Man sought in connection with Irwindale mail thefts


IRWINDALE >> Police asked the public’s help Saturday in tracking down a man believed connected to a series of mail thefts from five Irwindale businesses late last month.
The thefts occurred Oct. 27 at five businesses in the 4800 block of Fourth Street, Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas said in a written statement.
A thief pried open the locked, outdoor mailboxes and took mail, the sergeant said. “Several checks were stolen during the thefts and subsequently cashed at nearby locations.”
Since the Oct. 27 thefts, several incidents of mailbox tampering have been reported in the same area, officials said.
Police released a surveillance camera image of a man taken as he cashed a stolen THEFT2check, as well as a photo of an SUV captured on security cameras near where the mail was stolen.
Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has information regarding the case is asked to contact Detective Jose vargas at 626-430-2290.


PHOTOS courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department.

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UPDATED: Man badly injured in Norwalk hotel stabbing

NORWALK >> Paramedics rushed a wounded man to a trauma center after he was stabbed late Friday at a Norwalk hotel, officials said.
The stabbing was first reported about 8:20 p.m. at the Guesthouse Hotel, 12500 Firestone Blvd., according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire officials.
Someone brought the wounded man to Norwalk Hospital by private vehicle, sheriff’s Lt. Daniel Gillespie said. Medical staff there determined the victim needed to be transferred to a trauma center.
The victim suffered major injuries including a punctured lung but was expected to survive, Gillespie said.
Deputies sought two male suspects possibly seen running from the area, the lieutenant said. One was believed to be armed with a pocket knife, and the other with a large hunting knife. No further description was available.
The investigation remained in its early stages, however it initially appeared the man was inside a room at the hotel when some sort of fight erupted, he said.
No further details were available.

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Neighborhood watch meeting planned in South El Monte

SOUTH EL MONTE >> The community is invited to a neighborhood watch and safety meeting Thursday.
The meeting, hosted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Miramonte Elementary School, 10620 Schmidt Road, organizers said in a written statement.
“Come out and meet your neighbors and learn crime prevention and safety tips,” the statement said.
There will be light refreshments and giveaways while supplies last.
For more information, the sheriff’s Temple Station, the sheriff’s Temple Station, which provides law enforcement services to South El Monte, can be reach at 626-285-7171.

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Air Fair and Open House returns to El Monte Sunday

Officials will redesignate the El Monte Airport as the San Gabriel Valley Airport Sunday during the air field’s annual Air Fair and Open House.
The free event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the San Gabriel Airport, formerly the El Monte Airport, 4233 Santa Anita Avenue.
Classic aircraft will be on display, and pilots are welcomed to fly their aircraft to the show, airport officials said in a written statement.
Classic cars, radio-controlled airplanes, rides, entertainment, gourmet food trucks are all planned for the event.
A special ceremony will be held at noon to officially rename the airport.
While the San Gabriel Valley was once home to 10 small airports, only the airfield in El Monte remains.
Officials decided to designate the air field as the San Gabriel Valley Airport to reenforce it’s status as an airport servicing not only El Monte, but the entire region, pilot and San Gabriel Valley Airport Commission member Gabe Lopez said.
Guests 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult, and no more than three children may be escorted by a single adult.
The City of South El Monte will provide shuttle service to the airport from the El Monte Metrolink Station parking lot, 10925 Railroad Street.
For more information, contact the San Gabriel Valley Airport at 626-448-6129.

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Anaheim man guilty of beating 19-month-old son to death in Valinda

POMONA >> A jury convicted an Anaheim man of murder Friday in the beating death of his 19-month-old son last year in Valinda, authorities said.
A Pomona Superior Court jury deliberated for less than two days before finding Jesus Vega Estrada, 44, guilty of second-degree murder, along with assault on a child causing death, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement. He faces up to 25 years to life to prison when he returns to court for sentencing Dec. 15.
Estrada beat his 19-month-old son after picking the child up from the home of the boy’s mother in Valinda about 11:15 p.m. on Nov. 27, 2013, prosectors said. He told the boy’s mother he was taking the child to buy candy and juice.
Eric Avian Cervantes died at a West Covina hospital early the next morning, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Chief of Operations Craig Harvey.
“When Estrada and the child returned to the home about 11:45 p.m., the victim was vomiting,” according to the statement. “The parents then took the child to the hospital, where the toddler died early the next morning.”
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrested Estrada the same morning, according to officials and county booking records.
Coroner’s investigators determined Cervantes died from “blunt force trauma” to his liver, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Coroners officials further determined that child suffered his injuries when he was struck by an adult, Harvey said. Investigators ruled the death a homicide.
The boy had also suffered broken ribs, trauma to his head and bruising on his body, district attorney’s officials said.
The injuries were believed to have been inflicted by Estrada’s hand or fist, Ardalani said. No weapon was believed to have been involved in the fatal attack.
During trial, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Michael Matoba argued that Estrada had committed to previous, unreported incidents of abuse against his son on Oct. 17 and Oct. 20, district attorney’s officials said.
A specific motive for the attack was unclear, however Ardalani said Estrada and the boy’s mother had been arguing over the amount of his child support payments prior to the killing.
Estrada was held without bail pending the trial process due to a hold placed on him by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

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Is your loved one the victim of an unsolved homicide in the San Gabriel Valley?

Hello. I’m working on a large-scale project documenting unsolved homicides in the San Gabriel Valley between 2000 and 2010, and I’m reaching out to families and loved ones who wish to draw renewed attention to unsolved cases. If your friend or family member was the victim of an unsolved homicide in the San Gabriel Valley between 2000 and 2010 and you wish to talk, feel free to reach me at (626) 544-0812, or at Thank you.

