Man exposes self, tries to kidnap woman in Rosemead

ROSEMEAD — Authorities Thursday sought the public’s help in tracking down a man who exposed himself and tried to kidnap a woman earlier this week.
The attack occurred shortly after midnight Tuesday as the woman, was walking at San Gabriel Boulevard and Fern Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ignacio Somoano said in a written statement.
“She saw a male suspect masturbating while standing next to a vehicle,” the lieutenant said.
The woman, whose age was not available, continued walking along Fern Avenue and the suspect began following her, he said.
“Subsequently, the suspect ran up to her and grabbed her and tried to pull her away,” Somoano said. “The victim struggled with the suspect while telling for help. The suspect fled on foot and the victim escaped his grasp uninjured.”
Investigators described the attacker as a Latino man between 20 and 25 years old, about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 140 pounds. He had dark hair and wore black shorts and a gray shirt. His vehicles was described as a gray sedan.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171. Tips may also be submitted anonymously by calling L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477, or online at www.lacrimestoppers.com.

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UPDATED: Woman found safe after possible kidnapping, carjacking at Walnut shopping center

WALNUT — A woman was found safe and a man was in custody Thursday after witnesses reported seeing what appeared to be an armed kidnapping and carjacking, officials said.
The incident was first reported about 2 p.m. in a parking lot outside a T.J. Maxx store at Grand Avenue and Valley Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Saleeby said.
“A woman was heard saying she needed help and witnesses said her and a male drove off in a car,” the lieutenant said.
Witnesses reported the man was armed with a handgun, he said.
“The impression was he forced her to drive off,” Saleeby said.
The man was described only as Latino and wearing dark clothes, and the vehicle the man and woman were seen in was described only as a dark-colored car.
Officials at the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station, which was handling the investigation, notified other area law enforcement agencies of the possible kidnapping and carjacking.
The man and woman were found shortly after 7 p.m. within the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department, sheriff’s Sgt. William Sanders said. The woman was unharmed and the man was being taken to the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station for questioning and potential booking.
Detectives continued investigating the incident late Thursday, and officials released no further details.

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Man with knife grabs child during failed heist at Rosemead beauty salon

ROSEMEAD — A knife-wielding man grabbed a hold of a 5-year-old child and demanded money before fleeing empty-handed from a Rosemead beauty salon Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
The brazen crime took place about 2:45 p.m. at a salon in the 3100 block of San Gabriel Boulevard, just north of Garvey Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. James Long said.
The suspect entered the store armed with a knife, Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
“He demanded money and then grabbed the child by the arm,” Chavez said. “As he reached and retrieved a knife from his pocket, the (child’s) uncle intervened and grabbed the child from him and pulled him away.”
The would-be robber then ran from the store empty handed, the lieutenant said. He was last seen headed south on San Gabriel Boulevard.
The child was shaken but not injured, officials said.
Deputies described the suspect as a Latino man between 20 and 30 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, of thin build, with a tattoo on his left forearm. He had brown hair and brown eyes and wore dark blue jeans, as well as a black and white bandana over his face.
Deputies searched the area with help from witnesses who pointed out where the man had run, but he was not found, Long said. Deputies continued hunting for him late Sunday.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171.

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UPDATED: Report of carjacking victim found in trunk of car in ANF believed unfounded

UPDATE: Investigators determined the report of a kidnapping was false. The involved person may have psychiatric trouble, per officials.

A man was rescued from the trunk of his car near Crystal Lake early Sunday after being carjacked and kidnapped in Chino, authorities said.
U.S. Forest Service officials discovered the man, estimated to be about 30 years old, about 9:30 a.m. in the trunk of his car which was parked along San Gabriel Canyon Road near Crystal Lake, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Rob Upham said. He was taken to a hospital with unknown injuries, though he was conscious and able to speak with investigators.
The investigation into the incident remained in it’s early stages, however the man indicated he was carjacked in the area of Riverside Drive and Central Avenue some time after 8 p.m. Saturday night, Upham said.
Sheriff’s deputies secured the scene in the forest and turned over the investigation to Chino police.

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Rosemead sex offender accused of attempted kidnapping in Alhambra

