PASADENA >> A man tried unsuccessfully to rob and kidnap a woman inside a parking structure at the Paseo Colorado shopping mall in Pasadena Wednesday, officials said.
Joshua Brandon McKnight, 19, of Pasadena was arrested in connection with alleged crimes, which took place about 10:50 a,m. in the parking structure of the mall in the 200 block of East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
A 35-year-old Pasadena woman exited her car when a man approached, the lieutenant said.
“The suspect simulated a weapon in his pants pocket and told the victim she was being robbed and demanded she get back into the car,” Luna said.
The woman offered the man her purse, but he again ordered her to get back into her car, he said.
When the would-be robber was momentarily distracted by a passing vehicle, the woman took the opportunity to run to the mall’s security office, Luna said. Mall security then notified police.
Officers detained McKnight nearby, but released him when the victim was unable to identify him as her as the suspect, Luna said.
But police later found surveillance camera images of the suspect, whom they were able to identify as the man they had previously detained.
Officer found and arrested McKnight shortly after 3 p.m. at the Jackie Robinson Community Center, 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave., according to police and Los Angeles County booking records. He was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
SAN DIMAS >> A man violently carjacked an elderly man outside a San Dimas restaurant Saturday before deputies, aided by the truck’s OnStar system, tracked down the vehicle, disabled it remotely and took the suspect into custody, authorities said.
The carjacking took place at 7:22 p.m outside a Red Robin restaurant, 565 W. Arrow Highway, Lt. Tonya Edwards of the sheriff’s San Dimas Station said.
The suspect, a man in his 20s, attacked a 74-year-old man and yanked him from his 2015 Chevy Silverado, Lt. Elisabeth Sachs said.
“(The suspect) struck him, knocked him to the ground, and stomped on his head,” she said. “The victim fought back, but the suspect was able to overcome him and drove off in his vehicle.”
Authorities were notified of the carjacking minutes later through OnStar, according to Lt. David Buckner, watch commander of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Walnut Station, whose deputies assisted in taking the suspect into custody.
An OnStar operator provided the sheriff’s department with “up-to-the- moment locations” of the white pickup truck, then remotely slowed it to about 5 mph after deputies spotted it heading south on the 57 Freeway.
The driver got out of the car and surrendered near the 91 Freeway about 8 p.m., Buckner said.
“He stole the wrong vehicle,” Buckner said.
Joshua Frontino-Deaton, 26, was booked on suspicion of carjacking, Sachs said. His city of residence was not available Sunday afternoon.
The carjacking victim was treated at a hospital for injuries and released later in the day, Sgt. Joe Bolanos said.
According to county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.
– Staff and wire report
PASADENA >> Two would-be robbers fled empty-handed after punching a bicyclist who refused to hand over his wallet early Friday, police said.
A 47 year-old Pasadena man was riding a bike about 6:35 a.m. at Martelo Avenue and Monte Vista Street when two suspects approached in a black car, described as similar to a newer-model Ford Mustang, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
A passenger stepped out of the car, motioned as if he had a weapon in his waistband and demanded the bicyclist’s wallet, the lieutenant said.
When the victim refused, and the would-be robber punched him in the face before getting back into the car and fleeing, Mercado said.
The bicyclist suffered a cut to his lip but declined medical treatment, he said.
WHITTIER >> A gunman shot and wounded one man, then robbed and pistol-whipped another before police found him hiding under a house in Whittier early Saturday, officials said.
Daniel Machado, 30, of Whittier was ultimately booked on suspicion of attempted murder, robbery and resisting arrest, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
There was no apparent connection between the suspect and his alleged victims, Ellis said. “It doesn’t seem like he knew either victim.”
The shooting took place about 1 a.m. in the 6300 block of Whittier Avenue, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
Police said a Whittier man was walking in an alley when the suspect confronted him and raised his shirt to expose a handgun in his waistband.
“The victim ran and the suspect gave chase, eventually pinning the victim between two parked cars,” according to the police statement. “After hearing one gun shot, the victim was struck in his lower right abdomen.”
The wounded man was hospitalized in critical condition, but expected to survive, Ellis said.
The motive in the shooting was not clear. “We’re not actually sure if it was a robbery (attempt) or not.”
As the search for the shooter continued about two hours later, authorities received a second report of a violent crime believed to involve the same suspect nearby in the 6000 block of Citrus Avenue.
“The suspect again confronted the victim at gunpoint, this time demanding his personal property,” police said. “A brief struggle ensued and during the altercation the suspect pistol whipped the victim and subsequently fled on foot with the victim’s property.”
The robbery victim was also taken to a hospital for treatment.
