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.
ARCADIA >> A woman had to be freed by firefighters after locking herself in handcuffs last week, officials said.
Firefighters responded to the Arcadia Police Department, 250 W. Huntington Drive, on Thursday after a woman arrived at the police station to seek help, according to Arcadia Fire Department logs.
The woman, “had placed a pair of privately owned handcuffs on her wrists but did not have a key to unlock them,” according to the log. “Fire personnel used extrication tools to remove enough metal material to access the lock with a small screwdriver.”
The woman required no further assistance once freed from the handcuffs, officials said.
The incident was not the first time in recent memory that a local resident have required help from authorities to free them from self-placed handcuffs.
A man arrived at the Alhambra Police Department just over a year ago on Nov. 20 of 2015 with a similar problem.
“While trying out his new handcuffs for his new job, the subject placed the handcuffs around his wrists and secured them,” Alhambra police said via their Facebook page. “It was then determined that the handcuff keys were not compatible with the type of handcuffs he had.”
After confirming the man’s story, “the subject was freed fro mhis own arrest and happily sent on his way,” the statement said.
ALHAMBRA >> Police fatally shot a man who opened fire on them as they responded to domestic disturbance in Alhambra late Friday, authorities said.
The officer-involved shooting took place about 7:50 p.m. in the 2900 block of West Main Street, near Huntington Drive, according to Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Officers responded to the neighborhood after a woman called 911 to report a “domestic disturbance” involving herself, her husband and their 25-year-old son, she said. The woman added that her son may have a gun.
Gunshots rang out as officers neared the home, officials said.
“When the officers positioned themselves across the street from the suspect’s residence, the suspect shot several rounds at them, and an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Jansen said in a written statement.
Paramedics took the wounded suspect to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, deputy Trina Schrader said.
A shotgun and a revolver believed to have been wielded by the suspect were found at the scene.
No officers were hurt in the gunfight, and the suspect’s parents also suffered no injuries during the incident,
Video posted on social media by a witness shows two officer taking cover behind a car as they were seemingly shot at from across the street.
After firing a volley of apparent return fire with rifles, the two officers are seen running toward the source of the gunfire before additional shots can be heard a little more than 20 seconds later.
“Both Alhambra officers were wearing body cameras, and a review of the video footage will take place as part of the investigation,” Jansen said.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are handling the investigation. Anyone with information can reach the bureau at 323-890-5500.
ALHAMBRA >> Authorities released surveillance camera images of a man and woman sought in connection with the stun gun attack and robbery of an elderly woman outside her Alhambra home earlier this month.
The violent, broad-daylight robbery took place about 1 p.m. on Jan. 14 in the 900 block of East Valley Boulevard.
A 72-year-old woman had just arrived home and was getting out of her car when a man approached wearing a hard had and a reflective vest, according to Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson.
“He asked her about an electrical box on the property,” he said. When she turned away from him, the subject (shocked) her with a stun gun on the back of her neck.”
The woman fell, striking her head on the ground, police said. The man stole items from the woman’s purse and ran away.
Paramedics took the injured victim to a hospital, where she received stitches for a laceration to her head, Johnson said.
The robber was not found. He was described as a Latino man in his 30s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 200 pounds.
About an hour after the crime, a man and woman showed up at a Walmart store in Pico Rivera and attempted to use the victim’s debit card, Johnson said. The transaction was blocked, as the card had already been cancelled. But detectives were able to gather surveillance camera images of the man and woman, as well as their white Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Other attempts to use the victim’s credit or debit cards were made elsewhere in the Pico Rivera area, Johnson said.
Anyone who recognizes the suspects is asked to contact the Alhambra Police Department’s Detective Bureau at 626-5709-5157. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department
ALHAMBRA >> Police are seeking a man who attacked and robbed an elderly woman at an Alhambra apartment complex on Saturday afternoon.
A woman in her 80s was outdoors at a complex in the 900 block of East Valley Boulevard just after 1 p.m. when the robber, described only as male, approached, Alhambra police Sgt. Ruben Soriano said.
“She doesn’t remember much,” he said.
The robber assaulted the woman, leaving her with a bruised head, according to the sergeant. It was unclear whether any weapon was used.
He then fled with the woman’s purse, Soriano said. Officers searched the area but did not find the culprit.
The woman hospitalized for examination, but was not believed to have suffered any life-threatening injuries, he said.
Anyone with information can reach Alhambra police at 626-570-5151. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
ALHAMBRA >> Two Pico Rivera men robbed and tried to carjack a man and woman at gunpoint when they caught them burglarizing her car in Alhambra before police found and arrested them nearby early Saturday, authorities said.
The crime took place about 12:30 a.m. in the 500 block of South Almansor Street, Alhambra police Sgt. Ruben Soriano said.
A woman and man saw two men rifling through the woman’s car, the sergeant said.
“Then the victims confronted the suspects, one suspect brandished a handgun and the other suspect brandished a knife,” police said in a written statement.
“They stole one victim’s purse and tried to take the victims’ car keys,” according to the statement.
The suspects then fled the scene on foot.
Police found the two suspects about 45 minutes later, two blocks away, after a resident called police to report two suspicious men in a backyard in the 400 block of South Cordova Avenue, police said.
Steven Perez, 21, and Anthony Bruno, 19, both of Pico Rivera, were booked on suspicion of robbery and attempted carjacking.
A search of the area during daylight hours turned up a replica handgun with its orange tip removed, which police said they believed was the gun seen by the victims.
According to county booking records, Perez and Bruno were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Wednesday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
ALHAMBRA >> A woman armed herself with a baseball bat and chased away three intruders as they tried to force their way through the window of her Alhambra home before police apprehended three suspects following a brief pursuit, officials said.
The incident began about 1:25 p.m. when the woman heard the sound of burglars inside a detached laundry room of her home on Front Street, near Fremont Avenue, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said.
The three intruders then began trying to force their way through a window into the main house, he said.
The frightened resident, a woman in her 20s, grabbed a baseball bat to defend herself, Johnson said. She pounded it and managed to scare the burglars away. They got into a an SUV and drove off.
An Alhambra police motorcycle officer soon spotted an SUV matching the description driving along Fremont Avenue, near the 10 Freeway, according to the sergeant.
Officers followed as the SUV got onto the eastbound 10 Freeway, Johnson said. The driver at first drove calmly as officers amassed behind them, but then suddenly got into the carpool lane and accelerated.
The driver led officers on a chase before exiting the freeway at Peck Road and pulling over in a parking lot, police said. Officers then took the three suspects into custody without a struggle.
Davone Claude Garrett, 18, of Los Angeles; Agoin Malik Boyd, 19, of Los Angeles; and Ramire Blue, Male, 20, of Compton, were booked on suspicion of burglary, Johnson said. Boyd allegedly drove the getaway car.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, all three were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending their initial court appearances.
BOOKING PHOTOS: [Left to right] Davone Claude Garrett, 18, of Los Angeles; Agoin Malik Boyd, 19, of Los Angeles; and Ramire Blue, Male, 20, of Compton. (Courtesy, Alhambra Police Department)