median wall, California Highway Patrol officials said. The cause of the crash was under investigation.
A passenger in the Maxima and Gutierrez’s boyfriend, 25-year-old Alonso Navarro of Whittier, was treated for minor injuries and arrested due to an outstanding arrest warrant, CHP officials said.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Navarro was being held without bail Friday.
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Police to hold checkpoint in Santa Fe Springs

SANTA FE SPRINGS — Police are planning a checkpoint Friday to screen for drunken and unlicensed drivers, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held at an undisclosed location within Santa Fe Springs from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“The checkpoint and other enforcement efforts are part of the Whittier Police Department’s grant project, the ‘DUI Enforcement and Awareness Program,’” according to the statement.
“Officers will also be checking for those who are driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license as well as those who are unlicensed. Any motorist found driving without a valid license may have their vehicle impounded for 30 days and be issued a citation.”
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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“Grim Sleeper” serial killer suspect arraigned

Statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office:

LOS ANGELES - Lonnie David Franklin Jr., the alleged “Grim Sleeper” serial killer accused of murdering 10 victims over a more than 20-year span, was arraigned today on an indictment charging him with the killings.

“The indictment in the ‘Grim Sleeper’ case that was unsealed today in the Superior Court was necessitated by a desire to move this significant murder case forward to trial,” said District Attorney Steve Cooley in a written statement.

“The families of the victims should be accorded timely resolution of the allegations of the murders of their loved ones,” the District Attorney added.

Franklin, 58, was charged in July of last year with 10 counts of murder with the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders. He also was charged with one count of attempted “willful, deliberate and premeditated murder” in the case of an 11th victim who survived. The indictment contains the same charges.

Although the case was filed nearly a year ago, there never was a date scheduled for a preliminary hearing of the evidence, which would have been the next stage of the proceedings. At a preliminary hearing, a judge determines if there is sufficient evidence for a felony defendant to stand trial.

The indictment returned Wednesday afternoon by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury following a little more than six-day hearing supersedes the criminal complaint and moves the case directly to trial.

Franklin is accused of killing his victims – girls and women ranging in age from 14 to 36 – between August 1985 and January 2007. Most of the victims were discovered dumped in alleys and covered with debris. They were shot to death and/or strangled.

The charges make Franklin eligible for the death penalty, but the District Attorney’s office has not made a final decision on whether death or life without parole will be sought against the defendant.

Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman of the Major Crimes Division and Deputy District Attorney Marguerite Rizzo of the Family Violence Division are prosecuting the case.

Franklin was arrested by Los Angeles Police Department Robbery-Homicide detectives after a lengthy task force investigation.

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Mistrial declared in penalty phase of San Gabriel man’s Orange County murder trial

From the Associated Press:

SANTA ANA — An Orange County judge has declared a mistrial in the penalty phase for an Asian street gang member convicted of murdering a woman and attempting to murder six others during a shooting in a crowded cafe.
Judge John D. Conley made his ruling Thursday after a jury deadlocked over whether to recommend death or life in prison for Stephenson Choi Kim of San Gabriel.
Kim was found guilty this month of one count of murder, six counts of attempted murder and one count of street terrorism, along with multiple sentencing enhancements.
Prosecutors say Kim and several members of his gang went to the Cypress cafe in March 2004 with the intent to fight with a rival gang.
Conley scheduled an April 1 hearing to decide how to proceed.
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90-year-old La Mirada man killed in hit-and-run

LA MIRADA — A 90-year-old La Mirada man died early Thursday after he was struck by two cars — one of which fled the scene — while out for his morning walk.
Jingyu Park died at the scene after he was struck by the vehicles just before 6 a.m. at Valley View Avenue and Adoree Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Bill Evans said.
Park was crossing west across Valley View Avenue at the intersection when he was struck by a northbound Honda Accord being driven by a La Mirada man in his mid-20s, the lieutenant said.
“That driver witnessed a second car — which was described (only) as a blue Toyota Camry, strike the victim as he lay on the ground, dragging him approximately 50 yards,” Evans said.
The Camry continued driving and was last seen heading north on Valley View Avenue, then west on Imperial Highway, officials said.
The driver of the Accord cooperated with authorities and nothing criminal was suspected, Evans said. He was not cited or arrested.
The elderly grandfather was taking a morning walk, as is his custom, when he was struck, Evans said.
The intersection where he was struck is not regulated by traffic signals or stop lights.
Though there is no marked crosswalk at the intersection, the point where the man crossed is considered an unmarked, or “implied,” crosswalk, Evans said.
In addition to crosswalks denoted by street markings, the California Vehicle Code defines a crosswalk as: “That portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of sidewalks at intersections where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles.”
When dealing with unmarked crosswalks, vehicles are legally required to yield the right-of-way to crossing pedestrians.
However, the vehicle code also requires pedestrians to yield the right-of-way to any vehicles that are “so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.”
Witnesses to the crash, or anyone with information, is asked to call the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711 and ask for Deputy Tibbetts.
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Whittier woman dies in El Monte car crash

EL MONTE — A Whittier woman died Wednesday in a solo-car crash on the 10 Freeway, authorities said.
A 28-year-old woman, whose name was being withheld pending notification of her family, was killed in the crash, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Dulong said in a written statement.
A passenger in the car, 25-year-old Alonso Navarro of Whittier, was arrested due to an outstanding arrest warrant, officials said. He was described as the woman’s boyfriend.
The crash occurred about 2:30 p.m. on the 10 Freeway, just east of the Durfee Avenue undercrossing, as a 1995 Nissan Maxima being driven by the woman was westbound in the fast lane, Dulong said.
“For unknown reasons, she allowed her vehicle to veer to the left and collide with a concrete center median wall,” the sergeant said.
The woman was partially thrown from the car and pronounced dead at the scene by firefighters, officials said.
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