ALHAMBRA >> Reports of an unconscious man inside a car with a handgun in the parking lot of an Alhambra shopping center drew a SWAT team response Friday morning before police determined the “gun” was actually a pistol-shaped cellphone case, officials said.
Witnesses first reported seeing the man about 10:50 a.m. in a parking lot of a shopping center at the southeast corner of Fremont and Commonwealth avenues, Alhambra police Assistant Chief Elliot Kase said.
Officers headed to the scene to assess the situation, he said.
The man appeared to briefly wake up shortly before 1 p.m., and was seen moving inside the vehicle, before apparently falling back asleep, Kase said. Police were in contact with the man’s family.
Nearby stores such as Albertsons, Toys”R” Us and PetSmart were place on lockdown as the incident continued unfolding, Kase said.
Police used air horns and sirens in an attempt to rouse the man, to no effect, Sgt. Jerry Johnson said.
A sheriff’s SWAT team was summoned to take over the scene shortly after 2 p.m.
Nearly an hour later, SWAT deputies approached the parked SUV, Johnson said.
As the neared the vehicle, there were able to wake the driver and get his attention, according to the sergeant.
He obeyed police orders to exit the car with his hands up and was briefly detained, Johnson said.
Officials then determined the reported handgun in his SUV was actually a cellphone case shaped to look like a handgun, Johnson said.
It appeared the man was simply very tired after working a night shift, he added.
Police determined no crime had been committed, and no arrest was made.
ALHAMBRA >> A crash between a motorcycle and bicycle left the bicyclist hospitalized in critical condition on Saturday afternoon, police said.
The collision took place about 1:15 p.m. at the entrance to Granada Park, along Hellman Avenue, between Palm and Raymond avenues, Alhambra police Sgt. Ruben Soriano said.
Paramedics took the bicyclist, described as a man in his mid-20s, to an area trauma center with major injuries, the sergeant said. The motorcyclist, a man in his mid-40s, suffered apparently minor injuries and declined to be taken to a hospital.
Police shut down the entrance to the park as they conducted an investigation Saturday afternoon.
ALHAMBRA >> A distraught man climbed into a tree in the backyard of a burning home, leaving two children inside alone, before officials ultimately persuaded him to climb down and surrender on Friday morning, authorities said.
The incident began with a report of a house fire about 10 a.m. in the 700 block of North Second Street, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said in a written statement. The relatively small fire was confined to one portion of the home.
“While extinguishing the fire, they encountered a distraught, uncooperative man in the backyard of the house that was burning,” Johnson said. Firefighters called police for help.
Firefighters also found two children, about 5 and 6 years old, inside the home and removed them to safety, Alhambra police and fire officials said. They were unhurt, and it was unclear whether they were aware the house was on fire.
As officers approached the man in the backyard, he climbed about 20 feet up into a backyard tree and refused to come down, officials said.
As a precaution, officials placed Garfield Elementary School, located across the street, on lockdown, Johnson added.
An Alhambra police officer, aided by a county mental health clinician, spoke with the man and encouraged him to come down, according to Johnson. “After about an hour of talking to the man, he peacefully climbed down from the tree.”
Officials took the man to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, officials said. No other injuries were reported.
Police expected to take the man for psychiatric evaluation, Johnson said. It was unclear whether he would face criminal charges as the investigation into the incident and the cause of the fire continued Friday night.
“The actual fire itself was not large in scope, It wasn’t a complete loss on the structure,” Alhambra Fire Department Battalion Chief Doug Shonkwiler said. A dollar-value estimate of the damage was not available.
The detained man had a connection to the involved home, though it was unclear if he lived there, officials said. The relationship between the man and children was unclear.
ALHAMBRA >> Police posing as a Craiglist shopper arrested a moving company employee Tuesday after he offered to sell them a Rolex watch stolen from the home of one of his customers during a recent moving job, officials said.
Stanislav Kirsanov, 30, of Sherman Oaks was booked on suspicion of grand theft after police set up a sting operation, Alhambra police Sgt. Edward Elizalde said in a written statement.