- Brian Day
Crime reporter – San Gabriel Valley Tribune




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Man charged with murder in connection with slaying of Baldwin Park woman

BALDWIN PARK >> Prosecutors Thursday charged a Baldwin Park man Thursday with murder in connection with the death of a woman at her Baldwin Park home last month, officials said Thursday.
Juan Carlos Santana, 42, was arrested on suspicion of burglary and receiving stolen property the day after Patricia Sigala Salva was found dead Oct. 18 inside her home in the 3700 block of Idaho Street in Baldwin Park, according to Los Angeles County booking records and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
Prosecutors charged Santana Thursday with the murder of Patricia Sigala Salva, according to a felony complaint filed in Pomona Superior Court. Sheriff’s and coroner’s officials have declined to release any information regarding the woman’s identity, however public records indicate she was in her early-60s and had lived at the Baldwin Park home for at least 20 years.
Salva had been shot, according to court documents. She died sometime between Oct. 16 and Oct. 18, when her body was discovered.
He was initially charged with burglary and receiving stolen property, however prosecutors have since added the charge of murder, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. He was scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge Jan. 8 in Pomona Superior Court.
Prosecutors also accused Juan Santana of the special allegations that he personally used a handgun in the crime, and that he committed the murder during the coarse of a burglary, according to a felony complaint filed in
Arrested and charged in the same case as Juan Santana was 19-year-old Andres Javier Santana and 44-year-old Deborah Jean Curiel, according to officials and booking records. Both were jailed Oct. 19 on suspicion of receiving stolen property.
The elder Santana was being held without bail, records show, while Andres Santana has been released on bail pending legal proceeding, and Curiel was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.
The relationships among the suspects were not clear, nor was their relationship with Salva. The suspects’ cities of residence were also not available.
Numerous calls in recent weeks to handling detectives at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide have not been returned. And sheriff’s investigators ordered a “security hold” on the case at the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, preventing the release of any information, coroner’s officials said. The security hold remained in effect Thursday.
Police said the woman’s body was discovered after residents reported suspicious circumstances at her home.
Someone called Baldwin Park police to report seeing a person running out of the garage of the home with an item believed to be beer, police said. Neighbors also told police they had not seen the woman who lives at the home in several says.
Lt. Ed Hernandez of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said the woman had rented space in the house to roommates in the past, but was living alone at the time of her death.

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Monterey Park man pleads not guilty to Arcadia child molestation charges


PASADENA >> A Monterey Park man pleaded not guilty Thursday to molesting two 10-year-old boys inside the bathroom of an Arcadia restaurant last week and earlier this week, authorities said.
Kwan Yven Chow, 31, appeared in Pasadena Superior Court, where he denied two counts of committing lewd acts on a child under 14 years old, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement. He was ordered back to court Dec. 2 for a hearing in his case.
In addition to the two felony charges, prosecutors also accuse Chow of the special circumstance of multiple victims.
The alleged molestations took place Monday and Nov. 8 in a restroom at Dave & Busters at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, 400 S. Baldwin Ave., according to Arcadia police officials.
Police jailed Chow Monday afternoon after the mother of the victim and the manager chased after him, and mall security detained him until police arrived, Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura said. Investigators later learned about the second alleged victim, who was allegedly groped inside the same bathroom two days earlier.
Bail was set at $1.25 million, officials said.

BOOKING photo of suspect Kwan Chow courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.

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Chino man gets 374 years to life in prison for spree of follow-home robberies targeting San Gabriel Valley women


ALHAMBRA >> A judge sentenced a Chino man to 374 years to life in prison Thursday for a spree of follow-home robberies targeting lone Asian women throughout the San Gabriel Valley in 2011, officials said.
An Alhambra Superior Court convicted Jose Lewis Avila, 33, of nine counts of robbery, one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of dissuading a witness from reporting a crime and one count of child abuse. The 12 charges stem from a eight incidents in March and April of 2011, investigators said.
Three robberies, one of which involved two victims, occurred in Alhambra, officials said. Three of he robberies occurred in San Gabriel, one occurred in Arcadia and one took place in Monterey Park.
“The defendant targeted women driving alone,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “Once the victims arrived at their homes, Avila accosted them and demanded their money and property. During each robbery, the defendant used a BB gun and covered his face with a bandana or mask.
But detectives managed to identify Avila the culprit in the crimes through surveillance video and credit card charges, officials said.
Additionally, Avila’s “unique” and “pretty” eyes helped victims point him out as their attacker, said Deputy District Attorney David Ayvazian, who prosecuted the case with Deputy District Attorney Gabriel Kim.
Avila was convicted of a similar string of crimes in 2005, Ayvazian said.
The assault with a deadly weapon charge was the result of Avila shooting one of his victims in the face with a BB gun during a robbery in Arcadia, officials said. He also threatened a witness not to contact the police, leading to the charge of dissuading a witness. And one of the robbery victims was holding a child in her arms during the crime, resulting in the charge of child abuse.
According to district attorney’s officials, the jury also found true special allegations that Avila used a deadly and dangerous weapon, the BB gun, in his crimes, and that he inflicted great bodily injury.

PHOTO of Jose Avila, 33, of Chino, courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department.

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Backhoe ruptures natural gas main in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Officials evacuated several homes after construction equipment ruptured a natural gas main Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
A backhoe working a the construction site of several townhomes at Altadena Drive and Mohawk Street struck the gas line shortly before 2:50 p.m., according to Pasadena Fire Department officials.
Officials evacuated about half-a-dozen nearby residents as a precaution and summoned utility workers to the scene, Pasadena fire spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Officials shut down Altadena Drive between Colorado Boulevard for about three hours until repairs were made, Derderian.

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