Man sought after groping two women near Arcadia schools

ARCADIA >> Police are seeking a man who groped two women near two different school campuses in Arcadia Tuesday, officials said.
The incidents took place about 8:55 a.m. in front of Richard Henry Dana Middle School, 1401 S. First Ave., and about 11 a.m. in the parking lot of Arcadia high School, 180 Campus Drive, Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura said.
“Each victim reported a male suspect came up from behind as they were either approaching or walking away from their vehicles and placed them in a ‘bear hug’ without saying a word,” Nakamura said. “While being held, the victims felt several pelvic thrusts from behind before being released,” he said.
The victim in the first case was a woman in her 20s who had just dropped her child off at the school, he said. The victim of the second battery was a woman in her 50s who had gone to the high school to help with a school program, the lieutenant said.
Detectives believed the same suspect was responsible for both attacks. He was described as an Asian man between 16 and 20 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall, of ‘chubby’ build, with black hair and clean-shaven. He wore a black hooded sweat shirt and tan shorts during the crimes.

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Police seek San Bernardino County man who wandered away from Arcadia hospital

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ARCADIA >> Police asked the public to keep an eye out for a 66-year-old San Bernardino County man who went missing from the Methodist Hospital in Arcadia Wednesday, officials said.
John Ben Disney was last seen about 6:15 p.m. at the hospital, 300 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement.
“Mr. Disney apparently walked away from the hospital,” according to the police statement. “He suffers from high blood pressure and has been known to abuse alcohol. It is believed he does have access to cash and a debit card.”
Though believed to be a San Bernardino County resident, Disney was last contacted within the past month while driving a vehicle in Pasadena.
“He does not have access to the vehicle at this time and was last known to be on foot,” the statement said.
The missing man is described as white, 6 feet 1 inch tall, 225 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a plaid shirt, shorts and a baseball cap with the word “Army” printed on the front.
Anyone with information is asked to call Arcadia police at 626-574-5151.

PHOTO of John Ben Disney courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.

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UPDATED: Two armed robberies reported outside Arcadia shopping mall in recent weeks


ARCADIA >> Police are urging shoppers to be cautious after two armed robberies were reported recently a the Westfield Santa Anita mall, including one in which a woman was pistol-whipped late Wednesday, officials said.
A San Gabriel woman in her early-40s was near the west side of the Nordstrom store in the mall parking lot, 400 S. Baldwin Ave., when she was attacked just after 9:20 p.m., according to Arcadia police Sgt. Brett Bourgeous.
“Officers contacted the victim of a robbery who advised that she was hit over the head with a black semi-automatic handgun and robbed of her purse and cellular phone,” police said in a written statement.
The robber ran to a nearby car with a getaway driver waiting at the wheel, officials said. The car sped south through the parking lot and disappeared. The woman was treated at a hospital for a laceration to her head.
Police described the gunman only as a tall, skinny man wearing a hooded sweatshirt. No description of the driver was available, but the suspects’ vehicle was described as a small, silver or gray SUV.
Another similar armed robbery was reported in the south parking lot of the same mall about two weeks earlier on Aug. 4, according to the police statement.
A robber brandishing a handgun approached an 18-year-old Arcadia man as he walked to his car about 10:10 p.m., Bourgeous said.
“The suspect made off with the victim’s wallet and cell phone,” the sergeant said. The victim suffered no injuries.
Officials described the gunman as a black man in his 20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, of thin build, wearing a bandanna covering his face. He was last seen fleeing on foot with a second male suspect. No further description of the accomplice was available.
Detectives noted similarities between the crimes and were looking into a possible connection, though a concrete link had not been established, Bourgeous said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5151. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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UPDATED – IN CUSTODY: Woman accused of abducting 3-year-old son from Arcadia shopping mall

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ARCADIA >> Police arrested the mother of a 3-year-old boy Sunday after the woman, who does not have custody of her son, allegedly abducted him from an Arcadia shopping mall.
Levi Barrios and his mother Melissa Barrios, 25, disappeared about 8:35 p.m. Saturday from the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, 400 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia police Lt. Vaughn Whalen said in a written statement.
The boy’s great-aunt called police and reported Melissa Barrios, who is only authorized for visitation with her son, had absconded with him, Whalen said. The two were last seen at a bus stop at the mall.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies found the mother and child at union station in Los Angeles about 2:20 a.m., police said.
The boy was unharmed and Melissa Barrios was jailed on suspicion of kidnapping.
She was being held in lieu of $150,000 bail pending her initial court appearance.
PHOTO of Melissa Barrios courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department

 

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Parolee accused of attempted arson at U.S. Forest Service Headquarters in Arcadia

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ARCADIA >> Police jailed a convicted arsonist Saturday after allegedly catching him trying to set a fire on the grounds of the U.S. Forest Service Headquarters facility in Arcadia, officials said.
Ronald Steven Watson, 59, of Sierra Madre was arrested shortly after 7:30 a.m. at the facility, 701 N. Santa Anita Ave., according to Arcadia police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Police encountered Watson after responding to a report of a suspicious person at the site.
“Officers contacted a subject who had matches in his pocket and had gathered kindling, twigs, and sticks and stacked them underneath a large tree to start a fire,” Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said in a written statement.
Temperatures in the area rose well above 100 degrees Saturday, with single digit relative humidity levels. Hundreds of firefighters battled the Cabin Fire in the Angeles National Forest north of the San Gabriel Valley, which had already scorched thousands of acres and several structures.
Police booked Watson on suspicion of attempted arson, she added.
Watson, who is already on parole for a previous arson conviction, was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, record show. He was scheduled to appear Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.