A couple called police on Monday to reports several items of jewelry had gone missing from their home as they were moving from one part of the city to another, Elizalde said.
“The couple suspected the workers from the moving company were involved,” he said.
Within days, the couple noticed one of the missing items, a men’s Rolex watch with distinctive markings, was being offered for sale on the online marketplace Craigslist.com.
Posing as a Craigslist shopper interested in the expensive watch, detectives arranged to meet the seller, later identified as Kirsanov, police said.
“Detectives conducted the undercover sting operation in Sherman Oaks and took possession of the stolen watch and detained the person selling it,” Elizalde said.
Police found additional pieces of high-end jewelry, jewelry bags and jewelry cases which they believe were stolen in similar thefts, he said.
Moving company’s Kirsanov was believed to be associated with include Mr. Low Prices, Affordable Movers Co. and Best in the West Moving and Storage, Elizalde said.
“It is possible Mr. Kirsanov may have committed similar thefts while working as a mover for one of the above mentioned moving companies,” he said. “Mr. Kirsanov has used different names in the past and may be known by a variety of aliases.”
Anyone who has hired Kirsanov or the companies he’s affiliated with and noticed items missing are encouraged to contact Alhambra police at 626-570-5157.
ALHAMBRA >> Authorities have identified a 31-year-old motorcyclist from Montebello who died in a crash after being cut off by pickup truck on an Alhambra expressway on Friday.
Eric Kawai died at a hospital shortly after Friday’s 11:50 a.m. collision on the eastbound 10 Freeway, just east of Garfield Avenue, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records. He was initially described by California Highway Patrol officials as 32 years old.
Prior to the crash, Kawai was riding a 2015 Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle in the right-hand lane of the two-lane express way, which runs along the left-hand side of the eastbound 10 Freeway, Officer J. McKee of the CHP’s East Los Angeles Office said in a written statement.
A 1986 Toyota pickup truck being driven by a 19-year-old El Segundo man was heading east on the 10 Freeway in the fast lane, “in heavy stop-and-go traffic,” McKee said.
Kawai was overtaking the pickup truck when the driver veered across the solid double-white lines separating the freeway from the FasTrak expressway and directly into the motorcycles path of travel, McKee said. The motorcycle struck the pickup truck.
The teenage driver of the pickup truck, as well as three other young men who were riding as passengers, suffered no injuries in the crash, officials said.
Officers initially detained the teenage pickup truck driver, but he was not ultimately arrested, according to CHP officials.
Anyone with information regarding the fatal collision is asked to contact the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office at 323-980-4600.
A fund established online at www.gofundme.com/eric-kawai to help Kawai’s family had raised more than $6,000 as of Wednesday.
ALHAMBRA >> A motorcyclist from Montebello died in a crash on the 10 Freeway in Alhambra Friday after a pickup truck cut him off on an expressway, authorities said Saturday.
Authorities withheld the name of the motorcyclists, described as a 32-year-old Montebello man, pending notification of his family, California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said.
The crash took place about 11:50 a.m. on the eastbound 10 Freeway, just east of Garfield Avenue, California Highway Patrol Office Michelle Bond said.
Prior to the crash. the motorcyclist was riding a 2015 Kawasaki Ninja east in the right-hand lane of the two-lane FasTrak toll road, Officer McKee of the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office said in a written statement. A 19-year-old El Segundo man was driving a 1986 Toyota pickup truck “in heavy stop-and-go traffic” in the fast lane of the eastbound 10 Freeway, alongside the FasTrak expressway.
“This collision occurred when (the pickup truck) changed lanes from the No. 1 lane of Interstate 10 eastbound across the solid double white lines,” McKee said.
The truck ended up directly in the motorcycle’s path of travel, he said. The motorcycle struck the back of the pickup truck.
Paramedics took the badly injured motorcyclist to a nearby hospital with severe trauma to his torso, officials said. He was soon pronounced dead.
