UPDATED: Transient accused of carjacking and kidnapping woman in Montebello

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MONTEBELLO >> Police arrested a transient Wednesday they believe kidnapped and carjacked a 19-year-old Azusa woman at knifepoint the day before.
Police, aided by a K-9, found and arrested Omar Alfaro Juarez, 23, about 7:40 a.m. in the 1300 block of South Montebello Boulevard, according to Montebello police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He’s accused of kidnapping, carjacking and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a series of crimes, unfolding about 2 a.m. Tuesday at Bluff Road and Whittier Boulevard, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
The woman had stopped her car in the area to rest and wait for a friend while driving home and fell asleep with car unlocked, police said.
“She was later awakened when she felt something on her neck and realized that a male was in her passenger seat holding a knife to her neck,” according to the statement.
Juarez allegedly forced the woman over to the passenger seat and drove her around for several hours, forcing her to remove $20 from an ATM at Beach Street and Greenwood Avenue, Montebello police Detective Alfred Martinez said, officials said.
The woman reported seeing a possible second suspect at the convenience store, though police were still seeking that man and trying to determine whether he was involved in the crime, Martinez said.
The woman was freed about six hours later when a parking enforcement officer called police to report what they thought to be domestic violence in the 1700 block of Bluff Road, Martinez said. Juarez fled when officers arrived and was not found.
Detectives later identified Juarez as the suspect and began surveillance in the area of Montebello Boulevard and Elm Street, where he was known to frequent. They spotted Juarez Wednesday afternoon.
“Juarez refused to surrender and was apprehended by K-9 Cody,” the police statement says. Vernon and Monterey Park police assisted in the arrest, along with a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter.
The woman suffered a superficial cut to her neck, but no serious injuries, Martinez said.
Juarez was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

PHOTO of suspect Omar Juarez courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.

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Man beaten in Pasadena while meeting supposed cell phone seller from online ad

PASADENA >> A man who arranged a meeting in Pasadena to buy a cell phone through an online advertisement ended up the victim of a beating and robbery attempt, police said.
The crime took place about 6:30 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 500 block of North Marengo Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
A 22-year-old Pasadena man met with the supposed cell phone seller, the lieutenant said.
“While conversing with the main suspect, two other suspects came from behind,” Goodman said.
One of the men punched the victim in the face, knocking him to the ground, he said. The attacker continued punching the victim as he rifled through his pockets in search of money.
The three would-be robbers fled empty-handed after being unable to get any money from the victim, Goodman said. They fled in a car left parked across the street.
Police said the victim suffered bruises and abrasions but declined to be taken to a hospital.
A detailed suspect description was not available.

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UPDATED: Two armed robberies reported outside Arcadia shopping mall in recent weeks


ARCADIA >> Police are urging shoppers to be cautious after two armed robberies were reported recently a the Westfield Santa Anita mall, including one in which a woman was pistol-whipped late Wednesday, officials said.
A San Gabriel woman in her early-40s was near the west side of the Nordstrom store in the mall parking lot, 400 S. Baldwin Ave., when she was attacked just after 9:20 p.m., according to Arcadia police Sgt. Brett Bourgeous.
“Officers contacted the victim of a robbery who advised that she was hit over the head with a black semi-automatic handgun and robbed of her purse and cellular phone,” police said in a written statement.
The robber ran to a nearby car with a getaway driver waiting at the wheel, officials said. The car sped south through the parking lot and disappeared. The woman was treated at a hospital for a laceration to her head.
Police described the gunman only as a tall, skinny man wearing a hooded sweatshirt. No description of the driver was available, but the suspects’ vehicle was described as a small, silver or gray SUV.
Another similar armed robbery was reported in the south parking lot of the same mall about two weeks earlier on Aug. 4, according to the police statement.
A robber brandishing a handgun approached an 18-year-old Arcadia man as he walked to his car about 10:10 p.m., Bourgeous said.
“The suspect made off with the victim’s wallet and cell phone,” the sergeant said. The victim suffered no injuries.
Officials described the gunman as a black man in his 20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, of thin build, wearing a bandanna covering his face. He was last seen fleeing on foot with a second male suspect. No further description of the accomplice was available.
Detectives noted similarities between the crimes and were looking into a possible connection, though a concrete link had not been established, Bourgeous said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5151. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Senior citizen robbed after using ATM in Pasadena


