ARCADIA >> A shoplifting turned into a robbery Sunday when a man stealing more than $100 worth of baby formula from an Arcadia Walgreens store threatened to shoot an employee who tried to intervene, authorities said.
The incident unfolded about 2:40 p.m. at Walgreens, 140 Live Oak Ave., Arcadia police Sgt. John Bonomo said.
A man left the store without paying for the baby formula and was confronted by a store employee, the sergeant said.
The robber threatened to retrieve a gun and fled, he said.
He was described as a black man, 20 to 30 years old, about 6 feet 1 inch tall and of thin build, Bonomo said.
He got into a green, four-door car believed to have a Nevada license plate, he said. It was driven by a black woman in her 20s or 30s heading south on Tyler Avenue.
Anyone with information can reach Arcadia police at 626-574-5151.
SAN MARINO >> A woman and her daughter will be spending Mother’s Day together, behind bars, after police caught them driving through San Marino with mail stolen from Arcadia, along with a U.S. Postal Service master key and methamphetamine, authorities said.
Estela Castaneda, 48, of Huntington Park and daughter Elizabeth Castaneda, 22, of Rosemead, were arrested just after midnight Friday following what began as a routine traffic stop for a traffic violation in the 1300 block of Bradbury Road, according to San Marino police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officers soon noticed that the driver, Estela Castaneda, and her daughter had pieces of mail and checks that had been stolen in Arcadia, along with a U.S. Postal Service lock and master key, or “arrow key,” San Marino police Detective Sergeant Timothy Tebbetts said in a written statement.
As police were booking the women into jail at the Alhambra Police Department, jail guards found the mother hiding “a substance resembling methamphetamine,” the sergeant said.
Police booked the mother and daughter on suspicion of crimes including identity theft, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, possession of methamphetamine and possession of contraband inside a jail, officials said.
“The mail appears to be stolen out of the city of Arcadia,” Tebbetts said. “San Marino Police are working with Postal Inspectors to locate additional victims. U.S. Postal Inspectors are seeking to file federal charges on both suspects.”
Estela Castaneda was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail, while Elizabeth Castaneda was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, records show. Both were scheduled for arraignment hearings Tuesday in the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Alhambra branch.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Tebbetts at 626-300-0722. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
ARCADIA >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a 61-year-old construction worker who died after being run over by a bulldozer while working to level a vacant residential lot in Arcadia last month.
Sirpriano Dorame-Martinez of South Gate died in the industrial accident, which took place about 11:20 a.m. on April 15 in the 900 block of Monte Verde Drive, Ed Winter, assistance chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said.
Dorame-Martinez was working alongside another employee of Camerena Land Clearing to level the lot for new home construction when the mishap occurred, according to Arcadia Police and California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health officials said.
“One of the workers was operating a large bulldozer, flattening the lot,” Arcadia police Lt. Vaughn Whalen said in a written statement. “In the process of flattening the lot, the operator drove over (Dorame-Martinez).”
Paramedics pronounced the victim dead at the scene, officials said.
Representatives of the contractor could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
OSHA officials described the construction equipment involved in the fatal accident as a Caterpillar.
An autopsy determined Dorame-Marintez died from “multiple traumatic injuries,” and the death was ruled accidental, Winter said.
OSHA has joined Arcadia police in investigating the incident, according to agency spokeswoman Julia Bernstein. The OSHA investigation may take up to six months to complete.
- By Brian Day and Courtney Tompkins
ARCADIA >> A driver struck a woman and her teenage niece in an Arcadia crosswalk and fled the scene before being captured nearby Saturday, police said.
Officers arrested Rebeca Gonzalez, 54, of Arcadia on suspicion of felony hit-and-run within minutes of the 6:08 p.m. hit-and-run along Huntington Drive, just east of Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
A 56-year-old woman and her 17-year-old niece suffered injuries described as moderate, he said.
