Teenagers robbed near Walnut High School

WALNUT — A group of half a dozen young men robbed two teenagers as they walked near Walnut High School Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime took place about 3:30 p.m. at Arbola Lane and Delphine Drive, one block south of the high school, Sgt. R. Causey of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station said.
Two teenage boys were walking on the sidewalk when they were approached by a group of young men, the sergeant said.
The robbers first grabbed a watch from one of the boys, but apparently were not satisfied with it and threw it to the ground, Causey said. They then took an iPhone from the other boy.
After obtaining the phone, the six robbers got into a silver, four-door Honda or Toyota sedan, which was last seen westbound on Delphine Drive, Causey said.
The teenage victims were not injured in the robbery, he added. It was unclear if they were students at the nearby high school.
Officials described all the robbers as men of 18 or 19 years old. One was Latino, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 155 pounds, while another was described as Latino, 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall and about 145 pounds.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Monrovia man fights off would-be robber to retrieve iPhone in Arcadia

ARCADIA — A man fought a would-be thief to retrieve his iPhone late Friday after it was snatched from a sandwich shop restroom, police said.
The incident took began about 8:45 p.m. at a Subway restaurant in the 100 block of East Duarte Road, Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura said.
A 19-year-old Monrovia man realized he had left his iPhone 5S in the restroom and saw another man pick it up and leave with it, the lieutenant said.
The man chased after the thief and confronted him, but the suspect managed to fight the victim off and continue fleeing with the stolen iPhone, Nakamura said.
But the determined victim again confronted the robber, who dropped the phone before running off, he said. The victim retrieved his phone, apparently undamaged.
The victim, who stood about 5 inches shorter than the thief, was not injured in the scuffles, Nakamura said.
Police described the robber as a white man between 20 and 25 years old, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 125 pounds. He had black hair and wore black reading glasses and a blue jacket. He carried a black backpack and a black duffel bag.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Spate of car burglaries reported outside Pico Rivera gym

PICO RIVERA — Deputies are carrying out extra patrols and advising the public to remain vigilant in response to a spate of more then two-dozen auto burglaries in recent months in the parking lot of a Pico Rivera gym.
About 30 car break-ins have been reported over the past six months outside L.A. Fitness, at Washington and Rosemead boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Van Damme said. And the trend has been increasing lately, with eight burglaries reported over the past two weeks.
Van Damme and other deputies keeping watch over the parking lot Friday afternoon in an undercover operation spotted two burglars in the act, though the men escaped following a brief pursuit.
Deputies saw two men arrive in a four-door, pewter-colored, 2003 Nissan Maxima and break into a car parked in the parking lot, Van Damme said.
The driver of the Nissan swerved head-on toward a sheriff’s vehicle when deputies tried to pull the car over, then sped away, initiating a chase, Van Damme said.
The car blew through red lights before deputies lost sight of it in the area of Paramount and Whittier boulevards, the sergeant added. The driver was described as a Latino man between 25 and 30 years old, with a stocky build. The passenger was a thin Latino man between 18 and 25.
In addition to the car that fled from deputies Friday, two other different vehicles — a late-model Chevrolet Uplander minivan and a late-model Infinity coupe — have also been connected to the string of break-ins via surveillance cameras, Van Damme said.
The thieves have been smashing windows and forcing locks to access the vehicles, though they primarily appear to be targeting cars with valuables left in plain sight.
Van Damme encouraged the public to always stow valuables out of the sight of opportunistic burglars if leaving them behind in a vehicle.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Death of Arcadia man found in neighbor’s swimming pool ruled suicide

ARCADIA — A coroner’s investigation has determined a local man whose body was found at the bottom of a swimming pool earlier this died from drowning, and his death has been ruled a suicide, officials said Friday.
Greg Tser-Ming Chen, 35, was pronounced dead on the morning of Aug. 8 after a stranger discovered him unconscious in a backyard swimming pool in the 700 block of Camino Grove Avenue, according to Arcadia police and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said. The pool was around the corner from Chen’s own home.
Chen’s pet golden retriever was found in the same backyard where his body was found, officials said. No trauma was discovered on his body, and foul play was not initially suspected.
Following an extensive coroner’s examination, investigators determined Chen’s cause of death was drowning and ruled the death a suicide, coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. The full autopsy report was not available Friday.
The coroner’s report noted that Chen had struggled with depression issues in the past.
His wife saw him open his safe before leaving the house with the dog, Winter said. Believing Chen was merely taking the dog for a walk, his wife did not get out of bed.
“She had hidden his gun and medication,” Winter said.
Shortly after his body was discovered, neighbors speculated Chen, who they described as friendly, may have clipped and fallen into the pool while chasing after his dog.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

740 marijuana plants, more than 50 pounds of processed pot seized from Whittier business

WHITTIER — Police responding to a burglary call discovered 740 marijuana plants growing and more than 50 pounds of processed pot inside a business early Friday , authorities said.

