Sheriff’s online crime info unavailable as department replaces software

LOS ANGELES COUNTY — Online public crime information from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is temporarily unavailable as the agency switches to a new crime reporting software, officials said.
For more than a year, the sheriff’s department has provided limited information about the type, time and locations of crimes reported to the department via the website Several other Los Angeles County agencies, including the Baldwin Park, Covina and Whittier police, also provide crime information to the public via
The department has elected to start using a new system, effective this weekend, officials said, and the process has had the unintended consequence of no online crime information being posted on since April 18.
“We don’t know what the glitch was, but we’re going to get it fixed,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Michael Parker said.
“It was supposed to be seamless,” Parker added of the transition between crime reporting systems.
The sheriff’s department has paid for services from through Saturday, Parker said, so it was unclear why crime data is no longer being updated. Once informed of the issue, authorities began looking into it.
Starting this weekend, Parker said, sheriff’s officials will post crime data on the website, which is already used by agencies including Pasadena, Los Angeles, Arcadia and Sab Gabriel police.
When sheriff’s data begins to show up on this weekend, Parker said, it will likely take a week or two to work out all the bugs.
“We expect glitches, because that’s what happens when you do a big transition,” he said.
Once in place, will retroactively pull all crime data from the previous six months
The switch is designed to provide better information to the public at a reduced cost to the sheriff’s department, Parker said.
“We have changed systems because we found a system that was less expensive and was able to provide more information to public,” he said.
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Authorities warn of distraction burglaries targeting lone, elderly women in the San Gabriel Valley

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Police warned the public Thursday about a recent string of three similar “distraction burglaries” targeting elderly women home alone in West Covina and Arcadia.
All three burglaries, which took place on April 20 and April 26, involve similar suspect descriptions and tactics, leading investigators to believe the same swindlers may be involved, West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez said.
“Each of the victims is female, over the age of 75 and was alone at the time of the crime,” Lopez said.
The crooks have been posing as workers asking to check on the victims’ water or pipes, the corporal added.
The burglaries took place April 20 in the 3100 block of East Eddes Street in West Covina, April 26th in the in the 1800 block of East Cortez Street in West Covina and April 26 in the 1900 block of South Santa Anita Avenue in Arcadia, officials said.
Carol Krzywiec, 75, became a victim of the burglars after answering her door in West Covina.
She said doesn’t believe she normally would fall for such a ruse, but coincidentally, she had recently experience plumbing problems. So when a man identifying himself as “Rocko” said he needed to check her water, it seemed to make sense.
“That’s why I fell for the scam,” she said.
The man arrived at her door about 9:30 a.m. and said he had been working with a crew on a nearby water main and needed to check Krzywiec’s water supply for contamination, she said.
“I said ‘no,’ I’ll bring you a cup of water,” she said. “I still had my wits about me.”
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After inspecting the glass of water, “Rocko” continued arguing that it was important that he check the water fixtures, and it would only take a minute. The homeowner relented.
As the man went to supposedly check on the water fixtures, Krzywiec said she spotted from the corner of her eye a second man dart in her front door.
When questioned about the second man, “Rocko” told her it was his helper, who was going to check the water in the bathroom.
As “Rocko” let water run from faucets, and the second man flushed toilets in the bathrooms, “Rocko” engaged the Krzywiec in conversation, she said.
“He pulled out a $100 bill,” Krzywiec said. “He told me the water company said I overpaid, and do I have change for $100.”
She told the man she had no money with her, and the men quickly finished their pseudo inspection and left.
In hindsight, Krzywiec said she believed the crooks used the $100 bill story to try to figure out where she kept her money.
She said when her son arrived a short time later, he informed Krzywiec that $200 in cash was missing.
“If that’s it and they didn’t hurt me, so be it,” she said.
Krzywiec added that the experience taught her to be more cautious.
“I thought I was weary before, but I’m much more weary now.”
In the other West Covina incident, the burglars convinced the resident to step outside to “inspect” the sprinklers while the second burglar ransacked the home, he said.
In the Arcadia crime, “The suspect used the same ruse to get in the house, but was unsuccessful in getting the other suspect in because the victim never left his side,” Lopez said.
Police described the first suspect, who contacts the residents at their doors, as a Latino man in his 30s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and heavy set. He has black hair, brown eyes and a distinctive decayed or gold-capped upper tooth. He wore a blue baseball cap with the letters “NY” on it and was seen talking on a cell phone while inside the victims’ homes.
The second suspect was described as a Latino man in his early 30s, of thin build, and speaking with a thick Spanish accent.
Anyone with information is asked to call the West Covina Police Department at 626-939-8557. Tips can also be left anonymously via recorded message at 626-939-8688.
SKETCHES courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department (color), and the West Covina Police Department (black and white).
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Sheriff’s deputies to honor anniversary of colleagues slaying

