WHITTIER — Police plan to screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses during a checkpoint Friday, officials said.The checkpoint will take place between 7:30 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within Whittier, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.“The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes,” according to the statement. “Research shows that crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough.”Officers will strive to delay motorists only momentarily, police added.“DUI Checkpoints have been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths that we witnessed since 2006 in California,” according to California Office of Traffic Safety Director Christopher J. Murphy. “But since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one third of traffic fatalities, Whittier needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that checkpoints provide.”Funding for Friday’s checkpoint is being provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As always, anyone who sees an impaired driver on the road is encouraged to report it by calling 9-1-1.
Deputies looking for suspects in an earlier pursuit arrested one man and found about 10 pounds of methamphetamine in a pickup the culprits abandoned Wednesday, authorities said.
Sheriff’s Lt. Ray Enriquez said the narcotics unit told patrol deputies about a suspect vehicle containing a large quantity of narcotics. Deputies spotted the vehicle, a Ford F-150, on Gale Avenue around 4:45 p.m.
The driver was seen making several traffic violations, Enriquez said. Deputies tried to pull over the pickup but the driver didn’t stop.
The suspects pulled into a gas station at Azusa and Temple avenues. Enriquez said the driver used the pickup to push another occupied vehicle.
At Valinda and Merced avenues, he said the pickup sped up to 70 mph. Enriquez cancelled the chase because it could be dangerous to the public.
The pickup truck headed to West Covina, where it was abandoned on Gaybar Avenue. The two suspects ran.
Enriquez said one of the suspects, a man in his 20s, was arrested in the area on suspicion of possessing narcotics for sale and assault with a deadly weapon.
The estimated street value of the seized methamphetamine is well over $40,000, officials added.
Investigators did not release the suspect’s name Thursday , citing the ongoing investigation and search for the second suspect.
– Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales
MONROVIA — Police jailed a wanted Baldwin Park man Wednesday after he was confronted by a resident during a residential break-in, authorities said.
Maximino Alejandro Acevedo, 29, was booked on suspicion of burglary as well as outstanding warrants stemming from burglary and narcotics cases, Monrovia police Lt. Michael Lee said.
The break-in took place just before 5 p.m. in the 700 block of Anita Street, police said in a written statement.
A resident noticed a man — later identified as Acevedo — inside his vehicle, which had been left unlocked in an attached garage, police said.
“The victim yelled at the suspect, who ran from the house,” according to the police statement. “The home owner chased the suspect as the police were called, but he lost sight of him.”
Officers caught up with Acevedo a short time later about a quarter-mile away at Mayflower Avenue and Diamond Street, Lee said.
After taking him into custody, the victim positively identified Acevedo as the intruder and he was placed under arrest, officials said.
According to county booking records, Acevedo was being held without bail pending a scheduled appearance Friday in Pasadena Superior Court.
PASADENA — A man lost his wallet and jewelry to an armed robber on a Pasadena sidewalk late Wednesday, police said.
A man in his 30s was on the sidewalk at Orange Grove Boulevard and Oakland Avenue when he was approached by the robber, who pulled a handgun, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
The robber demanded the victim’s property, and the victim complied, handing over his wallet and jewelry, the lieutenant said.
Police described the robber as a black man of about 25 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 210 pounds. He wore blue jeans and a red T-shirt.
He got into a nearby white sedan, which drove off, Clawson said. It was not clear whether the robber drove the car himself, or had help from a getaway driver.
BALDWIN PARK – A cat found clinging to life with its head and paws wrapped in tape and left inside a box outside a Baldwin Park animal shelter last was placed into a foster home Wednesday, officials said.
“Amigo,” as he’s come to be known by staff at the Baldwin Park office of the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control after he was found in the agency’s parking lot Friday, is doing well and making strides toward recovery, DACC officials said in a written statement.
The domestic medium hair, which officials previously said appeared to be 2-years-old but was described more recently as 1 year old, was placed into the hands of an “adoption partner” who will oversee Amigo’s continued recovery before the animal can be placed with a permanent home.
A DACC officer discovered an abandoned box in the Baldwin Park DACC office’s parking lot, looked inside and discovered Amigo struggling to breathe, DACC spokeswoman Evelina Villa said. The cat’s head, including its mouth and nose, as well as it’s paws had been wrapped in red duct tape.
But after freeing the animal and removing the tape, Amigo appeared traumatized, but physically okay, she said.
“The traumatic experience has clearly affected Amigo and he will likely require special care for the rest of his life,” DACC Director Marcia Mayeda said. “We are grateful to the adoption partner who stepped forward to take on the task of rehabilitating and socializing Amigo so that he will make a wonderful family pet one day.”