Police responded to a burglary alarm in the 8100 block of Byron Road, just south of Washington Boulevard, at 2:06 a.m., Whittier police officials said in a written statement.

As officers were checking the area, they noticed the door to an adjacent business — Welded Fixtures, 8155 Byron Road — had been pried open, police said.

“They entered the business to make sure there were no suspects inside, and that’s when they found the marijuana grow,” White said. Officers secured the building and summoned detectives to the scene.

Police ultimately uprooted 740 marijuana plants, ranging from seedlings to mature plants, White said. Between 50 and 60 pounds of harvested marijuana were also recovered, as well as an estimated $100,000 worth of equipment used to grow the marijuana.

Welded Fixtures is a company that makes components for wire racks used in retail stores, White said. No suspects were in custody, and the investigation was ongoing into who was responsible for the marijuana grow.

Company representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

Police found no signs of a burglary at the adjacent business where the original burglary alarm was triggered, he added. It was unclear what set off the alarm.

Friday’s bust was not the commercial neighborhoods first experience with marijuana.

The 8100 block of Byron Road was also home to Whittier’s lone legal medical marijuana dispensary from July 2010 until June of 2012, when it shut its doors after receiving threats of federal prosecution.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Uptown Whittier jewelry store robbery foiled by armed owner; suspect arrested

WHITTIER — A West Covina man fled empty-handed and ended up behind bars Thursday after he tried to rob an Uptown Whittier jewelry store at knifepoint, but was foiled when the owner confronted him with a gun,police said.
Dylan McIntyre-Briseno, 22, was booked on suspicion of robbery following the incident after a police officer spotted him boarding a bus to flee the scene, Whittier police Lt. Steve Dean said.
The ill-fated crime took place about 12:45 p.m. at Covenant Diamonds, 6752 Greenleaf Avenue, Dean said.
The suspect entered the store, brandished a knife and demanded several gold chains that were on display in a cabinet, the lieutenant said.
“The owner approached him with a gun, at which time the suspects decided to leave the location,” Dean said.
A police officer saw the suspect — later identified as McIntyre-Briseno — as he boarded a bus at Painter Avenue and Walnut Street, he said. Police pulled over the bus and arrested McIntyre-Briseno without a struggle.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Alhambra man sentenced for $1 million credit card fraud scheme

LOS ANGELES — An Alhambra man received a sentence of more than 7 years in federal prison Thursday for heading a global credit card fraud ring that netted more than $1 million, authorities said.
Zhanghang Wu, 38, received his 87-month prison sentence from United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt in federal court in Los Angeles, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. He pleaded guilty in December, 2012, to charges of conspiracy and credit card fraud.
He was convicted of leading a fraud ring that, “used stolen credit card numbers from around the world to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars of luxury goods, cosmetics, electronics and other merchandise at retail stores,” Mrozek said.
Once credit card information was obtained, “That stolen information was used to manufacture counterfeit credit cards that bore the names of ‘runners’ — co-conspirators who went to retail stores including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Apple and Abercrombie & Fitch — who used the fake cards to make fraudulent transactions,” according to Mrozek. “After the runners purchased items with the counterfeit credit cards, they either returned the goods for credit, or the goods were sold to other parties.”
Investigators looking into the fraudulent use of credit cards in the San Gabriel Valley first discovered Wu’s wide-reaching scheme, officials said. He had previously been investigated for similar allegations by Chinese authorities.
After searching Wu’s home and finding machinery used to make credit cards and computers containing credit card information, Secret Service agents arrested Wu in July of 2012 in Las Vegas, “where he had He had fled after the search of his residence and where he continued to engage in credit card fraud,” Mrozek said.
“Wu had been living in casino hotels for several weeks and at the time of his arrest, was in the process of sending a group of runners to Chicago to continue the scheme,” Mrozek added.
Wu was the second San Gabriel Valley man to be sentenced to prison this month for widespread credit card fraud.
Xiaoliang Chen, 27, of Monterey Park was sentenced Nov. 4 to more than four years in federal prison for a similar scam that netted nearly a half-million dollars, Mrozek said. Chen was arrested in August of 2012, also in Las Vegas.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Two big rig drivers killed in two separate early-morning crashes on the 210 Freeway in Pasadena