About 30 minutes after the robbery, residents of the 12500 block of Pasadena Avenue began calling 9-1-1 to report a man matching the description of the previous crimes, “going door to door demanding help and carrying a hand gun.”
Officers, aided by a police dog, soon found Machado hiding under a nearby house.
The suspect, who had suffered a minor head injury while scuffling with one of his victims, was taken to a hospital for examination prior to booking, Ellis said.
Los Angeles police investigating a violent a well-organized Korea Town jewelry store robbery likened to “the plot of a Hollywood movie” Wednesday found and arrested two suspects near Covina before ultimately arresting a total of 10 alleged robbers, authorities said.
The robbery and initial two arrests took place Wednesday evening, according to Los Angeles police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
The robbery unfolded about 6:15 p.m. at the St. Cross Jewelry Store inside the Korea Town Center Mall, 928 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles police said in a written statement.
“Approximately nine male suspects had violently and with coordinated precision and speed, overpowered employees and took over the store to rob it of its loot of several hundred expensive designer watches,” according to the LAPD statement.
The robbers were armed with handguns, as well as sledge hammers.
“After overpowering employees and holding them at gunpoint, the suspects proceeded to smash the display cases with the sledge hammers and removed the watches,” the statement said.
The crime was over within minutes, and the suspects fled to a getaway van, police said.
“From video images inside the store as well as witness accounts, and the fact that the store was inside a mall filled with shoppers, it was obvious this was a well-planned, coordinated and practiced operation,” according to the LAPD statement.
LAPD officers tracked two of the suspects to an unincorporated county area near Covina about two hours later via GPS tracking devices hidden inside the expensive watches.
Authorities shut down Lark Ellen Avenue between Arrow Highway and Cypress Street as they stopped the car and took two suspects into custody, according to sheriff’s radio traffic.
The arrest was handled by LAPD, without direct assistance from local sheriff’s deputies, sheriff’s Lt. Tonya Edwards said.
Traffic was reopened within a matter of minutes.
Detectives continued following up on the investigation, ultimately arresting eight more suspects — five of them juveniles — overnight throughout Los Angeles and other nearby cities, according the LAPD.
Officers also recovered three guns and several sledge hammers believed to have been used in the robbery, as well as several hundred expensive watches taken in the heist.
Police said it was fortunate that no one was seriously injured during the crime.
“Although this sounds like the plot of a Hollywood movie, in reality this was a violent and dangerous crime that could have had disastrous results,” the statement said.
PASADENA >> Police jailed an Altadena man early Saturday on suspicion of robbing another man of a cell phone in Old Pasadena, authorities said.
Daniel Lionel Nelson, 21, was booked on suspicion of robbery in connection with the alleged crime, which took place about 1:55 a.m. in an alley connecting Union Street and Colorado Boulevard, along the 100 block of Union Street, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
A man in his 20s was sitting on a bench when the suspect approached and demanded his cell phone and money, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said. The victim handed over his cell phone.
Mercado said the robber fled, but the victim “almost immediately” found to police officers walking a foot beat in the area. As the officers were speaking with the victim, they spotted the suspect nearby and took him into custody without struggle.
The suspect, later identified as Nelson, was arrested after officers found him in possession of the victim’s cell phone, the lieutenant said.
According to county booking records, Nelson was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
SAN DIMAS >> Authorities released a suspect sketch and offered a $20,000 reward Wednesday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of gunman who fatally shot a San Dimas sandwich shop owner during a robbery last week.
Investigators also released a suspect sketch in connection with the June 2 shooting a Quiznos restaurant at 1034 Arrow Highway that fatally wounded owner Pravin “Peter” Patel, 62.
“Besides being a husband, a father, a grandfather and a father-in-law, Mr. Patel was the owner of the Quiznos and he is very well respected in the community,” said Lt. Dave Coleman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. “Everybody likes him. He was a loving, kind man.”
The unidentified shooter was as a white or Latino man in his early-20s, about 6 feet to 6 feet 1 inch tall and 180 pounds. During the crime, he wore a black T-shirt, plaid shorts and a baseball cap.
“We’re asking for the public’s help,” Coleman said. “Anybody who may have been in the area around 3:20 p.m…. any information that you could provide would be of great assistance to us.”
The office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich authorized the reward.
Patel was working as usual when the robber entered the sandwich shop, brandished a handgun and demanded money, officials said.
Patel handed over the money from the register to the robber, who threatened to harm the two customers inside the store if he did not, Coleman said. Patel then followed the robber outside.
“As Mr. Patel exited the restaurant, a struggle ensued between he and the suspect,and Mr. Patel was shot and mortally wounded,” Coleman said.
