Detectives are asking the public’s help in identifying a serial burglary suspect they say has stolen more than $30,000 in collections from two churches and a Buddhist temple in Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights over the past two years.
The burglar has targeted collection boxes in each of the capers, Detective Charell Heard. She declined to discuss the specific dates and locations of the crimes as the investigation continued, but said that more than $30,000 in cash had been stolen in all.
The burglaries took place during daytime hours while the houses of worship were open to the public, officials said.
Officials described the burglar as a Latino man with “tribal band” tattoos on both of his legs and large tattoos on both his arms.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Heard at 626-330-3322.
PHOTOS courtesy if the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
PASADENA >> Paramedics took a Pasadena police officer to a hospital with moderate injuries after his patrol car collided with another car while responding to aid other officers in a pursuit Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The collision took place shortly after 5:30 p.m. at Walnut Street and Euclid Avenue, just outside Pasadena Superior Court, Pasadena police and fire department officials said.
The officer was taken to a hospital after complaining of pain, police Lt. John Luna said.
A man who was driving a gray, two-door car that collided with the police car declined to be taken to a hospital, Derderian said.
The involved officer was heading east on Walnut Street to assist fellow officers who were in pursuit of a man accused of making criminal threats against another man, Luna said. It was not clear whether the officer had his lights and sirens activated.
The other involved car was southbound on Euclid Avenue, Luna said.
The suspect being pursued by other officers was ultimately apprehended, Luna said.
ALHAMBRA >> Officials responding to a report of a man passed out in a car in front of a convenience store early Wednesday ended up discovering a large amount of drugs, cash and a handgun in his car, officials said.
Police ultimately jailed Eric Lin, 22, of Los Angeles, on suspicion of possession of drugs for sales after taking him to a hospital for medical examination, Alhambra police Lt. Gabriel Ponce said.
Paramedics first found Lin just before 8 a.m., unconscious behind the wheel of a running Volvo parked in front of 7-Eleven, 601 S. Fremont Ave., the lieutenant said.
While removing him from the car to treat him for an apparent medical emergency, paramedics summoned police after finding a bag of powdered Ecstasy, also known as Molly, in the car, Ponce said. Police also found $1,700 in $100 bills in the car, as well as a handgun locked in the car’s trunk.
After being checked out at a hospital, Lin was booked into the Alhambra Police Department jail shortly after 3 p.m., according to Los Angeles County booking records. He was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Monday in Alhambra Superior Court.
BAKERSFIELD >> All three of the West Covina’s Police Department’s K-9 teams brought back awards, including the “Top Dog Overall” award, in a statewide competition hosted by Bakersfield police over the weekend.
Officer Matt Bowman and K-9 partner Rec earned the Top Dog honor for the department, while Officer Bryan Rodriguez and Reiko won first place in patrol protection and Officer Jesse Miller and Rocky won fourth place in overall best, according to West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez.
“I am very proud of the professionalism our K-9 teams showed, the time and preparation they invested in training and their overall performance,” West Covina Police Chief Dave Faulkner said. “Their success is attributed to discipline and ongoing training within the unit.”
Forty-two police dog teams from throughout California competed in a series of categories, including agility, obedience, searches, protection, narcotics detection and explosives detection, Lopez explained.
It was the West Covina Police Department’s first time joining the Bakersfield Police K-9 Trials, hosted by the Bakersfield Police Department, and they were up against much more experienced teams, Lopez said. Bowman has about eight months experience as a dog handler, while Miller has been a K-9 handler for about five months, and Rodriguez had been teamed with Reiko for 10 months.
And Reiko has recovered from being shot while apprehending a murder suspect who was ultimately killed by police.
It’s not always certain how a police dog will react to such a trauma, Lopez said. Some become more timid after such an experience.
But as evidenced by his performance over the weekend, Lopez said, “This dog became an even sharper dog.”
The West Covina police K-9 program is supported by the Friends of the West Covina Police Department K-9s. For more information, visit www.friendsofwcpdk9s.org.
In addition to commending the winning K-9 teams, Faulkner thanks the organization for their past and continued support.
“I also want to recognize and thank the Friends of WCPD K9s nonprofit group for their continued support in assisting us in our pursuit of adding a 4th Police K-9 to the Department,” the chief said.
The annual Bakersfield Police K-9 Trials is open to the public, with proceeds benefitting the Bakersfield-based charity, the Society for Disabled Children.
PHOTOS courtesy of the West Covina Police Department. From left to right (top photo): Officer Matt Bowman and Rec: Officer Bryan Rodriguez and Reiko; Officer Jesse Miller and Rocky.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police plan to step enforcement with the goal of improving pedestrian and bicycle safety throughout Monterey Park on Thursday, officials said.
During the extra enforcement campaign, officers will keep watch for violations by motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians that can lead to serious accidents, Monterey Park police Sgt. Brent Archibald said in a written statement.
“Special attention will be directed toward drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for stop signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or any other dangerous violation,” Archibald said. Officers will also be on the lookout for pedestrian and bicyclist violations.
