WHITTIER >> Police are seeking a gunman who pistol-whipped a gas station attendant during a robbery Tuesday, authorities said.
The crime took place about 1:40 a.m. when the robber entered a 76 station on Whittier Boulevard, just east of Laurel Avenue, Whittier police Detective Jose Bolanos said.
Wearing a surgical mask and brandishing a large-caliber handgun, the robber jumped over the counter and demanded the clerk open the cash register, police said in a written statement.
“When the victim couldn’t do it fast enough, the suspect hit him over the head with the gun.,” according to the statement. “The victim was able to get the register opened and when he did, the suspect grabbed the money.”
Police said the gunman was last seen running north from the gas station.
The victim, a man in his early-20s, declined medical treatment, Bolanos said.
The robber was a black man of about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 130 pounds, officials said. He wore a blue hooded sweatshirt and gloves. He carried a black, semi-automatic handgun.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Detective Bolanos at 562-567-9281.
PASADENA >> Police released composite sketches Wednesday of two men sought for shooting and wounding a store clerk during a November robbery.
The employee, a man in his 50s, suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder during the 7 p.m. crime at Pepe’s Video & Wireless, 313 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Ed Calatayud said at the time.
Two robbers barged into the store and demanded money, police said.
“An employee armed himself with a handgun and attempted to detain one suspect,” Sgt. Mike Bugh said in a written statement. “The second suspect shot the employee and both suspects ran from the business.”
The robbers fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, Calatayud said. The worker was treated for a non-life-threatening wound.
Police described one of the robbers as a black man in his 20s, of dark complexion, about 5 8 inches tall, 300 pounds, with short curly hair. The second robber was a black man in his 20s, of dark complexion, about 5 feet 5 inches tall, skinny, clean-shaven, with short curly hair.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Pasadena police Detective A. Torres at 626-744-7055 during business hours, or police dispatch after hours at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SKETCHES courtesy of the Pasadena Police Department.
WEST COVINA >> After two men were robbed in West Covina in separate incidents over the past two weeks while responding to Craigslist ads for computers, police are seeking an potential additional victims of similar crimes, authorities said Wednesday.
The robberies, believed to have been carried out by the same perpetrator, both occurred after the victims agreed to meet the purported seller at residential carports in West Covina, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said.
“We’re confident they’re connected,” Lopez said.
The first crime took place in the late afternoon of Jan. 28 in the 1800 block of East Grovecenter Street, Lopez said. The second unfolded mid-afternoon Feb. 1 in the 2400 block of S. Ridgewood Drive.
In the first robbery, a 44-year-old Paramount man had responded to an advertisement regarding a computer on craigslist.com, Lopez said.
“The victim called the posted number and spoke to a male who directed him to meet in the (Grovecenter Street) carport,” Lopez said. “When the victim arrived, the suspect displayed a handgun in his waistband and demanded the money. The loss was over $700.”
The Ridgewood Drive robbery took place four days later when a 35-year-old Hacienda Heights man responded to a similar Craigslist advertisement for a computer, police said. Though worded differently, the adds offered to sell similar computers.
The victim arrived to meet the seller, who gestured as if he had a gun in his waistband, Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The demanded the victim’s cash and fled with more than $700.
Police have described the robber as a Latino man in his mid-30s with short hair.
In addition to tips on avoiding scams primarily perpetrated through non-face-to-face transactions, craigslist.com provides personal safety tips when dealing with people in person through the website.
“The overwhelming majority of craigslist users are trustworthy and well-intentioned,” according to the statement. “With billions of human interactions facilitated, the incidence of violent crime is extremely low. Nevertheless, please take the same common sense precautions online as you would offline.”
Safety tips for in-person transactions include insisting on meeting in a public place, such as a cafe; never meeting in a secluded place or inviting strangers to a home; tell a friend or family member about your plans; take a cell phone if available; consider bringing a friend during the transaction; and trusting your instincts. Users were advised to be extra cautious when dealing with high-value items.
“It is believed that there are additional victims of this kind of robbery that may have occurred in West Covina and in neighboring cities,” Lopez said.