IRWINDALE — Sheriff’s deputies will stand in ceremonial guard over the spot where Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy David March was murdered during a traffic stop nine years ago.
Deputy David March, 33, of Saugus, was gunned down on April 29, 2002, by Jorge Arroyo Garcia, also known as Armando Garcia. Garcia is serving a life prison term for the killing after being returned to the U.S. after fleeing to Mexico.
On every anniversary since, his colleagues at the sheriff’s Temple Station — where March was last assigned — have kept watch over the spot for 24 hours to honor his memory.
Deputies, some who knew March well, others who never met him, take half-hour shifts standing in silent guard near a plaque commemorating the fallen deputy.
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Court upholds 100+ year prison sentence for young woman who killed adoptive family in Pico Rivera

From City News Service:
LOS ANGELES — A state appeals court panel Thursday upheld a 100-year- to-life prison sentence for a young woman convicted along with her boyfriend of the July 2000 stabbing murders of four members of her adoptive family as they slept in their Pico Rivera home.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected Monica Diaz’s claims that
Norwalk Superior Court Judge John A. Torribio abused his discretion in imposing the term and that her August 2009 sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment.
“Admittedly, defendant’s sentence is severe, she was young when she committed the crimes, she has no prior criminal record, and there was evidence to support a finding that she suffered enduring psychological effects of her difficult early childhood years,” Acting Presiding Justice Robert M. Mallano wrote on behalf of the panel.
“But when her sentence is viewed in light of the number and gravity of her commitment offenses, it is not an extreme or grossly disproportionate sentence and does not violate the Eighth Amendment.”
Diaz — who was 16 at the time of the attack — was convicted in February 2004 of first-degree murder for the slayings of her uncle, Richard Flores, 42, and cousins Richard, 17, Sylvia Jr., 13, and Matthew, 10, who were attacked in the early morning hours of July 21, 2000.
Diaz’s high school sweetheart, Michael Naranjo, pleaded guilty to the murders in October 2003 and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
During her trial, Diaz testified that she and Naranjo agreed to stage a fake robbery at the home to draw her family closer because she believed her aunt and uncle — who took her in after her mother died — were having marital problems.
Diaz acknowledged cutting duct tape for her then-17-year-old boyfriend so her family could be tied up. But she denied taking part in the murders.
During her trial, the prosecution presented a March 1999 letter in which Diaz wrote to Naranjo that the “best job is to kill people professionally.” She testified that the missive was “just words.”
Diaz was first sentenced in April 2004 to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but an appellate court panel reversed a special circumstance allegation of multiple murder, along with her conviction for the attempted murder of her aunt and adoptive mother, Sylvia Flores, who survived the attack.
In its December 2005 ruling, the appellate court panel found the trial court “erroneously limited consideration of evidence that defendant thought her boyfriend would only frighten the people inside the house by pretending to rob them and did not know of his plan to kill.”
Prosecutors opted not to re-try the attempted murder count or the multiple murder allegation. She was re-sentenced in April 2007 — that time to four consecutive 25-year-to-life terms. But a three-judge panel from the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that a lower court judge should have granted a continuance to allow Diaz’s attorney more time to prepare, requiring another sentencing hearing in 2009.
At Diaz’s August 2009 sentencing, her aunt was among those calling for the harshest possible sentence.
“I want her to get life — four life sentences … nothing less … I fear for this community if she were to come out,” Sylvia Flores told the judge.
Calling it the “most horrific situation I’ve been involved in,” the judge noted that the family had opened their door to Diaz and her half-sister after their mother died and treated her like their own.
The judge said at the August 2009 hearing that he believed there was “no other sentence that is appropriate other than four consecutive life sentences,” noting the victims were “massacred in their own home” and that the crimes should be “punished individually.”
The judge then sentenced her to the identical 100-year-to-life term he had imposed in 2007.
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Pasadena man pleads not guilty to beating neighbor’s dog to death

PASADENA — A Pasadena man pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of beating his neighbors dog to death with a hammer during a dispute, officials said.
Young Song, 40, was charged in Pasadena Superior Court with a felony count of cruelty to animals along with the special allegation of personal use of a deadly weapon, along with a misdemeanor count of petty theft of his neighbor’s 16-month-old German Shepherd, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
“Song allegedly entered his neighbor’s yard on April 20 and shot the dog with a pellet gun,” the statement said. “He allegedly returned to the owner’s yard a short time later and beat the dog to death with a hammer, then removed the dog’s body from the owner’s yard.”
Pasadena Humane Society officials called the incident, which was captured on video, the worst incident of animal cruelty they’ve ever seen.
Song is due back in court May 26. If convicted as charged, he could face more than four years in state prison.
According to Los Angeles County sheriff’s booking records, Song was being held in lieu of $40,500 bail at the Pasadena Police Department’s jail.
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Checkpoints galore: police to screen drivers in Whittier, La Puente, Alhambra