The extra enforcement will be targeted at parts of the city where pedestrian an bicyclists have been involved in collisions in recent years, as well as places with high pedestrian and bicycle traffic, officials said.
Funding for the campaign is being provided by a grant form the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.
WEST COVINA >> Police used bean bag rounds to subdue an uncooperative man following a short police chase early Sunday, officials said.
Fidel Pantoja, 26, of Covina, was booked on suspicion of felony evading of police and resisting arrest following the incident, which kicked off about 12:38 a.m., West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Officers tried to pull over a car being driven by Pantoja in West Covina but he refused to yield, initiating a chase, Patton said. The pursuit came to an end minutes later when Pantoja stopped his car outside the Brunswick Covina bowling alley in the 1000 block of West San Bernardino Road.
Pantoja exited his car but ignored officer’s orders to surrender, the lieutenant said. Officers shot Pantoja with a bean bag round before taking him into custody.
A knife was found on the ground, within Pantoja’s reach, he said.
Pantoja, who has previous criminal cases pending, was being held in lieu of $155,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> A 27-year-old Fontana man died early Sunday after his motorcycle collided head-on with an SUV on Angeles Crest Highway, deep in the Angeles National Forest above Altadena.
The crash was first reported about 8:25 a.m. at mile marker 36.89 of Angeles Crest Highway, north of Ladybug Canyon Road, California Highway Patrol officials said. His name was not released pending family notification.
The rider was heading east on Angeles Crest Highway on a 2013 Yamaha R6 at an unknown speed just prior to the collision, CHP Sgt. Todd Kovaletz said in a written statement. A 2001 GMC Yukon was heading in the opposite direction.
“For an unknown reason, (the rider) drove across the painted double yellow lines into the opposing lane, directly into the path of the GMC,” the sergeant said. “(He) collided with the roadway, then with the GMC.”
Paramedics pronounced the motorcyclist dead at the scene.
The driver of the SUV, a 40-year-old Hanford man, as well as a woman and three children riding as passengers were not injured, Kovaletz said.
The crash is being investigated by the CHP’s Altadena office. Anyone with information was asked to contact Officer J. Ortega at 626-296-8100.
SAN DIMAS >> A man violently carjacked an elderly man outside a San Dimas restaurant Saturday before deputies, aided by the truck’s OnStar system, tracked down the vehicle, disabled it remotely and took the suspect into custody, authorities said.
The carjacking took place at 7:22 p.m outside a Red Robin restaurant, 565 W. Arrow Highway, Lt. Tonya Edwards of the sheriff’s San Dimas Station said.
The suspect, a man in his 20s, attacked a 74-year-old man and yanked him from his 2015 Chevy Silverado, Lt. Elisabeth Sachs said.
“(The suspect) struck him, knocked him to the ground, and stomped on his head,” she said. “The victim fought back, but the suspect was able to overcome him and drove off in his vehicle.”
Authorities were notified of the carjacking minutes later through OnStar, according to Lt. David Buckner, watch commander of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Walnut Station, whose deputies assisted in taking the suspect into custody.
An OnStar operator provided the sheriff’s department with “up-to-the- moment locations” of the white pickup truck, then remotely slowed it to about 5 mph after deputies spotted it heading south on the 57 Freeway.
The driver got out of the car and surrendered near the 91 Freeway about 8 p.m., Buckner said.
“He stole the wrong vehicle,” Buckner said.
Joshua Frontino-Deaton, 26, was booked on suspicion of carjacking, Sachs said. His city of residence was not available Sunday afternoon.
The carjacking victim was treated at a hospital for injuries and released later in the day, Sgt. Joe Bolanos said.
According to county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.
– Staff and wire report
SOUTH EL MONTE >> Coroner’s officials Sunday released the identity of a 19-year-old passenger who died in a South El Monte solo-car crash from which the driver fled late Friday.
Jonathan William Loaiza of Bell Gardens died at the scene of the 9:40 p.m. crash on the northbound Rosemead Boulevard on-ramp to the eastbound 60 Freeway, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corrall said.
The driver of the overturned 2006 Mitsubishi Galant fled from the crash scene and was not found, according to California Highway Patrol Officer T. Kinzler.
Detectives found two guns inside the crashed car and suspect the occupants may have been involved in the Pico Rivera shooting of a man who showed up at a hospital with a gunshot wound just before the crash, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Sheriff’s officials released no further details regarding the Pico Rivera shooting.
WHITTIER >> Residents of a Whittier neighborhood awoke to discover Ku Klux Klan propaganda fliers strewn on their front lawns early Sunday, police said.
The packages consisted of three sheets of paper sealed in plastic bags, weighted with small rocks and pieces of candy, were first reported to police about 6:30 a.m., Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said. They were found in the 5400 block of Adele Avenue, as well as along neighboring Carley Avenue.
“There was no threatening language,” Ruiz said. The fliers contained political statements and material promoting the KKK.
No crime had been committed, he added.
Police in Fullerton noted a similar incident exactly one week prior on June 21. And additional KKK flier distributions were reported in Santa Ana in January and in Orange last year.