ALHAMBRA — A teenager was being held for psychiatric evaluation Saturday after making potentially threatening statements against Mark Keppel High School, then escaping from a psychiatric facility in Pasadena before being recaptured, authorities said.
Officials received word Friday afternoon, after the conclusion of the school day, that a student from Mark Keppel High School had made statements construed as a possible threat against the school, 501 E. Hellman Ave., Alhambra police Sgt. Edward Rodriguez said. Further details regarding the statements were not available.
Police met with the student and ultimately took him to a psychiatric facility in the 300 block of South Oak Knoll Avenue in Pasadena for evaluation, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said. But the 17-year-old boy escaped from the facility Friday evening.
Authorities issued a bulletin to nearby law enforcement agencies, and Monterey Park police spotted the young man in their city Friday night, Rodriguez said. He was taken to a different facility to be held for psychiatric evaluation.
LOS ANGELES — An Alhambra man received a sentence of more than 7 years in federal prison Thursday for heading a global credit card fraud ring that netted more than $1 million, authorities said.
Zhanghang Wu, 38, received his 87-month prison sentence from United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt in federal court in Los Angeles, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. He pleaded guilty in December, 2012, to charges of conspiracy and credit card fraud.
He was convicted of leading a fraud ring that, “used stolen credit card numbers from around the world to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars of luxury goods, cosmetics, electronics and other merchandise at retail stores,” Mrozek said.
Once credit card information was obtained, “That stolen information was used to manufacture counterfeit credit cards that bore the names of ‘runners’ — co-conspirators who went to retail stores including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Apple and Abercrombie & Fitch — who used the fake cards to make fraudulent transactions,” according to Mrozek. “After the runners purchased items with the counterfeit credit cards, they either returned the goods for credit, or the goods were sold to other parties.”
Investigators looking into the fraudulent use of credit cards in the San Gabriel Valley first discovered Wu’s wide-reaching scheme, officials said. He had previously been investigated for similar allegations by Chinese authorities.
After searching Wu’s home and finding machinery used to make credit cards and computers containing credit card information, Secret Service agents arrested Wu in July of 2012 in Las Vegas, “where he had He had fled after the search of his residence and where he continued to engage in credit card fraud,” Mrozek said.
“Wu had been living in casino hotels for several weeks and at the time of his arrest, was in the process of sending a group of runners to Chicago to continue the scheme,” Mrozek added.
Wu was the second San Gabriel Valley man to be sentenced to prison this month for widespread credit card fraud.
Xiaoliang Chen, 27, of Monterey Park was sentenced Nov. 4 to more than four years in federal prison for a similar scam that netted nearly a half-million dollars, Mrozek said. Chen was arrested in August of 2012, also in Las Vegas.
ALHAMBRA — A thief or thieves have stolen several blocks worth wiring from Alhambra’s street light system since the weekend, authorities said.
The thefts, which were initially believed to have caused more than $20,000 worth of damage, took place between Saturday and Tuesday, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said.
The first was discovered Sunday afternoon after resident reported the street lights in a neighborhood along the 1300 block of South Westminster Avenue and the 2800 block of Shorb Street, after residents contacted officials Sunday to report the street lights in front of their home never came on Saturday night, the sergeant said.
Police and work crews soon realized the outage was not a mechanical failure, but the result of about 2,000 feet of wire being stripped from the system, Johnson said. The wire was believed to have been taken sometime between Saturday morning and Sunday.
An even larger wire theft was discovered Tuesday, police said.
“The wires were removed on the east and west sides of Winthrop (Drive) between Poplar Boulevard and Conchord (Avenue),” Johnson said. The theft apparently occurred sometime between Sunday and Tuesday.
Wiring had also been stripped in the same area along Commonwealth Avenue between Winthrop Drive and Westmont Drive.
While no witnesses had come forward to provide a concrete link between the two wire theft incidents, though based on the close proximity and time frame of the crimes, “It’s certainly something our detectives are looking into,” Johnson said.
Police asked anyone who sees a suspicious person tampering with wiring to notify authorities immediately. In general, city work crews do not work after 3 p.m.
Additionally, police expressed concern over the possibility that wires left exposed by the thief or thieves could be energized and pose a danger. Anyone who sees exposed wires is urged not to touch them and contact police immediately.
As two unfortunate alleged would-be thieves demonstrated earlier this month, electrical wiring theft can be a dangerous endeavor.
A man was badly shocked Oct. 19 while attempting to steal wire from the abandoned Fred C. Nelles facility in Whittier, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Charles Quijada.
The previous weekend, another man suffered severe burns and was hospitalized in critical condition after he received a 12,000-volt jolt while trying to steal wiring from a Southern California Edison facility in the 9900 block of Beverly Boulevard in Pico Rivera on Oct. 13, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Smith said.
But rising metal prices provide an incentive for thieves to cash in on ill-gotten copper.
According to Kitco, a Canadian precious metals company that charts the price of metals, copper was selling Wednesday for $3.30 per pound, up from about $3.05 as recently as August.
The price of copper has more than doubled over the past five years, according to Kitco data. Copper could be purchased in late 2008 for well under $1.50 per pound.
A man was being held in lieu of $4.3 million bail Sunday in connection the the sexual assault of a woman he met up with in Alhambra last weekend after they became acquainted online, police said.
Christian Aceves, 32, was arrested Oct. 21 in connection with the attack, which took place Oct. 19, Alhambra police Sgt. Edward Rodriguez said.
“The victim reported she met Mr. Aceves online and agreed to meet him in Alhambra,” Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
But when she met Aceves, he pulled a sharp instrument and threatened her, Rodriguez said. He drove the woman to a secluded spot in Los Angeles where he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
Detectives arrested Aceves shortly before 8 p.m. Oct. 21, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
“Detectives believe there may be additional victims of Mr. Aceves that have not yet come forward to report potential crimes,” according to the police statement.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Alhambra police Detective huezo at 626-570-5159.
