SAN MARINO >> San Marino police jailed a San Gabriel man this on suspicion of identity theft, mail theft and other crimes after catching him with a car filled with hundreds of pieces of stolen mail, checks, identification cards, credit cards, and other identity-theft related materials, police said.
Joseph Kamel, 40, was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail Saturday following his arrest on Thursday evening, according to San Marino police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Investigators had been seeking Kamel after he and his car were seen in connection with at least two mail or package thefts in the city dating back to May,San Marino police Sgt. Robert Matthews said.
After spotting Kamel driving through the city, an officers summoned backup and followed him into the 1500 block of Oak Knoll Avenue in Pasadena, where they pulled the car over and detained Kamel without a struggle, police said. He was alone in the black, 2011 Chevrolet Camaro.
“A subsequent investigation revealed Kamel to be in possession of a U.S. Postal service master key, hundreds of pieces of mail addressed to individual persons and businesses across Los Angeles County, over 100 checks that were addressed to other victims, banking statements, U.S. Passports, California Identification cards and Driver Licenses, credit card encoding and skimming devices, and ledgers containing personal and banking information of many other potential victims,” Sgt. Timothy Tebbetts said in a written statement.
Some of the people whose information was recovered from Kamel’s car had already been the victims of identity theft, Matthews said.
It was yet to be determined whether the case would be turned over to federal officials for prosecution, though it appeared likely, Matthews said. Mail theft is a federal crime.
Thursday’s arrest was the latest in series of arrests by area police for alleged large-scale mail and identity theft schemes.
Police in South Pasadena arrested a Highland Park woman on Sept. 3 after finding her driving through town with a treasure trove of stolen mail, documents, mail keys and other theft-related items. Marisa Rae Delgado, 27, is facing federal charges in the case.
And San Marino police in May arrested a mother and daughter for allegedly driving around with stolen mail, a U.S. Postal Service master key and methamphetamine, police said at the time. Estela Castaneda, 48, of Huntington Park and Elizabeth Castaneda, 22, of Rosemead, also face federal charges.
The two San Marino cases appear to be linked, officials said. Kamel posted bail for Elizabeth Castaneda following her arrest in May, officials said. Their relationship was unclear Saturday.
Kamel is scheduled to make his first appearance Tuesday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, records show.
PHOTOS courtesy of the
WEST WHITTIER >> A 22-year-old Pico Rivera woman died after the car she was riding in as a passenger collided head-on with another car on Mines Boulevard in West Whittier early Saturday, authorities said.
Cassandra Marie Arango died in the 4:40 a.m. crash at Mines Boulevard and Duchess Drive in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
The driver of the 1995 Honda Civic in which Arango was riding suffered “major” injuries in the crash, CHP Officer Tim Zaspal said in a written statement. He was described as a 24-year-old Whittier man.
A young man and woman riding in the other involved vehicle, a 2015 Dodge Charger, were treated for minor injuries, Zaspal said.
The Honda was westbound on Mines Boulevard and the Dodge was eastbound just prior to the crash.
“The Honda and the Dodge were involved in a head-on collision and came to rest blocking lanes at the intersection of Mines Boulevard and Duchess Drive,” Zaspal said.
It was not yet clear which vehicle crossed over into opposing traffic lanes.
Paramedics pronounced Arango Honda dead at the scene, Zaspal said.
Neither she nor the driver of the Honda were wearing seat belts, he said.
No arrests were made as the investigation continued.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Officer Renteria of the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs-area office at 562-868-0503.
SYLMAR >> A solo-vehicle wreck on the 210 Freeway in Sylmar left three people critically injured and prompted the closure of all westbound freeway lanes on Saturday, officials said.
A total of four patients were treated following the 10:50 a.m. crash on the eastbound 210 Freeway, just west of McClay Street, according to Los Angeles Fire Department and California Highway Patrol officials.
The collision was initially reported to involve multiple vehicles, but was ultimately determined to have involved only one, a Dodge Durango SUV, according to the CHP.
Three patients were taken to hospitals in critical condition, while a fourth suffered injuries described as minor, LAFD spokesman Eric Scott said.
At least one person was thrown from the SUV in the crash, officials said.
Authorities initially shut down all eastbound lanes of the 210 Freeway, CHP Officer Michelle Bond said. The left-hand lane was reopened at 11:38 a.m., and the Sig Alert was cleared entirely about 12:45 p.m.
The collision is being investigated by the CHP’s Newhall-area office.
LA HABRA >> Police are investigating a shooting reported in a residential La Habra neighborhood Thursday afternoon.
No victims or suspects were found following the possibly gang-related gunfire, which took place about 5:40 p.m. in the 600 block of Exeter Avenue, according to La Habra police Sgt. Jose Rocha.
“The shooting appears to have occurred between two groups of males, however no one was found injured on scene,” Rocha said in a written statement.
A SWAT team checked a nearby home for possible victims, but found no one inside, he added.
No further details were available as the investigation continued Friday.
“At this time, it is believed that this shooting was possibly gang-related,” Rocha said.
Anyone with information can reach La Habra police at 562-383-4300. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online at www.tip411.com.
LA PUENTE >> Sheriff’s officials are inviting La Puente business owners to join in a meeting of the La Puente Business Watch Program next week.
The program in run by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department La Puente Special Assignment Team, operating out of the sheriff’s Industry Station, officials said in a written statement. It scheduled for 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Starbucks, 1283. N. Hacienda Blvd.
“The goals are to link business owners via the Le Puente Business Watch program in taking systematic steps to reduce opportunities for crimes in and around business locations,” according to the statement. “It includes training business personnel to be the eyes and ears of the law enforcement.”
