La Verne police arrest Pomona man, 3 teens, in connection with robbery and carjacking spree

LA VERNE >> La Verne police arrested a man and three teenagers early Sunday accused of a crime spree including an armed carjacking in La Verne, as well as armed robberies in La Verne, Pomona, Claremont and Upland in recent days.
Officers arrested Edwin Miguel Garcia, 18, of Pomona, and three teenage boys from Pomona were arrested in connection with the series of crimes after tracking them down in Pomona about 2:30 a.m., according to La Verne police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. Officials withheld the names of the juvenile suspects due to their age.
A man called police just before 11 p.m. Saturday to report being robbed and carjacked outside the Shogun Restaurant, 2123 Foothill Blvd. in La Verne, La Verne police Sgt. Sam Gonzalez said.
“Upon arrival, officers received information that three armed suspects demanded money and a cellular phone from the victim before forcibly taking his vehicle and fleeing the scene,” Gonzalez said.
A short time later, police received a second call from a bicyclist reporting he had been robbed by a group of young men in the 1900 block of Dover Way, police said.
“A preliminary investigation revealed the same subjects from the earlier carjacking were also responsible for the incident on Dover Way,” Gonzalez said.
Police found the four suspects in the area of Towne Avenue and the 10 Freeway in Pomona, Gonzalez said. Officers arrested them without a struggle.
They were found with the carjacked car, as well as a second car that had been reported stolen.
“Upon further investigation it was discovered the suspects arrested were responsible for similar crimes in the cities of Claremont, Pomona, and Upland,” Gonzalez said.
All of the crimes took place within recent days, he added.
In addition to the two stolen cars, the suspects were in possession of a loaded gun, two replica guns, stolen property and drugs, Gonzalez said.
Garcia was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail and the La Verne Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

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Police: Man robbed by acquaintances inside Pasadena home

PASADENA >> A dispute between acquaintances escalated into a home-invasion robbery Friday afternoon, police said.
The crime was reported about 6 p.m. at a home in the 800 block of North Oakland Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
Two men and a woman showed up at the home of the 20-year-old victim, Luna said.
“The victim had a prior dispute with one of the suspects,” he said.
“The suspects forced their way inside the resident’s home and confronted him,” the lieutenant said. The robbers punched the victim in the face during the incident, but he declined medical treatment.
Police said the three robbers stole a cell phone and other items from the victim’s home before fleeing.
The victim knew one of the male robbers by name, and knew a moniker used by the female suspect, Luna said. All three remained at-large Saturday.
Police did not release the name of the identified suspect as the investigation continued.

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Man with hatchet robs Industry DVD rental business

INDUSTRY >> A hatchet-wielding robber held up an Industry video rental business Wednesday before fleeing on a bicycle, officials said.
The crime took place about 5:45 p.m. at A+ DVD Rental on Amar Road, just west of Echelon Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Thurlo said.
“(The robber) went into the store, pulled the hatchet from his waistband and demanded the employee open the cash register,” Thurlo said. The man working the register at the family business complied, and the robber helped himself to about $200.
But he wasn’t satisfied.
“He went into the back of the store, Thurlo said. “There was a female there. He demanded more money.”
The woman turned over her purse, which contained about $600 in cash, along with other personal items, Thurlo said.
Officials described the robber as a Latino man between 20 and 25 years old, of thin build, wearing a yellow long-sleeve shirt and black pants. He was last seen heading west on Amar Road toward Hacienda Boulevard on a bicycle.

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Skateboarder attacked and robbed in Arcadia

ARCADIA >> A group of attackers beat up and robbed a skateboarder early Saturday in an Arcadia alley, police said.
The four robbers confronted a 19-year-old Monrovia man about 2 a.m. as he was riding a skateboard in an alley along the 100 block of East Huntington Drive, Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
They punched the victim and stole a gold ring from him before fleeing, the lieutenant said.
The victim suffered injuries to his face and was taken to a hospital for treatment, he said. The injuries were not believed to be serious.
Police described on of the robbers as a Latino man between 30 and 35 years old, about 6 feet 3 inches tall, 230 pounds and wearing dark clothing. A detailed description of his three male accomplices was not available.

