ARCADIA >> A masked gunman robbed an Arcadia cafe after closing early Sunday, fleeing with cash and backpack, police said.
The crime took place about 2:45 a.m. at the Arcadia Garden Cafe, 850 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia police Sgt. James Trabbie said.
The robber was armed with a handgun and wore a mask or bandana over his face as he demanded money, Trabbie said. He got away with an undetermined amount of cash, as well as a victim’s backpack.
Trabbie said the robber was last spotted running south from the business. A detailed suspect description was not available.
Los Angeles County firefighters fought a stubborn house fire exacerbated by packrat conditions at this Glendora, Calif. residence in the 700 block of N. Grand Ave. at 1 a.m. Sunday, May 10, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
GLENDORA >> A large fire blamed on an electrical malfunction gutted a Glendora home early Sunday, officials said.
A neighbor called 9-1-1 about 1 a.m. to report the home in the 700 block of North Grand Avenue was on fire, Glendora police Lt. Matt Williams said. The residents were away visiting family.
Dozens of firefighters responded to the burning two-story home, which was densely packed with items, fueling the flames, officials said.
Firefighters doused smoldering remnants for more than three hours before declaring the fire extinguished, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters said. No injuries were reported.
Officials estimated fire caused $600,000 worth of damage to the structure alone, which city officials red-tagged, Williams said. The value of the contents of the home damaged or destroyed in the fire was not clear.
The fire was believed to have been sparked by an electrical malfunction on the second floor, Williams said.
PHOTO/VIDEO by Leo Jarzomb
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Police arrested a driver Saturday after his SUV struck and killed a Whittier man in a crosswalk, authorities said.
Los Angeles county coroner’s officials identified the victim as 62-year-old Michael Ray Stilwell of Whittier.
He was walking north across Washington boulevard within a crosswalk about 9:45 a.m. when he was struck by a Mitsubishi Montero making a left turn from southbound Broadway to eastbound Washington Boulevard, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said. Paramedics pronounced Stilwell dead at the scene.
Ruiz said the driver of the SUV remained at the scene.
About three hours after the collision, traffic investigators arrested Rogelio Garcia, 50, on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records. Intoxicated driving was not initially suspected.
According to county booking records, Garcia was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Whittier Police Department jail pending his initial court appearance.
ALHAMBRA >> Police are planning a sobriety and driver license checkpoint tonight in Alhambra, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. tonight through 3 a.m. Saturday at Garfield Avenue and Beacon Street, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
“Over the course of the past three years, 44 DUI-related collisions in Alhambra have claimed one life and injured an additional 56 of our friends and neighbors,” Lt. Jennifer Wiese 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.
IRWINDALE — The Irwindale Police Department has released a free mobile application to distribute emergency alerts and community information, officials announced recently.
The public can download the app on Android, Windows or Apple tablets or smartphones, searching for “Irwindale Police” in the app store. In addition to sending out information, the app allows users to send comments, crime tips, graffiti notices and more.
“The Irwindale Police Department’s mobile app provides an easy-to-use method for two-way communication between our department and our community members,” Chief Anthony Miranda said in a statement. “It is a valuable tool for keeping the city of Irwindale safe and it reinforces our commitment to maintaining positive connections with the community we serve.”
– Melissa Masatani
SOUTH WHITTIER >> An Azusa man accused of violating a restraining order, breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s South Whittier home and trying to set it on fire pleaded not guilty to a string of charges in connection with the alleged crimes.
Joshua Diaz, 28, appeared in Downey Superior Court to answer to charges of burglary with a person present, attempted arson of inhabited structure, stalking and two counts of violating a restraining order, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Though also initially arrested on suspicion of trying to kidnap the former couple’s child, no kidnapping charge was filed Friday.
Diaz showed up the home of his former girlfriend 10700 block of Inez Street early Wednesday morning, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials said. The couple had been separated for about a year.
The woman fled from the home after Diaz grabbed a knife and threatened to kill himself, Ardalani said. Diaz was already gone when deputies arrived at the home.
But he returned about two hours later, doused the woman’s car and air-conditioning unit with gasoline, and tried, unsuccessfully, to light a fire, officials said. Diaz again fled, but was apprehended and arrested Wednesday afternoon.
Diaz is also accused of violating the restraining order on April 25, less than two weeks to the alleged break-in and arson, Ardalani said. “Diaz reportedly went to the victim’s home in violation of the restraining order, tapped on her window and told the victim he loved her,” she said.
Diaz was scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court May 15 for a hearing, Ardalani said. According to county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
PHOTO of Joshua Diaz: Courtesy
EL MONTE >> The community is invited to have a free lunch with El Monte’s new police chief Saturday at Arceo Park.
