PASADENA >> A Pasadena woman fought her way free from a would-be kidnapper who forced her into his SUV late Friday, police said.
A Pasadena woman in her early-20s was walking home about 10 p.m. along Marengo Avenue, near Penn Street, when the man drove up alongside her, Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
The man tried to start a conversation with the woman, but she ignored him and continued walking, Carrillo said. The suspect stopped his SUV next to the woman and got out.
“He approached her and physically forced her into the front passenger seat,” police said in a written statement. The suspect then got back into the driver seat of the vehicle.
“In her efforts to escape, the victim struck the suspect once in the face and once in the groin area and managed to exit the vehicle,” according to the police statement. “The suspect then drove away north and out of sight.”
The woman suffered what appeared to be only scratches in the incident, Carrillo said.
Police described the suspect as a black man in his late-30s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 200 pounds. He was bald, of medium complexion, clean-shaven and wore a white T-shirt and dark blue jeans. He drove a newer-model, gray SUV, similar to a Honda CRV.
Investigators were not aware of any similar incident reported in the area recently, Carrillo said.
Police hoped to develop a suspect sketch as they continued their investigation Saturday, he added.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Pasadena Police Department at 626-744-4241.
ARCADIA >> A man kidnapped a woman early Wednesday and held her hostage for 11 hours while sexually assaulting her before deputies freed the woman and ultimately arrested the suspect, officials said.
Philippe Lutete, 29, was jailed on suspicion on suspicion of kidnapping and rape, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Trina Schrader.
The incident began about 3 a.m. when Lutete abducted the victim, a 25-year-old woman, as she walked in the area of Longden Avenue and Peck Road, Schrader said.
“The suspect grabbed and carried the victim into his car,” Schrader said in a written statement. “He drove the victim to his home where he continuously sexually assaulted her.”
The woman remained a captive for 11 hours, until she managed to briefly flee from her attacker’s home om the 2800 block of Ashmont Avenue about 2 p.m., officials said.
“The victim managed to escape and briefly speak to a neighbor when the suspect dragged her back into his home,” Schrader said. The neighbor notified deputies.
“When the deputies arrived at the home on a disturbance call, the suspect fled the location through a side window.”
Paramedics took the woman to a hospital for treatment and examination, Lt. Loy McBride said.
Deputies summoned a SWAT team to assist them as they searched the area for the kidnapper,Sgt. Julie Geary said. The search perimeter extended south to Live Oak Avenue and east to Peck Road.
Authorities called off the search about 5 p.m., but resumed several hours later after the suspect was again spotted.
Deputies found Lutete hiding nearby on Mayflower Avenue about 9 p.m., sheriff’s officials said. He was arrested without a struggle.
Wednesday was not the first time Lutete’s was accused of a similar crime, officials said.
“The suspect is currently out on bond with a past similar arrest,” Schrader said.
Local deputies turned over the investigation to detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau, which investigates sex crimes.
MONTEBELLO >> Police released a sketch Friday of one of two men sought in connection with the failed kidnapping of a Montebello woman at the laundry room of an apartment building earlier this week.
The woman and her husband fought of the two attackers, who remain at-large, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
The crime took place about 9 a.m. Monday in the laundry room of an apartment complex in the 100 block of North 10th Street, Sgt. Marc Marty said.
One of the two men, who was wearing a mask, grabbed hold of the woman by the hair and began pulling her into the laundry room, the sergeant said. The woman, who was in her early-30s, managed to break free. The two suspects ran in different directions.
”The victim’s husband was nearby at the time and saw a male suspect run down his driveway,” according to the police statement.
“The victim’s husband chased and caught the suspect in the street and a fight ensued,” the statement said.
During the fight, the masked suspect who initially grabbed the woman returned to the scene and punched the husband, causing him to release the other suspect.
Both attackers fled in a white, 1995- to 2000-model Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck, Marty said.
Neither the woman or her husband suffered significant injury, police said.
As the suspects fled, they dropped a bag containing rope, Marty said.
Since the crime was not completed, it was unclear what the attackers’ ultimate goal was, the sergeant said. It was unclear if they committed the failed kidnapping as part of an attempted robbery, a sexual assault or some other crime.
Police described the first suspect, who grabbed the woman, as a male, 6 feet 2 inches tall, wearing a mask, gloves and a dark-colored gray and black shirt and blue jeans.
