AZUSA — Acting on complaints from residents, police carried out compliance checks at six Azusa massage parlors Wednesday, issuing several citations but making no arrests, officials said.
Police joined with officials from Azusa code enforcement, the California Employment Development Department, the California Department of Industrial Relations, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crimes Bureau’s licensing unit during the operation, Azusa police Lt. Mike Bertelsen said in a written statement.
“Azusa PD has received complaints that some massage parlors within the city may be offering sexual services to customers in addition to massages,” Bertelsen said. “After learning of the complaints, Azusa PD detectives solicited the help of outside agencies with specific expertise in massage parlor operations to develop and execute this administrative compliance detail.”
In addition to verifying that all local, county and state laws and regulations were being followed, police said officials were also seeking to determine whether any victims of human trafficking were associated with any of the massage parlors.
“No victims of human trafficking were located, however numerous citations were issued for violations of various Azusa municipal codes, along with workers compensation insurance or minimum wage violations, Bertelsen said. “Some of the businesses involved face fines of several thousand dollars each. These investigations are ongoing, so none of the businesses are being identified.”
Bertelsen said similar “administrative inspections” are likely to be held again in the future.
AZUSA >> Police arrested two teenage boys on suspicion of scrawling graffiti along the street and at a park Thursday after the young vandals were literally caught red-handed, officials said.
A witness called police about 7:15 p.m. to report seeing the teens using spraypaint to vandalize walls and sidewalks in the 400 block of South Pasadena Avenue, Azusa police officials said in a written statement.
Officers responded and encountered two Azusa boys, ages 14 and 15.
“As the police officers approached the juveniles, they saw one of them was holding a spray paint can in his hand, and both juveniles had the same color paint on their hands,” according to the police statement.
“A search of the area led officers to find fresh ‘tagging-style’ graffiti in red paint on a block wall and sidewalk in the 400 block S. Pasadena Ave.,” the statement continued. “Similar graffiti was also found at Gladstone Park.”
The teens admitted to the vandalism. and both were arrested and released to their parents with a written promise to appear in court, police added.
Officials encouraged anyone who witnesses vandalism to call the police. The city seeks restitution from convicted graffiti vandals and their parents to recoup the cost of the damage.
Authorities lifted mandatory evacuation orders in Glendora and Azusa Sunday morning on the heels of a storm that destabilized the hillsides of the Colby Fire burn area and sent mud flowing through residential streets.
The last of the evacuation orders, which affected 10 homes along Ridge View Drive in Arcadia along the denuded hillsides of the recent Colby Fire, were lifted at 11:45 a.m., Azusa police officials announced in a written statement.
“Residents may return to their residences, according to the police statement.
Only one home at the northern end of Ridge View Drive in Azusa sustained structural damage from the slides, officials said.
Dozens of city and county workers, along with firefighters, were busy clearing mud that had poured into the backyard of Ed Heinlein and his family. The mud reached nearly 5 feet thick at some points.
“There’s 100 tons of mud back here,” Heinlein said. “We’ve got mud and stuff in the back of the house.”
To prepare for the mass of mud that eventually barrelled down on his family’s home from a steep hillside, Heinlein said he knocked a hole in a block wall on the south side of his property to allow the water to flow through. And he placed the rubble into trash cans to build a levy on the other side of his property.
“It’s engineering 101 if you’re a local homeowner,” he quipped.
And while the effort helped with the mud flow, Heinlein said he was concerned the weight of the mass of mud and debris might compromise his home’s foundation.
And despite significant damage, Heinlein said it could have been far worse. He credited a grove of 5,000 avocado trees overlooking his home for preventing further disaster.
“It stopped boulders the size of cars,” he said. “It stopped all that nasty stuff. It’s a miracle.”
And the same avocado grove, which the owner heavily watered during the Colby Fire, helped protect Heinlein’s home from damage during the January wildfire, he said.
A basketball hoop that previously stood at a regulation height of 10 feet emerged only about 5 feet from the mud Sunday morning.
Workers started the clean-up process by clearing mud 3 feet away from the periphery of the home, creating a trench. Both shovels and small earthmoving equipment were brought to bear on the mucky mess.
“This is really great,” Heinlein said of the dozens of city and county workers and officials who have helped him and his family deal with the storm damage.
“Mayor (Joe) Rocha left his church service to come down,” Heinlein said. “Council members were out here with shovels.”