The meet and greet with El Monte Police Chief David Reynoso, who took over the El Monte Police Department last month, will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the park, 3125 N. Tyler Ave., according to the El Monte Police Officers Association, which is hosting the event.
Free hot dogs, chips and drinks will be provided.
For more information, the department’s Community Relations Office can be reached at 626-580-2186.
– PHOTO by Walt Mancini
PICO RIVERA >> Deputies jailed two suspected gang members who ran from a stolen car after a crash, leaving a gun behind, after a neighborhood search Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The incident began shortly after 5 p.m., when a deputy spotted a car that had been reported stolen driving in the area of Paramount and Beverly boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Sergio Escobedo said.
The driver realized the deputy was following and crashed into another car in opposing traffic as the car maneuvered to get away from the deputy, Escobedo said. The driver of the other car, a pregnant woman, was taken to a hospital as a precaution but appeared unhurt.
Two men exited the crashed car and ran, Escobedo said. Deputies apprehended the driver almost immediately. A gun was found inside the stolen car.
The passenger ran into a nearby mobile home park, where he was found hiding about an hour later, officials said.
Both suspects, whose names were not available pending booking, we’re believed to be gang members, he said. They were expected to be booked on suspicion of auto theft, hit-and-run and weapons charges.
DIAMOND BAR >> Deputies arrested a Montebello police officer early Wednesday on suspicion of drunken driving following a crash in Diamond Bar, according to officials and county booking records.
Christopher Andrew Cervantes, 43, was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI about 3:30 a.m. and released on $5,000 bail within the hour, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
Lt. John Saleeby of the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar station confirmed the arrest, but declined to provide information regarding the circumstances of the arrest, saying the investigation was “ongoing.” He deferred further inquiries to the Montebello Police Department.
In addition to the sheriff’s department investigation, Montebello police have launched their own internal investigation into the incident, Montebello police Lt. Kelly Gordon said.
“At 12:40 this morning, one of our employees was involved in a traffic collision in Diamond Bar,” Gordon said. “The employee was arrested.”
Gordon declined to confirm the name of the involved officer.
She said she did not know whether the involved police employee was on-duty or off-duty, or whether the crash involved a police vehicle or a personal car.
Further details were not available. Montebello Police Chief Kevin McClure could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
Wednesday’s arrest was not Cervantes first scrape with the law from the other side of the badge.
He was arrested by San Diego police in July of 2011 when he was allegedly drunk, resisted arrest and falsely identified himself to arresting officers as an agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Fellow officers who filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Montebello Police Department in 2012 accused the department of failing to properly discipline the officer.
Former Mongol Al “The Suit” Cavazos and his brother, former club president Ruben “Doc” Cavazos, have accused Cervantes and his partner in the ATF of lying about the circumstances of a 2007 shooting in order to obtain a search warrant which ultimately led to federal convictions for 78 Mongols and a state conviction for the shooter. Both Montebello police and ATF officials have denied the allegation.
The Mongols have voted the Cavazos brothers “out bad” of the organization.
Al Cavazos said he was not surprised Cervantes, who he described as “crooked,” had gotten into legal trouble.
“I have put in numerous complaints with the Montebello Police Department department about his corruption,” Al Cavazos said of Cervantes. “He falsified documents that put me in jail.” Al Cavazos served nine months behind bars in connection with the case, and has since successfully sued the government for the return of a seized motorcycle.
“(Cervantes) falsified evidence, which I could prove,” he said. “He went as far as to falsify two attempted murder, and drug charges.”
Al Cavazos said he has also filed complaints with the sheriff’s East Los Angeles Station, which patrols the jurisdiction where the 2007 Nicola’s bar shooting took place. But nothing has come of the complaints, which Cavazos said police and sheriff’s administrators were not taking seriously.
A Compton man is accused of drunken driving and manslaughter following a weekend crash in Barstow that claimed the lives of two passengers, including a La Puente woman, and seriously injured two others, authorities said.
Leticia Magana, 35, of La Puente died in the crash, which took place about 4:10 p.m. on the southbound 15 Freeway, just south of Barstow Road, San Bernardino coroner’s Deputy John Kroeker said. Another passenger also died at the scene of the crash, however officials did not release the second victim’s identity Thursday.
“A 43-year-old male driver, Jesus (Mojica) Rivera, driving a black Kia SUV with 4 passengers, collided into the rear of a truck tractor trailer driven by a 56 year old male driver,” CHP Officer Ryan Camara said. “During the investigation, alcohol was found to be a factor in the collision.”
After pleading not guilty to charges of drunken driving, vehicular manslaughter and child endangerment, Rivera is being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending his next court appearance, scheduled May 28, according to San Bernardino Superior Court and booking records.
Rivera suffered injuries in the crash, but has since received treatment and been booked into jail, Camara said.
Rescuers floew two additional passengers of the Kia to a hospital by helicopter with major injuries, Camara said.