ARCADIA >> Firefighters are planning to once again “Fill the Boot” at an Arcadia intersection next month to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Off-duty Arcadia Fire Department personnel with accept donations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 11 outside Fire Station 106, at Huntington Drive and Baldwin Avenue, fire department officials said in a written statement.
“Firefighters will be stationed on all four corners of the intersection and will approach vehicles in a safety conscious manner only when motioned to do so by charitable and generous motorists,” according to the statement. The event may result in minor traffic delays.
HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A gunman wearing a business suit fled empty-handed late Thursday following a failed robbery at a Rite Aid Pharmacy, authorities said.
The would-be robber entered the pharmacy, 2060 S. Hacienda Boulevard, and began walking around the business, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Raymond Enriquez said.
He then made his way to the pharmacy counter, where he pulled a small, silver semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at a female employee.
He told the woman to stand in front of him, but she instead fled from him, grabbed a telephone and notified fellow employees to lock the front doors, the lieutenant said.
The gunman unsuccessfully tried to hop the pharmacy counter before making his way back to the store’s main entrance, Enriquez said.
The armed man escaped after ordering an employee to open the locked front door, Enriquez added.
Officials described the failed robber as a Latino man in his 40s or 50s, with salt and pepper hair, wearing a gray suit with a tie and round-framed glasses.
He was last seen getting into a white, 2000s-model Toyota sedan with a waiting driver. The car headed north on Hacienda Boulevard.
PICO RIVERA — A 16-year-old boy escaped injury Thursday after being shot at in a residential neighborhood, officials said.
The shooting took place about 8 p.m. in the 4000 block of Lindsey Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Meyer said.
The teenage victim was approached by a man who asked him, “What’s up,” before firing on him twice with a handgun, the lieutenant said. The bullets did not strike the teen.
The shooter ran north to Isora Street where he got into a black Scion coupe, Meyer said. It was not clear if a getaway driver was waiting behind the wheel.
He was described as a Latino man between 18 and 20 years old, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, 160 pounds, wearing a black bandana over his face.
A motive in the shooting was not clear.
NORTH SAN GABRIEL — Officials and worried family members sought the public’s help Thursday in finding a missing 61-year-old man with dementia.
Harold Rakowiecki was last seen walking in the 6800 block of Oak Avenue in an unincorporated county area north of San Gabriel about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sgt. Ann Devane of the sheriff’s Temple Station said in a written statement.
Rakowiecki is white, 6 feet 1 inch tall, 160 pounds, with gray hair, blue eyes and a mustache. He was last seen wearing a beige shirt and blue shorts.
“Mr. Rakowiecki’s family is concerned because he suffers from dementia,” Devane said. “If you think you have seen or know of Mr. Rakowiecki’s whereabouts, please contact Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Missing Persons Unit Detective Abraham at 323-890-5500.”
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Investigators following up on a burglary arrest from earlier this month carried out early-morning search warrants Thursday, arresting two more members of an alleged burglary ring, authorities said.
The multi-agency West San Gabriel Valley Anti-Crime Task Force and A.B. 109 Team arrested Shawn Ashton Sykes, 21, of Altadena and Koreana Channise Muhammad, 19, of Altadena early Thursday as they performed searched at five locations within Altadena and Pasadena, according to Arcadia police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Sykes was booked on suspicion of residential burglary, while Muhammad was booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property and being an accessory to burglary, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement.
Thursday morning’s searches followed the arrest of Kenneth Wayne James, 21, of Altadena at the scene of March 13 residential break-in in the 1100 block of West Foothill Boulevard.
Three suspects were seen fleeing from the burglarized home, but only James was captured, Arcadia police Lt. Bob Anderson said at the time. But the suspects’ car was found abandoned in the area.
The car was found to belong to Muhammad, officials said. She reported it stolen shortly after the bungled burglary on March 13.
“Through investigation, the task force Detectives were able to identify all of the suspects, including the female who owns the suspect vehicle, as Pasadena/Altadena Blood gang members,” according tot he police statement. “The Task Force Detectives also uncovered that they were a burglary crew that is suspected of targeting several Arcadia homes in the past year.”
Further details of the alleged Arcadia burglaries were not available Thursday.
Property recovered during Thursday-morning’s searches yielded suspected stolen property, including a big screen TV reported stolen in a burglary in Los Angeles, police added.
James pleaded “no contest” to a charge of residential burglary during his initial appearance in Pasadena Superior Court on March 17, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
He received a two-year prison sentenced, which was suspended, along with 90 days in jail, three years of probation and 300 hours of community service, Santiago said.
James was released from custody March 19, six days after his arrest, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
Sykes, who was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, and Muhammad, who was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail, were both scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court, according to booking records.
PHOTO courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department
COVINA >> Deputies swarmed a neighborhood in unincorporated county area near Covina after concerned residents reported seeing a young man on a roof with what ultimately turned out to be a replica assault rifle that fires plastic BBs, authorities said.
