Home-invasion robbery reported in Arcadia for second time in two weeks

For the second time in two weeks, Arcadia residents found themselves face to face with armed robbers inside their homes.

Three robbers forced their way into a home in the 1000 block North First Avenue about noon Tuesday.

Home-invasion robbers barged into another home shortly before 11 p.m. Aug. 15 about three miles away in the 600 block of West Lemon Avenue. The frightened family members climbed out a second-floor window of their home and jumped from the roof to escape the robbers.

Three robbers were believed to be involved in both crimes, however their descriptions differed.

Both cases are being investigated by the Arcadia Police Department.

 

 

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UPDATED: Arcadia family jumps from roof to escape home-invasion robbers

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ARCADIA >> A family of three escaped from a home-invasion robbery late Friday by jumping from the roof of their Arcadia home, officials said.
A man and wife estimated to be in their 50s and their son, estimated to be in his 20s, were inside a home in the 600 block of West Lemon Avenue when three robbers broke into the home through an unlocked rear window shortly before 11 p.m., according to Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro.
The victims saw two of the robbers, but only heard the third, he said. One of the robbers brandished a dark-colored handgun.
“The suspects took the victims to an upstairs bedroom where they were forced to lie face down on the floor,” Castro said. “One of the suspects held the victims at gunpoint while the other two ransacked the house.”
But the gunman became distracted while talking to his accomplices, and the family saw their opportunity to escape, Castro said.
“When the suspect was not watching, the victims got up, raced to the window, pushed out the screen and jumped onto the roof. The victims then jumped from the roof to the front yard where they were screaming for help.”
Neighbors called 9-1-1 after hearing the screams, Castro said. Police searched the area but did not find the robbers, who were believed to have fled out of the back of the home, Castro said.
Two of the victims were hurt jumping from the roof, Castro said. The husband suffered an injury to his leg and possibly a broken bone, while his wife suffered apparently minor injuries, the lieutenant said.
The son suffered injuries described as bumps and bruises.
The two robbers who were seen by the victims were described only as two black men, one wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and the other wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.
Because the home was ransacked and the homeowners were hospitalized, it was not clear what the robbers stole during the break-in, Castro said.
No one appeared to be home at the house Saturday afternoon.
There was no apparent reason the robbers targeted the family, Castro said.
A sign on the front lawn indicated the home is protected by a burglar alarm.
A married couple that lives nearby, who asked that their names not be published for fear of retaliation, said they were watching TV when the robbery occurred and heard nothing out of the ordinary until they noticed police outside.
“We locked the doors and set the alarm,” the wife said.
The couple said they only knew the residents of the home from brief greetings in the neighborhood.
“It’s terrible,” the wife said. After two decades of relative tranquility in the area, the woman said it seemed crime has been creeping closer and closer over the past two to three years.
“We’re thinking about installing metal bars on our windows,” the husband said.
Jose Antonio Parra, a 35-year-old father of three, died after he was shot during a Dec. 12. 2011, home-invasion robbery about two miles away, in the in the 11000 block of Kristi Court. A robber or robbers confronted Parra and his family when they arrived home and robbed them of their rent money, investigators said. The robber then forced Parra’s girlfriend and three children into a bedroom before fatally shooting Parra.
Most recently in the San Gabriel Valley, a West Covina woman and her elderly mother became the victims of a home-invasion robbery July 6 in the 3000 block of Larkwood Street, according to West Covina police officials. The daughter was struck in the head during the crime and suffered a minor injury. The two robbers fled with cash, jewelry, electronics and a safe.
Anyone with information on Friday’s robbery in Arcadia was asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5150. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Two jailed in connection with bear hug robbery in Monterey Park

