SANTA FE SPRINGS — A gunman fled with cash following a liquor store robbery early Friday, police said.
The crime took place about 7:30 a.m. when a man armed with a handgun walked into Bruce’s Liquors, at Imperial Highway and Bloomfield Avenue, Whittier police Lt. Mike Przybyl said.
The robber demanded money from the clerk and fled after obtaining an unknown amount of cash, the lieutenant said. He got into a car, which possibly had a driver waiting inside, which was last seen driving west on Imperial Highway.
A description of the robber was not available.
The FBI and local law enforcement officials are seeking two bank robbers dubbed the “New Hat Bandits” in connection with five Los Angeles County bank heists in the past six weeks.
The robbers are linked to two robberies in Monterey Park, one in Rosemead and most recently, the bandits have turned their attention toward two banks in Manhattan Beach , FBI officials said in a written statement.
“The New Hat Bandits are described by witnesses as black males who wear baseball hats that appear to be new,” according to the statement. “During the robberies, the New Hat Bandits enter the bank and make oral and written demands for cash.”
According to the FBI, the robbers struck Tuesday at Citibank, 2710 N. Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach, as well as Nov. 22 at a U.S. Bank Branch at 3300 N. Sepulveda Blvd. in Manhattan Beach.
They previously robbed the Cathay Bank at 250 S. Atlantic Blvd. in Monterey Park on No. 14; the Pacific Alliance Bank at 8400 E. Valley Blvd. in Rosemead on Halloween; and the Chase bank at 459 S. Atlantic Blvd. in Monterey Park on Oct. 23, officials said.
In the first four crimes, only one of the bandits at a time entered the banks to carry out the robberies, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. But both robbers were seen during Wedesday’s robbery.
Authorities described the bandits as black men in their 30s between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall and between 150 and 170 pounds. A black Lincoln Navigator SUV has been described by witnesses as a possible getaway vehicle.
No weapons have been seen during the robberies, Eimiller said.
Anyone with information was urged to call the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at 888-226-8443, or 9-1-1.
L:A CRESCENTA — Coroner’s officials Sunday released the name of a 33-year-old man sheriff’s officials said fatally shot himself at the end of a five-hour standoff inside a La Crescenta cell phone store on Black Friday.
Shawn David Weissenborn of Santa Clarita died at the scene of the standoff, which unfolded Friday afternoon and evening at a shopping center in the 2600 block of Foothill Boulevard, just east of La Crescenta Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Dana Bee said.
An autopsy had not been completed Sunday, Bee said.
The unusual incident began shortly after 4 p.m. with a robbery at a nearby Rite-Aid Pharmacy, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Burton Brink said.
After demanding painkillers at gunpoint and receiving about 100 pills, Weissenborn fled into a neighboring cell phone store, Lt. Angela Shepherd said.
Though officials initially feared the gunman had hostages, it was ultimately determined everyone had safely exited the store when Weissenborn barged in.
The store is labeled with “Verizon Wireless” signage, but operates under the name, “Connect Wireless.”
Deputies, including SWAT team members and crisis negotiators, responded to the scene and began speaking with Weissenborn by phone, Brink said. He indicated during the conversations that he was preparing to surrender, but first wanted to call his mother and smoke a cigarette.
Deputies ultimately forced their way into the store and found Weissenborn dead, “apparently by his own hand,” according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau. No deputies fired their weapons during the incident.
Weissenborn had no violent criminal history in Los Angeles County Superior Court records, which listed a single conviction for drunken driving causing injury in 2009.
LA CRESCENTA — An armed robbery suspect was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after barricading himself inside a Foothill Boulevard cell phone store Friday, officials said.
The incident began shortly after 4 p.m. at a shopping center in the 2600 block of Foothill Boulevard, just east of Raymond Avenue.
A man in his 30s showed up at the Rite-Aid Pharmacy and asked for pills, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Burton Brink said. When the employees refused, he pulled a handgun and demanded pills.
The gunman fled the pharmacy with the pills, Brink said. It was not immediately clear what type of pills were taken, or how many.
But instead of attempting a getaway, the armed man ran into a nearby cell phone store, ordered everyone out and the standoff began , the sergeant said. The store is labeled with “Verizon Wireless” signage, but Verizon officials said it was an affiliated retailer operating under the name “Connect Wireless.”
The standoff continued for more than five hours before the suspect was ultimately found dead.
Officials initially feared the gunman may have had hostages, but as the situation progressed, that did not appear to be the case, Brink said.
“He doesn’t have any employees,” Brink said shortly after 8 p.m. “We think there’s nobody (else) in there,” though he added deputies had not ruled out the possibility of any bystanders still inside the store.
Brink said he could not confirm initial reports from the scene that the man had taped a pistol to his hand.
The shopping center, which included a Ralphs grocery store and other businesses, was evacuated. Officials summoned a SWAT team and crisis negotiators to the scene.
Deputies made contact with the suspect by telephone. He told deputies at one point he would surrender after speaking to his mother. After he had done that, he told deputies he would surrender after smoking a cigarette.