The teenager at the wheel of the pickup was arrested, according to the CHP. His identity, as well as the crime he is accused of, were not available Saturday afternoon.
The pickup truck driver, as well as two other young men who were riding as passengers in the truck, suffered no injuries in the crash, according to McKee.
Anyone with information can reach the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office during normal business hours at 323-980-4600.
ALHAMBRA >> Police are seeking a bicycle-riding thief caught on camera snatching a package from the front porch of an Alhambra home on Tuesday, officials said.
The crime took place about 4 p.m. in the 1700 block of South Hidalgo Avenue, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
“The victim’s surveillance footage recorded the theft,’ according to the statement.
Anyone who recognized the suspect is asked to contact Alhambra Police Department’s Investigation Division hotline at 626-308-4875. Tipsters may remain anonymous.
PHOTO courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department.
ALHAMBRA >> An alleged drunken driver struck a woman and a 3-year-old girl with his car along Main Street in Alhambra, sending the girl to an intensive care unit, before fleeing the scene and crashing into another car late Friday, police said.
Abundio Flores-Ramon, 21, of El Monte was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and felony hit-and-run following the collisions, which took place about 8:45 p.m., according to Alhambra police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The woman and the young girl were crossing Main Street at 4th Street when Flores-Ramon struck them with his car and fled the scene, Cpl. Tim Diller said.
Flores-Ramon continued driving east, where he struck another car at Main Street and Garfield Avenue, the corporal said.
The suspect’s car came to a stop at Garfield Avenue, where Flores-Ramon was taken into custody.
A total of five people, including the suspect, were treated for injuries following the collisions, police said.
The little girl remained in an intensive care unit early Saturday morning, Diller said.
In a written statement, police described the 3-year-old girls condition Saturday afternoon as “serious but stable.”
The woman who was struck along with her had been released from the hospital.
The conditions of the other two people injured from the vehicle struck by the fleeing suspect were not clear.
Flores-Ramon was booked at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail after being treated for his injuries, records show.
He was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
PHOTOS of crash scene (above) and suspect Abundio Flores-Ramon (below) courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department.
ALHAMBRA >> Restaurants throughout Downtown Alhambra will be chipping in for first responders over the coming week during the first “Dine Alhambra” event, officials said.
Monday through Aug. 7, local restaurants will be taking turns daily donating 20 percent of their proceeds to the Alhambra Emergency First Responders Fund when customers show the Dine Alhambra flyer, either in print or on their cell phone, city officials said in a written statement.
Jasmine House and TwoHey’s will be participating all day, each day of the week, organizers said.
Blaze Pizza will host the event for dinner on Monday. Hot Red Bus will host lunch on Tuesday, followed by dinner at Diner on the Main.
Lunch will be hosted Wednesday the Habit Burger Grill, where Alhambra police and fire personnel will be on-hand. Dinner will follow at Alondra Hot Wings.
Thursday’s lunch will be at Shakas, then dinner at Thai Purple. A dinner will be hosted Friday by Charlie’s Trio.
Breakfast is planned Saturday at Applebees, and a 38 Degrees is hosting dinner Sunday evening.
For more information, visit www.downtownalhambra.com.
ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested a Norwalk man after he robbed a grocery store pharmacy of painkillers Sunday, officials said.
Albert Eloy Keil, 23, was booked on suspicion of robbery and burglary shortly after the crime, which took place about noon inside an Albertsons store, 2400 W. Commonwealth Ave., according to Alhambra police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Keil verbally threatened employees at the pharmacy before hopping over the counter and helping himself to about $900 worth of codeine pills, Alhambra police Sgt. Ruben Soriano said.
But store security guards immediately captured the robber, who was not armed, and held him until police arrived, the sergeant said.
Keil was believed to have been accompanied by an accomplice who acted as a lookout, Soriano said. The second suspect, described only as male, was not found Saturday.
Keil was being held in lieu of $120,000 bail pending an arraignment hearing, scheduled Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court, records show.