MONTEREY PARK >> Police arrested a man and woman in Los Angeles late Friday less than an hour after they robbed a man in Monterey Park, authorities said.
A Los Angeles man in his 20s was walking on a sidewalk at Emerson and Moore avenues about 9 p.m. when he was approached by the two suspects, Monterey Park police Lt. Tina Montoya said.
“The victim was approached by a male suspect who placed him in a bear hug,” the lieutenant said.
While the man held the victim, the woman went snatched his wallet and iPhone 5 from his pockets, police said. The robbers then fled in a white car. The victim was unhurt.
Police were able to quickly track the iPhone’s location and found the suspects driving on Pico Boulevard in Westlake Village, officials said. The stolen items were found in the car.
Juan Jose Cruz, 18, of Montebello and Michelle Salinas, 20, of Los Angeles were arrested on suspicion of robbery, Montoya said.
Cruz and Salinas were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Friday in Alhambra Superior Court.

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West Covina man beaten and robbed in Pasadena

PASADENA >> A West Covina man was beaten and robbed while walking in Pasadena Friday afternoon, police said.
The 30-year-old man was attacked just after 1:15 p.m., Pasadena Police Lt. John Luna said.
“He was in the area of Bellefontaine (Street) and Fair Oaks (Avenue) when he was struck in the head from behind by a suspect with an unknown blunt object,” the lieutenant said.
The victim fell to the ground and struck his head before the robber snatched the man’s wallet and removed a little less than $1,000 before fleeing, Luna said. The victim declined to be taken to a hospital.
Police described the robber as a Latino man in his 20s or 30s, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall and of medium build. He was wearing a blue long-sleeve shirt, blue jeans and white tennis shoes.

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Boyfriend of bank Chino bank robbery suspect accused of West Covina bank heist

The boyfriend of an accused bank robber has been arrested on suspicion of robbing a West Covina bank, police said.
Two Bank of the West locations in Chino and West Covina were robbed on consecutive days this month.
The Chino location was robbed July 14 by a woman wearing hospital scrubs. On July 25, Rafaella Benoit, 18, of Perris was arrested and later charged with robbery in connection with the July  14 robbery.
On Wednesday, Chino police announced the arrest of Benoit’s supposed boyfriend.
Douglas Beale Taylor, 22, allegedly robbed Bank of the West in West Covina on July 15, the day after the Chino bank robbery.
Police said Taylor executed the robbery in the same manner as his girlfriend — by slipping a note demanding money and escaping with an undisclosed amount of money.
Surveillance video linked Douglas to the West Covina robbery, Chino police said in a statement.
Officers from the Chino and West Covina police departments arrested Taylor on Tuesday at his Moreno Valley home. He was booked into the West Covina Police Department’s jail on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy, police said.
“During an interview, Taylor admitted to robbing the West Covina Bank of the West as well as being the getaway driver for the Chino Bank of the West robbery,” according to police.

- By Greg Cappis

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‘Quad Bandit’ sought for bank robberies in Los Angeles, Orange counties

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The FBI is seeking a serial bank robbery they’ve dubbed the “Quad Bandit,” whose robbed or attempted to rob nine banks in Orange and Los Angeles counties since April, officials said Friday.
The bandit earned his moniker at the outset of his spree when he struck four Buena Park banks on March 22, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. Three of the crimes at Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase branches failed, while one at a Chase bank was successful.
The robber then showed up in Cerritos March 16, where he tried unsuccessfully to rob a Wells Fargo before successfully robbing a Chase bank later the same day, officials said.
The Quad Bandit robbed a La Habra U.S. Bank branch July 3, followed by an Opus Bank branch in Anaheim on July 15 and a Union Bank branch in Anaheim Hills on Wednesday.
“During the robberies, the suspect known as the Quad Bandit typically passes a note and makes a verbal demand for cash,” Eimilller said. “In some of the robberies, the Quad Bandit has threatened a weapon, or has appeared to have gestured toward what might be a weapon, according to victims.”
0726_NWS_WDN-L-WUADBANDIT2In a bank surveillance photo released by the FBI from a Buena Park crime, the bandit is seen holding up a piece of paper toward the teller’s window with the words, “bank robbery,” written on it.
The FBI described the bandit as white, 40 to 50 years old, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall, 150 to 160 grounds. he had dirty blond hair, a goatee and stubble during the crimes, during which he wore sunglasses and baseball caps.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles office at 888-226-8443.