PASADENA >> A masked gunman robbed a 62-year-old Pasadena man just after the victim withdrew cash from an ATM machine late Tuesday, police said.
The robbery took place about 9 p.m. at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Allen Avenue, according to Pasadena police Lt. John Luna.
“The victim withdrew money from the ATM and was walking back to his car when he was confronted by the suspect,” Luna said. The robber brandished a semi-automatic handgun and demanded money.
Luna said the victim turned over his wallet, $340 in cash and some keys to the bandit, who fled the area on foot.
The robber was described as a black man between 35 and 40, about 6 feet 2 inches tall and 185 pounds. He wore a dark short-sleeve shirt, dark jeans and a black knit mask.
Another ATM patron, a 34-year-old woman, was also robbed by a tall suspect while trying to withdraw money from an ATM in another part of town late Sunday.

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Teen attacked, robbed by fellow youths in Pasadena


PASADENA >> A group of juvenile attacker including a child believed to be as young as 10 beat and robbed a 14-year-old boy near Pintoresca Park late Tuesday, police said.
The incident unfolded shortly before 9 p.m. as the teenage victim was riding his bike near La Pintoresca Park, along Washington Boulevard near Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
Another teenage boy of about the same age riding a scooter began chasing the victim, the lieutenant said. When the victim reached Washington Boulevard and Los Robles Avenue, his pursuer rammed him with the scooter, knocking the victim off his bicycle.
Another four or so boys, including one described as about 10 years old, appeared, Goodman said. “They all began assaulting the victim.”
The teenage victim suffered bruising to his eye and injuries to a finger, but declined to be taken to a hospital, police said.
Goodman said the young suspects fled, one of them on the victim’s bicycle. Police searched the area but didn’t find them.
The scooter-riding suspect who first approached the victim made mention of a local street gang, he said.

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Shot fired during failed robbery at Pasadena cellular store


PASADENA >> Two men fired a gunshot during a failed robbery at a Pasadena wireless store Sunday afternoon, but ultimately fled empty-handed, officials said.
No one was hurt in the 1:25 p.m. robbery attempt at a cellular store at Orange Grove Boulevard and Wheeler Lane, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said.
Two robbers entered the stores and immediately caught the attention of the two men working inside, Ibarra said.
“The employees though they were acting suspicious,” the lieutenant said. “They started going toward the back door.”
One of the suspects yelled to the employees not to run, she said. One of the two suspects then fired a single shot into the floor.
The employees proceeded to run out of the back of the store, Ibarra said. The robbers then fled without taking anything and were last seen getting into a white vehicle.
A detailed suspect description was not available.

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El Monte robbery suspects arrested after chase

EL MONTE >> Police, aided by two K-9s, arrested two El Monte robbery suspects who fled into the San Gabriel Riverbed after leading officers on a chase in a stolen car late Friday, authorities said.
Freddie Huato, 26, and Julian Gutierrez, 24, were booked on suspicion of robbery following their 10 p.m. arrest in the riverbed near in South El Monte, according to El Monte police Lt. Ben Lowry and Los Angeles County booking records. Their cities of residence were not available.
Huato was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the El Monte Police Department’s jail, records show.
Gutierrez was hospitalized in an intensive care unit Saturday for treatment of injuries suffered prior to or during his arrest, Lowry said. It was unclear if the injury, described as a possible cut to the femoral artery, was suffered as Gutierrez fled through the riverbed or when he was ultimately apprehended by a police dog.
The series of events began about 6:30 p.m. when the suspects robbed a man and woman as they stood in front of their home in the 9700 block of Cortada Street in El Monte, Lowry said. After demanding property from the man and woman at gunpoint, the robbers fled the area in a car. A check of the car’s license plate indicated it had been reported stolen.
Officers spotted the car a short time later driving in the north end of the city, Lowry said. The suspects led police on chase for about eight minutes before abandoning the stolen car near Thienes Avenue and Parkway Drive in South El Monte.
After the suspects refused orders to surrender, two West Covina Police Department K-9s were sent in after them, Lowry said. Both were quickly found and arrested with the help of the dogs.