PHOTO of Ronald Watson, 59, of Sierra Madre courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.

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UPDATED: Man sought for swindling 90-year-old man in Arcadia auto repair scam

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ARCADIA >> Police are seeking a con man who they say used bogus auto repair scam to bilk a 90-year-old man out of money Thursday.
The incident began about 1 p.m. as the victim was getting into his car in front of a Ralphs grocery store at Huntington Drive and Sunset Boulevard, Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said in a written statement.
The suspect hopped in the passenger-side door of the victims car and told the victim he worked for a car manufacturer and noticed a problem with the car’s door, she said.
“The suspect said he could fix the door for a cash payment. The suspect reached under the dash and pulled out a ‘black chip’ which he then replaced, claiming to fix the car,” Flores said. “The victim drove to a nearby bank with the suspect, withdrew the money, and paid the suspect.”
The victim then dropped the con man off back at the supermarket parking lot, police said.
It was unclear whether the suspect actually replaced something in the victim’s car or 0815_NWS_PSN-L-CONMAN3merely pretended, Flores said. There was not believed to be anything wrong with the victim’s car in the first place.
Detectives declined to discuss how much money the elderly victim lost in the scam, Flores said.
Police described him as male, about 50 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall and of medium build. He spoke with an accent, possible Middle Eastern.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5151. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stopper at 800-222-8477.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5151. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stopper at 800-222-8477.

SUSPECT photos courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department

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Arcadia townhouse damaged in early-morning fire

ARCADIA >> A fire damaged both units of a townhouse early Wednesday, resulting in a minor injury to a firefighter, authorities said.
The fire ignited about 3 a.m. at a single-story, two-unit townhouse in the 700 block of Fairview Avenue, according to Arcadia Fire Department spokeswoman Beth Stogner.
Nearly 20 firefighters, including ones from Pasadena and Los Angeles County, quickly extinguished the flames, Stogner said.
No civilians were hurt, however one firefighter was treated at the scene for a minor hand injury, Stogner said.
The fire caused an estimated $17,000 worth of damage, primarily to the unit in which it ignited, Stogner said. An adjacent unit sustained smoke damage.
The unit where the fire originated was unoccupied due to renovations, Stogner said. The Red Cross was summoned to assist any displaced residents from the second unit.
Stogner said the cause of the fire remained under investigation. It began in a kitchen wall and initially appeared to be accidental.

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UPDATED: Woman critically injured in Arcadia apartment fire


ARCADIA >> A woman was hospitalized in critical condition after firefighters pulled her from her burning apartment Friday night, officials said.
The fire ignited about 9:30 p.m. in a second-floor unit of a large, two-story apartment complex in the 900 block of West Huntington Drive, Arcadia Fire Department Battalion Chief Barry Spriggs said.
“The unit of origin was charged with smoke throughout, with fire burning freely from the bedroom window,” Arcadia fire officials said in a written statement.
Firefighters called a “second alarm” as they battled the flames in the apartment, which was set back 800 feet from the street toward the rear of the large apartment complex, Spriggs said.
They found an unconscious woman, estimated to be in her 50s, inside the burning apartment, officials said. She appeared to have suffered burns as well as smoke inhalation and was taken to the Methodist Hospital in Arcadia in critical condition.
The injured woman was believed to be the lone resident of the apartment, Spriggs said. No other injuries were reported.
Firefighters extinguished the fire in about 20 minutes, Spriggs said, managing to keep it confined to a single unit. The involved apartment was scorched throughout.
Investigators determined the fire ignited in the apartment’s bedroom and was accidental, according to the fire department statement. Specific details regarding the cause of the fire were not available.
Officials estimated the blaze caused $80,000 worth of damage to the apartment and its contents.
Police initially helped evacuate many residents from the building, but only the apartments adjacent to the one that caught fire remained uninhabitable late Friday night, Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
The Red Cross was summoned to help find temporary lodging for one resident displaced overnight.
Firefighters from Pasadena, Monrovia and Los Angeles County helped the Arcadia Fire Department douse the flames.

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Woman goes missing in Arcadia

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ARCADIA >> Authorities are seeking a 44-year-old woman who vanished from an Arcadia hospital more than a week ago and hasn’t been seen since.
Barbara Jean Joseph was last seen July 26 after she went to the Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, 300 W. Huntington Drive, but left before being seen by a physician, according to Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores. It was unclear why the woman went to the hospital in the first place.
Joseph was reported missing Wednesday, Flores said.
“Barbara has a history of psychological disorders and has attempted suicide numerous times in the past,” Flores said.
She’s described as white, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She does not own a car, and it was unclear what clothing she was wearing when she disappeared.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5151.

PHOTO courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department

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Foul play not suspected in man’s death near Arcadia

ARCADIA >> A man’s body was discovered on a street Friday morning.
Lt. Loy McBride of the sheriff’s Temple Station said a passerby reported a “man down” on Sandra and Foss avenues at 10:14 a.m.
Deputies and firefighters responded to the location which is in the unincorporated county area near Arcadia.
There were no overt signs of foul play, and the death appeared to be natural, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
The man’s identity was not released Friday pending positive identification and notification of his family,
An autopsy was planned to determined an officials cause of death.

– Ruby Gonzales and Brian Day

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