Ex-Irwindale police officer pleads ‘no contest’ to stealing father’s life savings

A former Irwindale police officer accused of stealing his 89-year-old father’s life savings of $250,000 is expected to serve a year in jail after pleading “no contest” Tuesday to a charge of grand theft, authorities said.
Dennis Alva, 48, became a convicted felon after pleading no contest in Los Angeles Superior Court to a single count of grand theft, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jean Guccione said.
Alva’s father, Jess Alva, said the fact that the thief was his own flesh and blood made the process difficult.
“The worst part is, him and I were so close. We used to have breakfast at least two or three times a week,” Jess Alva said. The father added he had not spoken to his son since his arrest.
“I never thought he would do such as thing. He probably thought I was senile or something.”
Guccione said Alva pleaded no contest as part of a plea agreement.
“He’s going to surrender for jail time on Nov. 18 (at sentencing),” she said.
Alva was expected be sentenced to one year in county jail, along with five years of formal probation,” Guccione said. He was also ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution to his father.
As part of the plea agreement, additional counts of second-degree burglary and elder abuse were dismissed, officials said.
If convicted on all charges, Alva could have faced up to four years behind bars.
Irwindale Interim Police Chief Roy Campos said he was glad that justice was taking it’s course, but had no further comment regarding the case.
“He’s no longer a member of our department,” Campos said. Alva left the Irwindale Police Department within the past month, however Campos said employment privacy laws prevented him from saying whether the officer was terminated or resigned.
The theft took place over several years, investigators said. The money was not recovered, and it was unclear what Alva spent it on.
Alva’s father first reported the theft to police in his hometown of Azusa in January, “When he discovered that the cash he had hidden throughout his garage was missing,” according to a statement issued by the District Attorney’s Office.
Alva was first arrested in April after the case was presented to the District Attorney’s Office Justice System Integrity Division.
Alva is one of three Irwindale police officers who are currently being scrutinized in criminal investigations.
Former Irwindale police Sgt. David Fraijo is the subject of a criminal investigation and a civil rights lawsuit after a woman alleged the sergeant sexually assaulter her during a traffic stop.
Another Irwindale officer, Daniel Camerano, has been placed on administrative leave as internal investigators and sheriff’s investigators looked into an allegation of inappropriate relationship with Explorer Scouts. Further information was not available.

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Madre Fire containment up to 90 percent; full containment expected Friday morning

Firefighters Wednesday extended containment lines around 90 percent of the Madre Fire smoldering into the Angeles Nation Forest north of Azusa, officials said.
The wildfire, at 268 acres in size, was expected to be fully contained by 8 a.m. Friday, U.S. Forest Service officials said in a written statement.
“We haven’t had any active flame since yesterday,” USFS Fire Information Officer Nathan Judy said, adding that firefighters were not in the “mop-up” phase of their work.
Firefighters Wednesday worked to douse any hotspots that remained, so they could not be rekindled by wind, and finish completing hand lines around the fire, Judy said.
But the last bits of unsecured fire line are expected to be the most challenging to complete, as they are in the most inaccessible areas of the forest, he added.
“It’s pretty nasty country in there,” Judy said.
San Gabriel Canyon Road and Encanto Parkway remained open only to residents.
The fire ignited about 6 p.m. Monday. The cause remained under investigation, USFS officials said..
Meanwhile, the cause of another recent nearby fire also remained unclear Wednesday, officials said.
The cause of the Shooting Fire, which scorched about 40 acres near Fish Canyon Road and El Encanto Parkway after breaking out Aug. 27, remained undetermined, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.