Detectives were eager to speak to anyone who may has been a victim of a similar crime as they continued their investigation, Lopez said. Anyone with information was asked to contact West Covina police at 626-939-8557.
GLENDORA >> Two would-be bandits from the Inland Empire tried unsuccessfully to rob a Route 66 gas station early Saturday before leading police on a chase that ended with a crash, and their arrests, officials said.
Police jailed Michael Anthony Moore, 21, of Highland and Marcel Niel Man, 21, of Riverside following the failed robbery, which unfolded about 12:30 a.m. at Mobile gas station at Route 66 and Grand Avenue, according to Glendora police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
A robber, later identified as Moore, entered the gas station with a handgun and demanded money from the clerk, Glendora police Lt. Rob Lamborghini said.
“An altercation occurred immediately after that,” he said. “The suspect fled without getting any money.”
As the gunman ran from the store, the gas station attendant flagged down a police officer who happened to be passing by on patrol and pointed out the robbery suspect, who was running down the street, Lamborghini said.
The officer caught up with the suspect just as he got into the passenger side of an Infiniti sedan, which sped away, police said.
The driver of the getaway car, later identified as Mann, led officers on a short chase that ended with a crash just over half a mile to the south at Grand Avenue and Armstead street, Lamborghini said. The Infiniti went out of control as the driver tried to make a turn and crashed into a vacant corner house, which was under construction.
“It didn’t go through the well, but it definitely went into the wall,” Lamborghini said.
Police took both suspects into custody at the crash scene, he said. A loaded gun was recovered from the car.
Moore was booked on suspicion of attempted robbery, police said. Officials took Mann to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries suffered in the crash before booking him on suspicion of attempted robbery and evading police.
Moore was being held in lieu of $100,00 pending his initial court appearance, while Mann was being held in lieu of $52,000 bail, records show. Both were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
WEST COVINA >> A man responding to an advertisement of a computer for sale on Craigslist ended up getting robbed Sunday afternoon in West Covina, police said.
The victim had arranged to buy a computer from the suspect online and met the purported seller about 3:40 p.m. at an apartment complex in the 2400 block of South Ridgewood Drive, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
But when the two met, the suspect motioned as if he had a gun in his waistband and demanded the victim’s money, the lieutenant said. The victim complied out of fear, and the robber fled with several hundred dollars.
The robber was described by police as a Latino man in his mid-30s, with short hair, wearing a black T-shirt and blue jeans. He was last seen running south from the scene of the robbery.
PASADENA >> An armed man held up a drive-through liquor store late Saturday, police said.
The crime took place about 10:45 p.m. at Gerlach’s Liquor at Fair Oaks Avenue and Glenarm Street, Pasadena police Lt. Art Chute said.
The robber walked up to the store, brandished a handgun and demanded money from man working there, the lieutenant said.
Chute said the employee handed over an undisclosed amount of cash from the register. The robber was last seen leaving the store on foot.
Police described the robber as black man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, 160 pounds, with a dark complexion.
GLENDORA >> Police are seeking a masked gunman responsible for two back-to-back restaurant robberies in Glendora late Thursday.
The robber struck just after 7:20 p.m. at Sushi UMI, 423 E. Arrow Highway, then immediately after at a neighboring Subway sandwich shop, 419 E. Arrow Highway, Glendora police Lt. Matt Egan said.
The gunman entered the sushi restaurant and brandished a black revolver before demanding cash from the clerk, the lieutenant said. An employee opened the register and the robber snatched an estimated $400, Egan said.
But he wasn’t satisfied.
The armed robber then went across a breezeway to the sandwich shop and held up the clerk at gunpoint as well, Egan said. He obtained less than $100 in the second heist.
Police described the gunman as a white man in his 20s, tall and thin, wearing a black hooded sweat shirt, blue jeans and a black bandana over his face.
No injuries were reported in either robbery.
AZUSA >> A gunman fatally shot an Azusa man as he walked to work early Friday during what officials said appeared to have been a robbery gone awry.
The victim, 37, was hospitalized in “extremely critical” condition following the 4:37 a.m. shooting at Azusa Avenue and Russell Street, Azusa police Officer Mike Bires said in a written statement.
