ALTADENA — Local and federal officials arrested two Pasadena gang members early Friday in connection with the beating and kidnapping of another man earlier in the week, authorities said.
James Patton, 27, and Jeffrey Butler, 20, were arrested by a task force comprised of Altadena sheriff’s deputies, Pasadena police officers and FBI agents during the service of two search warrants in the early-morning hours, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. They were booked on suspicion of assault, kidnapping and weapons charges.
The alleged kidnapping took place early Wednesday.
“An Altadena resident was assaulted, kidnapped and then held hostage inside a house on the 500 block of Stonehurst Drive,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
“Allegedly, the two suspects left him in the house to be watched by another younger male so they could steal his car,” the statement said. “The victim was able to escape through the back door and jumped over the rear fence. A short time later, the victim contacted several patrol Deputies on the 500 block of Figueroa Drive, Altadena and explained how he was beaten and threatened by two suspects with two different handguns.”
Butler was taken into custody about 6 a.m. Friday as officials searched a home in the 400 block of Athens Street in Altadena, according to sheriff’s officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
“Detectives are still looking for a chrome handgun that was allegedly used by Mr. Butler,” according to the statement.
Patton was arrested about 6:30 p.m. during a search at a second, undisclosed location, officials said. Also recovered during the search was a revolver believed to have been used in the crime.
Another alleged gang member was arrested along with Patton due to an outstanding $15,000 misdemeanor warrant, according to investigators and booking records.
Patton and Butler were being held in lieu of $1 million bail each pending their initial court appearances.
ALTADENA — A bungalow was destroyed in an early morning fire Friday along Ganesha Avenue in Altadena, officials said.
The fire was reported about 3:30 a.m. in the 2400 block of Ganesha Avenue, Sgt. Daniel Tobin of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail said.
The building, along with three other bungalows situated on the same lot that were not damaged, were vacant for renovations, the sergeant said.
The cause of the fire had not been determined Friday afternoon, however it was not initially considered suspicious, Tobin said.
He “conservatively” estimated that the fire caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.
SOUTH PASADENA — Authorities are investigating the death of an Altadena man who was struck by a Metro Gold Line train Saturday.
The fatal incident took place just after 4:10 p.m. near Monterey Road and Pasadena Avenue, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Transportation Services Bureau spokesman Ramon Montenegro said.
The name of the dead man was not released Sunday pending notification of his family, coroner’s officials said. He was described as 57 years old.
A witness account indicated the man was standing on the tracks between two crossing arms, which were believed to be down and working properly, when struck by the northbound commuter train, Montenegro said.
But the specific circumstances of the incident remained under investigation.
South Pasadena Fire Department paramedics rushed to the scene, South Pasadena police Sgt. Brian Solinsky said.
“All possible live-saving measures were attempted, and the victim succumbed to his injuries at the scene,” he said.
Service was briefly shut down between the Highland Park and Pasadena Gold Line station, and buses were used to transport passengers, Montenegro said. Service on the line was delayed for about 20 minutes.
ALTADENA — Coroner’s officials have released the name of a man whose badly burned body was found following a fire inside his unit at a senior citizens’ apartment complex.
Eldrid Sweeney, 81, of Altadena was pronounced dead at the scene of the two-alarm fire that broke out about 1:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in the 26090 block of North Lincoln Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Joe Bale said. An autopsy had been carried out, however Sweeney’s cause of death was not yet determined pending the results of test results.
Sweeney’s identity was previously unconfirmed due to the badly burned condition in which his body was found.
The cause of the fire, which left one other person with minor injuries, was under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail.
Officials estimated the fire caused $1.05 million worth of damage to the building and its contents.
Police Wednesday arrested two Altadena men accused of burglarizing a home in West Covina, then robbing the resident of his cell phone when he interrupted the crime and called 9-1-1, authorities said.
Joshua Washington and Terrance Hall, both 18 and of Altadena, were booked on suspicion of burglary and robbery, West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez said in a written statement.
The break-in took place about 11:20 a.m. Tuesday in the 600 block of South Charvers Avenue, police said.
A man arrived home to find two intruders inside his house, Lopez said. The burglars fled, and the man began calling 9-1-1 on his cell phone.
