UPDATED: Bellflower man killed in 605 Freeway crash

BASSETT — A man died early Friday in a solo-car crash along the 605 Freeway, authorities said.
Armando Salas, 38, of Bellflower died at the scene of the crash, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
He was driving a 2008 Toyota Avalon southbound on the 605 Freeway, just north of the 60 Freeway in an unincorporated county area near Industry, “at a high rate of speed,” when the crash occurred, CHP officials said in a written statement.
For reasons currently under investigation, Salas was unable to maintain control of the vehicle and traveled in a westerly direction, where it left the roadway and traveled down the embankment bordering the I-605 to the west,” according to the statement. “The vehicle subsequently rolled several times and came to a rest in a (plant) nursery.”
Salas, who was the only person inside the Toyota, died from his injuries, officials said.
Officers from the East Los Angeles office of the CHP were continuing the investigation.

– Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

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Sheriff Baca to host discussion on drugs in Bassett

BASSETT — Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will join other sheriff’s officials next month for a discussion on substance abuse.
The forum, titled “A Community United Against Substance Abuse,” will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 28 at Evergreen Baptist Church, 323 Workman Mill Road, sheriff’s officials said.
Sheriff Baca and officials from the sheriff’s Industry Station hosted another meeting in La Puente last April to discuss law enforcement and quality of life issues, Lt. John Babbitt said.
There were many questions regarding drugs and drug abuse, and the sheriff commented that the issue deserved a meeting all of its own.
So he will join sheriff’s industry Station Capt. Timothy Murakami and patrol deputies to discuss prevention, education and recovery assistance, organizers said.
The event will include free hot dogs and children’s fingerprinting, and a raffle will be held.
For more information, contact Lt. Babbitt at 626-934-3071.

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Officials name man found dead at Bassett waste sorting facility

BASSETT — Authorities Thursday released the name of a 42-year-old man whose body was discovered last week at a waste processing facility.
The body of Mark Christopher David of Hollywood turned up in a dumpster just after noon Friday at Athens Services, 14048 E. Valley Boulevard, according to Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter. Sheriff’s officials described him as a transient from the Hollywood area.
Workers found the body on a conveyor belt used to sort recyclables from trash at the facility, Lt. Dave Dolson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
An autopsy was completed earlier this week, however an official cause of death had not been determined Thursday pending further tests, Winter said.
There were no signs of trauma on the body, and the autopsy revealed no internal injuries, Dolson said. It was initially believed that the dumpster the body arrived at Athens in had been picked up in the Hollywood area.
“At this point, it doesn’t look like it’s a homicide, but we haven’t completely ruled that out,” the lieutenant said. “There’s numerous possibilities.”
It was possible the man died in the dumpster, or was placed there by someone else after dying, Dolson added.
The ongoing investigation hinged on the final finding of the coroner’s office, he said. Toxicology results typically take between six and eight weeks.

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Body discovered at Bassett waste processing facility


BASSETT — Homicide detectives are investigating the discovery of a man’s body inside a trash bin at a waste processing facility Friday afternoon.
The body, initially described as that of a man appearing to be between 30 and 35 years old, was discovered about noon in a waste bin at Athens Services, 14048 E. Valley Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Arthur Scott said.
The investigation remained in its early stages, however it appeared that the body may have been dead for about two days, the lieutenant said.
Sheriff’s activity was not visible from the street as trucks continued entering and exiting the facility Friday afternoon. Athens security personnel said there was no one available to comment, and did not allow reporters onto the private property.
Athens Chief Operating Officer Gary Clifford said the company was saddened by Friday’s discovery.
All employees of the facility were accounted for, he said.
“The sheriff’s department was called immediately,” Clifford said. “They’re handling the investigating.”
He added that Athens was cooperating fully with detectives, and grief counselors were made available to employees.
It was unclear where and when the body was collected before it arrived at Athens.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau were handling the investigation, and anyone with information was asked to contact the bureau at 323-890-5500.
No further details were available.
Friday’s discovery was not the first time human remains have turned up at the facility.
The body of a newborn infant girl was discovered at the trash-sorting facility Dec. 10, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials. She was initially listed as a Jane Doe as detectives worked to find out who she was and where she came from.
It was suspected the body had been placed into the trash somewhere in the San Gabriel Valley before it was ultimately deposited at the Athens plant, officials said. An update on the case was not available late Friday.
Another baby girl was found dead at the facility on June 10, 2002.
The body was believed to have been placed in the trash in Azusa, however the mother was never identified and the death continues to be investigated as a cold case.
She was buried under the name “Amanda,” which was given to her by detectives.