He succumbed to his injuries Friday afternoon, Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. His name was not available pending positive identification by coroner’s officials and notification of his family.
“Based on the initial investigation it appears the shooting might have been the result of an attempted street robbery,” Bires said.
The victim himself called police to report being shot, the lieutenant said. No other witnesses reported hearing or seeing the shooting.
Officers responded to report of a shooting when the found the victim lying wounded on a grass parkway between the street and sidewalk along the north side of Russell Street, just east of Azusa Avenue, officials said.
Paramedics took the gravely wounded man to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he was ultimately pronounced dead, Corina said.
“The victim was able to make some statements before he went unconscious,” Corina said.
But other than indicating he had been shot during a robbery, the lieutenant declined to discuss what the victim said.
It was not clear if anything had been stolen from the man.
No suspect description or further details were released as detectives continued pursuing leads, Corina said.
The victim was on his way to work when he was shot, Corina said.
“He was on his way to a friend’s house to drive to work together, he added.
Investigators turned to the public for help.
“Since Azusa Avenue is a main thoroughfare through Azusa, there may have been witnesses to this crime,” Bires said.
Once the victim died from his injuries, police turned the investigation over the detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. Handling investigators could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Anyone with information can reach the bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LA PUENTE >> Deputies and a keen-eyed employee foiled an armed robbery at a La Puente shoe store late Tuesday, a sheriff’s lieutenant said.
The incident unfolded about 9 p.m. at Warehouse Shoe Sale, 1081 N. Hacienda Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Raymond Enriquez said.
Three suspects, all believed to be gang members, entered the store just before closing time, he said. The suspects asked employees if they were the last customers in the store.
One of the three men exited the store and stood out front, Enriquez said. He was believed to be acting as a lookout.
An employee who happened to be on the phone with a district manager noticed a gun tucked into the waistband of one of the two suspect still inside the store, the lieutenant said. The employee told the manager that the store was about to be robbed, and the manager called for help.
Deputies quickly arrived and detained the alleged lookout, Enriquez said. They then ordered the five employees and two customers out of the shoe store, followed by the to remaining suspects.
Deputies found a loaded 9mm handgun hidden in a shoe box inside the store, Enriquez added.
All three men, who are in their mid-20s, were arrested on suspicion of robbery, he said. Their names were not available late Tuesday pending the booking process.
ARCADIA >> A masked gunman emptied the safe of an Italian restaurant early Sunday during the second takeover-style restaurant robbery reported in Arcadia this month, police said.
The robbery took place just after midnight at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant & Bar, 311 E. Live Oak Ave., Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said in a written statement. The eatery was closed at the time.
A robber with a bandana covering his face approached two employees who were taking out the trash behind the restaurant, Castro said.
“The suspect pointed a chrome-colored handgun at the employees and forced them back into the restaurant,” the lieutenant said. “Once inside, the suspect confronted the manager and ordered everyone into the office. The suspect demanded all of the money from the safe.”
The manager complied, filling a bag with about $6,000 and handing it over to the robber, police said.
The robber ran to a dark-colored vehicle parked on Third Avenue and fled, Castro said. It was not clear whether he drove himself or had an accomplice waiting behind the wheel.
Investigators described the robber as a black man in his mid-20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 170 pounds. He wore a dark hooded sweatshirt and carried a chrome, semi-automatic handgun.
The suspect description and tactics involved in the robbery closely resemble another reported late last Sunday, Jan. 4, at Coco’s Bakery Restaurant, 1150 W. Colorado St. in Arcadia.
An armed robber approached an employee who was taking out the garbage and ordered him back into the restaurant at gunpoint, according to Lt. Roy Nakamura.
Once inside the restaurant, the gunman ordered a manager to fill a backpack with money, Nakamura said. The robber locked both the manager and employee inside a freezer before fleeing.
No one was injured in either robbery, police said.
While it was too early to say definitively if the robberies were linked, “They’re fairly similar,” Lt. Tom Cullen said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they were.”
Anyone with information was asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5150. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.