ARCADIA – Police asked the public’s help Sunday in tracking down an 8-year-old woman who suffers from dementia and went missing from a hotel.
Arlen Ellefsen was last seen about 10:15 Sunday at the Hampton Inn, 311 Huntington Drive, Arcadia police Lt. Roy Namamura said in a written statement. She does not drive.
Ellefsen is white, 5 feet 9 inches tall and 125 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink and white striped shirt and blue pants.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-573-5123.
ARCADIA — A man robbed an Arcadia dry cleaning business early Wednesday, officials said.
The crime took place about 9:30 a.m. in the 100 block of South First Avenue, Arcadia police Sgt. Vaugn Whalen said in a written statement.
The robber entered the business and demanded money from an employee, he said. The employee handed over about $50 from the register and the robber ran from the store.
He was last seen getting into a a white, four-door Honda sedan, which headed south on First Avenue, Whalen said. It was unclear if he was accompanied by a getaway driver, or drove the car himself.
No weapon was seen during the robbery, the sergeant said. The robber was described as black, about 6 feet tall, wearing a black shirt and white pants.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5150.
PASADENA – A judge sentenced a San Gabriel man to prison Tuesday after he admitted fatally stabbing an 18-year-old Pomona man during a fight outside an Arcadia strip mall in 2011, authorities said.
At what was scheduled to be a pre-trial hearing Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court, Juan Lorenzo, 33, of San Gabriel pleaded “no contest” to a count of voluntary manslaughter, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said. He also admitted the special, sentence-enhancing allegation that he personally used a knife in the crime.
The plea was entered as part of a negotiated plea agreement, Robison said. He was initially charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
Immediately following the plea, “He was sentenced to 12 years in state prison,” Robison said. He received the sentence from Pasadena Superior Court Judge Dorothy Shubin.
Lorenzo was working at the Money Pot Shabu Shabu restaurant in the 1300 block of South Golden West Avenue when he became involved in an argument with Anthony Berry, who was sitting in a parked car waiting for an acquaintance who worked at another nearby resident, according to Arcadia police officials.
During the dispute, Lorenzo pulled a knife and stabbed Berry, who ran toward the businesses and collapsed, Arcadia police Lt. Tom LeVeque said at the time. Berry was taken to Huntington Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries a short time later.
Lorenzo was held without bail pending trial due to a hold placed on him by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
A second restaurant employee initially arrested in connection with the fatal fight was released without charges due to insufficient evidence, district attorney’s officials said.
ARCADIA — Coroner’s officials Friday identified a 35-year-old Arcadia man found dead at the bottom of a stranger’s backyard swimming pool.
Greg Tser-Ming Chen was pronounced dead shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday, minutes after a resident of the 700 block of Camino Grove Avenue called authorities, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
But how he died and how he ended up in the swimming pool belonging to people who did not know him remained a mystery, police and coroner’s officials said. He was dressed in pajama pants and a T-shirt, was barefoot and was accompanied by his pet golden retriever, which was not on a leash.
A search of public records indicated Chen lived about two blocks away from where his body was discovered.
The animal in the backyard first alerted residents of the home that something was amiss early Thursday, police said.
An autopsy was expected to be carried out Saturday, Winter said.
Arcadia police Sgt. Brian Ortiz said there were no apparent signs of trauma on Chen’s body, and foul play was not initially suspected in the death.
The investigation into what happened to Chen largely hinged on the findings of coroner’s officials, Ortiz added.
Neighbors did not report hearing or seeing anything unusual leading up to the discovery of the body.
ARCADIA — A resident discovered the body of a stranger at the bottom of a backyard swimming pool early Thursday, officials said.
The dead man was believed to be a 35-year-old Arcadia resident, however confirmation of his identity by investigators from the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner was pending, Arcadia police Sgt. Brian Ortiz said. The dead man was listed at the coroner’s office as Asian.
Police responded to the 700 block of Camino Grove Avenue about 8:05 a.m. after a man reported discovering the body of a man, whom he did not recognize, at the bottom of his swimming pool, the sergeant said.
“Residents discovered a dog in their yard that didn’t belong here,’ Sgt. Stephen Fallavolita said. “On further inspection of their backyard, they found a deceased male in their pool.”
“They have no idea who it was,” Fallavolita added.
The resident of the home could not be reached for comment.
