Similar gas station robberies in Pasadena, Monrovia may be linked

Two similar gas station robberies within 20 minutes of each other on Wednesday along the 210 Freeway corridor in Monrovia and Pasadena may be linked, authorities said Thursday.
The armed robberies took place about 1:30 p.m. at a Chevron station at Altadena Drive and Foothill Boulevard in Pasadena, then at 1:50 p.m. at a 76 station along Myrtle Avenue, just south of the 210 Freeway, Pasadena and Monrovia police officials said. Both crimes involved two suspects.
In the Pasadena crime, one of the men entered the store, pointed a handgun at a woman working behind the counter and demanded money, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said. The second robber acted as a lookout.
The robbers were last seen fleeing the area on foot after obtaining an undetermined amount of cash, he said.
Both robbers were Latino men in their early 20s, Mercado said. One stood about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed about 175 pounds. He was clean-shaven, with a medium complexion, Mercado said. He wore a white T-shirt, black shorts and a black baseball cap and carried a black handgun.
The second robber was also about 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 150 pounds, Mercado said. He had a light complexion and brown hair, and he wore an orange hooded sweatshirt and dark shorts during the crime.
The second robbery unfolded about 20 minutes later, less than 7 miles to the east.
In that case, two robbers entered the store, Monrovia police Sgt. Chad Harvey said. One of them carried a black semi-automatic handgun.
The robbers stole about $3,000 in cash from the store, the sergeant said. They also helped themselves to a 12-pack of Modelo beer before fleeing.
They were last seen running north toward the freeway, he said.
Officials described the Monrovia robbers as two Latino men in their mid-20s. One wore a white T-shirt, brown shorts and a black baseball cap. The second robber was described as wearing brown long-sleeve shirt and black shorts.
Detectives at both departments were looking into the possibility both robberies were the work of the same criminal duo, officials said. No injuries were reported in either robbery.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241, or Monrovia police at 626-256-8000. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Two sought in Pasadena gas station robbery


PASADENA >> Two men held up a Pasadena gas station at gunpoint on Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The heist unfolded about 1:30 p.m. at a Chevron station, 233 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
One of the two robbers pointed a handgun at the woman working behind the counter at the gas station and demanded money, he said. The second robber acted as a lookout.
Both men fled after obtaining an undetermined amount of money from the cash register, according to the lieutenant said. No injuries were reported.
Police described both robbers as Latino men in their early-20s. One stood about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed about 175 pounds, and was clean-shaven, with a medium complexion, Mercado said. He wore a white T-shirt, black shorts and a black baseball cap and carried a black handgun.
The second robber was also about 5 feet 10 inches tall, about 150 pounds, of light complexion, with brown hair, Mercado said. He wore an orange hooded sweatshirt and dark shorts.
They were last seen running fro the store. No getaway car was seen.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Suspect arrested following robbery at Pasadena park


PASADENA >> A man punched another man and robbed him of his cell phone before being arrested on Friday afternoon, police said.
The alleged robbery took place about 1:15 p.m. at McDonald Park, along Mountain Street between Wilson and Mar Vista avenues, Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe said.
A man in his 20s exited a restroom at the park when he was confronted by the suspect, later identified as 22-year-old Rafael Banuelos of Pasadena, Grisafe said.
After a brief exchange of words, the victim began walking away, the lieutenant said. Banuelos then punched him in the face and snatched his cell phone before running off.
Officers searched the area and soon found and detained Banuelos nearby, according to Grisafe. The allegedly stolen cell phone was recovered.
The victim was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries that were not believed to be major, he added.
According to county booking records, Banuelos was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

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5 suspected in robbery, kidnapping of man at La Verne park


LA VERNE >> Police arrested five suspects they say kidnapped, robbed and pistol-whipped another man at Heritage Park in La Verne early Friday.
The crime took place about 12:40 a.m. at the park, 5001 Via De Mansion, La Verne police officials said in a written statement.
A 19-year-old man was approached by a group of five people in a car who tried to rob him, but he initially managed to flee, Lt. Tom Frayeh said.
But the group caught up with the young man, pistol-whipped him and forced him into their car, the lieutenant said. They then drove the victim back to the park and stole several chains the man was wearing before releasing him.
Police were first summoned to the scene by a neighborhood resident who reported an unknown person was knocking on the front window of a home, according to the police statement.
They soon learned the person knocking on windows was the robbery victim, seeking help.
Officers found one of the suspects on foot in the area and took him into custody, officials said. The other four were found sitting in a Toyota Prius parked near Heritage Park.
Tyler Strickland, 19, of La Verne; Darius Kennedy, 19, of Azusa, Julius Sims, 41, of La Verne; Jazmyn Tyus, 22, of Twentynine Palms; and a 17-year-old boy were arrested on suspicion of robbery and kidnapping, Frayeh said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, the four adult suspects were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances.

