ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested a teacher at a Catholic all-girls high school on Wednesday on suspicion of carrying on a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student, officials said.
Diana Kelly Yniguez, also known as Diana Wendel, 42, of Azusa, was booked on suspicion of child molestation and contacting a minor for the purpose of committing sex crimes following her arrest about 2:30 p.m., according to Alhambra police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. She has been teaching at Ramona Convent Secondary School for the past three years, where the victim attended, and has taught at several parochial schools within the Los Angeles Archdiocese over the past 18 years.
The investigation began Tuesday after a relative of the alleged victim, a 17-year-old student at Ramona Convent Secondary School, found graphic text messages on the victim’s phone and alerted the girl’s father, police said in a written statement. The father turned the phone over to police.
“The investigation revealed the Yniguez had sent the text messages and had been involved in unlawful sexual contact with the minor,” according to the statement.
The alleged illegal relationship took place between March and May, officials said. No violence or threats are alleged on the part of Yniguez.
Yniguez has been placed on leave by the school pending the outcome of the investigation, Alhambra police Sgt. Steven Carr said.
Yniguez was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, scheduled Friday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, booking records show.
Investigators had not learned of any additional victims, but encouraged anyone with information to contact the Alhambra Police Department’s Detective Bureau Tip Line at 626-308-4875. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SOUTH PASADENA >> Police arrested two South Pasadena burglary suspects after they crashed their getaway car in Alhambra on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The incident began about 3:15 p.m. when a witness called police to reports a break-in at a home in the 1000 block of Milan Avenue, South Pasadena police Sgt. Spencer Louie said.
Responding officers caught sight of a vehicle matching the suspect description driving away from the area, he said. As officers attempted to catch up with the car, but before they tried to pull it over, the car crashed into another car at Fremont Avenue and Mission Road in Alhambra, the sergeant said.
Both suspect were arrested at the crash scene, he said. One complained of pain and was examined at a hospital prior to booking.
A man at the wheel of the car the fleeing suspects struck was unhurt, Louie added.
The suspects’ identities were not available pending the booking process.
PHOTO courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department
ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested an auto burglary suspect and recovered a stolen backpack containing a personal items including the cremated remains of the victim’s father on Tuesday, authorities said.
Officer Zachary McFarland as on patrol Tuesday morning when he noticed a man, who appeared to be transient, carrying two backpacks in the area of Atlantic Boulevard and Mission Road, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
The officer approached the man and soon learned he was on probation for robbery and obtained permission to search the backpacks, which contained a laptop computer, documents and other items.
“Additional items and a somewhat unbelievable story from the transient led Officer McFarland to the conclusion that the backpacks may have been stolen. The transient was arrested,” according to the statement.
After working for several hours to determine who the backpacks belonged to, McFarland identified the owner, an area man whose car was broken into the previous night, police said.
“While happy that his computer and work related material were found, the victim was especially concerned about a small box that he had in one of the packs,” according to the statement. The box was recovered along with the other property.
“The reason for the man’s concern for a small box, it contained the cremated ashes of his father. An irreplaceable item that was very dear to the victim’s heart,” the statement continued. “The victim was very appreciative for Officer McFarland’s efforts.”
The suspect’s identity was not available Wednesday.
ALHAMBRA >> A man suffered an apparent graze wound after a shot was fired during a robbery in Alhambra on Friday night.
The crime unfolded about 7:30 p.m. near 1st Street and Main Street, Alhambra police Sgt. Ruben Soriano said.
Two men approached the victim, who was on foot, and attempted to rob him, the sergeant said.
A struggle ensued, during which one of the two robbers fired a gunshot, he said.
The victim suffered what appeared to be a graze wound, but suffered no major injury, according to the sertgeant.
Further details, including a detailed suspect description, were not available.
ALHAMBRA >> Police on Friday released a sketch of a man they are seeking following a suspicious encounter with a 13-year-old in which he tried to get her to get in his car last week.
The incident took place about 2:30 p.m. on March 22 as the victim was walking in the 800 block of Westminster Avenue, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement. The girl was walking to a friend’s house from Emery Park Elementary School.
A man approached in a black sedan and began asking the girl a series of questions,
“The subject asked the victim if she was lost, if he could help her, and ultimately asked the victim if she wanted to go with him,” according to the statement. “The child did not respond to the questions and walked up to the friend’s house without additional comments or contact from the male adult. The suspect re-entered the vehicle and left the area.”