The investigation into how the man clothed in black pajama bottoms and a white T-shirt and barefoot man ended up in the yard and at the bottom of the swimming pool remained in its early stages and largely hinged on the finding of Los Angeles County Department of Coroner investigators.
There were no apparent signs of trauma on the body and no blood in the swimming pool, Ortiz said. Foul play was not initially suspected.
An autopsy was planned to determined how the man died.
Investigators had not yet determined how long the body had been in the pool before being discovered, he said, however the resident reported that he last looked into the pool, and found nothing unusual, some time Wednesday night.
A gate separating the front yard from the backyard had been closed but unlocked, Ortiz said.
The dog, described as a golden retriever, was picked up by officials from the Pasadena Humane Society, officials said. There was no leash attached to the animal.
Neighbor Andrea Updike said she did not hear or see anything unusual late Wednesday or before the discovery of the body Thursday.
She said she went for a walk about 10 p.m. and “It just seemed normal.”
And Updikes dogs, which usually bark at strangers, made no commotion overnight, she added.
The investigation was ongoing.
ARCADIA — A man was arrested Friday — the day after discovery of 300 pot plants growing in his Arcadia home — when he arrived at the Pasadena Humane Society to try and pick up his dogs, which were seized during the bust, authorities said.
Kenny Lee, 31, was booked on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana and theft of electricity in connection with the indoor marijuana grow, which was discovered shortly after 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the 200 block of East Longden Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro.
Police found the marijuana plants after animal control officials responded to Lee’s home after his dogs escaped from his yard, Lt. Roy Nakamura said. The animal control officers discovered the front door of the home was open and no one was home, prompting them to call police to check it out.
Officers entered the home to make sure everything was alright and stumbled upon an indoor marijuana grow comprised of 300 plants in various stages of growth, Castro said. The home’s electrical system had also been wired to bypass the electrical meter, allowing Lee to allegedly steal electricity to power the powerful lights required for the grow operation from the Southern California Edison grid.
Lee was not found until Friday afternoon, when he arrived at the Pasadena Humane Society seeking his dogs. Animal control officials notified police, who went to the facility and arrested Lee.
He was released from jail pending his initial court appearance early Saturday after posting $30,000 bail, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
Even after the smoke of Independence Day fireworks clears, law enforcement agencies throughout Los Angeles County will continue holding checkpoints and increased patrols to combat intoxicated driving over the holiday weekend, officials said.
California Highway Patrol officers are planning a checkpoint Friday evening at an undisclosed location within the unincorporated county area east of Pasadena, CHP officials said in a written statement.
Arcadia police, joined by other officers from a multi-agency anti-DUI task force known collectively as Avoid the 100, are planning a checkpoint Saturday evening at an undisclosed location within Arcadia.
In addition to the checkpoints, extra officers will be on the lookout of intoxicated motorists during the CHP’s “Maximum Enforcement Period,” beginning at 6 p.m. Friday and running through midnight Monday.
Anyone who sees an intoxicated driver on the road is asked to report it by calling 9-1-1.
ARCADIA – A three vehicle wreck involving a big rig caused major traffic delays on the 210 Freeway Friday, but resulted in only minor injuries, authorities said.
The 11:10 a.m. crash on the westbound 210 Freeway at Santa Anita Avenue involved a big rig, a box truck and a Porsche, California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs said.
The Porsche ended up pinned against the big rig, but the driver suffered only minor injuries, the officer said. It was unclear if any others were treated for injuries as a result of the crash, though the incident involved no significant injuries.
The cause and circumstances of the crash remained under investigation by officers from the Altadena office of the CHP.
Officials initially shut down all westbound lanes of the freeway, but within half an hour, only the two right lanes of the westbound 210 Freeway remained closed, according to CHP logs. All traffic lanes were reopened at 12:48 p.m.
ARCADIA — Five people were bound and blindfolded, and two of them were beaten, during a home-invasion robbery late Thursday, police said.
The violent robbery took place shortly before 11:45 p.m. at a home in the 500 block of East Norman Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura said in a written statement.
The victims were two men and three women, ranging in age from 19 to 33, Sgt. Kollin Cieadlo said.
“There were initially two victims at the residence who were tied up and blindfolded as the suspects ransacked the home,” Nakamura said. “Three additional victims arrived home at the residence while the crime was in progress and they too were tied up and blindfolded.”