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UPDATED: Longden Elementary School in Temple City evacuated due to bomb threat


TEMPLE CITY — The second bomb threat in two days at a Temple City school prompted a campus evacuation and search, though nothing suspicious was ultimately found, authorities said.
A caller phoned in a bomb threat to Longden Elementary School just before the school day began Wednesday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Martinez said.
The threatening phone came less than 10 hours after another call Tuesday night claiming bombs had been placed at Temple City High School, the sergeant said. Deputies searched the empty high school campus after receiving the threatening phone call and found nothing out of the ordinary.
It was too early to say whether the incidents were related, however investigators were looking into the possibility, Martinez said.
“We couldn’t really tell by the voices,” he said.
In Wednesdays incident at Longden Elementary School, a caller with a male voice called both the school and 9-1-1, which was answered by the California Highway Patrol, Martinez said. The caller claimed there were two bombs on the campus.
It was not clear where the call had been placed from.
In very brief statement, Martinez said, the caller stated that there were two bombs on the campus of the elementary school, 9501 E. Wendon Street.
“The students were evacuated to a safe area,” Temple City Unified School District spokeswoman Lynn Burkhardt said.
Deputies, with help from explosives-sniffing dogs, searched the campus.
Deputies completed their campus search but found nothing of concern and sounded the all-clear shortly before 10:45 a.m.
The threatening phone calls were made just before the start of the school day, Burkhardt said. Classes were cancelled.
Students who had not yet arrived when the incident began were turned around when they showed up, she said.
Between 300 and 400 of Longden’s 1,000 or so students were already on-campus, however, TCUSD Chief Business Officials David Jaynes said. They were walked to nearby Oak Avenue Intermediate School to be picked up by their guardians.
Longden Elementary parents were notified parents via an automated phone message, Jaynes added.
Wednesday was a scheduled shortened school day at Longden, and students were due to be released at 1 p.m.
All but a handful had been picked up from Oak Avenue Intermediate School by noon.
The Longden Elementary School bomb threat came on the heels of another bomb threat phoned in to Temple City High School late Tuesday.
In that case, a caller — also described as male — claimed about 10:30 p.m. that bombs had been placed on the high school campus, Martinez said. The school was unoccupied and locked up.
“The school was opened for us, and we did go in and check the interior,” Martinez said. Nothing unusual was found, however teachers were advised to look over their classrooms at the beginning of the day Wednesday and check for anything out of the ordinary.
And the region has had more than its share telephone threats in recent weeks.
A multi-agency task force arrested a 26-year-old Monrovia man with a prior history of making threatening phone calls in connection with a series of six calls threatening shootings at schools, hospitals and a mall throughout the San Gabriel Valley Sept. 9 through Sept. 12.
Gerardo Cortez has since been charged with six felony counts of making criminal threats and one count of falsely reporting an emergency, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials. He’s scheduled to appear for arraignment Oct. 4 in West Covina Superior Court.
In April, Cortez pleaded “no contest” to a single count of making a false bomb report in connection with another series of threats. He had originally been charged with three additional counts, which were dismissed under the plea agreement, officials said.
Cortez was initially arrested in October on suspicion of making bomb threats against a post office, a health department building and a school in Pasadena.
He was sentenced under AB 109 guidelines and served eight months of 16-month jail sentence before being released in late June, according to district attorney’s officials and county booking records.

STAFF photo by Leo Jarzomb

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10:30 p.m. #MadreFire round up

@PasStarNews reports: “More than 300 firefighters and two water-dropping helicopters battled a brush fire in the Angeles National Forest that has burned about 50 acres Monday night.”
InciWeb will update here: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3737/
Here’s a simple map giving an idea where the fire is burning and what areas to avoid:

View Madre Fire in a larger map

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Water Main break causes problems in Alhambra

A major water main break has flooded Mission Road, closing it and a part of Fremont Avenue to traffic for the next several hours.
Mission Road is closed between Fremont and Lowell avenues, while Fremont is closed between Valley Boulevard and Orange Street. The water main break in the early afternoon has caused flooding, according to Alhambra police.
Those heading north from Valley Boulevard should take Marengo Avenue instead, police said. Eastbound traffic from Los Angeles should take Concord Avenue north to Fremont to avoid Mission Road. Westbound traffic should use Valley Boulevard.
Officials expect Mission to remain closed until 3 or 4 p.m.