His accomplice was described only as male, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a baseball cap.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police Detective Zabala at 323-887-1254.
MONTEREY PARK >> A task force arrested a man Tuesday in East Los Angeles whom Monterey Park police had been seeking for kidnapping, raping and assaulting his ex-girlfriend last week, authorities said.
The terrified victim may have saved her own life by jumping from a moving car on the 60 Freeway in El Monte on Oct. 28, the day after she was kidnapped at gunpoint by ex-boyfriend Benny Torres, 29, Monterey Park police Lt. Bill Cuevas said. Torres’ last listed address was in Montebello, though he was believed to have most recently been transient.
The woman, a Monterey Park resident in her 20s, was treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries she suffered at the hands of her captor, as well as in her escape, Cuevas said.
“She bravely, by her actions, basically saved her own life.”
Prosecutors Wednesday filed 11 felony charges against Torres, according to a felony complaint filed in Alhambra Superior Court.
The charges include kidnapping, two counts of rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of making criminal threats, assault with a deadly weapons, assault with a firearm, burglary and false imprisonment.
The victim had recently broken up with Torres amid allegations that he had assaulted her in an incident of domestic violence in Montebello, Cuevas said.
Torres arranged to meet his ex-girlfriend on the afternoon of Oct. 27 in Los Angeles, Cuevas said.
But when she arrived, Torres pulled a handgun, got into her car and ordered her to start driving, officials said.
The attacker eventually took the wheel of the woman’s car himself and drove her to a motel in El Monte, where he held her captive overnight, the lieutenant said.
“The victim was both sexually and physically abused,” Cuevas said.
Torres ordered the woman back into her car the following morning and began driving her somewhere, police said. The woman did not know where Torres was taking her.
“The victim was in fear for her life,” Cuevas said.
As the car travelled down the 60 Freeway, near the 605 Freeway in El Monte, the woman saw an opportunity to escape.
“At one point, while they were driving, she was able to jump out of the vehicle,” Cuevas said.
It was unclear how fast the car was driving when she leapt.
A good Samaritan found the woman wandering in the area and took her to a hospital, officials said. The hospital notified authorities once they determined the woman had been the victim of an attack.
The woman suffered injuries both at the hands of Torres, as well as when she jumped from the moving car, Cuevas said. She had since been treated and released from an area hospital.
Detectives began hunting for Torres with help from the West San Gabriel Anti Crime Task Force, which is made up of officers from the Monterey Park, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, El Monte police departments, as well as officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Probation, task force coordinator and Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said.
Task force members found and arrested Torres about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday at a relative’s home in the 4000 block of E. 2nd Street in East Los Angeles, according to officials and booking records. Officers arrested him without a struggle.
Torres entered no plea at an appearance Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court, court officials said. His arraignment hearing was postponed to Nov. 24.
If convicted as charged, Torres could face life in state prison, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Torres remained behind bars Wednesday at the Monterey Park Police Department’s jail in lieu of $2.35 million bail, officials said.
PHOTO of Benny Torres, 29, courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department.
SAN MARINO >> A residential break-in turned into a home-invasion and kidnapping after a homeowner and a friend walked in on two burglars Wednesday, police said Sunday.
The series of crimes began about noon Wednesday when a resident arrived home and encountered two burglars who were already inside, San Marino police officials said in a written statement. Police declined to say where in the city the crime took place.
“The two men kept the resident at knife point as they continued to search the home for valuables,” according the police statement. Money was stolen.
When a friend of the victim arrived at the home a short time later, the robbers turned their attention to him, officials said.
“The two suspects kidnapped the family friend and forced him to take him to his house in Arcadia,” the police statement said.
The Arcadia home was in the 1000 block of South Sixth Street, according to Arcadia police Sgt. John Bonomo.
The robbers stole an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the Arcadia home, officials said.
No significant injuries were reported as a result of the crimes, police said.
A detailed suspect description was not available, and no further details were released.
ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> After spending two days bound and blindfolded in squalor inside a Rowland Heights garage,a 44-year-old woman grasped one of her rescuers in a firm hug when deputies freed her Wednesday from four suspects accused of kidnapping her for ransom.
Though terrified and weak from having been deprived food and water for two days, the Rowland Heights woman was expected to make a full recovery following her abduction Monday, Capt. Merrill Ladenheim of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau said once the case was made public Friday.