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Woman uses pepper spray on mugger in Diamond Bar

DIAMOND BAR >> A man robbed a woman of her wallet Thursday, but the woman fought back with pepper spray, officials said.
The robbery took place about 2 p.m. on Diamond Bar Boulevard, just south of Grand Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Frank Rivera said.
The robber pushed the woman and grabbed her wallet when it fell to the ground, the lieutenant said. The woman sprayed pepper spray toward the robber, though it was unclear if it hit him in the face.
Deputies searched the area for the robber, but he was not found, Rivera said. A detailed suspect description was not available.
The woman, who was in her 20s, was examined by paramedics but did not appear to have suffered significant injury, Rivera said.

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Serial bank robbery suspect arrested after lengthy chase from Santa Fe Springs to Rialto

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SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A man who led police on a wild chase from Santa Fe Springs to Rialto that lasted more than an hour is believed to be a serial bank robbery linked to nine heists and attempted heists in Orange and San Diego counties, authorities said.
Stephen Richard Bartlett, 53, was arrested on suspicion of numerous crimes following the chase, which began about 10:15 a.m. outside a Santa Fe Springs steel business, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Following his arrest, which took place after he crashed a stolen 1-ton utility truck off the side of the 219 Freeway in Rialto, investigators determined that Bartlett is a suspect known to the FBI as the “Hills Bandit,” sought for eight bank robberies and one failed bank robbery since may, Ellis said.
Bartlett was taken to a hospital to be treatment for minor injuries suffered in the crash before being booked on suspicion of felony theft, felony evading, vehicle embezzlement and two counts of hit-and-run, police officials said in a written statement. The parolee, who has an address listed in Nevada, was also being held on several warrants, including ones for bank robbery.
Thursday’s chase began when officers responded to Fry Steel Co., 13325 Molette Street, about 10:15 a.m. after receiving a report of a possible fraud involving the purchase of $12,000 worth of steel by a man later identified as Bartlett.
“As the suspect left the business with the product in the back of a 1-ton stake truck, Whittier Police officers arrived and attempted to make a traffic stop,” according to the police statement. But the truck continued on, and the driver threw what was later found to be a replica handgun from the truck.
The truck led officers through Santa Fe Springs, Whittier, La Habra and Break before getting onto the westbound 60 Freeway, where Whittier police turned the pursuit over to the California Highway Patrol.
The pursuit continued west on the 60 Freeway, with the truck driving erratically and at times on the wrong side of the road as it made its way onto the westbound 210 Freeway.
The fleeing truck collided with a CHP car and a civilian vehicle during the chase, resulting in minor injuries to a CHP officer and a civilian, CHP Officer Bruan Alvarez said in a written statement.
After well over an hour, the truck struck the right shoulder wall along the 210 Freeway in Rialto and went out of control before striking a dirt embankment and overturning, Alvarez said. Bartlett climbed out of the truck and surrendered to officials.
The most recent crimes attributed to the “Hills Bandit” occurred Sept. 8, when he robbed a Laguna Niguel U.S. Bank branch and tried, but failed, to rob a La Jolla Union Bank, according to FBI spokeswoman Emily Yeh.
He previously robbed a San Diego Cal Bank & Trust on Aug. 25; a Laguna Niguel Wells Fargo on Aug. 22; a Laguna Hills U.S. Bank on Aug. 8; a Carlsbad U.S. Bank on Aug. 5; A Lake Forest Citibank on July 25; a Laguna Hills Citibank on July 16; and a Laguna Hills Wells Fargo on May 6, FBI officials said.

*PHOTO: The “Hills Bandit,” is pictured in this surveillance photo during a robbery at a Union Bank in San Diego on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. The suspect, linked to nine bank robberies and attempted bank robberies, was arrested Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, after a lengthy police chase that led from Santa Fe Springs to Rialto. (Courtesy of the FBI)

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Prius carjacked at gunpoint in Pasadena

PASADENA >> A gunman carjacked a group of three people at gunpoint outside a Pasadena hotel early Sunday, police said.
The crime took place about 4:25 a.m. as three people were getting out of the blue, 2005 Toyota Prius in the 2800 block of East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
The owner of the car, a 29-year-old Santa Ynez man, was accompanied by \a 27-year-old Monterey Park woman and a 23-year-old man visiting from the Czech Republic, he said.
“The suspect confronted them with a handgun and demanded keys to the vehicle,” Luna said. “After threats were made, one of the victims, the owner of the vehicle, gave the suspect the keys.”
Police described the carjacker as a Latino man in his early-20s, with a shaved head, wearing a T-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes, Luna said. He was last seen driving the stolen car east on Colorado Boulevard.