But deputies entered the business shortly before 9:45 p.m. and found the man dead from a what was believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff’s officials said. His identity was not available.
No deputies fired their weapons during the incident, sheriff’s officials added.
Deputies from the Altadena, Temple and Santa Clarita Valley stations helped Crescenta Valley deputies, crisis negotiators and SWAT team members at the scene.
WALNUT — A group of half a dozen young men robbed two teenagers as they walked near Walnut High School Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime took place about 3:30 p.m. at Arbola Lane and Delphine Drive, one block south of the high school, Sgt. R. Causey of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station said.
Two teenage boys were walking on the sidewalk when they were approached by a group of young men, the sergeant said.
The robbers first grabbed a watch from one of the boys, but apparently were not satisfied with it and threw it to the ground, Causey said. They then took an iPhone from the other boy.
After obtaining the phone, the six robbers got into a silver, four-door Honda or Toyota sedan, which was last seen westbound on Delphine Drive, Causey said.
The teenage victims were not injured in the robbery, he added. It was unclear if they were students at the nearby high school.
Officials described all the robbers as men of 18 or 19 years old. One was Latino, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 155 pounds, while another was described as Latino, 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall and about 145 pounds.
ARCADIA — A man fought a would-be thief to retrieve his iPhone late Friday after it was snatched from a sandwich shop restroom, police said.
The incident took began about 8:45 p.m. at a Subway restaurant in the 100 block of East Duarte Road, Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura said.
A 19-year-old Monrovia man realized he had left his iPhone 5S in the restroom and saw another man pick it up and leave with it, the lieutenant said.
The man chased after the thief and confronted him, but the suspect managed to fight the victim off and continue fleeing with the stolen iPhone, Nakamura said.
But the determined victim again confronted the robber, who dropped the phone before running off, he said. The victim retrieved his phone, apparently undamaged.
The victim, who stood about 5 inches shorter than the thief, was not injured in the scuffles, Nakamura said.
Police described the robber as a white man between 20 and 25 years old, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 125 pounds. He had black hair and wore black reading glasses and a blue jacket. He carried a black backpack and a black duffel bag.
WHITTIER — A West Covina man fled empty-handed and ended up behind bars Thursday after he tried to rob an Uptown Whittier jewelry store at knifepoint, but was foiled when the owner confronted him with a gun,police said.
Dylan McIntyre-Briseno, 22, was booked on suspicion of robbery following the incident after a police officer spotted him boarding a bus to flee the scene, Whittier police Lt. Steve Dean said.
The ill-fated crime took place about 12:45 p.m. at Covenant Diamonds, 6752 Greenleaf Avenue, Dean said.
The suspect entered the store, brandished a knife and demanded several gold chains that were on display in a cabinet, the lieutenant said.
“The owner approached him with a gun, at which time the suspects decided to leave the location,” Dean said.
A police officer saw the suspect — later identified as McIntyre-Briseno — as he boarded a bus at Painter Avenue and Walnut Street, he said. Police pulled over the bus and arrested McIntyre-Briseno without a struggle.
BALDWIN PARK — Two men with a handgun robbed a Baldwin Park man Friday afternoon as he walked along Maine Avenue, officials said.
The victim, a man in his early-50s, was on his way to a nearby barbershop about 5:45 p.m. when he was approached by two men along Maine Avenue near Scott Place, Baldwin Park police Sgt. Melissa Stehly said.
One of the men brandished a handgun as the suspects demanded money, she said. The victim turned over his wallet, which contained between $15 and $30. The robbers then ran off, and the victim was not injured.
Police described the robbers at Latino men between 25 and 30 years old, both with shaved heads and wearing white T-shirts.
MONTEREY PARK — Two men carried out a robbery Thursday at a Monterey Park bank branch, police said.
The heist was reported about 5 p.m., at the Cathay Bank, 250 S. Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
The robbers entered the bank just before it closed for the day, police said.
One of the robbers approached an open teller window and demanded money, according to the police statement. The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash.
“Once the money was received, both suspects exited the bank and fled,” the statement continued. “The suspects were last seen northbound through the parking lot and out of sight.”
No weapon was seen during the robbery, and no getaway car was observed, Sgt. Paul Yniguez added.
Police described both robbers as black men in their mid-20s. One stood 5 feet 10 inches tall and was of thin to medium build, wearing a black and red Chicago Bulls cap, a red and black argyle sweater and black pants.
The second robber was 5 feet 8 inches tall and also of thin to medium build, authorities said. He wore a black cap, a gray sweater and black pants.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311.
WEST COVINA — A carpet cleaner lost his work van to an armed carjacker wearing a pigs mask late Wednesday, officials said.
The crime took place about 10:30 p.m. in the 2000 block of East Aroma Drive, West Covina police Lt. Pat Cirrito said.
The victim arrived in the area for a scheduled job and was confronted by a man only described as wearing a pig mask and armed with a handgun, the lieutenant said.
The gunman demanded the worker’s keys before fleeing in the van, he said. The victim was not injured.
No further details were available.