Meanwhile, two men and two women pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of kidnapping for ransom and conspiracy in connection with the unusual crime, according to sheriff’s investigators and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
All four suspects live in Rowland Heights, sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
“The victim was located in very squalid conditions in a cluttered garage, on the floor,” the captain said. “She was duct taped. Her hands were bound.” The woman had also been blindfolded with duct tape.
“She was not given food or water,” he said. “She was kept their for two full days, deprived of food and water.” The woman was also forced to relieve herself using a bucket.
The four suspects entered their pleas Friday during an arraignment hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court, district attorney’s officials said.
They are the victim’s former friend and longtime co-worker Judith Adriana Maldonado, 40; her boyfriend Francisco Inacua-Rosas, 34; Uziel Cuevas Figueroa, 32 and his girlfriend Rocio Inacua, 32, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials. Inacua-Rosas and Inacua are siblings.
The suspects were being held in lieu of $2 million bail each, officials added. If convicted as charged, they could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Inacua-Rosas, Inacua and Figueroa were arrested Wednesday shortly after deputies rescued the kidnap victim, Ladenheim said. Maldonado was jailed Thursday.
Figueroa was guarding the victim in the filthy garage when deputies freed her Wednesday.
Ladenheim said the woman’s nightmare began Monday afternoon as she was heading home from work at a factory in Industry, where she had worked alongside Maldonado for “many years,” Ladenheim said.
One of the kidnappers, later identified as Inacua, called victim’s husband of two decades and demanded a $110,000 ransom, Ladenheim said. She threatened to kill or hurt the victim if the demand was not met.
“The plot was purely for financial gain,” Ladenheim said.
Maldonado had heard the victim mention that she and her husband had saved up some money, but the family did not have access to the large sum of money demanded by the kidnappers, sheriff’s officials. The victim’s husband immediately notified authorities of the kidnapping and ransom call.
Inacua-Rosas offered the victim a ride as she was walking along Colima Road in Rowland Heights Monday afternoon, sheriff’s officials said. She had just missed her bus home. During the ride, he contacted his alleged co-conspirators via text messages.
Inacua-Rosas drove the woman to a restaurant where he told her he was going to get some food, Ladenheim said.
“Both Rocio Inacuna and Uziel Figueroa then, at gunpoint, forced the victim down the floorboard, bound, gagged and blindfolded her, and drove her to that garage in Rowland Heights,” the captain said. And for two days, she remained a captive.
He described a dramatic scene as deputies entered the garage where the woman had been held.
“Upon being rescued from those squalid conditions, she removed her blindfold, the duct tape, and immediately saw the lead detective, who happened to be in the door of the garage,” Ladenheim said.
“She immediately hugged the detective,” he said. “It was a very, very emotional rescue, and we are happy to report that she is safe and expected to make a full recovery.”
The captain described the kidnapping victim as “very hard-working” and “a very honest citizen.”
Officials said the suspects speak only Spanish, however their immigration status remained under investigation Friday.
Ladenheim said the suspects initially appeared unaware of the seriousness of their alleged offense, or the fact they face potential life sentences behind bars. They asked questions regarding what would happen once they were released from custody.
“While this is a frequent and common occurrence in other countries, we don’t deal with this very often here,” Ladenheim said.
But he added, “I believe it happens more often that is reported to law enforcement.”
Though ransomers generally threaten victims not to contact police, Ladenheim urged anyone who receives such a threat to report it immediately to law enforcement.
SAN MARINO >> A San Gabriel man stormed into a San Marino home Friday and tied up a woman at knifepoint during a daytime home-invasion robbery, authorities said.
Yongheng Huang, 24, was arrested on suspicion of charges including robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment shortly after the incident, which was reported just before 1 p.m. at a home in the 2500 block of Lombardy Road, San Marino police officials said in a written statement.
A woman who was working as a nanny at the home told police that a man, clad in a black jacket and mask, had entered the home through a back door and demanded money, San Marino Police Sgt. Robert Matthews said. But no money was found.
“The victim was threatened with a knife and tied,” according to the police statement. “(Huang) detained the victim until the homeowner arrived. Upon arrival, the suspect confronted the homeowner and again demanded money.
Police said the homeowner complied, and Huang fled with both U.S. and Chinese currency.
The woman was bound for more than an hour before the homeowner arrived home, Matthews said. Neither victim was hurt.
A San Marino police officer searching the area spotted Huang on foot just around the corner at California Boulevard and Alegria Place, officials said. He was detained and ultimately identified as the suspect in the home-invasion robbery.