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Man arrested after ‘borrowing’ money from San Dimas bank branch

SAN DIMAS >> Deputies arrested a man Tuesday after a bizarre incident in which he entered a bank branch on roller blades and asked to “borrow” money before being subdued by deputies and diners at a nearby restaurant, officials said.
Scott Baertich, 24, was booked on suspicion of robbery, though the ultimate decision as to what charge or charges he may face will be made by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tonya Edward said.
The unusual incident began shortly before 11 a.m. at the U.S. Bank, 165 E. Bonita Ave., the lieutenant said.
Baertich rolled into the branch on skates and “asked for theme to let him borrow $20,” Edwards said.
A clerk handed the man a $20 out of fear and he left the bank, she said. Deputies responding to reports of a bank robbery suspect on roller blades spotted a pair of skates sitting in front of nearby Roady’s Restaurant, 160 W. Bonita Ave., Edwards said.
Deputies — aided by customers of the restaurant, which included an off-duty deputy and a retired deputy, wrestled Baertich into custody, she said. Deputies used a Taser to subdue the man. No significant injuries were reported.
It was uncertain with prosectors would file a robbery charge against Baertich, as he made no direct threat or demand while inside the bank, Edwards said. He was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending a scheduled appearance Thursday in Pomona Superior Court, records show.

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FBI: ‘AK-47 Bandit’ strikes again, this time in Iowa

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IOWA >> A heavily-armed serial bank robber known as the “AK-47 Bandit,” who shot and wounded a Chino police officer during a bank robbery three years ago at the outset of a nationwide crime spree, struck again Tuesday in Iowa, according to the FBI.
The bandit showed up at the Heartland Community Credit Union in Mason City, Iowa, Tuesday morning, armed with his usual AK-47-style rifle fitted with a large-capacity drum magazine, FBI officials said in a written statement.
EP-140909961“ Based on witness descriptions, surveillance photos and other indicators, agents and detectives jointly investigating this case in multiple jurisdictions (and) states believe the Mason City suspect is the same individual linked to the violent series of bank robberies attributed to the ‘AK-47 Bandit,’ which brings the total number of linked robberies to seven,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
The spree of bank heists began on Feb. 29, 2012, when the bandit robbed the California Bank and Trust, 5455 Riverside Drive, and shot a Chino police officer while making his getaway.
Robberies and attempted robberies throughout California and the nation have since been linked to the bank robbery.
He’s believed to be responsible for crimes in Chino, Vacaville, Sacramento, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska, and now Iowa, according to the FBI.
$100,000 in reward money has been offered for information leading to the capture and conviction of the AK-47 bandit. The FBI has offered $75,000 in reward money, Eimileer said, while other parties have added an additional $25,000.
Officials have described the robber as a white in his 20s to 40s, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, of medium build, woith possibly blue eyes. He generally wears a black ski mask and gloves and carries the assault rifle which gave him his moniker.
Anyone with information can reach the FBI in Los Angeles at 310-477-6565.

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Tall robber holds up Norwalk KFC restaurant


NORWALK >> Deputies are seeking an exceptionally tall man who robbed a Norwalk Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant Saturday afternoon, officials said.
The crime took place about 12:30 p.m. at the eatery, 10905 Imperial Highway, just west of Studebaker Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jack Jordan said.
A robber entered the restaurant and gestured as if he had a handgun, though none was seen, the sergeant said.
After obtaining an unknown amount of cash from the restaurant’s cash register, the robber was last seen running west along Imperial Highway, then sough along Hoxie Avenue toward the nearby Metro station.
Deputies described the suspect as a black man in his mid-30s, about 6 feet 5 inches tall, wearing a black baseball cap, black pants and a black T-shirt.

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