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19-year-old Whittier man killed in solo-car crash identified

SOUTH WHITTIER — Authorities Sunday released the name of a 19-year-old Whittier man who died in a solo-car crash at Leffingwell and Meyer roads in an unincorporated county area south of Whittier.
Salvador Arredondo died in Saturday’s 11:47 a.m. crash, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said.
He was southbound on Meyer Road in a 2008 BMW sedan prior to the crash, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement. The speed of the car was unclear.
“The BMW collided with a traffic light pole on the sidewalk at the intersection, resulting in major vehicular damages,” according to the CHP statement. “(Arredondo) was not wearing a seat belt and suffered fatal injuries and succumbed to those injuries at the scene.”
The cause and circumstances of the crash remained under investigation by officers from the Santa Fe Springs office of the CHP. Anyone with information can reach the office during normal business hours at 562-868-0503. After hours or on weekends, the CHP can be reached at 323-982-4900.

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House struck by gunfire in Pasadena, elderly man sleeping inside unhurt

PASADENA — A house with an elderly man sleeping inside was struck by bullets in an early-morning shooting Sunday, police said.
No injuries were reported in the 3 a.m. shooting in the 100 block of East Peoria Street. Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said. The elderly resident was not even aware his home had been shot up until police notified him.
No suspect description was available, and the motive was unclear.

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Man wounded in Pasadena shooting

PASADENA — A man suffered a gunshot wound in a shooting early Sunday, but refused to cooperate with police investigating the attack, officials said.
Officers responded to reports of “shots fired” about 1:20 a.m. when they encountered a 30-year-old man in the 600 block of Palisade Street who had been shot in the torso, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
“He was taken to a local area hospital in stable condition. He’s expected to survive,” Clawson said.
But no information regarding the shooter or circumstances of the shooting were available.
“He was uncooperative. He refused to provide information regarding the incident,” the lieutenant said.
There was a party being held nearby, however it was unclear if the shooting was related to it, he added. Those at the party said they knew nothing of the shooting.

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UPDATED: Valet killed, security guard wounded in Pico Rivera nightclub shooting


(Video below)

A valet died and a security guard was wounded early Sunday when a man angered over being kicked out of a Pico Rivera nightclub returned with a gun and opened fire, authorities said.
Three men and two women were arrested in connection with the 2:39 a.m. shooting outside the El Rodeo nightclub, 8825 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. Those in custody included the alleged shooter, as well as four others who accompanied him at the time of the shooting.
Paramedics took the wounded valet to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 7:51 a.m., coroner’s Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said. His name was not available pending positive identification and notification of family members, however sheriff’s officials initially described him as being in his mid- to late-20s.
The wounded security guard was hospitalized in stable condition, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Officials described the security guard as a man in his mid- to late-30s.
Shortly before the shooting, “A group of people was kicked out of the club for being disruptive,” Corina said. Some members of the group were believed to be drunk.
The group left, but returned a short time later, nearly 40 minutes after the club’s 2 a.m. closing time, the lieutenant said. But club staff would not allow them back in.
“They got into an argument with the security guard and the valet,” he said.
The alleged shooter retrieved a handgun from his car and opened fire, striking the two men, Corina said. He then began running west along Washington Boulevard.
0923_NWS_SGT-L-PICOSHOOTING2“Luckily, we had some deputies just seconds away,” he said. Club security pointed out the fleeing gunman to the deputies, who caught him after a brief foot chase.
A handgun was found tossed beneath a car in the club’s parking lot, Corina said.
Two men and two women who had been with the shooter were arrested in the parking lot, he added.
The suspects’ names were not initially available.
The shooting took place on the west side of the building and was captured on surveillance video, Corina said. The video was not publicly released.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are leading the investigation, and anyone with information can reach the bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips can also be given anonymously via the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Jockey falls from horse, gets kicked in head during race at L.A. County Fair in Pomona

POMONA — A jockey was flown to the hospital with serious injuries after he fell from his horse and was kicked in the head during a race at the Los Angeles County Fair, officials said.
The mishap took place during the last race of the day at the Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinely Ave., Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Shawn Youngman said.
“On the last turn, before the final straightaway, two jockeys went down,” the captain said.
One of them suffered minor injuries, he said. But the other Jockey was kicked in the helmet and face by a horse.
The 26-year-old man was conscious and breathing, however firefighters and an on-duty doctor determined it was best to fly the injured jockey to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center’s trauma center as a precaution.

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