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Suspect in NorCal home-invasion robbery, attempted murder arrested in La Puente

LA PUENTE >> Detectives arrested a man in La Puente who was being sought in connection with a home-invasion robbery and attempted murder in northern California, authorities said.
The arrest took place about 11 a.m. in the area of Main Street and Chatterton Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Tim Murakami said.
Detectives assigned to the Industry Station were notified by Clearlake Police Department investigators that a suspect in a home-invasion robbery and attempted murder case they were investigating was believed to be in La Puente, the captain said.
Officials conducted a stake-out at a home where the suspect was expected to visit, he said. They spotted the suspect and took him into custody without incident about 11 a.m.
Inside a bag carried by the suspect was a handgun believed to have been used in the Clearlake crime, as well as items believed to have been stolen, including two bags and a jar filled with marijuana, Murakami said.
The suspect was being held on a warrant and was expected to be sent back to Lake County to face charges, the captain added. His identity was not available Friday.
Representatives of the Clearlake Police Department, a 21-officer department serving a community of about 15,000 people, were not available to discuss the crime in their jurisdiction.
Clearlake police are investigating the shooting of a woman that took place at a home on Thursday, according to a statement issued on the department’s Facebook page.
Few details were released regarding the shooting, and officials said on Friday that they could not confirm whether that was the crime for which the suspect arrested Friday in La Puente was being sought.
No further details were available.

PHOTO: Courtesy, LASD

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Man accused of robbing the same La Mirada gas station twice


LA MIRADA >> Deputies arrested a man Thursday on suspicion of robbing the same La Mirada gas station twice over the past two weeks, officials said.
Ryan Patrick Reynolds, 22, was booked on suspicion of robbery hours after the most recent heist, which took place on Thursday morning, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robin Limon said.
Reynolds entered the store at Beach Boulevard and Rosecrans Avenue about 8:30 a.m. brandished a handgun and demanded money from the clerk, according to the lieutenant. He obtained several hundred dollars and was last seen fleeing the area on foot.
The same suspect is also accused of a similar robbery reported at the same gas station at about 7:30 p.m. on July 25, Limon said.
Detectives following up on the investigation identified Reynolds as a suspect in the crimes and took him into custody Thursday afternoon, she said.
Further details of the arrest were not immediately available.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Men sought in armed robberies at West Whittier, Sante Fe Springs donut shops

Police and sheriff’s deputies are seeking robbers in two separate, but possibly related, robbers at Whittier-area donut shops early Tuesday, officials said.
Both crimes involved two robbers and took place during the early-morning hours at businesses along the 605 Freeway. They were reported at 12:40 a.m. outside Cherri’s Donuts, 10017 Orr and Day Road in Santa Fe Springs, and at 2:34 a.m. at Yum Yum Donuts at 10426 Whittier Blvd. in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and Whittier police officials.
During the first crime in Santa Fe Springs, two robbers approached four men as they stood in front of the donut shop, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said. At least one of the men gestures as if he was armed with a handgun, though none was seen.
The robbers demanded property from the four men, who handed over their wallets and cellphones, Ruiz said. They were last seen running north on Orr and Day Road.
Police described both robbers as Latino men in their late-20s. One was about 6 feet tall, of heavyset and wore a fedora-style hat. The second robber was thin, of dark complexion, wearing a gray-and-blue hooded sweatshirt.
The second robbery targeted the business itself, officials said.
Two robbers showed up at the West Whittier Yum Yum Donuts location and one of them pointed a silver-colored handgun at an employee, Sgt. Janine Hanson of the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station said.
The men demanded money, ultimately escaping with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to the sergeant. They were described only as Latino men who fled the scene in a white sedan.
Detectives were looking into the possibility the two similar robberies were linked, Hanson said.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station at 562-949-2421, or the Whittier Police Department at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Women flee with footwear after pepper-spraying shoe store worker in Norwalk


