UPDATED: Fire scorches Rosemead apartment building

ROSEMEAD >> A fire broke out at a two-story apartment building in Rosemead Friday before being quickly extinguished by firefighters, officials said.
The fire was first reported at 2:11 p.m.. at an apartment building in the 3100 block of East Del Mar Avenue, near Whitmore Street, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Randall Wright said.
Firefighters arrived on-scene in four minutes and found smoke rising from a second-floor apartment unit, Wright said.
Firefighters kept the blaze confined to the kitchen where it originated, fire Capt. Kent Chatfield said.
They doused the fire and declared it “knocked down” at 2:27 p.m., Wright added.
The apartment in which the fire ignited was left uninhabitable, Chatfield said. The other residents of the building were initially evacuated, but expected to be able to get back into their homes Friday afternoon.
No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire was under investigation.

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UPDATED: Two stabbed, suspect arrested, following fight over cookies in Altadena

ALTADENA >> A man suffered serious stab wounds Thursday while breaking up a fight between two women believed to have started over cookies, authorities said.
The unusual alleged crime took place about 8:15 p.m. at Raymond Avenue and Woodbury Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire officials said.
A 22-year-old Altadena man suffered a serious stab wound to his abdomen when he tried to break up a fight between two women that started over cookies, sheriff’s Sgt. Wayne Waterman said. The man was in stable condition at a hospital Friday.
A 19-year-old woman suffered moderate injuries including slashes to her face during the incident, and was also taken to a hospital for treatment.
Shandra Easterling, 43, of Pasadena, was also treated for injuries suffered in the scuffle prior to being booked into jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Waterman said.
Easterling and the younger woman became involved in an argument after one of them asked for cookies that the other had, but was refused. It was unclear Friday which woman had the desserts.
The argument escalated into a fight, officials said.
“The females were fighting,” Waterman said. “The male tried to intervene and stop the fight. He broke the two apart.”
Easterling pulled, “some type of edged weapon,” and stabbed the man in the abdomen, Waterman said. The 19-year-old woman also suffered injuries including cuts to her face.
The weapon had not been recovered Friday.
Deputies responding to reports of a stabbing detained Easterling at the scene and arrested her once she was identified as the alleged attacker, officials said. She was initially medically examined booked at the sheriff’s Crescenta Valley Station, but later taken to a hospital for further treatment of injuries possibly suffered during the fight.
The suspect and two witnesses were believed to be acquaintances, Waterman said.
According to county booking records, Easterling was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail pending her initial court appearance.

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Carjacking suspect arrested in La Puente

LA PUENTE >> Gang investigators arrested a carjacking suspect Thursday following a brief stand-off at a La Puente home, authorities said.
Jairo Vasquez, a 20-year-old member of a local street gang, was ultimately booking on suspicion of carjacking, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
Deputies had been seeking Vasquez after identifying him as a suspect in a Sept. 7 carjacking in a nearby unincorporated county area when they spotted him about 4 p.m. on Radway Avenue, near Prichard Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Mileski said.
“They obtained information that he was inside a residence,” Mileski said.
Deputies surrounded the home before the suspect tried to run out of the back door and was quickly captured, the sergeant said.

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West Covina man killed in motorcycle crash

WEST COVINA >> A West Covina man died early Thursday morning when he apparently lost control of his motorcycle and hit a chain link fence.
Joseph Louis Surita, 25, was pronounced dead at 1:53 a.m. at the scene of the crash at Barranca Street and Cameron Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said.
The fatal, solo-vehicle crash was first reported at 1:43 a.m. by a passerby who spotted Surita and his motorcycle lying on the ground, West Covina police Sgt. Keith Shishido said. No witnesses to the crash had been found Thursday afternoon, and police were seeking anyone who saw what happened.
Police said Surita was riding a Suzuki GSX-R south on Barranca Avenue at “a high rate of speed” prior to the crash.
“As he approached the intersection with Cameron Avenue, he somehow lost control of the motorcycle,” Shishido said.
The sergeant said the motorcycle tipped over and slid, along with the rider, through the T-intersection, the sergeant said. He struck a the curb along the south side of Cameron Avenue, then a chain link fence bordering the South Hills Country Club.
“He was ejected at some point and time,” Shishido said.
Coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said the coroner’s office took the body away before students arrived at nearby South Hills High School.
Police are looking for witnesses to the crash. Though it was unclear exactly what time the crash took place, Shishida said because the intersection where the crash occurred is heavily travelled, the crash likely did not go unreported for long.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Cpl. Mike Weathermon of the West Covina Traffic Department at 626-939-8589.

