ARCADIA — An elderly West Covina man died Wednesday after being struck by an SUV while crossing Santa Anita Avenue, police said.
Hao Liang, 81, died at the scene after being struck about 5:30 p.m. on Santa Anita Avenue at La Sierra Drive, Arcadia police and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said.
He was crossing west across the avenue when he was struck in the No. 2 lane by a later-model SUV that was southbound, Lt. Tom Cullen said.
The driver of the SUV, a 36-year-old Monterey Park woman, stopped at the scene and cooperated with investigators, officials said. Nothing criminal was initially suspected.
“Arcadia paramedics treated the pedestrian at the scene, but unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries,” Lt. Mike Castro said in a statement.
There is no marked crosswalk at the intersection where the elderly man was struck, and only east and westbound traffic is regulated with stop signs.
Detectives from the Arcadia Police Department’s Major Accident Investigation Team are handling the investigation.
ARCADIA — A man fought a would-be thief to retrieve his iPhone late Friday after it was snatched from a sandwich shop restroom, police said.
The incident took began about 8:45 p.m. at a Subway restaurant in the 100 block of East Duarte Road, Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura said.
A 19-year-old Monrovia man realized he had left his iPhone 5S in the restroom and saw another man pick it up and leave with it, the lieutenant said.
The man chased after the thief and confronted him, but the suspect managed to fight the victim off and continue fleeing with the stolen iPhone, Nakamura said.
But the determined victim again confronted the robber, who dropped the phone before running off, he said. The victim retrieved his phone, apparently undamaged.
The victim, who stood about 5 inches shorter than the thief, was not injured in the scuffles, Nakamura said.
Police described the robber as a white man between 20 and 25 years old, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 125 pounds. He had black hair and wore black reading glasses and a blue jacket. He carried a black backpack and a black duffel bag.
ARCADIA — A coroner’s investigation has determined a local man whose body was found at the bottom of a swimming pool earlier this died from drowning, and his death has been ruled a suicide, officials said Friday.
Greg Tser-Ming Chen, 35, was pronounced dead on the morning of Aug. 8 after a stranger discovered him unconscious in a backyard swimming pool in the 700 block of Camino Grove Avenue, according to Arcadia police and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said. The pool was around the corner from Chen’s own home.
Chen’s pet golden retriever was found in the same backyard where his body was found, officials said. No trauma was discovered on his body, and foul play was not initially suspected.
Following an extensive coroner’s examination, investigators determined Chen’s cause of death was drowning and ruled the death a suicide, coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. The full autopsy report was not available Friday.
The coroner’s report noted that Chen had struggled with depression issues in the past.
His wife saw him open his safe before leaving the house with the dog, Winter said. Believing Chen was merely taking the dog for a walk, his wife did not get out of bed.
“She had hidden his gun and medication,” Winter said.
Shortly after his body was discovered, neighbors speculated Chen, who they described as friendly, may have clipped and fallen into the pool while chasing after his dog.
*UPDATE: The missing person was found safe Thursday night, according to Arcadia police.
ARCADIA — Police asked the public’s help Thursday in finding a missing and possibly suicidal Arcadia woman.
Teruyo Horikawa, 27, was last seen driving her tan, 2005 Hyundai Elantra with a California license plate number of 5LTJ154 within Arcadia about 7:45 a.m., Arcadia police officials said in a written statement.
“Horikawa is bi-polar and possibly suicidal,” according to the police statement.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5123.
ARCADIA — An intoxicated man showed up at a hospital with stab wounds late Friday and told police he was injured while being robbed by two masked men in Arcadia, officials said.
Details were initially limited regarding the incident, which unfolded about 11 p.m., Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
A man was brought to the emergency room of Huntington Hospital by a private vehicle with lacerations to his shoulder and chest, the sergeant said. The wounds were not considered life-threatening.
The 20-year-old El Monte man told police he was attacked and robbed by two masked man at Baldwin Avenue and Huntington Drive, Crowther said. The “somewhat intoxicated” man was unable or unwilling to provide further details, and it was unclear what, if anything, was stolen.
POMONA — A jury convicted an Arcadia man Friday of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated Friday for driving through a freeway closure while drunk, fatally striking a road worker on the 10 Freeway in Baldwin Park last year, but could not reach a verdict on a murder charge, authorities said.
The Pomona Superior Court jury convicted Tatsuhiko Sakamoto, 39, of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, along with a charge of driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent, court officials said. But the jury acquitted the driver of a count of drunken driving causing injury, and became deadlocked regarding a second-degree murder charge.
He was ordered back to court Dec. 2, at which time prosecutors were expected to announce whether they would re-try the murder case.
Caltrans subcontractor Connor McDermott Penhall, 21, of Corona, died at the scene of the crash, which took place about 11:45 p.m. April 4, 2012, on the westbound 10 Freeway just west of Francisquito Avenue, officials said. Penhall, who is the son of actor and motorcycle champion Bruce Penhall, was performing construction work with Colorado-based Flatiron West Inc. when he was struck.
Sakamoto drove through signs and cones warning of the full freeway closure before the fatal collision.
Sakamoto was initially charged only with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and the two DUI-related charges in the days after his arrest, however prosecutors in December filed an additional charge of second-degree murder.
Sakamoto is being held in lieu of $1.05 million bail.