The brazen and deadly daytime was “very unusual” for the area, Capt. Duane Harris of the Sheriff’s San Dimas Station said. “This is appropriately described as a quiet community,” he said.
A large memorial of flowers and candles sat in front of Quiznos shop Wednesday. Family members did not wish to comment.
Monrovia police Lt. Mike Lee said he knew Patel since before he bought his Quiznos restaurant, when he owned a video store on Arrow Highway and Sunflower Avenue.
“He was just a good man,” Lee said. “He always remembered your name.”
Lee described Patel as a soft spoken man who always treated customers nicely.
Signs on the door of the eatery invited to public to a memorial service at 2:15 p.m. Thursday at the Memory Garden Memorial Park and Mortuary, 455 W. Central Ave. in Brea. “Peter was a hard working family man who brought people together,” the sign read. “He was passionate about serving his food and exchanging family stories with his customers. Peter spent every day working side by side with the woman he loved most — his wife, Maya “Mary” Patel.”
A candlelight vigil is planned for 7 p.m. Friday in front of the Quiznos store. A website collecting donations to help Patel’s family has been established at www.youcaring.com/pravin.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
COVINA >> One of two men police say dressed as security guards when they carried out a takeover robbery at Covina check cashing business in March was behind bars Friday as police continued seeking his alleged accomplice.
Police found and arrested Brian Lamar Lemle, 27, of Los Angeles, a documented Crips gang member, at a Los Angeles Park late Thursday in connection with the March 18 robbery at Check Into Cash, 517 N. Azusa Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
Investigators had been seeking him for several weeks, ever since facial recognition computer software helped identify him as a suspect in the Covina crime, the sergeant said.
Lemle and another unidentified suspect wore security guard uniforms and brandished handguns when they entered the business, Covina police said in a written statement.
“Both suspects demanded money from the employees before tying them up,” the statement said. “Both suspects left the location on foot westbound on San Bernardino (Road) with approximately $7,800 in cash and personal property from the employees.”
The crime was captured on surveillance video, which police used to generate wanted fliers with the suspects’ photos for distribution to other area law enforcement agencies, Peterson said.
Facial recognition software was able to match surveillance footage to a possible suspect, Lemle, earlier this month, he said.
Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Street Division found and arrested Lemle Thursday night at a park, Peterson said. He was turned over to Covina police, who booked him on suspicion of robbery once witnesses identified him as one of the robbers. Additional charges, such as robbery, may also be sought against Lemle.
The second suspect in the robbery remained at-large.
According to county booking records, Lemle was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
PHOTOS: [TOP TO BOTTOM] Brian Lemle, 27, of Los Angeles; surveillance photo of second suspect who remains at-large; surveillance photo taken during the robbery. (Courtesy)
MONTEBELLO >> Police asked residents of a Montebello neighborhood to stay indoors Wednesday as they searched the area for suspect in a reported home-invasion robbery, officials said.
The incident first began shortly after 7 p.m. in the area of Wilcox Avenue and Hay Street, Montebello police officials said via the department’s Twitter account.
Though initially described as a residential break-in, police later said they were treating the crime as a home-invasion robbery.
SIERRA MADRE >> A Sierra Madre man confronted a trio of burglars in front of his home early Wednesday, chasing them off before police arrested the suspects, officials said.
A man heard noises about 4 a.m. coming from the front of his Grove Lane home, Sierra Madre police officials said in a written statement. He looked out his window to see someone breaking into his car.
“The resident went outside and confronted the suspect, who was now inside his vehicle, and a brief struggle ensued,” according to the statement. “The suspect had a large silver object in his hand which the resident felt was a gun. Fearing for his safety the resident backed away from the suspect allowing the suspect flee southbound to a dark-colored SUV.
Another suspect ran out from another nearby home and jumped into the SUV, which sped away, police.
Police quickly found and stopped a vehicle matching the reported description and arrested three suspects after finding them in possession of suspected stolen property and drugs, according to the police statement. Police were still looking for the rightful owners of some of the property.
“We discourage residents from confronting suspects for their safety but are glad the victim is okay,” Sierra Madre Police Larry Giannone said.
Jesus Rojas, 20, Geovany Martinez, 19, and Aaron Vazquez, 33, all of El Monte, were booked on suspicion of attempted robbery and possession of stolen property, police said. They were being held in lieu of $50,000 each pending their initial court appearances.
PHOTOS [top to bottom]: Jesus Rojas, 20, Geovany Martinez, 19, and Aaron Vazquez, 33, all of El Monte. (Courtesy of the Sierra Madre Police Department)