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A convicted sex offender cut off his GPS ankle bracelet just before attempting to kidnap a woman at gunpoint in a coffee shop parking lot Thursday, police said.
The victim, an Alhambra woman in her 20s, escaped with the help of a good Samaritan who interrupted the 9:30 a.m. attempted abduction outside Starbucks, 1131 S. Fremont Avenue, Alhambra police Sgt. Edward Rodriguez said.
Frank Hernandez, 64, of Rosemead was arrested about an hour later on suspicion of attempted kidnapping, police said.
According to the California Department of Justice sex offender registry, Hernandez was released from prison in 2011 after serving a sentence for kidnapping with intent to commit a sex offense, rape by force or fear, rape by force and oral copulation.
“Mr. Hernandez is required to wear an ankle bracelet as part of his conditions of parole,” Sgt. Jerry Johnson said in a written statement. “However, evidence showed that he cut the ankle bracelet off shortly before committing the crime.”
The victim went to the Starbucks to meet with Hernandez, whom she was acquainted with through church, Rodriguez said.
“When she arrived, (Hernandez) approached her before she could exit her car,” Johnson said. “The victim said he pulled a handgun and threatened to kill her if she did not let him in her car.”
The frightened woman called out for help, catching the attention of another woman who was passing by, officials said.
“This witness approached (Hernandez) and told him to leave the woman alone. The suspect then fled to his nearby car and drove away,” Johnson said.
But the quick-thinking good Samaritan “was astute enough to take a picture of the suspect’s car,” Alhambra police Detective Sgt. Joe Flannagan said. The photo included the car’s license plate.
It was unclear if the woman who intervened was aware the suspect was armed.
In addition the good Samaritan, Flannagan also credited the victim for creating attention to aid in her own escape.
“That was very brave on the part of the victim,” he said.
Los Angeles County Superior Court electronic records regarding Hernandez previous case were incomplete, however they indicated he was ordered to stand trial on charges of rape and kidnapping in Alhambra Superior Court in August of 1990.
Hernandez’s profile in the DOJ registry indicates he uses numerous aliases, including: Edward Davilla, Robert Diaz, Manuel Frank Flores, Manuel Hernandez, Gary Sole Lopez, Gary Lopez Sole, Carlos Ruiz Martinez and Carlos Martinez Ruiz.
According to county booking records, Hernandez was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance Monday in Alhambra Superior Court.

Booking photo of Frank Hernandez courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department

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Man accused of attempted kidnapping of teen in West Valinda

WEST VALINDA — Deputies arrested a driver for allegedly trying to kidnap a 16-year-old girl near a continuation school Thursday.
The incident was reported at 5:12 p.m. Thursday in the 900 block of Willow Avenue.
Lt. Arthur Scott of the sheriff’s Industry station said the teen was in front of Nueva Vista Continuation High School when a man in a Honda Civic pulled up.
Scott said the man asked if the teen needed a ride. She refused the offer.
“He got out of the car, opened the passenger door, told her to get in,” the lieutenant said.
The teen told the driver, “No.” The man then took a step toward the girl and tried to grab her arm, according to Scott.
The teen ran.
Scott said a relative of the girl confronted the driver as the man drove away. The suspect apologized, he added.
Brandon Sandoval, 21, was arrested late Thursday night in West Covina on suspicion of attempted kidnapping, Detective Alfredo Gomez said.
The West Covina man is being held at the sheriff’s Industry station jail on a $130,000 bail. Sandoval will be arraigned Tuesday at El Monte Superior Court.

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Covina man carjacked, kidnapped and robbed in Baldwin Park

BALDWIN PARK — Two armed men in a tow truck carjacked, kidnapped and robbed a Covina man this weekend as he was driving along Baldwin Park Boulevard, authorities said.
The crime took place about 1 p.m. Friday at Baldwin Park Boulevard and Merced Avenue, but was not reported to police until Saturday afternoon, Baldwin Park police Sgt. Chris Hofford said.
A 36-year-old Covina man was driving at Baldwin Park Boulevard and Francisquito Avenue when a white, older-model tow truck pulled up next to him, the sergeant said.
“The driver of the tow truck points a gun at him and tells him not to move,” Hofford said. “The passenger of the tow truck enters the victim’s vehicle and takes the driver’s seat.”
Also armed with a handgun, the carjacker blindfolded the victim and began driving with the kidnapped man as a passenger.
After driving for about 10 minutes, Hofford said, the carjacker abandoned the car and victim at Puente and Francisquito avenues, a little under a mile away. The carjacker fled after robbing the man of his wallet and cell phone. The victim was no hurt.
Police described the driver of the tow truck as a Latino man in his mid-30s, about 6 feet tall and 300 pounds. He was armed with a black pistol.
The second suspect, who drove around with the victim, was a white man, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, officials said. He was armed with a chrome handgun.
The investigation was ongoing.

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BREAKING: Another kidnapping reported in Whittier

WHITTIER — Police are investigating a report of yet another child abduction in Whittier late Thursday, though few details were initially available.
A 17-year-old girl made the report about 10 p.m., Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
The alleged incident took place about 5 p.m. on the El Rancho Drive side of Palm Park.
No further details regarding the abduction were available Friday.
“The department is currently investigating this complaint, but at this time we have not independently confirmed that the crime occurred nor the identity of the alleged perpetrator,” according to the police statement. “There does not appear to be any relationship between this alleged offense and the other recent crimes in Whittier.”
Police have investigated five additional reports of attempted kidnapping, kidnapping or child annoyance within Whittier since early February.