Highway 39 within Azusa was also reopened Sunday morning, officials said, though travelers were urged to be cautious while using it due to possible mud or debris remaining in the roadway. The roadway remained closed leading into the Angeles National Forest.
In an act of community spirit, Max’s Mexican Cuisine in Azusa offered free dinner to evacuated residents of Ridge View Drive with proof of residence.
“City crews have been working diligently at removing the debris and mud which flowed onto Ridge View Drive,” according to the police statement. “They will continue to work aggressively at returning the neighborhood to it’s normal condition.”
Glendora officials downgraded the city’s alert status from red to yellow at 6 a.m., allowing displaced residents to return home. About 1,000 Glendora homes were under the evacuation orders.
“Rain-related parking restrictions are in effect,” Glendora police officials said in a written statement. “Residents are directed to remove vehicles, trash bins and other obstructions from the street.”
Trash service in the affected Glendora neighborhoods is to resume its usual schedule immediately, and mail service — which was stopped Friday and Saturday — will resume Monday, police and city officials said.
Authorities advised returning residents to examine their properties before entering, watch out for possible sinkholes in yards and be cautious while driving through the still-muddy and rock-strewn neighborhoods.
Residents with concerns involving mud or debris were encouraged to contact the Glendora Department of Public Works at 626-914-8246. City officials directed residents with other safety-related concerns to contact the Glendora Police Department.
Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers has asked that residents who collected the more than 50,000 sandbags distributed by the city during and prior to the storm to keep them. The bags may yet be necessary during future rains, as the barren hillsides may pose a mudslide risk for several years to come.
Evacuation orders for about 200 homes in Monrovia were lifted at 6 p.m. Saturday.
In Sierra Madre, the Mt. Wilson Trail remained off-limits for hikers as clean-up efforts continued Sunday.
“There are several areas of the trail that are dangerous due to rock slides,” city officials said in a written statement. “Authorities will be working on the trail the next few days to make it as safe as possible. Until then hikers should refrain from using the trail for everyone’s safety. The trail is officially closed until repairs can be made.”
Reporting that the “streets are a mess right now,” Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab said Saturday evening that the city hopes to have its emergency level alert downgraded to yellow by 6 a.m. today, which will allow residents to return to their homes, with caution.
“The last two storm cells to come through have done a pretty good job at pulling that mud down the hillsides.” Staab said.
“For those residents who have been evacuated, this is getting old. We understand that. We continue to ask or our residents’ patience,” he said. “Out No. 1 goal is to get our residents back into their homes and, unfortunately, it’s these storms that are getting in the way right now.”
The massive rainstorm continued to soak barren hillsides in Glendora, Azusa and Monrovia on Saturday as officials warned evacuated residents that the danger of mudslides and flooding remained very real, even as rays of sunshine peeked through the clouds.
“The experts tell us that thunderstorms are unpredictable, and they form really quickly,” Staab said in an afternoon news conference. “They also tell us that the hillsides are so saturated that we really don’t know at this point what event can cause the hills to suddenly break loose. And once that momentum starts, you just have to get out of the way.”
Officials lifted mandatory evacuation orders in Monrovia at 6 p.m. Saturday as the storm left the region…
The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning Saturday afternoon as heavy rains again began to pound the already water-saturated hillsides of recent burn areas in Glendora, Azusa and Monrovia.
The warning, which was preceded by forecasts of heavy rain and possible thunderstorms in the afternoon, was issued just before 2:30 p.m. It was expected to remain in effect through 4:15 p.m.
“At 2:15 p.m., National Weather Service doppler radar indicated a cluster of thunderstorms moving toward the burn areas,” according to a statement issued by the agency. “Rainfall rates have exceeded one half inch per half hour with these storms, which will be capable of producing additional flooding with mud and debris flows in the burn area.”
Those who remained inside the mandatory evacuation zones were advised to shelter in place rather than trying to leave their homes during the storm.
A massive rainstorm continued to intermittently soak barren hillsides Glendora, Azusa and Monrovia Saturday as officials warned evacuated residents that the danger of mudslides and flooding remained very real, even as rays of sunshine peaked through the clouds.
The rain damaged to properties in Glendora on Friday afternoon and sent mud pouring into the backyards of three homes in Azusa early Saturday, authorities said. Mandatory evacuation orders for more than 1,200 area residents of the recent Colby Fire burn area remained in effect, with no estimate of when they may be lifted.