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Man accused of indecent exposure at Bassett Park

BASSETT — Deputies arrested a man already on probation for indecent exposure on suspicion of exposing and fondling himself Tuesday at Bassett Park, officials said.
Juan Roberto Martinez, 47, of La Puente, was booked on suspicion of indecent exposure following the incident, which took place shortly before 1 p.m. at Bassett Park, 510 N. Vineland Avenue, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and county booking records.
In addition to already being on probation for an indecent exposure conviction, Martinez was being sought on a $75,000 warrant for the same alleged crime, deputies from the Sheriff’s Parks Bureau said in a written statement.
“Mr. Martinez was standing in the restroom doorway allegedly exposing and fondling his genitals where the victim a female adult could see him,” the statement said.
Responding deputies found and arrested Martinez near a bathroom next to a playground at the park.
According to county booking records, Martinez was being held in lieu of $110,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

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Sheriff Baca to join local deputies at Valinda Corridor town hall meeting

LA PUENTE — Residents of La Puente and the nearby collection of unincorporated communities along the Pomona (60) Freeway that make up the Valinda Corridor are invited to join Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and other officials next month at a town hall meeting.
The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. April 4 at St. Louis of France Church, 13935 East Temple Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Babbitt said.
The discussion will center around law enforcement and quality of life issued affecting communities in the corridor including La Puente, Bassett, Valinda, East Valinda, West Valinda, Avocado Heights and North Whittier. The area is patrolled by the sheriff’s Industry Station.
Joining Sheriff Baca will be newly-appointed Industry Station Capt. Tim Murakami and local deputies.
Free hot dogs and drinks will be provided, along with free children’s fingerprinting and a raffle.
For more information, contact Lt. Babbitt at 626-934-3071.

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Man wounded in Bassett stabbing

BASSETT — A man suffered serious injuries but was expected to survive Wednesday following a fight that escalated into a stabbing, officials said.
Both the suspect and victim in the 12:20 p.m. stabbing in the 13000 block of Valley Boulevard were believed to be members of the same El Monte street gang, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Raymond Enriquez said.
Few details were initially available, as the victim was not cooperating with investigators, the lieutenant said.
He was hospitalized with a punctured lung, Sgt. Desiree Rodriguez said.
Deputies set up a search perimeter to hunt for the attacker, who was not found, she added.
Both the stabbing suspect and victim were described as men in their late-teens or early 20s, Enriquez said. A further description of the suspect was not available Wednesday afternoon.

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A horse walks into a bicycle shop…

BASSETT — A horse walked into a bicycle shop Sunday, but what happened next was no joke.
About 45 bicycles were damaged when the animal broke free from a nearby equestrian community about 10:30 a.m. and ran amok inside Reyes Bicycle Shop, 13054 Valley Blvd., according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and the shop owner’s son.
The horse suffered cuts and ultimately became trapped in bicycles, said the shopkeeper’s 14-year-old son, Jose Ruben Reyes.
“There’s a gang of damage on the bikes, but nobody got really hurt,” Reyes said.
After the female horse made it’s way into the store, “It started hitting all the bikes and started getting stuck,” he said. “I was scared. I was panicking.”
Two of three customers inside the store fled out the back door upon seeing the horse, while a third sought refuge in the bathroom, Reyes said.
The horse soon became entangled in bicycles.
“It got so scared,” Reyes said. The animal thrashed it’s way free of the bikes and exited the store on it’s own.
The incident lasted about a minute, Reyes added.
Deputies and animal control officials responded to the scene and helped with the situation, sheriff’s Sgt. John Suh said.
The horse owner and shopkeeper met to discuss payment for the damage, Suh said.
The horse had numerous cuts it suffered while rampaging through the bike store, however the owner retrieved it and told Reyes it would likely be okay, he said.
Following an extensive clean-up effort Sunday, Reyes said the bicycle shop was expected to back to business as usual Monday.