An investigation into who left the cat at the shelter was ongoing.
LOS ANGELES — The fate of two men accused of opening fire on a crowd at a Pico Rivera pizza parlor, killing three and wounding seven others, was in the hands of a Los Angeles Superior Court jury Wednesday as the began deliberations in the triple-murder trial.
Alleged gang members Rudy “Chapo” Ruiz, 34, of Whittier and John “Diablo” Perez, 46, of Pico Rivera, are accused of three counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the June 27, 2009, shooting at Falcone’s Pizza in the 9200 block of Slauson Avenue in Pico Rivera.
Killed in the shooting were Carlos Carrera, 39, of La Habra, Garret Dandini, 25, of Whittier and his cousin Tony Dandini, 39, of Whittier.
Ruiz and Perez are accused of targeted a fundraiser at the pizza parlour under the mistaken belief that it was a meeting of members of the Mongols motorcycle gang, according to testimony heard during their preliminary hearing.
But instead, they opened fire on a gathering of the “Old School Riders,” a local motorcycle club which detectives said had no gang ties.
ALHAMBRA — Prosecutors Wednesday filed 18 counts of arson and attempted arson against a South Pasadena accused of torching brush and cars in Pasadena, South Pasadena and Los Angeles during a five-month arson spree that ended with his arrest over the weekend, officials said.
Javier Adolfo Viera, 35, was charged in Alhambra Superior Court, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Jane Robison.
Though investigators linked Viera to 26 fires, he was formally charged with 18 counts of arson, according to a felony complaint filed against him.
If convicted as charged, he could face up to 32 years in state prison, Robison said.
Following his arrest Sunday after a car fire in the 6100 block of Oak Hill in Los Angeles, Viera confessed to a series of arsons, officials said, saying that he never meant to hurt anyone and “needed help.”
The suspect told investigators he was frustrated by financial problems, and had taken to torching luxury cars out of jealousy, according to South Pasadena police Sgt. Robert Bartl.
Viera was being held in lieu of $2 million bail pending his scheduled arraingment, which was scheduled for May 6 in Alhambra Superior Court, according to court officials and booking records.
TEMPLE CITY — A liquor store owner struggled with a robber dressed in black over a gun then detained the culprit for deputies Tuesday, officials said.Sheriff’s Lt. Loy McBride said the suspect’s weapon turned out to be a replica handgun.Henry Vincent Ceballos, 44, was booked on suspicion of robbery, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and county booking records. His city of residence was not available.The botched robbery took place at 4:51 p.m. in the 9100 block of Las Tunas Drive.McBride said a man wearing all black clothing entered the liquor store and demanded money.“The owner fought with the suspect over the gun. He held the suspect down until we got there,” the lieutenant said.According to Nakry Meas, it was the first time he was robbed and the first time he struggled with a robber.“I got my family inside,” he said.He didn’t know if the gun was real but he decided to fight back. The suspect hit him in the face, Meas said.Somehow the suspect fell.“After he fell down, I stayed on top of him. … My body was heavier than him,” Meas said.Deputies arrived and took Ceballos into custody, officials said.According to booking records, he was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
MONROVIA — Volunteer fire cadets began the work of removing about 2 miles of fire hose from the hillsides of northern Monrovia as officials declared the Madison Fire was all but fully surrounded.
The wildfire, which was ignited by gardening work along the 300 block of Madison Avenue shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday, had consumed 125 acres and remained 95 percent contained Wednesday morning, Monrovia spokeswoman Alexis Newell said.
“We’re hoping to announce 100 by the end of the day,” Newell said.
Officials were in the “mop-up” phase of the fire, and about 30 fire cadets from the Rio Hondo Fire Academy in Whittier volunteered to pitch in my removing fire hoses left on the hillsides by firefighters as a precaution, in case they were to be needed again.
The cadets were tasked with removing about 2 miles of hose line from the steep terrain and returning them to the fire department’s which left them, Newell said.
Active fire fighting had ceased Wednesday, and officials were primarily keeping an eye on the situation to watch for flare-ups as they worked toward 100 percent containment.
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Officials are investigating the death of a man whose body was discovered inside a car parked along Angeles Crest Highway early Wednesday as a suicide.
The body was discovered about 10 a.m. inside a vehicle parked near mile marker 29.31 of Angeles Crest Highway north of La Canada Flintridge, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Angela Shepherd said.
It initially appeared man had mixed chemicals to produce a poison inside the car, she said.
There were no initial signs of foul play, Shepherd said. The investigation was ongoing.