Though the storm saw a relative lull overnight, it was expected to resume dropping heavy rain on the region about 10 a.m., with showers and possible thunderstorms continuing though the afternoon, Glendora police and city officials said at a morning news conference. The storm was expected to exit the area by 9 p.m.
Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab asked evacuated residents to remain patient, and cautioned them not to underestimate the continued threat posed by the storm.
“For those residents who have been evacuated, this is getting old. We understand that. We continue to ask or our residents’ patience,” Staab said. “Out No. 1 goal is to get our residents back into their homes and, unfortunately, it’s these storms that are getting in the way right now.”
But with thunderstorms potentially on the horizon, and hillsides saturated with water and unstable, the danger remained real, the chief said.
“The experts tell us that thunderstorms are unpredictable, and they form really quickly,” he said. “They also tell us that the hillsides are so saturated that we really don’t know at this point what event can cause the hills to suddenly break loose. And once that momentum starts, you just have to get out of the way.”
The foothills near the Colby Fire burn area had received 4 inches of rain by Saturday, Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers said.
“Rates were recorded at 1.3 inches per hour.”
Rainfall rates at or above half-an-inch per hour create serious potential for mudslide, Jeffers said.
And the NWS predicted another two inches may fall in the area by the storm’s conclusion, officials said. Even heavier rain was expected along the mountain ridge line.
The NWS issued a Flash Flood Warning for the foothill burn areas just before 2:30 p.m. Saturday as heavy rain began to fall again on the region. The warning was expected to remain in effect through 4:15 p.m.
The amount of rainfall Saturday afternoon would be crucial in determining when evacuation orders in Glendora would be lifted, Jeffers said. Those who remained in their homes were advised to stay in their homes and not attempt to leave should mud begin flowing.
And officials again cautioned residents that firefighters cannot rush into a mudslide or debris flow to effect a rescue. They must wait until the debris flow stops and drys.
The National Weather Service issued a brief tornado warning for the east San Gabriel Valley between about 3:30 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. No funnel cloud materialized, however hail as large as 1-inch fell in Walnut, officials said.
The four key debris basins near the Colby Fire were holding up well and were not expected to reach capacity during the storm, Jeffers said. When inspected at 6 a.m. Saturday, they ranged from 40 percent to 55 percent full.
Two homes in the 1100 block of Easley Canyon Road in Glendora sustained damage Friday afternoon, Los Angeles County Fire Department Assistant Chief Steve Martin said. The garage of one home was inundated with mud, while a nearby home’s backyard was flooded with mud that pressed up against the rear of the home.
City officials identified another dozen or so home where mud had flowed onto the properties, but not entered into the homes, Jeffers said. They were urged to hire geotechnical engineers to examine their properties.
Officials took note of 15 sites in the city where an estimated 200 cubic yards of mud and debris needed to be removed from roadways.
Jeffers added that the city is asking that once the storm passes, residents keep the more than 50,000 sandbags distributed during the storm in case of future potential mudslides. The denuded hillsides of the Colby Fire burn area will continue to present debris flow danger during storms for three to four years.
Residents along Rainbow Road at the northern edge of Glendora continued shoring up barriers Saturday. Some were made of metal pipes and wood, while others consisted of sandbags and tarps. Neighbors mentioned they had been contacted by city officials in February, in the wake of the Colby Fire, to discuss mitigation of potential debris flow.
Glendora residents Gary Smith used a break in the rainfall Saturday morning to take a bike ride. Looking at a barrier erected to block the flow of mud, “It looks like it did its job,” he said.
In Azusa, flowing mud along the 1700 block of Ridge View Drive, where officials expanded evacuation orders Friday, became far too close for comfort to three homes early Saturday, Azusa police Sgt. John Madaloni said. The mud flowing through the backyards reached the windowsill of one home, while it rose 2- to 3-feet high along the back of the other two.
“We don’t have any evidence that it’s actually gone into the homes, but it’s certainly accumulating outside the exterior walls,” Madaloni said.
“The damage right now is limited to cosmetic damage,” the sergeant said. Items such as fences and external stairways had been damaged, along with an avocado grove, but no structural damage had been confirmed.
Highway 39 in Azusa was shut down during a downpour Saturday afternoon due to mud flowing onto the roadway, as well as fears the K-rails placed to block slides would not hold, police said.