“However, one suspect returned to the victim and forcible took the phone away,” the corporal said. They then fled in a white Lexus parked in front of the home.
The resident had noticed a Lexus he didn’t recognize when he first arrived home and wrote down the license plate number, which he was able to provide to investigators, Lopez said. Additionally, the West Covina Police Department’s Forensic Identification Unit was able to lift latent fingerprints from the burgled home.
Further investigation led police to a home in the 2700 block of Tola Street in Altadena early Wednesday, where Washington and Hall were taken into custody without a struggle, Lopez said. The Lexus seen in front of the victim’s home was found nearby.
According to county booking records, the suspects were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each pending their scheduled arraignments Friday in West Covina Superior Courts.
ALTADENA — Homicide detectives are investigating the discovery of human skeletal remains along a remote section of Fair Oaks Avenue at the northern end of Altadena late Wednesday, authorities said.
Little information was available late Wednesday regarding the discovery, which was reported just before 12:30 p.m. in the 3900 block of Fair Oaks Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The remains were initially described as skeletal human remains, including a skull, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Joe Bale said. No further description of the bones or exactly where and how they were found was available.
With the remote location on the edge of the Angeles National Forest and diminishing daylight working against investigators, many questions were expected to remain unanswered until Thursday.
“Due to the terrain, weather and hour of darkness, detectives will respond tomorrow, along with personnel from the coroner’s office, and continue their investigation,” according to Lt. Holly Francisco of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
ALTADENA — Detectives arrested an Altadena man Thursday after recovinering about $2,000 worth of computer equipment stolen over the summer from a Los Angeles County school.
Freddie Spears, 43, was arrested and booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property after deputies served a search warrant about 7 a.m. at his home in the 300 block of Calaveras Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Officials released little information about the ongoing investigation, as detectives continued seeking additional suspects and stolen computer equipment yet to be recovered, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Eric Lasko said. He declined to identify the school, which lost about $10,000 worth of computer equipment in a summertime burglary.
Spears was taken into custody without a struggle, Lasko said.
According to county booking records, Spears was being held in lieu of $20,00 bail at the sheriff’s Crescenta Valley Station pending a scheduled arraignment Monday in Pasadena Superior Court.
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Detectives are investigating the discovery of a body along a hiking trail in the forest north of Altadena Sunday afternoon.
A hiker reported discovering the body, initially described only as male, shortly before 4 p.m. to the east of Inspiration Point, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Brian Fitch said. Officials located the body about 4:10 p.m.
Few details were available, as communications in the forest were limited, Fitch said.
It had not yet been determined Sunday afternoon whether the death involved foul play.
ALTADENA — A group of armed men bound employees and ordered a manger to open a safe during a takeover-style robbery at a Walmart store early Saturday, authorities said.
The crime took place about 3:30 a.m. at the store on Lincoln Avenue at Figueroa Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Booker Hollis said. A group of employees was outside the store taking a break when they were approached by four robbers, described only as male and wearing dark-colored hooded sweatshirts, who were carrying small-caliber handguns.
“They ordered the employees into the store,” Hollis said. “Once inside, the suspects zip-tied te employees’ hands.”
The employees were then ordered into an office where the store’s safe is stored and instructed to lie face-down on the floor, the sergeant said.
Hollis said the gunmen ordered a manager to open the safe and fled the store with $4,000 to $5,000. They were last seen running east from the store.
No injuries were reported, Hollis added.
Detectives continued following up on clues and checking surveillance cameras for evidence Saturday.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Altadena Station at 626-798-1131.
ALTADENA — A fire blamed on a cigarette destroyed a residential garage and caused minor damage to two adjacent houses before being extinguished by firefighters Saturday, officials said.
The fire was first reported about 12:13 p.m. in a detached garage in the 3500 block McNally Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters said. It was declared “knocked down” just over 15 minutes later.
A woman in her 50s was taken to a hospital for treatment of a medical condition, though she was not believed to have been injured in the fire, Peters said.
It was not clear if she was a resident of one of the affected homes.
No one was displaced as a result of the fire, fire Capt. John Knowles said.
The fire, which caused about $40,000 worth of damage, was believed to have been sparked by a discarded cigarette, the captain added.