WHITTIER — Police are planning to hold a checkpoint Friday, authorities said.
The DUI/driver’s license checkpoint will take place from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at Leffingwell Road and Santa Gertrudes Avenue, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
ALHAMBRA — Police are planning a checkpoint Friday at an undisclosed location within the city, authorities said.
The checkpoint, designed to screen for those driving under the influence or without driver’s licenses, will take place between 6:30 p.m. Friday and 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
“Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed one life and resulted in 29 injury crashes, harming 42 of our friends and neighbors,” the police statement said.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
LA PUENTE — Sheriff’s deputies are planning a checkpoint in La Puente Friday, authorities said.
The “DUI/Safety” checkpoint will be held at an undisclosed time and place within the city, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Michael Lang said.
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State’s high court won’t review Baldwin Park murder case

From City News Service:
BALDWIN PARK — The state’s high court declined to review the case against a man found guilty of murdering a Baldwin Park man during a 1986 burglary and causing the death of the victim’s fiance, who was raped and stabbed during the attack and suffered self-inflicted injuries while in a psychiatric ward.
A majority of the California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a defense petition seeking review of the case against Martin Rios Talavera, while Associate Justice Joyce L. Kennard “is of the opinion the petition should be granted,” according to the court’s docket on the case.
In a 2-1 ruling in January, a panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected Talavera’s claim that there was insufficient evidence that he “proximately caused” the death of Peggy Johnson, who died of self-inflicted wounds in March 1987.
“In this case, there was substantial evidence that as a result of appellant’s attack, Johnson’s mental condition continually spiraled downward until she became mentally disordered at the time of her self-inflicted pelvic and leg injuries,” Associate Justice Patti S. Kitching wrote in the Jan. 26 ruling, with Presiding Justice Joan D. Klein concurring.
Kitching noted in the 26-page ruling that Johnson, 61, had been in excellent health and would frequently take 10-mile walks before she and her fiance, Sylvester Flood, were attacked during a 1 a.m. break-in at their home in January 1986.
In a dissenting opinion filed along with the appellate court panel’s opinion, Associate Justice H. Walter Croskey wrote that he would reverse Talavera’s conviction for Johnson’s murder and instead modify it to attempted premeditated murder.
“The majority opinion accepts the people’s argument that Johnson was brutally sexually assaulted by defendant, and that it was foreseeable that a victim of such an assault might engage in self-harm even many months after the attack. I disagree,” Croskey wrote.
The killings went unsolved for 22 years until DNA evidence linked Talevera to the crime.
He was sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole for the attack, which also involved a second man who has not been identified. 
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Public invited to tour Whittier’s new police station — no handcuffs necessary

WHITTIER — The public is invited to come tour the brand-new Whittier Police Station, sans the handcuffs, at an open house next month.
The police open house will be combined with a community health fair and take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 14 at the Whittier Police Station and City Hall, at Painter Avenue and Penn Street, officials said.
In addition to tours of the new police station and a children’s fun run, the event will include police K-9, SWAT and mounted patrol officers, Jaws of Life demonstrations, military equipment and displays, Los Angeles County Fire Department displays, free medical screenings, information on nutrition and fitness programs and healthy snacks.
For more information, contact the Whittier Community Center at 562-567-9430.
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Glendora woman confronts knife-wielding intruder in her home

GLENDORA — A woman came home from work Wednesday afternoon to find herself face to face with a knife-wielding man in her own house, police said.
The woman arrived home about 1:15 p.m. in the 1400 block of East Linfield Street, Glendora police Lt. Joe Ward said.
She noticed a silver, Ford F-150 pickup truck with a crew cab and a matching silver bed cover, the lieutenant said.
When she entered her house, she saw a burglar emerge from her bedroom carrying a pillowcase full of her property, including a laptop computer and jewelry, Ward said.
The intruder brandished a knife and said something like, “I just want to leave,” before dropping the pillowcase and fleeing from the home, Ward said.
The woman was unharmed.
Police described the burglar as a clean-shaven Latino man in his 20s, wearing a white T-shirt, shorts and a black baseball cap.
Anyone with information is asked to call Glendora police at 626-914-8250.
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Car collides with horse, rider; horse killed, rider injured

GLENDORA — A car collided with a horse and rider Wednesday, killing the horse and sending the rider to the hospital, authorities said.
The incident took place about 4:35 p.m. at Glendora Mountain Road and Big Dalton Road, in an equestrian area on the northern edge of town, Glendora police Lt. Joe Ward said.
Two horses with riders were travelling southbound in the shoulder of Glendora Mountain Road when a Lexus sedan, which was also southbound on Glendora Mountain Road, veered toward the shoulder, the lieutenant said.
“The vehicle struck one of the horses, killing the horse instantly and throwing the rider off,” Ward said.
The rider, a 54-year-old Glendora man, was taken to a trauma center by helicopter as precaution, he said, though his injuries were not initially believed to be life-threatening.
The other horse and rider were not injured, police said.
The Lexus was being driven by a 17-year-old Valinda boy, Ward said. He had several passengers in the car.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, though officers examined the driver and ruled out driving under the influence, he said.
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