Penhall’s family has since filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages from Flatiron West Inc., Caltrans and the CHP alleging the agencies failed to follow proper procedures regarding the road closure the night Penhall was killed.
ARCADIA — Police conducted a search of an Arcadia Burlington Coat Factory early Wednesday after an employee arrived to discover a jewelry display case had been smashed open, police said.
Police received a call shortly after 7 a.m. reporting the burglary at the store, 1201 S. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said.
An employee arrived to work and immediately exited the store and called the police after seeing a jewelry display case on the first floor of the store had been smashed, the lieutenant said.
Police surrounded the store as a team of officers searched the interior in case any burglary suspect remained inside, Castro said. Officers completed their search about 9:25 a.m., finding no one inside the store.
Investigators were still trying to determined what time the overnight burglary took place, he added.
It was not immediately clear what, if anything, other than the jewelry from the display case had been stolen, Castro said.
Authorities sought the public’s help Friday in locating a 22-year-old La Puente woman who vanished a little more than a week ago while believed to be en route to class at Pasadena City College.
Gale Anne Williams last spoke with relatives Sept. 25, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement. She has no vehicle or cell phone and was believed to be heading to PCC. She was reported missing Oct. 1.
“Relatives say the subject has gone missing in the past, as recently as June, but not for this duration,” according to the police statement. “Inquiries with area hospitals and other facilities have been fruitless.”
Though Arcadia lies between William’s hometown of La Puente and PCC, “There is no known nexus with the subject to the City of Arcadia,” the statement said. “The missing person report has been referred to the Pasadena Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Industry Station.”
Authorities described Williams as half black and half white, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 130 pounds, with medium-length brown curly hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black and blue shirt and black leggings.
Anyone with information was asked to contact local law enforcement. Tips may also be submitted anonymously via L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO of Gale Williams courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.
ARCADIA — A three-legged dog stolen along with a car from an Arcadia shopping mall earlier this week was reunited with its owner with help from a good Samaritan, police said.
Luna the schnauzer was inside a Honda Accord that was stolen shortly after 8 p.m. fro ma parking lot on the south side of the Westfield Santa Anita, 400 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia police Sgt. John Bonomo said.
The owner of the car and dog, Alberto Gonzalez of Alhambra, was shopping inside a store when his keys, then his car, were stolen, Sgt. Tom LeVeque said.
“He set down his keys while trying on some shoes,” the sergeant said. When the man went outside, his 2004 Honda Accord was gone, along with his dog.
The car was recovered a little more than two hours later in Bell Gardens, LeVeque said. Some personal items had been stolen, but the car was undamaged.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the victim, Robert Yantz of Sierra Madre spotted the schnauzer in the area of Baldwin Avenue and Huntington Drive, the sergeant said. He took the dog home to look for its owner.
But when Yantz saw a Pasadena Star-News article Wednesday describing the theft of the car and dog, LeVeque said he realized the schnauzer belonged to the victim and contacted Arcadia police.
Luna and Gonzalez were reunited Wednesday afternoon.
Yantz and Luna were already at the police station when Gonzalez arrived to retrieve his pet, LeVeque said. The dog owner called out to the animal from across the lawn, and Luna ran toward him.
“For having three legs, it ran like the wind,” LeVeque said.
PHOTO courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department
A former Arcadia police officer and police officer’s association treasurer surrendered Wednesday to face accusations of embezzling more than $50,000 from the union to buy items including motorcycle accessories and cigars, authorities said.
Christian Eric Blesch, 36, pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles Superior Court to a felony charge of grand theft by embezzlement, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said. He turned himself in prior to the hearing after an ongoing investigation by the District Attorney’s Office Justice System Integrity Division resulted in the generation of an arrest warrant Sept. 24.
“The warrant was the result of an ongoing criminal investigation into allegations that Blesch, a 6-year employee of the department, feloniously stole money from the Arcadia Police Officers’ Association over a period of several months,” Arcadia police Capt. Paul Foley said.
“Blesch, who was elected in January 2011 to serve as treasurer for the Arcadia Police Officers’ Association, allegedly used the association’s credit card to purchase parts and accessories for his personal motorcycles, as well as personal items such as clothing , exercise equipment, shaving accessories and cigars,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. “Blesch allegedly paid the monthly credit card bills via check from the association’s bank account.”
He also allegedly used the association’s money to put a down payment on a motorcycle, officials said.
Blesch resigned from the department last month, the same day the warrant was issued for his arrest, according to police and district attorney’s officials.
He, along with another Arcadia police officer, were placed on administrative leave in March after the allegations came to light, Arcadia Police Chief Robert Guthrie said at the time.
The investigation into the second Arcadia police officer remained “in review,” Robison said.
The second officer remained on paid administrative leave Wednesday as the investigation continued, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said.
Prosecutors had not yet determined whether to file charges against him, Robison said.
Blesch’s defense attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Before the case could move forward, the POA elected to prosecute Blesch by majority vote, Foley said.
“We’re just being patient and working with the D.A.’s office to make sure this gets resolved, the captain said.
“We just want to move on from here, and remember there’s a lot of good men and women who work at our police department,” he added.
If convicted as charged, he could face up to three years behind bars, officials added.
Blesch, who was released from custody on $45,000 bail after his court appearance Wednesday, was scheduled to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court Nov. 8 for a preliminary hearing setting.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact district attorney’s Bureau of Investigations at 213-974-3528.