Woman charged with murders of two alleged accomplices following botched restaurant robbery in Montebello

MONTEBELLO >> Prosecutors charged a woman with two counts of murder and one county of robbery in connection with the robbery of a Montebello restaurant in which her two alleged accomplices were fatally shot by the business owner, who was also wounded in the shoot-out.
Toni Danielle Lopez, 21, of Los Angeles entered no plea when she appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said. Her arraignment hearing was postponed to Aug. 6.
She’s charged with the murders of Kevin Fierro, 23, and Roger Soriano, 21, who died in a botched robbery shortly after midnight Saturday at a restaurant in the 2100 block of West Whittier Boulevard, according to prosecutors and Montebello police officials.
She served as a getaway driver in the restaurant robbery, in which the business owner exchanged gunfire with Fierro and Soriano, killing them both, district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. The victim suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound during the gunfight.
Additionally, detectives suspect Lopez also accompanied Fierro and Soriano when they carjacked a Toyota Camry in East Los Angeles, then robbed man of his wallet, cellphone and headphones in the minutes prior to the Montebello robbery and fatal shooting, Montebello police Lt. Andy Vuncannon said.
Investigators found and arrested Lopez Tuesday afternoon, still in the carjacked Camry believed.
Lopez’s bail was set at $2 million, Risling said.

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Man robs Azusa liquor store at knifepoint

AZUSA >> A knife-wielding man robbed a liquor store Sunday, police said.
The crime took place about 11:20 a.m. at Canyon City Liquor & Deli, 424 W. Foothill Blvd., Azusa police Cpl. Nick Covarrubias said.
The robber approached a lone female clerk, brandished a knife and demanded money from the register, the corporal said.
He fled with an unknown amount of cash, as well as the clerk’s cell phone, which was found outside the store, Covarrubias said. The clerk suffered no injuries.
Police described the robber as a Latino man in 20s, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall and 150 pounds. He wore a black hooded sweat shirt, dark basketball shorts, dark high-top sneakers and a dark baseball cap with a letter “A” emblazoned on the front.

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UPDATED — Police: Montebello business owner shot during robbery fatally shoots two suspects


MONTEBELLO >> A Montebello restaurant owner shot during a robbery along Whittier Boulevard shot back at his two assailants, fatally wounding both early Saturday, police said.
Montebello police said the robbery and shooting unfolded about 12:15 a.m. at a restaurant in the 2100 block of West Whittier Boulevard, which had already closed for the night.
“The preliminary investigation has determined both suspects were armed with handguns attempted to rob the victim,” police said in a written statement.“During the robbery, one of the suspects fired multiple shots at the victim, striking the victim once. The victim, a local business owner, returned fire striking both suspects.”
The business owner, a man estimated to be in his 30s, was expected to survive his injuries, Lt. Michael Bergman said.
Officers found one of the wounded suspects at the scene suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the statement. The second suspect was found around the corner in the 100 block of North Wilcox Avenue suffering from a single gunshot wound.
Both suspects died from their injuries at the scene, Bergman said.
The names of the suspects had not been released Saturday pending notification of their family members, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Joyce Kato said. Both were initially described as men in their 20s.
The business owner’s identity was being withheld due to concerns for his safety, police said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police Detective C. Adams or Detective P. Antista at 323-887-1313.

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UPDATED: Pasadena man jailed in connection with home-invasion robbery of elderly Burbank woman

Police jailed a Pasadena man Wednesday in connection with their investigation into the violent home-invasion robbery of an elderly Burbank woman last week, officials said.
Lonnie Garcia, 27, is accused of robbery and attempted murder Friday’s 8:22 p.m. home invasion targeting an 89-year-old woman in the 1000 block of Cornell Drive, Burbank police officials said in a written statement.
The investigation also led to the arrest of a second suspect, 40-year-old Eddie Baca, on suspicion of evading police and drug sales following a car chase Wendnesday afternoon, according to Pasadena and Burbank police.
While following up in the investigation into the home-invasion robbery, “Investigators developed leads which led them to the City of Pasadena,” according to the Burnank police statement. “The leads and investigatory work resulted in the arrest of a suspect in the home invasion robbery.”
Garcia was arrested about 5 p.m. and was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, Los Angeles County booking records show.
(Garcia) was recently released from prison and is currently supervised as part of California’s Realignment Program, known as AB109,” according to the Burbank police statement.
Pasadena police officers joined their counterparts from Burnank to carry out surveillance of the suspect, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
Baca led officers on a chase when they tried to pull him over, the lieutenant said.
The chase led to Del Mar Boulevard and Madre Street, where Baca was apprehended after crashing into another car at about 5 p.m. No significant injuries were reported as a result of the crash.
Baca was booked at the Burbank jail for evading police and drug sales, officials said. He was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.
In Friday’s home-invasion robbery, the elderly victim answered a knock at her door when the suspect — later identified as Baca — forced his way into her home, Burbank police said in a written statement.
“A struggle ensued, and the victim received some injuries, including abrasions and lacerations,” according to the statement. It was unclear what, if anything, was stolen in the crime.
The woman summoned help via her medical alert system, police added.