Huang had a fixed-blade knife with him when arrested, as well as the money believed to have been stolen in the crime, police said.
The amount of money stolen was not available Friday.
Police had not discovered any link between the suspect and victims or a reason he may have targeted the Lombardy Road home, Matthews said, however detectives continued interviewing Huang Friday night.
Huang was booked on suspicion of robbery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, brandishing a knife, burglary, receiving stolen property, providing false information to a peace police officer and wearing a mask during the commission of a crime.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Huang was being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in Alhambra Superior Court.
ROSEMEAD — Deputies jailed a San Gabriel man Sunday on suspicion of trying to kidnap an 11-year-old boy from a Rosemead sidewalk last month, officials said.
Bin Zhang, 44, was booked on suspicion of attempted kidnapping following his arrest, which took place about 10 a.m. in the 2700 block of Del Mar Avenue in Rosemead, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Phillip Marquez said in a written statement.
The alleged kidnapping attempt took place in January, but went unreported until after sheriff’s officials issued a public alert Feb. 12 regarding a separate Jan. 30 incident in which a man grabbed onto a young girl on the campus of Arlene Bitely Elementary School, on Fern Avenue just west of Jackson Street.
“As a result of the press release, Temple Sheriff’s Station investigators learned that in early January, an 11-year-old male was accosted near Del Mar Avenue and Emerson Place, Rosemead, and the incident went unreported. An investigation was launched,” Marquez said. “It is alleged the suspect attempted to kidnap the 11-year-old male from a public sidewalk in January of 2014.”
Deputies Sunday morning spotted a man matching the description of the man who tried to kidnap the boy and arrested him without a struggle, Marquez said.
According to county booking records, Zhang was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled for Wednesday in El Monte Superior Court.
The investigation was ongoing, Marquez said, and it was not clear Sunday if the suspect arrested for attempting to kidnap the boy was the same man who accosted the young girl.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Detective S. Gibson of the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171.
WALNUT — A woman escaped a parolee who carjacked and kidnapped her from the parking lot of a Walnut store late Thursday, though his ultimate intentions remained a mystery, authorities said.
The strange and brazen crime took place about 2 p.m. as Walnut woman was carjacked and abducted in the parking lot of T.J. Maxx at Grand Avenue and Valley Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Saleeby said.
The woman, a Walnut resident in her late-30s who was a stranger to the suspect, left the store and was getting into her car when she was confronted by a man holding what was later found to be a realistic-looking BB gun, Detective Joseph Sanchez said. The man blocked her from closing her car door once she got in, Detective Joseph Sanchez said.
“He forced himself into her car,” the detective said. “He climbed over her, got into the passenger seat and told her to just drive.”
The woman resisted at first, but ultimately relented to the man’s demand, he said.
“He had her basically drive around aimlessly for an hour and a half,” Sanchez said.
As the suspect forced the woman to drive through South Los Angeles, she spotted a police car along Wall Street in South Los Angeles and saw an opportunity to escape, officials said.
“She saw a black-and-white and decided to get out of the car and run and ask for help,” Sanchez said.
Los Angeles police detained the suspect without a struggle and turned him over to sheriff’s deputies, he added. A BB gun that resembled a Beretta 9mm handgun was seized from the suspect during his arrest.
Deputies first responded to the Walnut T.J. Maxx store after witnesses reported seeing the alleged abduction, Lt. John Saleeby said.
“A woman was heard saying she needed help and witnesses said her and a male drove off in a car,” Saleeby said. “The impression was he forced her to drive off.”
Investigators withheld the alleged kidnapper’s name Friday as they continued seeking witnesses, as well as any other potential victims who may have had suspicious encounter with the suspect, Lt. Anthony Tachias said. He was described as a San Gabriel Valley man in his mid-30s.
The suspect was already on parole for carjacking and was being held without bail pending a scheduled arraignment Monday in Pomona Superior Court, officials said.
The motive in the kidnapping and carjacking, as well as the suspect’s ultimate intentions, were unclear, investigators said. Nothing was stolen from the woman, and she was not assaulted while in the suspect’s custody
“That’s an unknown factor here,” Tachias said. “He won’t talk to us. He never any indication to the victim as to what his intentions were.”
“He committed this act with no rhyme or reason,” the lieutenant added. “I’m just glad we got her back safely.”