SOUTH WHITTIER >> An Azusa man accused of violating a restraining order, breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s South Whittier home and trying to set it on fire pleaded not guilty to a string of charges in connection with the alleged crimes.
Joshua Diaz, 28, appeared in Downey Superior Court to answer to charges of burglary with a person present, attempted arson of inhabited structure, stalking and two counts of violating a restraining order, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Though also initially arrested on suspicion of trying to kidnap the former couple’s child, no kidnapping charge was filed Friday.
Diaz showed up the home of his former girlfriend 10700 block of Inez Street early Wednesday morning, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials said. The couple had been separated for about a year.
The woman fled from the home after Diaz grabbed a knife and threatened to kill himself, Ardalani said. Diaz was already gone when deputies arrived at the home.
But he returned about two hours later, doused the woman’s car and air-conditioning unit with gasoline, and tried, unsuccessfully, to light a fire, officials said. Diaz again fled, but was apprehended and arrested Wednesday afternoon.
Diaz is also accused of violating the restraining order on April 25, less than two weeks to the alleged break-in and arson, Ardalani said. “Diaz reportedly went to the victim’s home in violation of the restraining order, tapped on her window and told the victim he loved her,” she said.
Diaz was scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court May 15 for a hearing, Ardalani said. According to county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
PHOTO of Joshua Diaz: Courtesy
AZUSA >> An intruder broke into a woman’s home, snatched her car keys from inside and drove off in her SUV Friday afternoon, police said.
A woman of about 20 years old was home alone about 2:30 p.m. at a house on Azalea Way, just north of Ruby Lace Way, when she heard her garage door open, Azusa police Sgt. Rick Hayden said.
She went downstairs and discovered someone had forced their way into her home through a window, the sergeant said.
Missing was the woman’s keys, along with her black, 2015 Honda CRV with a California license plate of 7MHC57.
ARCADIA >> Arcadia police detectives are investigating a distraction burglary that resulted in the theft of jewelry, cash and cremated human remains.
A man posing as a utility worker entered the home of an 81-year-old woman at 10:25 a.m. Tuesday in the 1100 block of Valencia Way and took the items, which included the victim’s husband’s remains, Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura said.
“The ashes were kept in a paper bag in the box,” Nakamura said. “I think the thieves thought that, because of the weight, it contained something valuable.”
People should verify who they are talking to if they are approached by anyone wishing to enter their property, Nakamura advised. Ask for identification and call the police if the person does not provide identification.
Arcadia police can be reached at the non-emergency line at 626-574-5123 or by dialing 9-1-1.
– By Melissa Masatani
SKETCH courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department
EL MONTE >> An alleged burglar rammed the car of a resident who arrived home to interrupt a break-in at his home last week, police said Sunday.
Adan Ramirez Vega, 19, of El Monte is accused of burglary and assault with a deadly weapon following the incident, which began about 11 a.m. Tuesday at a home in the 4000 block of Shirley Avenue, El Monte police Sgt. Jason Chao said in a written statement.
“The victim returned home and discovered the suspect, Adan Vega, walking out of the residence,” Chao said. The resident retreated back to his car upon seeing the intruder.
Unbeknown to the resident, Vega gad already loaded up items and more than $6,000 in cash from the house into a car parked at the home, which belongs to the victim’s daughter, Chao said. Vega had also taken the keys to the car from inside the home, which he used to flee.
A driveway gate, as well as the victim’s car, blocked the burglars escape route, police said.
“Vega rammed he gate at the apron of the driveway and the victim’s car,” Chao said. The fleeing suspect rammed the victim’s car three times to make his getaway.
The fleeing, stolen car struck the resident as it fled, inflicting a minor injury, police said.
Police spotted Vega in the stolen car a short time later, Chao said. He crashed the car and continued fleeing on foot before being captured. All of the stolen property was recovered.
ARCADIA >> Police arrested two men and a woman Thursday in connection with a residential burglary in Arcadia, officials said.
Officers responded about 11:15 a.m. to the area of Altura Road and Monte Verde Drive after a witness called police to report two suspicious men, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement. The men left drove away in a car after several minutes.
“An Officer responded to the area in less than a minute and detained the vehicle and its occupants,” according to the statement. “An investigation was conducted and officers determined that the two males and a female driver had burglarized a home in the area.
Arrested were Robbie Montero Ross, 21, of Gardena, Daymeon Willis, 29, of Los Angeles and Tyeara Renne Pettus, 21, of Los Angeles, officials said. All three were booked for residential burglary.
According to county booing records, Ross and Willis were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending their initial court appearance. Pettus, who has a pre-existing criminal case, was being held in lieu of $76,000 bail.
AVOCADO HEIGHTS >> After a burglary this week at their, there’s just one stolen item an Avocado Heights family is desperate to have returned: their 7-year-old daughter’s teacup Shih Tzu puppy.
