UPDATED: Suspect arrested in string of sexual assaults, burglaries in South Pasadena

SOUTH PASADENA >> Police arrested a Los Angeles man suspect who went on an alleged crime spree Wednesday morning, sexually assaulting two teenage girls and one woman before breaking into five apartment in the south end of South Pasadena, authorities said.
The identity of the 22-year-old suspect, who was already on parole for burglary, was withheld as police continued following up investigative leads Wednesday afternoon, South Pasadena police Capt. Brian Solinski said during a press conference.
The string of crimes took place beginning about 7:30 a.m. in a four- to five-block area near South Pasadena High School, Solinksi said.
The suspect inappropriately touched or exposed himself to a woman and two underage girls out on the street, police said.
Immediately afterward, Solinski said the man began a burglary spree, breaking into five apartments in the same general neighborhood, Solinski said. Detectives determined the same man was responsible for all eight crimes reported in South Pasadena early Wednesday.
With help from the victims, detectives tracked the suspect to the 3000 block of Emery Street in Los Angeles, where they spotted a man matching the description of the South Pasadena suspect.
“The individual got into a car and tried to flee the scene,” Solinski said. Officers quickly pulled over the car and took the driver into custody.
Items inside the car linked the driver to the South Pasadena crime scenes, Solinski said. It was also determined that the car the suspect was driving had also been stolen early Wednesday.
None of the three sexual assault victims were physically unharmed, he said.
“There was some contact made, but nothing that produced any injuries,” Solinski said.
It at least some of the break-ins, the suspect got into the apartments through windows, he added.
Police and school officials placed South Pasadena High School and South Pasadena Middle School on precautionary lockdowns due to their proximity to some of the locations where the crimes occurred, South Pasadena police said in a written statement.
Police said officers found a knife at one of the residences that was burglarized. The lockdowns were lifted after the knife was discovered.
The investigation was ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to call South Pasadena Police at 626-403-7297.

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Soldier from Glendora denies molesting girl, raping woman

POMONA >> A soldier from Glendora who was on a tour of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Army when charged with molesting of a girl and the raping a woman entered a not guilty plea Friday, authorities said.
Fadi Haddad, 39, denied three counts of lewd acts upon a child and two counts of forcible rape during an arraignment hearing in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Haddad, who remains held in lieu of $5 million bail, was ordered to return to court July 28 for a preliminary hearing setting, she said.
“If convicted as charged, Haddad faces a maximum of 75 years to life in state prison,” Ardalani said.
The defendant, a reservist with the U.S. Army who works in military intelligence and translation, was deployed to Iraq when prosecutors filed charges against him on April 20, according to district attorney and Glendora police officials.
The army sent him back to Fort Hood, Texas, before he was ultimately returned to Los Angeles County to face the trial process in late-May, officials said.
Haddad is accused of molesting a then-13-year-old girl in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014, Ardalani said. He’s also accused of raping a woman in 2014, and again in 2015.
Haddad knew both victims prior to the alleged crimes, officials said.
Anyone with information can reach Glendora police at 626-914-9250. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Glendora soldier recalled from Iraq, charged with child molestation and rape

GLENDORA >> A U.S. Army solder from Glendora man has been returned to L.A. County from an Iraq deployment to face charges of child molestation and forcible rape, authorities said Wednesday.
Prosecutors charged Fadi Haddad, 39, on April 20 with three counts of committing lewd acts on a child and two counts of forcible rape of an adult, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
He is an army reservist with the rank of specialist who works in military intelligence and translation, Glendora police Detective Chris Farino said.
After prosecutors filed charges against Haddad in April, the Army arranged for him to be returned to his deploying base in Fort Hood, Texas, in mid-May to await legal proceedings, officials said.
Haddad waives his right to fight extradition and was returned to Los Angeles County to be booked into jail early May 28, Farino said.
The alleged child molestations involved an underage girl who Haddad had access to, and occurred between October of 2009 and October of 2010, and also between October of 2013 and October of 2014, Ardalani said.
The investigation began after, “a child revealed that he’d been sexually abusing her,” she said.
The child victim was 13 years old when the abuse began, Farino said.
During the course of investigation the alleged crimes against the child, detectives also encountered a woman who alleged that Haddad had raped her twice, in August of 2014 and in July of 2015, Ardalani said.
Haddad was also previously acquainted with the alleged adult victim, Farino said.
Haddad is scheduled to appear for arraignment June 17 in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, records show.
In the meantime, he was being held in lieu of $5 million bail.
Anyone with information can reach Glendora police at 626-914-9250. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Officials: Three men arrested in La Mirada after trying to meet with minors to buy sex