They were crossing Huntington Drive mid-block, within a crosswalk, when they were struck by a Dodge sedan heading west in the left-hand lane, the lieutenant said.
The driver, later identified as Gonzalez, continued driving without stopping to check on the victims, Cullen said.
But a witnesses followed her until police stopped and detained her nearby, he said.
An update on the victims’ conditions was not available late Saturday.
Gonzalez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending her initial court appearance.
ARCADIA >> Police asked the public’s help in determining the identity of an elderly, disoriented man found disoriented on a bus in Arcadia last week.
The man exited a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus in Arcadia just before 4 p.m. on Friday, Arcadia police Sgt. Jason Davis said.
“The male subject pictured stated his name is Jose Rivera (and) he is 81 years old; however, a records check of that name and approximate (date of birth) could not identify him,” police said in a written statement.
“He stated he lives in Lincoln Heights or Pomona, although he could not provide an address,” the statement continued. “He was confused at the time LASD Deputies located him.”
The man had possibly been riding the bus for hours, making several full circuits along the route, Davis said. It was unclear when and where he first boarded the bus.
He appeared in good physical health, Davis said.
A check of recent missing person report yielded no results in helping identify the man, he added.
The man is 5 feet 7 inches tall and 115 pounds. He has white hair, worn shaved, and brown eyes. He has a distinct scar on his right shin, a small scar on his left thumb and a mole on the right side of his head. He primarily speaks Spanish.
PHOTO courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department
LOS ANGELES >> A San Gabriel Valley man officials say fled to Hong Kong in January after beating his two teenage nephews to death in their Arcadia home and attempting to kill his wife in La Canada Flintridge returned to Los Angeles County to face prosecution Friday afternoon.
Deyun Shi, 44, arrived at LAX Friday afternoon, escorted by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and FBI agents, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McConnell said.
“The suspect in one of our county’s most tragic cases is back in the United States and will face trial on multiple murder charges,” the sheriff said.
Shi, who is also accused of attempting to murder his wife in La Canada Flintridge just prior to killing his nephews, had been served with a restraining order in the weeks leading up to the attack and slayings.
He learned at a January 21 court hearing that his wife was seeking to divorce him, according to Deputy Lillian Peck of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“After leaving court, Suspect Shi allegedly disregarded the restraining order, went to the estranged wife’s La Canada Flintridge home, and assaulted her with a wood-splitting hammer,” Peck said. She suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, and was taken to ab area hospital.
The attack could have been worse, but the couples teenage son intervened in defense of his mother, Hernandez said.
Shi then broke into the Arcadia apartment where his sister, Vickey Huang, lived with her husband, David Lin, and their two sons 15-year-old Anthony Lin and 16-year-old William Lin, in the 400 block of Fairview Avenue, authorities allege.
Vickey Huang and her husband had gone went to the hospital late at night to check on Huang’s injured sister, leaving Anthony and William Lin asleep in their beds.
“While the injured wife and her brother and sister-in-law were at the hospital, suspect Shi allegedly drove to the Fairview Avenue home, forced entry, and fatally beat them with the tool as they lay in their beds,” Peck said.
Prosecutors described the tool used to kill the boys in court documents as a bolt cutter.
The boys’ parents arrived home in the early-morning hours and went to sleep without noticing anything amiss, Hernandez said. The mother awoke hours later to find her sons fatally bludgeoned.
Clutching pictures of his slain sons, David Lin thanked law enforcement for their work, and the community for it’s support.
“It’s been very difficult for me and by wife the past two and a half months. Every day and night, every moment, is a pain for us,” he said.
“We spent our effort, we used our love to raise these two boys. “(In) just one night, they are gone. They’re gone forever,” the father said.
In the hours that followed the killings, homicide detectives quickly identified Shi as the suspect in the attack and killings and determined he had boarded an airplane to Hong Kong,” Hernandez said.
Shi is a Chinese national who was living in the U.S. on a business visa, officials said.
With help from federal and Hong Kong authorities, Hong Kong police immediately apprehended Shi upon landing in the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, officials said.