– Ruby Gonzales and Brian Day

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UPDATE: Missing elderly San Gabriel woman found safe

SAN GABRIEL >> Police found a 79-year-old woman who went missing Thursday from her San Gabriel home, along with her pet poodle.
Police asked the public’s help Thursday afternoon in finding the woman, who disappeared Thursday morning from her home in the 900 block of South Palm Avenue, San Gabriel police officials said in a written statement.
“At approximately 11:00 a.m., (the woman’s) husband woke up and discovered she was not at the residence,” according to the police statement. Her poodle, cane and oxygen tank were also missing, leading her husband to believe she had gone for a walk.
“However, she did not return as expected and she is unfamiliar with the area,” the police statement said.
The woman was found about two hours later, safe and sound, at a local church, Sgt. Riki Nakamura said.
She had become lost while walking the dog and ultimately went to the church, where the waited for authorities, he said.

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Two buses collide in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Authorities said an MTA bus driver was hospitalized as a precaution after her bus rear-ended a Pasadena ARTS bus early Thursday morning.
One passenger on the MTA bus, a 52-year-old man, reported a minor head injury as a result of the collision but was not taken to a hospital, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
The crash took place about 6:50 a.m. at Fair Oaks Avenue and Washington Boulevard, the lieutenant said.
The driver of the MTA bus, described as a 61-year-old woman, told officials she felt ill before her bus struck the rear of an ARTS bus, he said. She did not appear to have suffered significant injuries, but was hospitalized as a precaution.
No one on the ARTS bus reported being injured in the collision, which resulted in damage to the front of the MTA bus, including damage to the bike rack and a bicycle that was stored on it, Luna said.
The cause of the crash was under investigation, however Luna said nothing criminal was suspected.

– Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

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Norwalk man charged with series of bank robberies in Whittier, South Gate, Norwalk


Prosecutors Thursday charged a Norwalk man the FBI has dubbed the “Cold Blooded Bandit” in connection with three bank robberies over the past two months in Whittier, South Gate and Norwalk, officials said.
Mario Marques LLanes, 27, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Bellflower Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
He was charged Thursday with three counts of robbery and three counts of commercial burglary for the alleged spree of bank heists, officials said.
Llanes turned himself in Monday to police in Whittier, where the most recent robbery occurred Sept. 17 at a Union Bank branch inside the Quad at Whittier shopping center, Whittier police Officer Brad White said.
The robber handed a teller a note demanding money before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of cash, Whittier police Cpl. Carlos Arroyo said at the time.
The serial bandit used similar tactics in the other robberies, which occurred July 7 at a Union Bank branch in South Gate and June 30 at a Union Bank branch in Llanes hometown of Norwalk, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
The FBI nicknamed the serial bank robbery suspect the “Cold Blooded Bandit” prior to his arrest due to the heavy winter clothes he wore during the summertime robberies.

PHOTO: Mario Marques Llanes, 27, of Norwalk, is accused of being a serial bank robber the FBI has dubbed the “Cold Blooded Bandit,” linked to bank robberies in Whittier, South South Gate and Norwalk since late June. The bandit is pictured in this bank surveillance photo during a robbery at a Union Bank branch in Whittier on Sept. 17, 2014.
(Courtesy of the FBI)

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Bike worth $2,600 stolen in Pasadena two weeks before charity ride


PASADENA >> Two weeks before a Pasadena man was set to begin his annual 450-mile charity bike ride to raise money for substance abuse recovery, his valuable elliptical bike was stolen from his garage.
And while the theft was a disappointment, 50-year-old Robin McGeough is not letting the costly setback take the air out of his tires. The 2014 Run 4 Recovery, from San Francisco to Pasadena and benefitting the Puente House sober living center in Covina, will begin as planned Oct. 1, McGeough said. He has obtained a new elliptical bicycle to complete the scheduled ride from San Francisco to Pasadena.
McGeough discovered the $2,600 black ElliptiGO bike missing from his garage in an alley between Plymouth Drive and Robinson Road Tuesday, according to McGeough and Pasadena police Lt. John Luna. It was believed to have been taken some time overnight.
No suspect information was available, Luna said. The following day, McGeough began circulating fliers in his neighborhood, explaining the bike’s purpose and asking neighbors if they had seen the stolen bike. But he also said he hoped the thief may see the flier.
“I want whoever stole my bike to be able to know that it meant something,” McGeough said. “I was a vehicle for more than just exercise.”


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Checkpoint planned Friday in Pico Rivera

PICO RIVERA >> Sheriff’s deputies in Pico Rivera will hold a checkpoint Friday to check drivers for sobriety and valid licenses, authorities said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within Pico Rivera, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
In Los Angeles County over the past three years, DUI-related crashes have claimed 49 lives and left 1,113 people injured, officials said.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Neighborhood watch, safety meeting planned in South El Monte

SEM flyer

SOUTH EL MONTE >> Community members are invited to take part in a neighborhood watch and safety meeting Thursday in South El Monte.
The meeting, hosted by the city of South El Monte and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Monte Vista Elementary School, 11111 Thienes Ave., city officials said in a written statement.
Guests are encouraged to come down to meet with neighbors, as well as learn crime prevention and safety tips, organizers said. Light refreshments will be provided while supplies last.

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