The suspicious man was described as Latino, 50 to 60 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with dark-but-graying hair and a dull beard. He wore blue denim pants and a gray flannel shirt.
His car was a black sedan, possibly a Toyota, with ha 6- to 10-inch dent on the trunk. It had wires sticking out of a hole in the trunk area.
A second person, described only as a Latina woman over 40 years old, was also riding in the car as a passenger, officials said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Alhambra police Sgt. Elizalde or Detective Montano at 626-570-5157. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SUSPECT SKETCH courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department/Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
ALHAMBRA >> Police chased down and arrested a teenage boy from Whittier after he brandished a loaded, stolen handgun at a man who confronted him about smoking marijuana at Alhambra Park on Sunday afternoon, officials said.
Police responded to the park, 500 N. Palm Ave., about 2:35 p.m. after receiving a report of the incident, Alhambra police Cmdr. Jennifer Wiese said.
A man noticed the young suspect smoking marijuana at the park and confronted him about it, the commander said.
Undaunted, the teen lifted his shirt to display a handgun in his waistband, according to Wiese.
The teen ran when officers arrived at the park, but was soon captured nearby, Wiese said. It appeared he surrendered once he realized police had brought a K-9 to the scene to aid in the apprehension.
The .40-caliber pistol the boy was carrying had a loaded, high-capacity magazine and had been reported stolen in 2012, Wiese said.
He was booked on suspicion of numerous weapons charges including possession of a stolen handgun, possession of a concealed handgun in public, possession of a loaded handgun in public, possession of a high-capacity magazine and possession of a handgun by a minor.
Wiese said the teen was also on pronation for robbery, and is accused of violating the terms of his supervision.
Although voters legalized recreational marijuana for adults in California last November, it remains illegal to use or possess for those under 21 years old, and smoking the plant in public remains prohibited.
SACRAMENTO >> An Alhambra woman who had dedicated the past nine years of her life to helping families of homicide victims was honored by a California lawmaker as 2017 “Woman of the Year” this week as part of the Women’s History Month observance.
California Rep. Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, selected Ernestina “Tina” Yamashiro to receive the honor at a ceremony held Monday in Sacramento.
Yamashiro’s life was forever changed when her niece, 16-year-old Sammantha Salas, was gunned down in an unincorporated county area between Monrovia and Duarte while walking to a the store on Jan. 26, 2008.
Since then, she had worked tirelessly on behalf of homicide victims and their families, founding the San Gabriel Valley Chapter of the victim advocacy group Survivors of Murdered Children.
“I am recognizing Ernestina, because of her unwavering commitment to serving grieving families during some of the most difficult times of their lives, which is the loss of a loved one,” Chau said in a written statement.
“She is truly a role model and pillar in the community that has turned a very difficult and personal experience into a lifelong mission to transform the lives of others, in an empowering way, by making sure that families of homicide victims are aware of the resources available to them, and by promoting peace and educational activities that attempt to end violence. She is, without a doubt, deserving of this recognition and much more.”
PHOTO: Victims’ rights advocate Ernestina “Tina” Yamashiro, center, was honored as 2017 “Woman of the Year” by California Rep. Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, at a ceremony in Sacramento on Monday, March 6, 2017. (Courtesy)
ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested a package delivery driver after discovering more than $30,000 worth of allegedly stolen goods, primarily destined for Alhambra homes, stashed at his home in East Los Angeles this week, authorities said.
Eden Sergio Ortega, 37, was booked on suspicion of grand theft following his arrest on Tuesday night, according to Alhambra police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He worked a route in Alhambra, delivering packages for companies such as Best Buy, Nordstrom, Sephora and UGG, according to Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson.
Alhambra police launched an investigation in January in regard to a rash of package thefts.
“Detectives soon learned that these package thefts were not random acts, but in fact thefts perpetrated by one individual,” Alhambra police officials said in a written statement. “The thefts are believed to have begun approximately two years ago, with a majority of the thefts taking place in the later part of 2016.”
Upon examining delivery records of to the stolen packaged, and aided by an anonymous tip, detectives identified Ortega as a suspect in the ongoing thefts, Johnson said. The vast majority of thefts took place along Ortega’s route, and packages were often reported missing after being marked electronically by Ortega as having been delivered.