Aceves was scheduled to appear in Alhambra Superior Court for a hearing in his case.
PHOTO of Christian Aceves courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department.
Police Wednesday arrested a transient accused of stealing laptops computers containing private patient information from a regional hospital chain earlier this month, however the pilfered computers remained missing, police said.
Christopher Lee Brown, 36, was booked on suspicion of burglary after police spotted him in a transient encampment near the 710 Freeway and Valley Boulevard, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said.
But the laptop computers he’s accused of stealing in an Oct. 12 break-in at AHMC Healthcare Inc.’s facility in Alhambra were not found.
“They searched his personal belongings by where he was camped out. They couldn’t find the computers,” Johnson said.
The machines, which contain information of about 729,000 patients of AHMC, were taken about 11 a.m. from the sixth-floor of the building at the 1000 S. Fremont Ave, which is monitored by both security cameras and a security guards, AHMC officials said.
The information contained on the two password-protected laptops includes names, Medicare and insurance identification numbers, diagnosis and procedure codes and record of insurance and patient payments, officials said.
Affected patients on Medicare, which amounts to about 10 percent of the affected group, potentially had their social security numbers compromised by the security breach.
Patients who received treatment at Garfield Medical Center, Monterey Park Hospital, Whittier Hospital Medical Center, Greater El Monte Community Hospital, San Gabriel Valley Medical Center and Anaheim Regional Medical Center are among those whose information was stored on the computers, according to AHMC.
The theft took place on a Saturday and was not discovered until two days later when employees returned to work Oct. 14. A review of security camera footage allowed officials to narrow down the timeframe of the burglary and identify Brown as the suspect, Johnson said.
Police had been checking locations known to be frequented by transients and following up on reports of possible sightings from the public when officers spotted Brown shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday, Johnson said. He was taken into custody without a struggle.
According to county booking records, Brown was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending his arraignment, scheduled Friday in Alhambra Superior Court.
Police had received no indication Wednesday that information taken from the stolen computers had been used for identity theft, Johnson said. But many AHMC patients contacted police and expressed worry about that possibility.
Those concerned that their information may have been compromised can reach AHMC’s Privacy Department at 855-977-6678 for more information.
ALHAMBRA — Coroner’s officials Thursday released the name of a 47-year-old Rosemead man found dead on the roof of an Alhambra apartment building while performing gardening work, authorities said.
Devin Xu was pronounced dead after he was found unconscious about 10 a.m. Wednesday in the 300 block of North Bushnell Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
There were no obvious signs of injury on his body, Alhambra police Lt. Garrett Kennedy said, and foul play was not suspected.
He was carrying out gardening work when he died, the lieutenant added.
An autopsy was planned to determined exactly how Xu died.
ALHAMBRA — A man was beaten and stabbed Tuesday in a strange and apparently unprovoked attack at his home, police said.
The incident took place about 4:20 p.m. in the 2600 block of West Front Street, according to Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson.
The victim, a man in his 40s, was inside his home’s garage when he answered a knock at the door, the sergeant said.
The wounded man told police he was suddenly attacked by a man hen did not know, Johnson said. The victim added he did not know why he was attacked.
“He was punched and stabbed at least twice,” he said.
The sergeant described the injuries as “serious but not life-threatening.”
A detailed suspect description was not available.
ALHAMBRA – A driver was killed after hitting parked cars and the side of a bank Tuesday morning, authorities said.
Hai Ming Xu, 47, of Rosemead died at the scene of the solo-car crash, which took place about 11 a.m. in the 300 block of Valley Boulevard, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said in a written statement.
“It appears at this time that Mr. Xu lost control of his vehicle while driving through the parking lot located west of the Preferred Bank,” Johnson said. “Mr. Xu’s vehicle collided with three parked cars an unoccupied vehicles before striking the west wall of the Preferred Bank, where it comes to rest.”
The cause of the crash remained under investigation by Alhambra police and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
ALHAMBRA — Foul play was not initially suspected Wednesday after a gardener was found dead on the roof of an apartment building, officials said.
The man, initially described as being in his 30s, was pronounced dead shortly after he was found unconscious about 10 a.m. on the roof an apartment building in the 300 block of N. Bushnell Avenue, Alhambra police Lt. Garrett Kennedy said.
There were no signs of trauma on the body, and it did not appear the man had been involved in an accident, the lieutenant said. The investigation was turned over to the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, where investigators will perform an autopsy to determine how the man died.
ALHAMBRA — Police arrested a man and two teenage boys plus recovered a flat screen TV, laptop, computer speakers and iPod taken from a home on Wednesday.
Officers checking out a call of suspicious people in a residential neighborhood caught the burglary suspects before they left with their haul.
The incident started at about 11 a.m. when a caller reported seeing strangers walking down a driveway in the 300 block of North Monterey Street.
Arriving officers spotted the culprits who then fled. Lt. Gabriel Ponce said one suspect was immediately detained, a second was caught a block away and the third suspect was nabbed on Monterey Street.
A 2001 Ford Focus believed to the getaway vehicle was found parked to the rear of the home that had been burglarized, according to Ponce.
Police think other property found in the car were from other burglaries. Ponce said several items were taken in a burglary reported to the LAPD on Wednesday.
A 20-year-old Pasadena man and two teens were arrested on suspicion of burglary. The man, whose name wasn’t released, was being held at Alhambra jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. Ponce said one boy was released to the custody of his parents while the other teen was taken to Eastlake Juvenile Hall.
– Ruby Gonzales