The incident kicked off just before 5 p.m. at a two-story home at San Bernardino Road and Woodgrove Avenue, directly across from the Tri-Community Adult Education Center.
“We received a report of a person on a roof with a scoped rifle ,” Sgt. Joe Bolanos of the sheriff’s San Dimas Station said. At least one additional witness also subsequently called officials to report seeing the apparent gunman.
Deputies surrounded the home and ordered the occupants out, Bolanos said. A family comprised of two parents and four sons complied and cooperated with deputies.
It was determined that the possible gunman worried witnesses reported seeing was actually a teenage boy who lives at the home, Bolanos said. He had been carrying an “extremely realistic-looking” airsoft rifle with the appearance of an assault weapon on a second-floor deck attached to the house. Witnesses did not report seeing him firing the gun, which shoots plastic BBs.
After checking the home to make sure there was no real gunman, deputies advised the family to be more careful in displaying the airsoft guns in the future. No arrests were made.
Bolanos recommended that airsoft aficionados “only use and display those airsoft (guns) in the designated areas where they compete and play. Never, ever in the city, and especially near a school.”
The nearby adult school was placed on lockdown and traffic on San Bernardino Road was shut down for about an hour as officials sorted out the situation.
AZUSA — Acting on complaints from residents, police carried out compliance checks at six Azusa massage parlors Wednesday, issuing several citations but making no arrests, officials said.
Police joined with officials from Azusa code enforcement, the California Employment Development Department, the California Department of Industrial Relations, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crimes Bureau’s licensing unit during the operation, Azusa police Lt. Mike Bertelsen said in a written statement.
“Azusa PD has received complaints that some massage parlors within the city may be offering sexual services to customers in addition to massages,” Bertelsen said. “After learning of the complaints, Azusa PD detectives solicited the help of outside agencies with specific expertise in massage parlor operations to develop and execute this administrative compliance detail.”
In addition to verifying that all local, county and state laws and regulations were being followed, police said officials were also seeking to determine whether any victims of human trafficking were associated with any of the massage parlors.
“No victims of human trafficking were located, however numerous citations were issued for violations of various Azusa municipal codes, along with workers compensation insurance or minimum wage violations, Bertelsen said. “Some of the businesses involved face fines of several thousand dollars each. These investigations are ongoing, so none of the businesses are being identified.”
Bertelsen said similar “administrative inspections” are likely to be held again in the future.
WEST COVINA — Three masked men robbed a Sizzler restaurant early Thursday, officials said.
The crime took place shortly before 10 a.m. at the eatery in the 1100 block of West West Covina Parkway, West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez said.
Three robbers had at least one gun when they entered the restaurant and demanded money, Lopez said. They ultimately fled with an unknown amount of cash from the business’ safe.
The robbers were last seen running east from the restaurant, Lopez added. No getaway car was seen.
Police described them as three black men between 18 and 25 years old. All wore dark ski masks, hats and sunglasses, and all wore dark clothing.
Further details were not immediately available.
COVINA — A heavyset gunman robbed a RadioShack store and its employees late Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The heist took place about 6:20 p.m. at the store, 1065 West Badillo Street, Covina police Lt. Dave Foster said.
The gunman demanded money from the cash register, and also demanded employees’ property such as wallets and cell phones, the lieutenant said.
The robber then ordered the employees to a back room before running off, Foster said.
He was described as a Latino man in his late-30s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and 300 pounds, Foster said. He wore a blue shirt, jeans and a black baseball cap.
PASADENA >> Police released video footage of two burglars believed to be responsible for half a dozen pharmacy break-ins and attempted break-ins in Pasadena over the past six months.
The series of pharmacy burglaries began in September, with the most recent crime reported March 8, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said.
All of the pharmacies linked to the series occurred near Huntington Hospital, near the intersection of Fair Oaks Avenue and California Boulevard, Ibarra said. All of the break-ins took place during overnight hours while the businesses were closed.
The burglars successfully forced their way into four of the businesses, while they apparently abandoned attempts to burglarize two other nearby pharmacies, the lieutenant said.
Each of the pharmacies was equipped with an alarm, and the intruders spent only a short time in each one, Ibarra said.
“Various” medications were taken in the burglaries, Ibarra said. An accounting of what types of drugs and how many had been stolen was not available.
“They’re opportunists,” Ibarra said. “They grab what they can.”
In at least some of the cases, the burglars targeted medications that had been left unlocked for the following day’s customers, Lt. John Dewar said. And in at least one of the break-ins, the burglars fled empty-handed.
Dewar advised pharmacies to always leave all medications locked up overnight.
Police described one of the burglars as a white man of about 30 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. The second burglar was described as a Latino man in his mid-20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 180 pounds.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Pasadena police Detective Robin Stinson at 626-744-7097, or police dispatch at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously by contacting L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.