210 cleanup

Two drivers died and four motorists were injured in two separate crashes on the eastbound 210 Freeway in Pasadena early Thursday, authorities said.
The crashes resulted in freeway lane closures that lasted into the evening.
It was not clear if rain was a factor in the crashes, California Highway Patrol officials said. The causes of both remained under investigation.
The collisions not only affected freeway commute, people also couldn’t take the Metro Gold Line train between the Allen Avenue station and Sierra Madre Villa stations due to a tractor trailer and crash debris blocking the tracks.
The earliest crash at 12:01 a.m. involved three big rigs and three vehicles. It occurred near the tunnel connecting the eastbound 210 Freeway to the eastbound 210 Freeway near the 134 Freeway junction. California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Tao said two of the big rigs overturned.
The name of the driver killed in the crash was not released pending notification of his family members, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said. CHP officials described him as a 58-year-old Arroyo Grande man.
He was driving a 2013 Volvo tractor-trailer when, “For unknown reasons, (the big rig) left the road and struck a concrete over-crossing pillar,” CHP Officer J. Wood of the CHP’s Altadena office said in a written statement.
“(The driver) suffered blunt force trauma to his head and chest due to this collision,” Wood said.
He died at the scene, officials said. It was unclear whether he had been wearing a seat belt.
The big rig and trailer jack-knifed in the crash, blocking all lanes of the eastbound 210 Freeway transition road.
Five other vehicles — two big rigs and three cars — subsequently struck the overturned big rig, however none of the drivers were seriously injured, officials said.
CHP Officer Jose Barrios said a 37-year-old Mission Hills man driving a Dodge Charger and a 41-year-old man from Gardena behind the wheel of a Toyota Prius suffered minor injuries and were taken to Huntington Hospital for treatment.
A 30-year-old Riverside man driving a Nissan Altima and a 38-year-old Fresno man who was driving one of the trucks complained of pain but were not hospitalized, Barrios said.
He said the third big driver, a 42-year-old Riverside man, wasn’t injured.
A Sig Alert was issued for the tunnel to the eastbound 210 Freeway at 12:09 a.m. It remained closed well into Thursday evening as authorities worked to clear the wreckage.
The second fatality crash on the eastbound 210 Freeway early Thursday took place at 2:30 a.m. near Madre Street.
Oscar Eduardo Avila Reyes, 33, of Moreno Valley died at the scene of the crash, Winter said.
For reasons that remained under investigation, Reyes lost control of the big rig, which veered to the left across traffic lanes and overturned, CHP officials said. The jack-knifed big rig slammed into the center divider.
“(Reyes), who was not being properly restrained, was fully ejected as (the big rig) slid on top of the raised concrete center divider in an easterly direction,” according to the CHP statement.
The truck ended up partially blocking the Metro Gold Line tracks.
An estimated 50 gallons of fuel and oil spilled from the big rig and went down the storm drain after the crash, according to CHP logs.
Lane closured resulting from the crash remained in effect through noon, CHP Officer Monica Posada said.
Because of the crash, Gold Line service was suspended between the Allen Avenue and Sierra Madre Villa stations.
“The truck was blocking part of the track. Debris blocked the rest of it,” according to Anna Chen, spokeswoman for Metro LA which operates the Gold Line.
She said bus shuttles replaced the train. Foothill Transit and the Pasadena Arts bus were also honoring fares from Metro passengers, Chen added.
Metro LA spokesman Marc Littman said the train was back in service at about 11:30 a.m.
Both fatal crashes were being investigated by officers from the Altadena office of the CHP.

– Ruby Gonzales and Brian Day

PHOTO courtesy of Caltrans

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

PETA pissed at Rose Parade, proposes float #roseprep

PETA wants to see a Sea World’s float in the Rose Parade that looks something like this.

Angered by a Sea World entry in Pasadena’s annual Tournament of Roses Parade, members of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), have demanded officials make changes in the Sea World float design.

Here’s a portion of the letter:

I’m contacting you once again, both as a longtime Pasadena resident and on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). We have a proposal that could resolve the controversy caused by the Tournament of Roses’ decision to include a SeaWorld float in the Rose Parade: Require SeaWorld to represent its treatment of orcas more accurately by using the attached design with a slight tweak to the parade’s theme—”SeaWorld: Where Dreams Never Come True.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email