LA MIRADA >> Sheriff’s deputies arrested three men who they say showed up at a La Mirada hotel to pay for sex with minors during an online sting operation last week, officials announced Thursday.
Matthew Brown, 32, of Long Beach, Jamie Rodriguez, 37, of Norwalk, and Jorge Garcia, 40, whose city of residence was not clear Thursday, were arrested for and subsequently charged with arranging and meeting with a minor for lewd behavior, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
“After ads were placed on websites, which commonly contain ads for sex workers, undercover deputies communicated via text and phone with potential buyers who attempted to purchase sex for money, making it clear that they were under 18,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “ After agreeing on a lewd act in exchange for money, the suspects responded to a meeting location.”
The men were arrested after arriving at a La Mirada hotel to meet who they believed to be were minors to exchange money for sex, Sgt. Jeff Walker of the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force said.
According to booking records, Garcia remained in custody Thursday in lieu of $75,000 bail. Brown and Rodriguez had been released from jail pending their initial court appearances after posting $75,000 bail each.

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WANTED: Child predator approaches girls near El Monte elementary schools

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EL MONTE >> Police are seeking an unidentified child predator who they say has been lurking near El Monte elementary schools, offering rides and sexually propositioning young girls, officials said.
Police distributed sketches of the man and his car Friday in hopes of generating clues form the public.
Two incidents were reported Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon near Parkview Elementary School and Gidley Elementary School, respectively, El monte police Lt. Christopher Cano said in a written statement.
The predator was last seen about 3 p.m. Wednesday, about a mile south of Gidley Elementary School, at Valley Boulevard and Arden Drive, police said.
“The female student was walking home from school when the suspect drove his vehicle alongside her and sexually propositioned her,” Cano said. “The suspect continued to follow the victim as she continued walking. (The) suspect then stopped, exited his vehicle and approached the victim.
The frightened girl ran away, and the man returned to his car and drove off.
Another girl reported a previous suspicious encounter with the same man about 7 a.m. as she was walking in 12000 block of Elliot Avenue, directly in front of Parkview Elementary, Cano said.
“The suspect offered juvenile a ride, which she refused,” he said. “The suspect drove away but returned a few minutes later and again offered the same juvenile a ride. The child became fearful and ran on foot to Parkview Elementary School where in she notified school staff.”
Police described the man they’re seeking as Latino, 25 to 29 years old, 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall and of medium build. He had black hair, dark eyes and a light complexion.
0521_NWS_SGT-L-ANNOY2He drove a tan, four-door Honda or Toyota sedan, described as “dirty” and unkempt, with tinted windows. The car had numerous stickers on the rear windshield.
“(The) suspect may be living out of (the) vehicle,” Cano said.
Officers are working with local schools and providing them with extra patrols, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact El Monte police at 580-2114. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Sketches courtesy of the El Monte Police Department

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Charges filed against sex offender in alleged Pasadena kidnapping

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Anthony Seth McDaniel, 38, of Compton. (Courtesy, California Department of Justice)