PHOTOS courtesy of the FBI

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Chino man convicted of follow-home robbery spree targeting women in the western San Gabriel Valley

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ALHAMBRA >> A Chino man is expected to face more than two-and-a-half centuries in prison after a jury convicted him Wednesday of a string of robberies targeting women arriving home throughout the western San Gabriel Valley, officials said.
An Alhambra Superior Court jury found Jose Lewis Avila, 32, guilty of all counts he was charged with, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
They included nine counts of robbery, one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of dissuading a witness and one count of child abuse, Ardalani said. The jury also found true the special allegations that Avila used a dangerous weapon during the crimes, which was ultimately determined to be a BB gun following Avila’s arrest, and that one of his victims, an Arcadia woman was shot with the BB gun, suffered great bodily injury. An Alhambra woman was pistol whipped during one of the robberies.
The robbery spree took place in March and April of 2011 in Alhambra, San Gabriel, Monterey Park and Arcadia, Ayvazian said.
“All of these are basically follow home robberies,” said Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney David Ayvazian, who prosecuted the case along with Deputy District Attorney Gabriel Kim.
He targeted women outside their homes as they arrived home alone, investigators said. In the first robbery in Alhambra, a husband and wife were robbed as they arrived home together.
All of the victims targeted by Avila were Asian, Ayvazian said.
Avila was ordered back to court Sept. 26 for sentencing, Ardalani said.
Prior to receiving his sentenced, a judge will review Avila’s criminal history to confirm his status ass a third-strike offender, Ayvazian said.
He’s expected to receive a minimum sentence of 250 years to life in state prison, officials said. The maximum sentence Avila faces is 259 years behind bars.
The 12 charges stemmed from eight incidents, the prosecutor explained. Three robberies, one which involved two victims, occurred in Alhambra. Another three took place in San Gabriel, while one occurred in Arcadia and one took place in Monterey Park.
One of his victims was holding a child in her arms when robbed, resulting in the child abuse charge, officials said.
Avila threatened another of his victims and told her not to contact the police, resulting in a charge of dissuading a witness, Ayvazian said.
The assault with a deadly weapon charge stemmed from the Arcadia robbery, Ayvazian said. When the victim’s daughter overheard the commotion and came out so check on her mother, Avila shot her with the BB gun.
0724_NWS_PSN-L-AVILA2As the spree was ongoing, Alhambra, San Gabriel and Monterey Park police banded together and formed a task force to identify and capture the serial robber.
He was arrested April 20, 2011, after an officer spotted a man and vehicle matching the suspect description driving on Valley Boulevard in Alhambra and stopped it for a broken tail light, Ayvazian said. After learning the driver, later identified as Avila, was on parole, officers searched his car.
Investigators found a realistic-looking BB gun, bandanas, latex gloves and other items that indicated he was searching for new victims when stopped by police, Ayvazian said. A wealth of evidence including eyewitness statement, credit card records, cell phone records and surveillance camera footage also linked Avila to the crimes, officials said.
Additionally, even though Avila covered his face during his crimes, several witness were able to identify him due to his “very unique” eyes and eyebrows, Ayvazian said.
At the time of his arrest, Avila was already on parole in connection with a similar robbery spree that took place in the same area in 2005, Ayvazian said.
He had been arrested and charged with 19 criminal counts, but ultimately admitted two of the robberies under a plea agreement, the prosecutor said. As in the more recent case, some victims identified the masked robber based on his eyes and eyebrows.
While Avila was charged with robbing nine people in the 2011 spree, the police task force assembled to investigate the case capture the serial robber had also looked at Avila in connection with more than ten additional robberies, reaching into Pasadena and South Pasadena, officials said shortly after Avila’s arrest. No charges have been filed in connection with those robberies.
The prosecution presented 22 witness during Avila’s three-and-a-half-day trial, Ayvazian said.
Jurors deliberated for less than four hours before finding Avila guilty an all charges.
“The evidence was on out side,” Ayvazian said. “The jury obviously, in our opinion, did the right thing by bringing justice for our community.