Police showed up Tuesday night at Ortega’s home in the 5300 block of Verona Street in East Los Angeles.
“During the search, detectives collected over seventy pieces of evidence and merchandise believed to have been related to packages that were never delivered by the delivery driver,” according to the police statement. “Some of the items were found in their original packaging stored in the suspect’s closet. Other items found inside his home were relatively new and being used by the suspect and his family.”
Recovered items included cell phones, computers, high-end clothing, toys and three big-screen TVs, still in their original packaging.
“Detectives also found shipping boxes and labels listing the intended buyer’s information,” the statement said. All of the victims identified as of Thursday were Alhambra residents.
Police declined to name the delivery company, citing a request by the business to withhold it.
“The company asked us not to use their name. We’re going to respect their request,” Alhambra police said via their Facebook page.
When pressed further, Johnson said that Police Records Manager May Ung related that the department was withholding the company’s name because it would jeopardize the ongoing investigation.
Several local residents who took the Alhambra Police Department’s Facebook page to comment on the arrest, however, said they recognized the suspect a driver from OnTrac shipping.
An executive with OnTrac said the company is taking the matter seriously, and thanked the Alhambra Police Department for their “swift action on the initial reports that we provided on Eden Ortega.”
“OnTrac has been aware of the situation as the OnTrac Loss Prevention team investigated the independent contractor prior to turning the information over to the authorities,” OnTrac Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing Laura Peterson said in a written statement.
“OnTrac has zero tolerance with this type of behavior,” Peterson added. “We will continue to aggressively pursue investigations and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to county booking records, Ortega was released from custody Wednesday, pending his initial court appearance, after posting $20,000 bail.
PHOTO of Eden Sergio Ortega, courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department
ALHAMBRA >> A man found in possession of belongings of an elderly woman found dead outside her Alhambra home on Wednesday has been jailed on suspicion of trespassing as homicide detectives continue their investigation into what happened to her, officials said Thursday.
Moon Cheung, 78, was found dead shortly after 12:40 p.m. outside her apartment in the 1800 block of West Garvey Avenue, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
Police had responded to reports of a confrontation between a man and woman when they discovered Cheung unresponsive, Alhambra police officials said.
“(Cheung) sustained blunt force trauma to the upper torso and was pronounce dead at the scene,” Schrader said.
Police were told that man, later identified as 25-year-old Milton Isaias Chavez, had knocked at the door of the victim’s home, where a family member answered, according to sheriff’s officials and county booking records.
“(Chavez) showed the family member that the victim was laying on the ground,” she said. “When the family member exited the residence to assist the victim, the suspect entered the residence, shut the door and locked it. The family member called 9-1-1, and requested assistance.”
Responding officers searched the apartment, but the intruder was gone.
But officers found Chavez, who matched the description of the trespasser, several hours later after a resident called police to report a suspicious person in a shed near the victim’s home, Schrader said.
“Officers found the suspect was in possession of an item belonging to the victim,” the deputy said.
Chavez was booked on suspicion of trespassing as the investigation continued, officials said. His city of residence was not available.
Police announced they were seeking a “person of interest” in connection with the case in the hours immediately after Cheung’s body was found. But officials stopped short of labeling the man a suspect in her death.
According to county booking records, Chavez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Friday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are assisting Alhambra police in the investigation. Anyone with information reach the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO by Leo Jarzomb
ALHMABRA >> Detectives are investigating the death of a woman whose body was discovered as police responded to reports of a confrontation between a man and woman at an Alhambra apartment complex in Alhambra on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
Officers were seeking a “person of interest” in connection with the death, but did not described the person a suspect, Alhambra police Crime Prevention Specialist Jessica Cuchilla said.
Officials first received a report of a “confrontation between a male and a female” about 12:42 p.m. at an apartment complex in the 1800 block of West Garvey Avenue, she said.
They arrived to encounter an unresponsive woman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, Cuchilla said. It was not initially clear whether the body displayed any obvious signs of trauma.
Detectives labeled the incident a “suspicious death” as the investigation remained in its early stages, Cuchilla said.
“There was a person seen at the scene who was no longer there when officers arrived,” she said. Investigators sought the “person of interest” on Wednesday afternoon. No description was available.
Detectives from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are helping Alhambra police with the investigation. Anyone with information reach the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.