Would-be robber in wheelchair pepper sprays man in South El Monte

SOUTH EL MONTE >> A man in a wheelchair pepper sprayed another man during a failed robbery Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime took place just before 5 p.m. in the parking lot of Alberto’s Mexican Food, 2740 Rosemead Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. James Long said.
A Latino man in his 20s who was using a wheelchair approached the victim, a man in his 30s, and asked for money, Long said.
As the victim pulled money out of his pocket and counted it, the robber lunged for the cash and sprayed the victim with pepper spray, the sergeant said.
The victim managed to hang on to the money, he said. The robber fled empty-handed.
Long said the robber got into a Honda Civic, with the wheelchair, and drove off. A Latina woman was riding as a passenger.
The victim suffered no serious injuries, Long said.
It was not clear whether the would-be robber was genuinely disabled, or merely used the wheelchair as a ruse.

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Masked gunman rob Pasadena bank

PASADENA >> Two masked, armed men robbed a Pasadena bank branch Friday morning, police said.
The heist occurred about 11 a.m. at OneUnited Bank, 1335 North Lake Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
“Two male blacks entered the bank wearing ski masks and armed with handguns. They demanded money from the tellers,” the lieutenant said.
After obtaining an unknown amount of cash, the robbers ran from the bank and got into a getaway car with a driver waiting at the wheel, Mercado said. The small, older two-door sedan was last seen driving south on Lake Avenue.
No injuries were reported, Mercado said.
Police described both gunman was black, in their mid-20s, about 6 feet tall, and of thin build. Both wore black ski masks and black gloves. One wore a white hooded sweatshirt and dark-colored pants, while the other wore a black hooded sweatshirt and light-colored pants.
No description of the getaway car was available.

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UPDATED with VIDEO: Gunman robs West Covina massage/acupuncture parlor

WEST COVINA >> An armed robber took $400 and a purse from a business Thursday night.
West Covina Police Officer Eddie Flores said no one was injured during the 7:42 p.m. robbery in the 1400 block of West Garvey Avenue North.
A car pulled into the parking lot of the business which Flores described as a pain management center where acupuncture is available.
Flores said a man got out of the back seat, entered the place, pulled a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at an employee. A second employee was in the back, he added.
Flores said the employee ran to the rear and locked herself in a room with her co-worker.
The robber ransacked the counter area, took a purse, money and left.
He was described as Latino or white, 21 to 25, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing between 140 and 170 pounds. There was no description available for the getaway driver. The car they used was described as 4-door black or dark gray sedan.

– By Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

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Two arrested in baseball bat attack, robbery in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Police have arrested two suspects after a group of five males chased two other men with baseball bat and stole one of the victim’s cell phones Wednesday night.
At about 9:40 p.m., two black males were approached by five male Latino suspects, one of whom carried a baseball bat, in the area of Orange Grove Boulevard and Garfield Avenue, said Pasadena police Lt. Terysa Rojas. The victims began to run away and were chased by the suspects to the area of Orange Grove and Los Robles Avenue, where they were assaulted by the suspects, Rojas said.
During the assault, one of the victim’s cell phones was stolen and both suffered bruising to their foreheads, Rojas said.
Both victims, a 25-year-old Pasadena man and a 27-year-old Pasadena man, were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital, Lt. John Luna said.
Soon after the alleged crime, a police helicopter spotted two of the suspects nearby, and officers detained them, Rojas said.
Police recovered the cell phone but were unable to locate the baseball bat and the three other suspects.
After being positively identified as two of the attackers, Arturo Chavolla, 18, of Apple Valley and Felipe Carranza, 25, of Pasadena were booked on suspicion of armed robbery, according to police and county booking records. The two are being held in lieu of a $50,000 bail pending their initial court appearances.
Rojas added that police believe the crime was believed to be gang related.

— By Stephanie Baer and Brian Day

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Industry gas station robbed; similar crime reported earlier this month at same business

INDUSTRY >> A knife-wielding robber fled with cash after robbing an Industry gas station late Wednesday in the second similar crime at the same business this month, officials said.
Wednesday’s crime took place just after 8:10 p.m. at a 76 gas station at Hacienda and Valley boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Raymond Enriquez said.
A man armed with a knife, described as possibly a box-cutter, entered the store and pushed an employee out of his way, the lieutenant said. A second employee was also present.
The robber helped himself to the money inside the cash register, ultimately taking about $300, Enriquez said. He fled the area on a bicycle he had parked behind the gas station.
No injuries were reported. Deputies described the robber as Latino, about 50 years old, 5 feet 4 inches tall and 160 pounds. He wore a green jacket, a blue plaid shirt and blue jeans. The robber also wore a trash bag on his head like a hat.
A similar crime took place at the same business on Feb. 16, and deputies suspect the same culprit is responsible, Enriquez said.
In that case, a man entered the store and helped himself to cash from the register, Enriquez said. The thief did not confront any employees during the first crime.

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UPDATED: Police shoot dog during search for San Marino home-invasion robber


SAN MARINO >> Police shot a dog in a residential backyard while searching for a home-invasion robber in San Marino early Thursday, officials said.
The robber also stole the victim’s SUV in the 7:45 a.m. incident in the 900 block of Winston Avenue, according to San Marino police officials.
A woman estimated to be in her 30s working as a nanny at the home had just returned to the house after dropping children off at school, Police Chief John Incontro said.
“The suspect had ransacked the home and made additional demands for property,” police said in a written statement. “The victim then ran to the second floor where she locked herself in a room and called 9-1-1. The victim could hear the suspect yelling at her to get off the phone.”
Officers rushing to help made their way through the backyard of a home facing Sierra Madre Boulevard when they were confronted by a large dog, police said.
“One officer shot two rounds, one striking the dog.”
Police did not identify the involved officer.
0220_NWS_PSN-L-SMSEARCH2Officers found the frightened victim still hiding upstairs, Incontro said. The woman’s Mercedes-Benz SUV was gone. It was unclear what was stolen from the house.
Investigators found the SUV abandoned on a Ventura Boulevard offramp of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, Incontro said. The suspect remained at-large.
The chief added that the city has offered to pay the veterinary bills for the wounded dog.
After two surgeries and the successful removal of a bullet, the 6-year-old pit bull-terrier-boxer mix, named “Wheezy,” was expected to recover, said Rana Abdelal, a member of the family that owns the animal. One of the bullets grazed the dog in the head, while the other struck Wheezy in the chest.
Though saddened by the dog’s injury, Abdelal said they were not angry with the police.
“Because of the circumstances, we understand,” she said.
“They came, they apologized and they said they’d take care of it,” Abdelal said.
Authorities described the intruder as a black man, 28 to 30 years old, wearing a blue and black shirt and dark pants. He also wore a fanny pack.

PHOTOS: (Above) Photo of Wheezy the dog – courtesy. (Below) A San Marino police officer talks to neighborhood residents after an officer shot and wounded a family dog while responding to a home-invasion robbery in the 900 block of Winston Avenue early Thursday, Feb, 19, 2015.

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Gas station clerk pistol-whipped during Whittier robbery

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.

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Suspect sketches released in Pasadena robbery, shooting


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.
0213_NWS_PSN-L-ROBSKETCH2Police 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.

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Police seek additional victims after West Covina Craigslist robberies

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.

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Glendora robbery suspects jailed after chase, crash

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.

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