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Police: Man suspected of Uptown Whittier kidnapping not linked to other recent abduction attempts

WHITTIER — A registered sex offender arrested on suspicion of trying to kidnap a young woman Wednesday is not believed to be tied to a series of attempted child abductions in the city over recent weeks, police said.
Officers arrested David Polanco, 41, of Whittier Wednesday while witnesses detained him after he allegedly grabbed and tried to kidnap an 18-year-old woman in the 6700 block of Greenleaf Avenue.
The woman met Polanco earlier in the day and spent several hours with him before he grabbed her around the waist and tried to pull her toward him, Whittier police Officer Bradley White said.
Witnesses detained Polanco until police arrived and arrested him on suspicion of kidnapping, officials said.
The incident was the fifth incident of attempted kidnapping or child annoyance reported in Whittier since Feb. 5, however the initial investigation revealed Polanco was not behind any of the other incidents, Lt. Kent Miller said.
“A photo line-up was conducted yesterday and shown to all the victims,” Miller said. “(Polanco) was not identified.”
A man tried to kidnap a 12-year-old boy from a swingset at Parnell Park Tuesday, but was thwarted when the victim’s brothers — ages 13 and 14 — punched the abductor and freed the boy, police said. The boys and the would-be kidnapper ran off in different directions.
He was described as a Latino man between 30 and 40, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, of stocky build, unshaven, with a scar on his right cheek, according to Whittier police. He wore a dark hooded sweat shirt, dark shorts and white shoes.
In a separate incident, a man in a dark blue pickup truck with tinted windows had a suspicious encounter with a 13-year-old girl on the morning of Feb. 27 as she walked along Whittier Boulevard at Strub Avenue, Lt. Steve Dean said.
The driver, described as Latino, about 35 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 200 pounds with a goatee, offered the girl a ride to school, police said. She declined, and the man handed her pocket change before driving off.
A week earlier on Feb. 21, police received a report that a man had tried to kidnap two young girls near Founder’s Memorial Park, but one of the girls, 11, managed to free herself and the other girl, estimated to be 7.
The kidnapper — a Latino man between 25 and 35, 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet tall and of medium to heavy build — snatched the 11-year-old girl and placed her in the rear seat of his car, where the younger girl was already seated and crying, officials said.
The man walked away from the vehicle, and the 11-year-old girl got herself and the other girl out of the car. The older girl went home and contacted police, while investigators were not able to locate the younger girl.
The vehicle used in the attempted kidnapping of the two girls was described as a red, mid-size convertible with a tan top and softball-sized dent in the right, rear fender.
The driver of a car with a strikingly similar description was involved in two incidents involving three teenage girls on Feb. 5, police said.
In the first incident, the man asked a teenage girl if she wanted a ride as she walked in the 13000 block of Broadway, authorities said. When she refused, the man stopped the car and opened the door, prompting the young woman to run away and call the police.
A similar incident took place hours later in the 6700 block of Washington Avenue, when witnesses reported that a man told two teenage girls to get in his red convertible.
But the girls did not call the police and had not been located Thursday, Miller said.
Though the three incidents involving a strikingly similar red convertible with a tan top and softball-sized dent in the right, rear fender were believed related, the suspect did not appear to match the description of Tuesday’s near-kidnapping at the park.
“Right now, as it stands, we have a subject we believe is involved in the Parnell park incident, separate from the suspect in the red convertible incidents,” Miller said.
Anyone with information on any of the incidents was asked to contact the Whittier Police Department Detective Bureau at 562-567-9270.

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Police: Brothers fight off boy’s would-be kidnapper at Parnell Park in Whittier

WHITTIER — A 12-year-old boy playing at Parnell Park was grabbed by a man but escaped when his two brothers fought off the would-be abductor Tuesday, police said.
The attempted kidnapping occurred around 7:25 p.m. at Parnell Park, 10711 Scott Ave.
Whittier Police Lt. Jay Tatman said the 12-year-old was on the swings while his 13- and 14-year-old brothers were playing basketball when a man walked behind the younger boy.
Tatman said the man put the 12-year-old in a headlock-type hold, placed his hand over the boy’s mouth and told him, “Don’t say anything.”
The boy was pulled off the swing.
“The young victim was able to make some type of noise that alerted his older brothers,” Whittier police said Wednesday in a written statement. “They ran over to their younger brother and started punching, kicking and screaming at the suspect.”
The man then let go of the child and fled.
The suspect ran west through the park toward a residential neighborhood, police said, while the siblings ran in another direction, toward their home.
Officers searched the area for the man but didn’t find him.
The failed kidnapper was described as a Latino man between 30 and 40 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and of stocky build. He was unshaven and had a scar on his right cheek, police said. He wore a dark hooded sweat shirt, dark short and white shoes.
It was unclear if he suffered injuries in the scuffle with the boys, Lt. Steve Dean said.
Tuesday’s incident was the second time in recent weeks that Whittier youths have freed themselves from would-be abductors.
But police said there is no indication Tuesday’s incident is connected to the Feb. 21 attempted kidnapping of two girls. Both girls also escaped from that suspect after being placed into his car near Founder’s Memorial Park at Citrus Avenue and Broadway. The suspect remains at large.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Whittier Police Department Detective Bureau at 562-567-9270.

- Ruby Gonzales and Brian Day

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