Topics to be covered will include reporting crime, marking equipment with identifying marks, robbery prevention, burglary preventions and self protection.
Those interested are asked to RSVP with Deputy Rudy Zamora at 626-934-3061.
PASADENA >> Firefighters invite the community to meet with them Saturday morning during an open house at the Pasadena Fire Department’s Open House,
The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Fire Station 34, adjacent to Caltech at 1360 E. Del Mar Blvd., city officials said in a written statement.
“Fire personnel and department volunteers will be there to meet the public, showcase fire equipment and rolling stock and provide tours, according to the statement.
Other city programs will be on-hand as well to highlight other programs and services.
For more information, email Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.cityofpasadena.net/fire.
DUARTE >> A disabled car burst into flames along the 210 Freeway in Duarte Friday afternoon, slowing traffic but resulting in no injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The fire was first reported about 1:01 p.m. on the westbound 210 Freeway near Buena Vista Street, CHP Officer Michelle Bond said.
The driver of the Acura Integra experienced an engine malfunction and saw flames coming from beneath the hood of his car and pulled over to right shoulder, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Rudy Gilson said. The man got out of the car uninjured before it became engulfed in flames.
Officials briefly shut down the two right-hand traffic lanes, but firefighters quickly doused the fire and traffic resumed normal flow, she said.
It was unclear exactly what caused the car’s engine to catch fire.
PHOTOS by Keith Durflinger
LOS ANGELES >> A Pasadena man received a two-year prison sentence Thursday after admitting to selling bogus Disneyland tickets online, authorities said.
Brian Edward Anderton, 43, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court to one county of grand theft, a felony, and four misdemeanor counts of petty theft, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said in a written statement.
Judge David Horwitz immediately sentenced Anderton to a two-year prison sentence, to be served in county jail under AB 109 guidelines.
“Anderton contacted victims through an online site where he advertised Disneyland tickets for sale,” Risling said. “Over an eight-month period, Anderton stole more than $2,400 from five people.”
One victim lost $1,300 in the con, resulting in the grand theft charge, Risling said. The other four victims lost between $180 and $400 dollars in the scheme.
California law defines grand theft, in part, as the theft of property valued at more than $950.
The victims discovered they’d been scammed when they arrived at the park and were told their tickets were invalid, officials said.
Anderton is no stranger to a jail cell, with a length criminal history, primarily comprised of theft- and drug-related offenses, dating back to 1992, when he was 18 years old. He’s garnered more than 20 criminal cases in Los Angeles County in that time.
Among Anderton’s more recent cases:
He was already on probation after being convicted of theft by false pretenses in a separate case in May, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records. In that case, Anderton was sentenced to three months in jail and three years of summary probation.
He was convicted of making false financial statements in April, and again in May, records show.
Anderton was convicted of petty theft in November of 2015.
He was also convicted of grand theft and four counts of petty theft in September of 2015, records show.
And he was convicted of possession of drugs for sales and petty theft with a prior theft conviction in December of 2013. He was convicted of another petty theft and drug possession two months earlier.
In 2005, Anderson was convicted of identity theft and carrying a concealed dirk or dagger.
SOUTH PASADENA >> Police and firefighters are inviting the public to enjoy a day of festivities, demonstrations, classic car show and more as they host the South Pasadena Police and Fire Department Open House this Sunday.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pasadena Police Department, 1422 Mission Street, as well as at the neighboring South Pasadena Fire Department, 817 Mound Ave., city officials said in a written statement.
Police canine demonstrations, fire department demonstrations and helicopter landings and fly-overs are planned, along with child fingerprinting, a classic car show, informational booths and workshops, giveaways and raffles.
For more information, including a schedule of events, visit www.southpasadenaca.gov, or contact Detective Richard Lee at 626-403-7285.
DUARTE >> An 81-year-old good Samaritan helped a deputy wrestle a combative wanted felon into custody in Duarte earlier this week, officials said.
Officials from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Temple Station thanked the citizen, a local man who wished to remain anonymous, for his help in Tuesday’s arrest in a written statement.
Michael Rodriguez, 24, was booked on suspicion of battery on a deputy, vandalism and resisting arrest, and was also being held on a pre-existing warrant, Sgt. Jose Carbajal said. An additional charge of escape may also be sought by prosecutors.
Deputy Joshua Lambert stopped Rodriguez about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday after spotting him riding a bike with an open container of alcohol at Huntington Drive and Highland Avenue, Sgt. Jose Carbajal said.
The deputy then placed Rodriguez, un-handcuffed, in the back seat of his patrol car, officials said.
“A warrant check revealed the suspect had a no-bail felony warrant for a weapons violation,” according to the statement. “When the suspect realized he was being arrested, he became enraged, kicked out the rear passenger side window and climbed out of the patrol vehicle.”
The deputy began fighting with the suspect in an attempt to prevent is escape. The 81-year-old good Samaritan was driving by when he saw the struggle, stopped his car and got out to help.
“The citizen grabbed the suspect around the neck and told him, ‘Relax and let him handcuff you. Just relax,’” according to the statement. “The suspect continued to struggle. The three of them fell to the ground where the deputy and the citizen held the suspect in place until assisting deputies arrived a short time later.”
Fellow deputies then arrived and helped take the suspect into custody. The deputy suffered only bumps and bruises, Carbajal said. The good Samaritan was unhurt.
In addition to being thanked by the station as a whole, Deputy Lambert personally expressed hi gratitude to the good Samaritan.
“If it hadn’t been for (the citizen) stopping to help me, it could have got real ugly. That guy did not want to go to jail,” Lambert said.