PASADENA >> Prosecutors filed charges against a convicted sex offender from Compton Friday for the alleged kidnapping of two young Pasadena woman managed to break free from their captor in harrowing escapes, officials said.
Anthony Seth McDaniel was charged with two counts of kidnapping with intent to commit oral copulation, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
He entered no plea, Santiago said. His arraignment hearing was postponed until May 20 in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
McDaniel is accused of abducting two 18-year-old women about 10 p.m. on April 30 from a bus at Fair Oaks Avenue and Montana Street in Pasadena, Pasadena police officials said. He offered the victims a ride and persuaded them to get into his car.
But the women realized something was amiss when McDaniel drove in the opposite direction of where he had said he would take them, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
One of the women jumped from McDaniel’s pickup truck as it entered the 210 Freeway at Mountain Street, suffering a broken angle.
After the first victims escaped, McDaniel allegedly pulled a gun, threatened the second victim not to escape as well and ordered her to perform sex acts on him, police said. But she yanked on the steering wheel of the truck, causing it to crash into another car on the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles, police said in a written statement. McDaniel then pushed her from the slowly-moving car, causing injuries to her shoulder and arm.
In addition to two counts of kidnapping with intent to commit a sex crime, prosecutors also allege the special circumstances that McDaniel caused great bodily injury during the crimes, and that he is already a convicted sex offender.
McDaniel was convicted in 2008 of assault with intent to commit a sex offense, according to California’s sex registrant database. He remained on parole and was fitted with a GPS ankle bracelet.
During Friday’s court appearance, McDaniel’s bail was set at $2.08 million, Santiago said.
If convicted as charged, McDaniel faces up to two life terms in prison.

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Parolee accused of kidnapping two Pasadena women over the weekend

PASADENA >> A parolee who kidnapping two young women in Pasadena before they escaped from him over the weekend was behind bars Thursday, police announced.
Parolee Anthony Seth McDaniel, 38, of Compton, who is fitted with a GPS tracker due to a 2008 conviction for assault, is now accused of kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault in connection with Saturday’s abduction, which occurred about 10 p.m. at a bus stop at Fair Oaks Avenue and Montana Street, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The 18-year-old Pasadena women were waiting at a bus stop when the suspect approached in a pickup truck and offered them a ride, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
“After some coaxing by the driver, the women accepted his offer,” police said in a written statement. But soon, the women noticed the man was taking them in the opposite direction of where they wanted to go.
Realizing something was wrong, one of the women jumped from the truck as it entered the 210 Freeway from Mountain Street, Luna said. She suffered a broken ankle, but managed to escape her captor.
Following the escape of the first victim, McDaniel, “brandished a handgun, demanded sexual favors and threatened to kill the second (victim) as he drove with her,” according to the police statement.
As the truck was traveling along the southbound 110 Freeway near Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles, the remaining kidnapping victim pulled on the steering wheel of the suspect’s truck, causing the suspect to crash into another car on the freeway, officials said.
“The suspect then opened the front passenger door and pushed the victim out of the slow moving truck before speeding away,” the statement said. A good Samaritan stopped to help the woman, who suffered injuries to her shoulder and arm.
The kidnapper fled and was not found, police said.
“Pasadena Police detectives immediately began an intensive investigation and discovered the suspect was a parolee outfitted with a GPS monitoring device,” according to the statement.
The U.S. Marshal’s Pacific Southwest Fugitive Task Force arrested McDaniel Wednesday afternoon at his workplace in Carson, according to police and booking records.
McDaniel was already on parole for his 2008 conviction for assault to cause mayhem, police said. Mayhem is legally defined in California as, “(a) person who unlawfully and maliciously deprives a human being of a member of his body, or disables, disfigures, or renders it useless, or cuts or disables the tongue, or puts out an eye, or slits the nose, ear, or lip.”
Further details regarding McDaniel previous case were not available Thursday.
According to county booking records, McDaniel was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Friday in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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Montrose man accused of traveling to Thailand for sex with boys