PHOTO – courtesy

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One arrested, one sought on suspicion of robbing La Puente shoe store of Air Jordans

LA PUENTE — Deputies jailed one man and sought another Sunday on suspicion of robbing a La Puente shoe store of eight pairs of Nike Air Jordan shoes, authorities said.
Ralph Ramon, 25, of Downey was arrested on suspicion of robbery, while his alleged partner remained at-large, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Ernie Barbosa said.
The crime was reported just before 10 a.m. at Warehouse Shoe Sale, 1081 N. Hacienda Blvd., the sergeant said.
Two men pretended to be shopping inside the store before they grabbed eight pairs of Air Jordan shoes, Barbosa said. One of the robbers brandished what appeared to be a handgun before they fled.
Deputies responded and were told the robbers had left the area in a silver Toyota Corolla, Barbosa said.
The car was not immediately found in the area, he said. But about two hours later, a deputy discovered it parked at a vacant business in the 13400 block of Valley Boulevard in Bassett, officials said.
The eight pairs of sneakers stolen from the shoe store were found in the Corolla, along with a replica handgun, according to the sergeant.
Minutes after the discovery of the abandoned car, which was later reported stolen but believed to be tied to a girlfriend of one of the suspects, officials received a report of a residential break-in about half a mile away in the 13600 block of Proctor Avenue.
Deputies arrived to find a man hopping between roofs in the residential neighborhood and set up a search perimeter, Barbosa said.
Ramos was found nearby hiding under a trailer and arrested, officials said. The second suspect who was seen hopping on roofs was not found.

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Sheriff’s department, school district and restaurant unite to host “Winter Fiesta” in Bassett

BASSETT – Sheriff’s deputies and Explorer Scouts teamed with Bassett High School and a La Puente restaurant owner to provide a day of traditional holiday fun, as well as gifts, to more than 400 local residents Friday.
The Winter Fiesta treated local families to sled rides and other entertainment, free gifts of clothing and toys, a free lunch and more at Bassett High School, Lt. Pete Cacheiro of the Sheriff’s Industry Station said.
The event was conceived when Suzie Perez, owner of El Campechano Grill in La Puente, approached Cacheiro and Code Enforcement Officer Dan Rodriguez and asked about helping with a community event, the lieutenant said.
Bassett High School officials offered up the campus for the event, while Perez provided food, drinks and desserts to all those who attended, as well as rides including sled rides and a jumper, organizers said.
Deputies and Explorer Scouts solicited donations from companies including Quiksilver, Roxy, DC and Mattel, Cacheiro said. The items were given as gifts to elated children.
The Chino-based nonprofit Isaiah’s Rock brought bags of food for the families, as Bassett Unified School District Martin Galindo played the part of Santa Claus.
“It was better than expected,” Perez said. “Everyone played a part.”
“I had a great time,” Perez added. “I was very glad to see the families interacting with each other.”
While her family traditionally takes part in holiday giving, often feeding the homeless in Downtown Los Angeles, Perez said this year, she decided to do something for local families as well.
“I walk around and I see all these kids that are depressed,” she said. “They need something.There’s a lot of needy families.”
With the success of Friday’s Winter Fiesta, Perez said she hopes to do it again next year.

PHOTOS from Bassett Winter Fiesta on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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