*This story has been updated from a previous version to reflect that Lonnie Garcia is accused of robbery and attempted murder, while Eddie Baca is accused of evading police and drug sales.

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Two young men sought in attack, attempted robbery of passing motorist in Monrovia

MONROVIA >> Two young men attacked a passing driver in a failed robbery Tuesday afternoon, police said.
A man in his 40s was making a turn onto a side street from the 1300 block of South Myrtle Avenue about 6:10 p.m. when he stopped for a young man of 17 to 19 years old who was crossing the street on a skateboard, Monrovia police Sgt. Dan Verna said.
As the skateboarder passed by, a second young man approached the driver and demanded money, telling the driver that he almost struck his friend, Verna said.
The driver refused and the would-be robber punched him in the face and again demanded money, the sergeant said. The driver sped away.
Police searched the area but did not find the suspect, Verna said.

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Alhambra teen suspected in robbery


ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested a teenage boy on suspicion of robbing a teenage girl of her purse late Wednesday, authorities said.
The crime took place about 9:20 p.m. at Electric Avenue and Shorb Street, Alhambra police Sgt. Tai Seki said.
The 17-year-old suspect told the girl he had a knife, though none was seen, as he demanded her purse, the sergeant said. The girl handed over her purse and the robber ran off. She suffered no injuries.
Police found and arrested the suspect several blocks away, Seki said. Some items from the purse were recovered, including the victim’s wallet, but the purse itself was not found.
Police took the teen boy to Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles, Seki said.

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Men robbed of gold necklaces in Pasadena alley


PASADENA >> Police are seeking a gunman who robbed two other men of their gold necklaces in a Pasadena alley Wednesday.
Two coworkers, ages 21 and 40, were walking through Herr Alley, just north of the 100 block of Palmetto Drive, about 6:45 p.m. when the robber approached, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
The robber brandished a semi-automatic handgun and demanded the victims turn over gold necklaces they were wearing, the lieutenant said. The victims complied, and the robber was last seen fleeing west on Waverly Drive.
Police searched the area but did not find the suspect, Luna said.

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West Covina check cashing business owner robbed in parking lot

WEST COVINA >> A man robbed the owner of a check cashing business of a “large amount” of cash earlier this week in the parking lot outside the victim’s business, police said.
The crime took place about 3:50 p.m. Friday at a check cashing business on Francisquito Avenue, just east of Sunset Avenue, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The business owner had just returned from the bank with a bag of cash was exiting his car when a robber approached, Patton said.
“The suspect knocked him to the pavement and forcible removed the bag,” the lieutenant said. The victim suffered no significant injuries.
Police said the robber was last seen getting into a red SUV already occupied by two additional suspects.
It was not clear whether the robbers followed the victim to his business from the bank.

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Man robbed upon arriving home in Arcadia

ARCADIA >> Police are seeking a gunman and a getaway driver who robbed an Arcadia man as he arrived home early Saturday.
The crime took place about 4 a.m. in the 200 block of West Las Flores Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said.
The victim, an 18-year-old man, had just arrived home when he was confronted by a robber armed with a handgun, the lieutenant said.
“The suspect ordered the victim inside the residence where he demanded money from the victim,” Castro said.
The victim turned over an unknown amount of cash and the gunman fled to a nearby getaway car with a driver waiting at the wheel, he said.
Police said the robbery victim told investigators he did not recognize the suspects. A details description was not available.

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Man arrested for attempted robbery, kidnapping of woman at Paseo Colorado mall in Pasadena

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.

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