LOS ANGELES >> A federal grand jury indicted a 69-year-old Montrose man Wednesday on charges of traveling to Thailand to have sex with underage boys, officials said.
Paul Alan Shapiro is accused of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places and sex trafficking of a minor, U.S. Department of Justice officials said in a written statement.
Wednesday’s court activity was a superseding indictment, replacing one originally filed in April of 2015, officials said.
“According to the indictment, in February 2010, Shapiro traveled from Los Angeles to Thailand, where Shapiro paid minors as young as 14 years old small amounts of local currency in order to engage in various sex acts with them,” according to the DOJ statement. “ Shapiro also allegedly took photographs of himself engaging in sexually explicit conduct with the boys.”
According the Thai newspaper, Pattaya Mail, Shapiro was arrested in Thailand in 2012 after being allegedly caught in the midst of a lewd act with a 13-year-old boy in a mall restroom.
He told investigator’s he’d purchased the services of the boy for 300 baht, or about $8.50, the Pattaya Mail reported at the time.
Shapiro received a royal pardon in Thailand last year so that he could be deported back to the United States to face charges, according to the newspaper.
“Child predators cannot flee the United States in the hope of having a safe haven for their criminal conduct,” United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said. “To protect the most vulnerable among us, my office will pursue Americans who seek to exploit children in other countries.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations officials are handling the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by the DOJ Criminal Divisions’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, as part of Project Safe Childhood.
Shapiro remained in federal custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, according to inmate records.
Shapiro has been held without bail since he was taken into U.S. custody last July, U.S. DOJ spokesman Thom Mrozek said.
Information regarding his next court appearance was not available Wednesday.
“This indictment should serve as a warning to sexual predators who mistakenly believe they can escape justice by exploiting children overseas,” Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles said. “There is no tolerance for the sexual abuse of foreign children by our citizens, and HSI will work closely with our law enforcement counterparts throughout the world to ensure these criminals face justice.”

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La Puente man sentenced for sex crimes against young relatives

POMONA >> A 46-year-old La Puente man will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars after a judge sentenced him to 65 years to life in prison Thursday for the continuous sexual abuse of two underage family members over an eight-year period, officials said.
A Pomona Superior Court jury convicted Mark Christopher Acosta in March of 2015 of nine felony counts related to child molestation, including continuous sexual abuse of a child.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Martinez sentenced Acosta to 65 years to life in prison, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement. He faced a maximum sentence of 120 years to life behind bars.
“Acosta sexually abused two female family members at separate times between 2001 and 2009,” according to the statement.
The first victim told an adult of the crimes in 2007, but the adult did not believe her, officials said.
The second victim came forward in 2013, prompting the first victim to also report her abuse to authorities, according to the district attorney’s office. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrested Acosta on Feb. 21, 2014.
Judge Martinez also ordered Acosta to register as a sex offender for life.

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Man sought after groping 10-year-old girl on way to school in El Monte

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EL MONTE >> Police are seeking an unidentified man who grabbed and groped a 10-year-old girl as she was walking to school Friday morning.
The girl was walking to school about 7:15 a.m. when she encountered the man at Tyler Avenue and Dodson Street, El Monte police Sgt. Roger Cobian said in a written statement.
“The male suspect approached the girl who was alone and engaged her in conversation speaking only Spanish,” Cobian said. The girl walked away from him.
“The suspect came up behind the girl and hugged her while fondling her breast area over her clothing,” the sergeant said. “A school bus arrived scaring the suspect off.”
The attacker got into a silver, four-door compact car — possible a Toyota Corolla — and drove off, police said.
He was described as a Latino man, between 50 and 60 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall, of medium build, with salt-and-pepper hair an facial pock marks, officials said. He wore a black hooded sweatshirt.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sketch artist created a composite sketch of the molester, “with the brave victim’s help,” Cobian said.
Police are in contact with area schools, and have beefed up patrols around area campuses, Cobian said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact El Monte police at 626-580-2114, or email tips@empd.org. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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