PASADENA — An armed man dressed as a delivery man robbed a Colorado Boulevard jewelry store Thursday, police said.
The crime took place about 11:40 a.m. at Prestige Jewelry, 255 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
The robber was described as a black man standing about 5 feet 8 inches tall, Clawson said. “The subject was possibly dressed in FedEx clothing.”
He brandished a gun inside the store and helped himself to an unknown amount of jewelry, the lieutenant said.
AZUSA — An Azusa woman is suspected of arson after she set her neighbors American flag ablaze following an argument late Wednesday, police said.
Nicole Mascarenas, 26, was booked on suspicion of arson following her arrest about 11:20 p.m. in the 700 block of East Hanks Street, Azusa police Sgt. Xavier Torres said in a written statement.
Mascarenas was involved in an argument with a resident, the sergeant said.
As she walked away from the residence, the resident saw that his American flag, which he has posted near his front fence, was on fire,” Torres said.
Police said the man then spotted Mascarenas trying to light a neighbor’s bush on fire with a cigarette lighter. The bush did not catch fire.
“She yelled to the resident that she had burned his flag and she fled the scene,” Torres said.
Officers, with the help of an El Monte Police Department helicopter, found Mascarenas hiding in the area, he added. She had a lighter with her.
According to county booking records, Mascarenas was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Monday in West Covina Superior Court.
ALTADENA — The investigation continues into the mysterious slaying of an Azusa man found dead on a horse trail in Altadena earlier this month, authorities said.
Marcus Anthony Nieto, 26, was pronounced dead after a passer-by discovered him lying on the horse trail near the 3800 block of Canon Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner officials said.
Initial reports indicated he had been shot in the head, however Detective David Gunner of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau declined Thursday to say whether that was the case, citing the ongoing investigation.
“At this point, there’s not a whole lot I can share with you that wouldn’t compromise the investigation,” he said.
A security hold placed on the case at the coroner’s office prevented coroner’s officials from discussing the killing, coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
No witnesses to the slaying had been located, and no information regarding a possible suspect was available, Gunner said.
When discovered, “The victim didn’t have any property,” Gunner said, causing detectives to look into the possibility the killing involved a robbery.
The victim was living in Azusa with family members, though he also had a West Covina address associated with him at the coroner’s office, according to sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
He was married but had no children, Gunner said. He was not believed to be employed at the time of his death.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
MONTEBELLO — The search continued Thursday for a “person of interest” following stabbing death of his 63-year-old girlfriend inside the Montebello home they shared, authorities said.
Emelio Martinez, 51, remained unaccounted for following the Feb. 20 discovery of the body of his roommate Carmen King Feb. 20 at the couple’s home in the 600 block of North 20th Street, Lt. Holly Francisco of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
An autopsy determined she died from multiple stab wounds and the death was ruled a homicide, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Though detectives have wanted to talk to Martinez since the killing, they have been unable to find him, Francisco said.
But the lieutenant stopped short of calling Martinez a suspect in the slaying.
“We just believe he’s probably the last person who had contact with her,” she said.
Francisco added that investigators were not seeking any other persons of interest in the case.
Martinez was believed to have family members in other countries, however Francisco declined to elaborate further.
Missing from King’s home when a family members discovered her body just before 6 p.m. Feb. 20 was King’s car, which officials described as a burgundy 2000 Dodge Stratus with a California license plate number of 4JMC641.
It was not clear exactly how long King’s body may have been there before it was discovered, however she was seen alive on Feb. 17, Winter said.
King was the caretaker of an elderly resident of the home who died of natural causes earlier in the month, officials said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
PHOTO of Emelio Martinez courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
PICO RIVERA — A gardener remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition Thursday after being struck by an alleged drunken driving while removing equipment from his truck in a residential neighborhood, authorities said.
The crash took place just before noon Wednesday in the 9500 block of Rosehedge Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Smith said.
The gardener, a man estimated to be in his 40s, had his truck parked along the roadside and was in the back unloading lawn mowers and other supplied when his truck was hit, the lieutenant said.
Dena Luna, 51, of Pico Rivera was driving down the street at a “high rate of speed,” Smith said, believed to be in excess of 50 mph.
Her car first struck a parked car before slamming into the gardener’s truck, Smith said. The man was thrown 30 to 40 feet by the impact.
He suffered major injuries to his head and body, officials added.
Smith said Luna also suffered significant injuries in the crash, including a punctured lung and broken ribs. Her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
She was hospitalized for treatment prior to booking on suspicion of felony drunken driving.
SANTA FE SPRINGS — A two-car crash sent one of the vehicles smashing into a Carl’s Jr. restaurant Wednesday, causing minor injuries to two patrons inside, authorities said.
The collision took place about 6:30 p.m. at Telegraph Road and Painter Avenue, Whittier police Officer Bradley White said.
A car was trying to make a U-turn from eastbound Telegraph when it was struck by another vehicle headed westbound on Telegraph, White said.
The impact pushed the car that was making the U-turn into the nearby fast-food restaurant, smashing a large glass window.
Two diners inside the restaurant suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene by paramedics, White said. Both drivers involved in the crash were unhurt.