“The entire Arcadia community was devastated by what happened to two young, innocent brothers earlier this year on Jan. 22,” Arcadia Police Chief Robert Guthrie said. “And since that day, we, alongside out law enforcement partners from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI, the DOJ, the State Department, Homeland Security, and other law enforcement agencies have worked tirelessly together to see this day through.”
Both Lin brothers were accomplished and well liked students at Arcadia High School, friends and family said.
Shi made two court appearances in Hong Kong, in which he expressed desire to return to the U.S., officials said. He did not challenge his extradition.
Deputy Lillian Peck of the sheriff’s Information Bureau described the extradition of the suspect from Hong Kong to Los Angeles County as “the first time in recent memory.”
Had Shi fled to mainland China, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S., extradition may have been impossible, Hernandez explained. Hong Kong, however, does have an extradition agreement with the U.S.
The complicated legal process of securing Shi’s return to Los Angeles County, involving local, federal and international law enforcement partners, “wasn’t easy,” McDonnell said.
“But justice will be served for the young teenage victims and a family shattered by tragedy,” McDonnell said.
VIDEO of Deyun Shi arriving at LAX courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. PHOTO of Deyun Shi Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
PHOTOS from press conference by Sarah Reingewirtz
ARCADIA >> An alleged burglar with a police radio scanner in his car led police and CHP officers on a high-speed chase that ended with his arrest in Westmont following a residential break-in in Arcadia late Friday, authorities said.
Arcadia police had received a report shortly before 9 p.m. of a suspicious person and vehicle in the driveway of a home in the 200 block of Monte Place, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement. The car drove away, and it was later determined a the home had been burglarized, and items stolen.
Police spotted the Nissan Altima as it got onto the 210 Freeway and tried to pull it over, but the driver sped away instead, officials said.
Arcadia officers gave chase as the Nissan sped down the southbound 605 and westbound 105 freeways at speeds reaching 100 mph.
Arcadia officers eventually turned the pursuit over to California Highway Patrol officers, who ultimately took the driver into custody when he came to a stop along 102nd Street in Westmont.
Officials recovered items taken during the Arcadia break-in inside the suspect’s car, along with a radio scanner programmed with the frequency of the Arcadia Police Department, allowing him to monitor police radio traffic, Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
Steve Gainer, 32, of Paramount was booked on suspicion of residential burglary and evading police, both felonies, police said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Gainer was being held in lieu of $125,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.
PHOTOS: Steve Gainer, 32, of Paramount [TOP], police scanner recovered from car [BELOW], courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.
ARCADIA >> A GPS-laden “bait package” helped Arcadia police arrested two Canoga Park women driving through town in a stolen car filled with suspected stolen property early Thursday, officials said.
Devon Ricco Mendendez, 21, and Unique Rios, 19, were arrested when police stopped the stolen car they were riding in shortly after 5:15 a.m., according to Arcadia police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Just before the arrest, an alarm notified police that a GPS-equipped decoy package left out in the southeast portion of the city had been taken and was on the move, according to Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther.
Officers tracked the GPS package to a moving car and pulled it over, the sergeant said. The car was found to have been reported stolen.
Police found the GPS bait package inside the car, along with other items and pieces of mail believed to have been stolen in the area, Crowther said.
“Included in the suspected stolen property was an array of credit cards, checks, identifications, social security cards and other personal identifying information,” he said
Police also recovered drugs and drug paraphernalia from the car, Crowther added.
Mendendez — who is already on probation for auto theft — was booked on suspicion of grand theft, receiving stolen property, false impersonation and unlawful taking of a car, police said. Rios was booked on suspicion of grand theft, receiving stolen property and an outstanding warrant.
Mendendez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, while Rios was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
PHOTOS: Unique Rios, 19, of Canoga Park [left] and Devon Ricco Mendendez, 21, of Canoga Park [right]. (Courtesy, Arcadia Police Department)