PHOTOS:(Above)  Photo of Jose Avila courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department. (Below) Sketch of serial robber released to the public prior to Avila’s arrest in connection with a follow-home robbery spree continued in the western San Gabriel Valley in April of 2011, courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department.

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Jewelry dealers robbed of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewels on Pasadena freeway offramp

PASADENA — Two men escaped with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry late Thursday after robbing a pair of jewelry dealers on a freeway offramp in Pasadena, police said.
The heist took place about 9:50 p.m. on the Fair Oaks Avenue offramp of the eastbound 210 Freeway, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
Two men from out of state who own a jewelry business were visiting town when a car stopped in front of them, Luna said.
The two robbers exited their car and confronted the victims, who were 35 and 45 years old, he said.
“They threatened harm if the victims did not comply with their demands,” Luna said. The robbers ordered the victims to open the trunk of their car.
Luna said the robbers grabbed jewelry valued at “several hundred-thousand dollars,” from the victims’ trunk before fleeing. The jewelry dealers were not injured, and no weapons were seen during the crime.
Police described the robbers only as two male suspects wearing dark clothing. They were driving a white sedan, possibly of German manufacture.
The victims did not recognize the robbers, Luna said. It was not clear how the robbers knew of the victims’ precious cargo.
“They were obviously targeted,” Luna said.

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Man uses knife to rob Pasadena liquor store, flees on skateboard

PASADENA — A man with a skateboard used a large knife to rob a Pasadena liquor store Thursday, police said.
The crime took place just before 11 a.m. when the robber entered Pat’s Liquors, 1072 block of East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
“He walked into the liquor store, produced a knife (and) told a clerk that he wanted all the money from the cash register,” Clawson said. The man working at the store turned over a “small amount” of money.
Police said the robber was last seen on a skateboard heading south on Catalina Avenue. He was described a white or Latino man in his 20s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, wearing a gray T-shirt and black shorts.

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UPDATED: Women robbed in West Covina home invasion

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WEST COVINA — Police are seeking two gunmen who forced their way into the home of a West Covina woman and her elderly mother Sunday, assaulting one of the women before fleeing with valuables, authorities said.
The home-invasion robbery took place just after 10 a.m. today at a house in the 3000 block of Larkwood Street, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
A woman estimated to be in her 50s and her mother, estimated to be in her 70s, were inside the home when the two armed robbers entered through the open door of an attached garage, police said.
“(The women) were confronted by the suspects, who were armed with handguns,” Patton said. The robbers ordered the women into a bedroom.
The daughter was bleeding from a head injury when officers arrived, he said. She had been struck by one of the robbers with a blunt object, though it was not clear if she had been pistol-whipped or struck with some other unknown object.
Both women were examined at the scene by paramedics, but not hospitalized, police said.
Police said the robbers fled with cash, jewelry and electronics. A safe was stolen during the crime.
The value of the items stolen in the robbery was not available.
Patton said the robbers were described as two black men, both wearing jeans and dark-colored T-shirts and armed with semi-automatic handguns. One of the robbers appeared 20 25 years old, while the other was described as appearing to be about 30.
They were last seen fleeing the area in a light-colored vehicle similar to a 2010 or newer-model model Chevrolet Camaro, Patton said.
A woman who answered the door at the home did not wish to comment, though she confirmed everyone was OK.
A neighbor who was home at the time of the crime said he did not hear or see anything unusual.
Patton said police were checking with other law enforcement agencies in the region to see if any similar crimes have been reported lately.
Anyone with information was asked to contact West Covina police at 626-939-8500.

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