The evacuation zone in Monrovia, comprised of about 200 homes in the northern end of town, has sustained no reported structure damage, Monrovia police Lt. Zeke Cerecerez said.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Works Crews made quick work overnight of a mudslide the flowed onto Highland Place, just north of Hillcrest Boulevard, he said.
Officials tentatively planned to lift mandatory evacuation orders in Monrovia at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“We appreciate our residents’ patience at this time,” Monrovia Fire Department Chief Chris Donovan said in a written statement. “We are still predicting some mud and debris flows from the storms predicted by the National Weather Service this afternoon. Once those pass, we will re-evaluate the evacuation orders.”
In Sierra Madre, a rock slide on the Mt. Wilson trail prompted Sierra Madre city officials to urge residents to avoid the area late Saturday morning.
— Staff writer Grace Wong contributed to this report.
AZUSA >> Officials strongly urged residents living beneath hillsides recently denuded by the Colby Fire to evacuate voluntarily Wednesday evening ahead of a major rainstorm that threatened to trigger mudslides and flooding.
“The Azusa Police Department is advising residents residing in on Ridge View Drive in Azusa to evacuate their residences as soon as possible,” police officials said in a written statement issued shortly before 6:30 p.m.
The voluntary evacuation orders preceded planned mandatory evacuation orders, which were set to take effect at noon Thursday, police said.
Police urged Ridge View Drive residents to heed the evacuation orders.
“Many deaths occur during a landslide when people are sleeping,” according to the police statement. As storm clouds moved toward the region late Wednesday, “We strongly encourage you to leave your residence.”
An evacuation center was set up at the Crowther Teen & Family Center, 241 W. Dawson Avenue in Glendora, officials said. The shelter can be reached by telephone at 626-914-2357.
Police pumped extra patrols into the affected neighborhood to protect the property of evacuated residents, officials added.
AZUSA — Police arrested two men and a 16-year-old boy on suspicion of beating and robbing a 17-year-old boy in Azusa Wednesday.
Raymundo Gallegos, 20, John Medrano, 19, and a 16-year-old boy, all from Azusa, were booked on suspicion of robbery following the 5:50 p.m. incident at Orange Avenue and Crescent Drive, Azusa police Lt. Steve Hunt said.
Officers responded to what was initially reported as a fight when they spotted Gallegos, Medrano and the juvenile suspect running from the area, the lieutenant said.
It was ultimately determined that the three suspects had beaten up the victim, a 17-year-old Azusa boy, and taken his backpack, Hunt said. The backpack was found nearby. It was not immediately clear what had been inside.
The alleged victim planned to seek medical treatment on his own, Hunt added.
According to police and county booking records, Gallegos and Medrano were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each pending their initial appearances in West Covina Superior Court.
An Azusa man already on probation under AB 109 guidelines was behind bars without bail Wednesday on suspicion of child molestation after investigators tracked him to a San Bernardino County cabin, authorities said.
Robert Santos Arvizu, 41,was booked on suspicion of committing lewd acts on a child about 5 p.m. Tuesday after a multi-agency task force found him hiding out in a cabin in Lake Arrowhead, according to Azusa police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The arrest stemmed from an alleged molestation that took place Sunday, Azusa police Lt. Steve Hunt said.
Few details were released about the alleged incident as police continued investigating and prepared to present their findings to prosecutors, the lieutenant said.
“(Arvizu) had allegedly committed the crime of lewd acts with a child,” police said in a written statement. The gender of the child, described as under 14 years old, was not released Thursday.
The child was not a stranger to the suspect, however investigators declined to discuss their relationship.
Police quickly realized the man they were seeking was on county Post-Release Community Supervision under AB 109 guidelines due to a previous burglary conviction, officials said. Azusa investigators then enlisted the help of the San Gabriel Valley East AB 109 Task Force, a multi-agency group of law enforcement officers charged with keeping tabs on felons released from custody under AB 109 guidelines.
Officials quickly determined Arvizu had provided a false address to his probation officer, officials said.
“They also learned Arvizu quit his job on Monday,” according to the police statement. “He told his employers he had to leave the state.”
Details regarding Arvizu’s job was not available Wednesday, however Hunt said it did not involve children.
Fearing Arvizu was on the run, the task force began hunting for him and located him in Lake Arrowhead within eight hours of joining the search, police said. Officers arrested him without a struggle and turned him over to the Azusa Police Department.
According to county booking records, Arvizu was being held without bail pending his initial appearance in West Covina Superior Court.