Five robbers took part in the crime, at least one of whom was armed with a handgun, police said. A further suspect description was not available Friday.
The two men were struck by the robbers during the robbery and were treated by paramedics at the scene for minor injuries, Nakamura said.
Stolen were the victims’ passports, laptops and other electronics, jewelry and cash, the lieutenant said.
The robbers took the victims’ car keys, though their cars were not stolen.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5150. Tips may also be submitted anonymously by contacting L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Deputies arrested a man Thursday following a series of five baseball bat robberies at San Gabriel Valley convenience stores in matter of hours, authorities said.
Malcom Buchanan, 19, of Duarte was booked in connection with the final robbery in Thursday’s spree at a gas station in unincorporated East Pasadena as officials continued investigating him in connection with the other four robberies, police and sheriff’s officials said.
While a concrete link had not been established Thursday afternoon, ““They’re definitely looking into it,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ignacio Somoano said.
The string of robberies began shortly after midnight at a 7-Eleven store in San Dimas, investigators said. Similar robberies and attempted robberies were then reported in West Covina, Monrovia, Arcadia and unincorporated Pasadena before deputies spotted a car matching the description of one used in at least one of the robberies was spotted, stopped and arrested by deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station in Duarte, sheriff’s Sgt. Lynette O’Brien said.
Sgt. Pete Shupe of the sheriff’s San Dimas station said masked robber entered the 7-Eleven at 660 E. Foothill Blvd. at 12:11 a.m.
He found a clerk working in a back stockroom, Lt. Andy Berg said.
The bat-wielding robber ordered the clerk to the front of the store and demanded cash from the register, officials said.
When the clerk opened the register, he said the robber reached in, took $200 and fled the store.
About half an hour later, a masked man lugging a baseball bat then showed up at the 7-Eleven at 1319 W. Merced Ave. in West Covina around 12:42 a.m.
“He told the clerk ‘Give me the money’ while holding the bat threateningly,” West Covina Police Lt. David Lee said.
The robber grabbed about $350 from the till and left.
Lee said the suspect was last seen in a white vehicle, possibly a van or a sport utility vehicle. A second suspect was driving the vehicle.
The robber was described as possibly Latino, around 5 feet 5 inches tall and about 150 pounds.
In the San Dimas case, the robber wore a gray jacket, officials said.
Initial investigation indicated the same robber was involved in both crimes, Berg said.
Nearly 11 hours passed before three more incidents of convenience store robberies involving a suspect armed with a baseball bat were reported.
Monrovia police responded to a report of a similar robbery about 11:25 a.m. at 7-Eleven, 922 W. Duarte Road, officials said. Again, the robber brandished a baseball bat during the crime.
A witness to the Monrovia crime was able to provide police with a description and license plate of the getaway car, which was immediately broadcast to nearby law enforcement agencies.
Another attempted heist involving a baseball bat wielding suspect occurred minutes later at a liquor store in the 800 block of West Huntington Drive in Arcadia, Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
It was unclear what caused him to abandon the robbery attempt and flee empty-handed.
Minutes after the Arcadia crime, a man with a baseball bat arrived at a gas station at Colorado Boulevard and Michillinda Avenue in an unincorporated county area east of Pasadena, O’Brien said.
A witness provided investigators with the license plate number of the getaway car, and deputies spotted the vehicle
Deputies searching the area spotted the vehicle and pulled it over on Bashor Street near Vineyard Avenue in Duarte about noon.
There was no description of a second robber who may have partnered with the suspect in at least some of the alleged crimes.
The robbery in San Dimas capped off a particularly unfortunate month for the convenience store.
It was the third incident at the store in recent weeks, which has also experienced another robbery, as well as a car crashing through the front window, officials said. The same clerk was working during all three incidents.
A man brandished a pistol in a robbery at the store on May 14, Berg said. He was described as black, 25 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds, investigators said. He wore a dark green hooded sweatshirt and black pants.
A car Sunday smashed through the front window of the Foothill Boulevard convenience store, officials said.
No crime was suspected in connection with the crash, in which a 50-year-old San Dimas man’s 1990 Honda Accord struck the store after his foot slipped off the brake pedal and onto the accelerator, Sgt. Victor Ibarra said.
- Staff writers Ruby Gonzales and Melissa Pinion-Whit contributed to this report.