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Carjacking suspect arrested in La Puente

LA PUENTE >> Gang investigators arrested a carjacking suspect Thursday following a brief stand-off at a La Puente home, authorities said.
Jairo Vasquez, a 20-year-old member of a local street gang, was ultimately booking on suspicion of carjacking, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
Deputies had been seeking Vasquez after identifying him as a suspect in a Sept. 7 carjacking in a nearby unincorporated county area when they spotted him about 4 p.m. on Radway Avenue, near Prichard Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Mileski said.
“They obtained information that he was inside a residence,” Mileski said.
Deputies surrounded the home before the suspect tried to run out of the back door and was quickly captured, the sergeant said.

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Norwalk man charged with series of bank robberies in Whittier, South Gate, Norwalk

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Prosecutors Thursday charged a Norwalk man the FBI has dubbed the “Cold Blooded Bandit” in connection with three bank robberies over the past two months in Whittier, South Gate and Norwalk, officials said.
Mario Marques LLanes, 27, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Bellflower Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
He was charged Thursday with three counts of robbery and three counts of commercial burglary for the alleged spree of bank heists, officials said.
Llanes turned himself in Monday to police in Whittier, where the most recent robbery occurred Sept. 17 at a Union Bank branch inside the Quad at Whittier shopping center, Whittier police Officer Brad White said.
The robber handed a teller a note demanding money before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of cash, Whittier police Cpl. Carlos Arroyo said at the time.
The serial bandit used similar tactics in the other robberies, which occurred July 7 at a Union Bank branch in South Gate and June 30 at a Union Bank branch in Llanes hometown of Norwalk, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
The FBI nicknamed the serial bank robbery suspect the “Cold Blooded Bandit” prior to his arrest due to the heavy winter clothes he wore during the summertime robberies.

PHOTO: Mario Marques Llanes, 27, of Norwalk, is accused of being a serial bank robber the FBI has dubbed the “Cold Blooded Bandit,” linked to bank robberies in Whittier, South South Gate and Norwalk since late June. The bandit is pictured in this bank surveillance photo during a robbery at a Union Bank branch in Whittier on Sept. 17, 2014.
(Courtesy of the FBI)

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Serial bank robber dubbed ‘Cold Blooded Bandit’ pulls 3rd heist in Whittier

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WHITTIER >> A serial bank robber the FBI is calling the “Cold Blooded Bandit” carried out his third heist Wednesday at a bank branch inside a Whittier supermarket, authorities said.
The serial robber, who was given his nickname due to the heavy winter clothing he has worn during his summertime heists, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
The robber operated by passing notes demanding money to bank tellers, she said.
“In his demand notes, he indicates a partner is outside watching to intimidate the tellers,” Eimiller said.
Officials said the Cold Blooded Bandit’s most recent caper took place Wednesday afternoon at a Whittier Union Bank branch inside of a Ralphs grocery store, 8510 Painter Avenue.
Whittier police Cpl. Carlos Arroyo said the a man approached a teller just after 4:30 and displayed a demand note.
The teller complied and handed over an undisclosed amount of money, Arroyo said. He was last seen fleeing the area on foot. No weapon was seen.
0920_NWS_WDN-L-COLDBLOOD4The Cold Blooded bandit previously robbed a Union Bank branch on Garfield Avenue in South Gate on July 7, as well as a Union Bank branch on South Street in Norwalk on June 30, Eimiller said.
In the first crime in Norwalk, the bandit left behind a “hoax device” before fleeing, “presumably to threaten an explosion,” Eimiller said. A description of the hoax device was not available Friday.
The FBI described the serial bandit as white or Latino, between 21 and 28 years old, between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing about 145 pounds.
In the most recent robbery in Whittier, witnesses reported the robber had tattoos on his arms and on the left side of his neck.
Anyone with information can reach the FBI’s Los Angeles Division at 310-477-6565.

PHOTOS taken from bank surveillance cameras courtesy of the FBI.

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