The 12-week-old male puppy, coincidentally named Bandit, was stolen Thursday during a break-in at the Rangel family’s home in the 600 block of Reburn Avenue, in the unincorporated county area of Avocado Heights, homeowner Roman Rangel said. The burglary took place sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
While the burglar or burglars made off with various items from the home, including jewelry and cash, ““We don’t care as much about the and stuff as we do about the dog,” Rangel said.
“It just blew my mind,” he added. “Really? Take the dog?”
Sgt. Rico Sandoval of the sheriff’s Industry Station confirmed deputies responded the home Thursday and took a residential burglary report. The investigation was ongoing, he said, and no suspects were in custody.
The intruders broke into the home through a bathroom window, Rangel said.
The dog belonged to Rangel’s 7-year-old daughter, Mariah, he said. “It was a reward for doing well in school.”
The family adopted Bandit four or five weeks ago, Rangel said. “In just a few weeks, we grew really attached to it.”
Rangel asked that anyone who sees Bandit contact the sheriff’s Industry Station at 626-330-3322.
“We’d just really like to get the dog back,” he said. “No questions asked.”
PHOTOS of teacup S
PASADENA >> Musical instruments recovered by sheriff’s deputies Tuesday night are believed to be at least some of those stolen from John Marshall High School in Pasadena last weekend, officials said late Friday.
Burglars stole more than $10,000 worth of musical instruments and equipment from the band room high school, 990 North Allen Ave., late Feb. 28, police and school officials said.
The stolen gear included flutes, trumpets, trombones, saxophones, guitars, amplifiers, sound-mixing equipment and a flat-screen television, Pasadena police Lt. Diego Torres said. The theft was discovered Monday. No arrests have been made.
Sheriff’s deputies patrolling in the 2800 block of East Colorado Boulevard late Tuesday encountered a “suspicious” man rummaging through a 2001 Mercedes-Benz station wagon, according to Lt. Cruz Solis of the sheriff’s Altadena Station.
The man ran as deputies approached, the lieutenant said. He was not found.
“When the deputies looked inside the station wagon, they saw several musical cases and electronic equipment marked ‘Property of Pasadena School District.’” Solis said in a written statement. The deputies impounded the car and detectives are currently working the case.
Sheriff’s officials contacted Pasadena police Friday regarding the recovered instruments, officials said.
Though the instruments were believed to be at least some of those stolen in the high school break-in, school officials had not yet taken a look at them Friday night to confirm it, Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
A fundraiser website set up by the band to help cover the cost of the stolen instruments garnered more than $12,000 as of Friday night.
PASADENA >> Pasadena police arrested a teenage burglary suspect from Rancho Cucamonga Tuesday with help from a police dog, authorities said.
A witness called police about 1:18 p.m. after seeing a young man trying to force his way into a neighbor’s house in the 2500 block of Monte Vista Street, just west of Altadena Drive, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
The teenage burglar ran from responding officers when they arrived, he said. Police set up a search perimeter.
An officer spotted the teen running south across Villa Street, Goodman said.
“The suspect refused to comply with the officers,” he said. a police canine was deployed, at which time the suspect was taken into custody.”
Goodman said the teen was treated for a dog bite to his arm and abrasions to his back before his arrest. He was not believed to have removed anything from the home he’s accused of burglarizing.
PASADENA >> Police arrested an alleged burglar and auto thief after he fell asleep in a stolen car early Wednesday, officials said.
Samuel Stokes, 34, of Pasadena is accused of auto theft, auto burglary and receiving stolen property, after being arrested shortly after 3:45 a.m. in the 400 block of South Mentor Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
Police responded to the street after neighbors complained that a Mercedes-Benz was parked and idling loudly, he said.
Officers arrived and contacted the suspect, who was asleep inside the vehicle,” Goodman said. Officers soon realized the car had been reported stolen out of Van Nuys.
“Further investigation revealed the suspect was in possession of additional stolen property, some of that was taken from a vehicle that was burglarized in the area prior to officers’ arrival,” the lieutenant said.
Stokes was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
DIAMOND BAR >> Deputies arrested three teenage burglary suspects Sunday afternoon after they broke into a Diamond Bar home occupied by another teenager, officials said.
The break-in occurred about 12:10 p.m. in the 800 block of Leyland Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Buckner said.
A teenage boy was home alone when the burglars knocked at the door, then forced their way into the house after receiving no response, the lieutenant said.
The victim called 9-1-1 to report the burglary while the teenage suspects were still inside the home, Buckner said. They had fled in a blue Honda Civic before deputies arrived, however.
A neighbor managed to take down the license plate number of the car, and deputies soon found it nearby and pulled it over, Buckner said.
Deputies arrested the three teens of about 17 years old and recovered several hundred dollars believed to have been stolen in the break-in, he said.