White added that nothing criminal was initially suspected in the crash, which was being investigated as an accident.
PASADENA — Nineteen families affected by a weekend fire at an apartment complex have learned they will be displaced from their homes for weeks, rather than days, after asbestos was discovered in the damaged building, authorities said.
Five apartments were red-tagged by city officials due to damage from Sunday afternoon’s fire in the 700 block of Worcester Avenue, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
And then “The property owners received an asbestos report back, which was positive,” Derderian said.
Derderian said diapers left next to a heater likely caused the blaze.
Sitting on a cot at an evacuation center at the Robinson Park Community Center Wednesday, Juan Chileli, 38, said in Spanish that he believed all of his family’s belongings were destroyed in the fire.
He had only the clothes on his back, he said. “We need help.”
His wife, three children, brother and sister-in-law were spending the day at a local church, he added.
But none of his family members were hurt in the fire, and for that he said he thanked God. He also thanked the Red Cross and other volunteers who were helping his family in the wake of the fire.
The shelter, 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave., was set up by the city and the Red Cross, with help from a host of community organizations and businesses, officials said.
Concepcion Salazar, 54, who lives in an apartment with two other adult family members, said she believed her apartment was largely unscathed.
“I’m more worried about other families (whose apartments were destroyed),” she said in Spanish.
As she spent her fourth day at the shelter, the thing she said she and her family needed the most was patience.
Salazar said she was also grateful to shelter workers for the “excellent service” provided since the fire.
Twenty-four people slept at the center Tuesday night, according to Red Cross shelter supervisor Alex Mendoza.
It was unclear how many people would make use of the shelter overnight Wednesday, he said, as some families were finding temporary lodgings with family or friends rather than staying at the evacuation center.
Other services such as a medical station were set up at the evacuation center well.
Many agencies, business and charities lined up to offer help in recent days, Red Cross volunteer and spokesman Carlos Rodriguez said.
“It’s inspiring,” he said.
It is ultimately the responsibility of the building owner to find shelter for the displaced apartment residents, Derderian said. But the city and its partnered agencies were doing what they could to help.
The manager of the building, Vincent Huang, declined to comment for this story, deferring questions to the Pasadena Fire Department.
Donations to benefit the familes affected by the fire can be sent to:
Pasadena Educational Foundation
351 S. Hudson Ave., Room 153
ATTN: _Worcester Avenue fire relief
BASSETT — A man suffered serious injuries but was expected to survive Wednesday following a fight that escalated into a stabbing, officials said.
Both the suspect and victim in the 12:20 p.m. stabbing in the 13000 block of Valley Boulevard were believed to be members of the same El Monte street gang, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Raymond Enriquez said.
Few details were initially available, as the victim was not cooperating with investigators, the lieutenant said.
He was hospitalized with a punctured lung, Sgt. Desiree Rodriguez said.
Deputies set up a search perimeter to hunt for the attacker, who was not found, she added.
Both the stabbing suspect and victim were described as men in their late-teens or early 20s, Enriquez said. A further description of the suspect was not available Wednesday afternoon.
WHITTIER — Police are investigating after a 13-year-old girl reported a strange encounter with a man in a pickup truck as she walked to school early Tuesday.
Whittier police Lt. Steve Dean said the incident, which was being investigated as a “child annoyance,” took place about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday but was not reported until Wednesday morning.
The girl was walking on Whittier Boulevard near Strub Avenue when a man in a dark blue pickup truck with a camper shell with dark tinted windows passed by and waved to her, the lieutenant said.
The girl waved back, and the driver pulled over, rolled down his passenger side window and engaged the girl in conversation.
When the girl told the man she had to go because she was going to be late for school, he offered her a ride, Dean said.
She refused, and the man handed her some pocket change and drove off, police said.
Police wanted to speak with the man, who was described as Latino, about 35 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 200 pounds with a goatee.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Whittier Police Department.
IRWINDALE — A big rig driver escaped a fiery crash without injury early Wednesday after falling asleep at the wheel on the Foothill (210) Freeway, authorities said.
A 32-year-old Rancho Cucamonga man was headed west on the freeway in a 2000 Freightliner, just east of Irwindale Avenue, about 3:30 a.m. when he fell asleep and allowed the truck to veer toward the left, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
The out-of-control truck veered across two traffic lanes and the carpool lane before striking the concrete center divider, officials said. It scraped along the center divider for a distance of about 1,000 feet before coming to a rest west of Irwindale Avenue.
The driver managed to get out of the badly damaged truck and made his way to the right shoulder.
“(The Freightliner’s) fuel tank was damaged during the collision and the fuel contained inside ignited, eventually engulfing (the truck),” according to the CHP statement.
The fire consumed the tractor of the truck, however the trailer did not burn, Sgt. Mike Dulong said. It contained non-flammable concrete slurry.
All lanes of both directions of the 210 Freeway were shut down at the crash scene, CHP officials said. Officers gradually opened lanes as the cleanup operation allowed.
The carpool add fast lanes of the eastbound and westbound sides of the freeway remained shut down until after 7 p.m.