NORWALK >> A trio of women pepper sprayed a Norwalk shoe store employee while stealing footwear on Sunday afternoon, official said.
The crime took place shortly before 5 p.m. at Warehouse Shoe Sale, 11820 Firestone Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Cunningham said.
Three women placed shoes in their purses and went to leave the store without paying for them, the sergeant said.
A store employee confronted the woman at the door and asked to look inside their purses, he said.
One of the women pulled out a canister of pepper spray and sprayed the employee with it, according to Cunningham.
The three women then fled in a gray Toyota Camry, according to sheriff’s radio traffic.
Officials declined to release a detailed suspect description as they continued pursuing leads late Sunday, Cunningham said.
Sunday’s robbery was just the latest in series of recent robberies in which pepper spray or other devices intended for self-defense have been used as weapons.
•A woman was pepper sprayed and robbed of her wallet outside an Arcadia business on March 17.
•A group of teen girls are accused of spraying a man with pepper spray in order to rob him of his iPhone in Covina on May 7.
•Two women pepper sprayed a security guard while stealing purses from a Monrovia store on June 23.
•Three women used a stun gun on security guards who confronted them for stealing at two stores in Temple City and Arcadia on July 13.
Pepper spray, as well as stun guns, can be purchased legally by adults who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing weapons due to prior criminal convictions. They are legal to possess for lawful self-defense purposes, but it’s a crime under California law, punishable as a felony, to misuse such devices.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Armed, masked men rob senior citizen in Pasadena


Two men armed with a rifle or shotgun robbed 71-year-old Santa Barbara man as he sat in his car on Thursday night, officials said.
The crime was reported about 11 p.m. in the 1800 block of East Del Mar Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe said.
The victim was sitting in his car when two men approached, carrying what was described as a black long gun, such as a rifle or shotgun, he said. They demanded money.
Grisafe said the elderly victim handed over about $100. The robbers were last seen walking east, “nonchalantly,” along Del Mar Boulevard.
Both robbers were described as men in their 20s wearing bandanas covering their faces, Grisafe said.
One was of undetermined race, about 5 feet tall, of heavy build with dark hair, he said. The second robber was possibly Latino or white, of thin build, with dark hair.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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San Gabriel men jailed in connection with West Covina bank robbery


Police arrested two cousins from San Gabriel on Thursday in connection with a West Covina bank robbery the previous day, and were looking into the possibility the suspects were also responsible for another bank heist in Baldwin Park last week, authorities said.
Ruben Edward Mora, 48, and James Vincent Luevano were booked on suspicion of bank robbery following their arrests on Thursday afternoon, according to West Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The investigation began after a robbery unfolded about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Cathay Bank, 2672 E. Garvey Ave. South, West Covina police Sgt. Tony Cortina said.
A man entered the bank and gestured as if he had a gun, though none was seen, the sergeant said. He threatened to shoot a teller and demanded cash.
He fled the bank after obtaining $1,900, Cortina said. He was last seen getting into a car, which sped away.
“Our patrol officers canvassed the area for witnesses and evidence,” Cortina said. The obtained surveillance camera images depicting both the suspect and the getaway car.
As they continued their investigation, detectives found the car pictured in the surveillance images parked in the driveway of a home in the 5000 block of North Rosemead Boulevard in San Gabriel, police said.
They watched the car until a man exited the home and drove away in it, according to Cortina. Police pulled over the car and soon determined the driver, Luevano, had acted as the getaway driver in Wednesday’s bank robbery, he said.
Police also determined that the second suspect, who carried out the robbery, Mora, was inside the home, Cortina said. Officers ordered him out of the home and took him into custody without a struggle.
Officials recovered the allegedly stolen cash from the home, which is shared by the two cousins.
Investigators also found that Mora strongly matched the description of a robber who carried out a robbery at the HomeStreet Bank, 3119 Baldwin Park Blvd. in Baldwin Park, Cortina said. Authorities were looking into the West Covina robbery suspect’s possible connection to the Baldwin Park crime.
According to booking records, Mora was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail his initial court appearance, while Luevano was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail.

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