EL MONTE >> A bomb squad blew up a safe found abandoned in a library parking lot in El Monte Thursday evening, ultimately finding it to be empty, authorities said.
The incident began about 6:50 p.m. when police received reports of a suspicious object found in the rear parking lot of Norwood Library, 4550 N. Peck Road, El Monte police Lt. Ben Lowry said.
Officers found a reinforced metal safe, about 2-and-a-half feet tall, sitting in the parking lot, the lieutenant said.
Out of an “abundance of caution,” Lowry said officials evacuated about six nearby homes and summoned a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad to the scene.
A bank at 9:47 p.m. signaled the bomb squad’s detonation of the safe, Lowey said. “The container was empty.”
Police were still looking into where the safe came from, and whether it had been previously stolen before it was found empty and abandoned.
A bomb squad checked out a pair of duffel bags found in Old Pasadena after they roused suspicions Friday afternoon, but ultimately found they contained nothing dangerous, police said.
The discovery was made shortly after 1 p.m. at Colorado Boulevard and Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
Two duffel bags were found unattended, Lt. John Mercado said. One of them contained bottles, which, in turn, contained small bits of metal. The second duffel bag was secured with a heavy-duty padlock, he said.
Finding the bags suspicious, police evacuated the area and summoned a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad to investigate, the lieutenant said.
Using a robot, bomb squad members opened the second bag and found it primarily contained rocks. Nothing explosive or hazardous was inside.
Officials declared the area safe shortly after 3 p.m.
It was unclear how the bags full of unusual items got there.
LOS ANGELES >> An El Monte teen accused of making a pipe bomb pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three felony charges related to possession of explosives, authorities said.
During an appearance in Los Angeles Superior Court, Andres Velo, 18, denied charges of possession of a destructive device, possession of a destructive device in a home and possession of ingredients to make a destructive device, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
He was ordered back to court Oct. 28 for a preliminary hearing, she said. In the meantime, authorities are holding Velo in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Police arrested Velo Saturday afternoon, about three hours after his sister showed up at the El Monte Police Department and reported finding a bomb she said her brother had assembled at a home in the 2800 block of Nevada Avenue, police officials said. She brought the device with her in her car, prompting officials to cordon off the area while a bomb squad detonated the bomb.
Police arrested Velo when he returned home, police added.
No information was available regarding why Velo allegedly made the pipe bomb, or what he may have planned to do with it.
If convicted as charged, Velo faces up seven years and eight months in state prison.
PHOTO of Andres Velo courtesy of the El Monte Police Department.
ALHAMBRA >> A bomb squad responded to Alhambra Saturday after a woman cleaning out her parents’ home discovered 26 grenades and an anti-tank rocket launcher, which were ultimately found to be inert, officials said.
The incident kicked off about noon at a house in the 200 block of South El Molino Street, Alhambra police Sgt. Richard Aguayo said.
Upon discovering 26 rifle grenades and an anti-tank rocket launcher, “She wisely called the police rather than touch them,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Alhambra firefighters and a sheriff’s bomb squad responded to the scene and evacuated nearby homes as a precaution.
But the incident soon concluded when investigators determined the grenades and rocket launcher were inert practice devices and not dangerous, officials said.
Sheriff’s officials took the devices to be properly disposed of.
IRWINDALE >> Officials evacuated a Los Angeles County fire station after a couple cleaning out a deceased veteran’s home in Covina discovered what appeared to be an 81mm mortar shell and brought it to the Irwindale firehouse Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The incident began just after 2 p.m. at Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 38, 15546 Arrow Highway, Irwindale police Capt. Ty Henshaw said.
A couple was cleaning out the home of a relative and military veteran who had died in Covina when they came across a collection of military items, which included the ordinance, described as a somewhat football-shaped M43A1 mortar shell, the captain said.
Firefighters stored the device in a brick office and summoned a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad to investigate, Henshaw said.
The bomb squad responded and determined the device was inert and contained no explosives, police said. The all-clear was sounded shortly before 4 p.m.
The fire station was evacuated, but no other nearby buildings in the commercial neighborhood were evacuated, Henshaw said.
In general, residents who discover possible explosives are advised to leave them where found and call 9-1-1, rather than transport them to a fire or police station, Henshaw said.
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE >> A bomb squad responded to a La Canada Flintridge Park Sunday before ultimately determining a suspicious object resembling dynamite was a discarded toy prop left behind from a birthday part the day before, officials said.
The incident kicked off about 10:15 a.m. when someone reported finding a bundle of five red cylinders lying on the ground at a small park in a residential neighborhood in the 4900 block of Ocean View Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Randy Tuinstra said.
Police notified the Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail of the find, and a bomb squad responded to the scene, the lieutenant said.
As deputies were beginning to evacuate nearby homes, a resident was able to shed some light on the unusual discovery.
He explained that the device was a toy prop that had been left at the park after being used for a “hot potato” game during a birthday party Saturday, Tuinstra said.
Bomb squad members quickly confirmed the device, which was made of PVC pipe, was harmless, Tuinstra said. Officials declared the all-clear about 11:15 a.m.
Though the object was found to pose no threat, Tuinstra said the initial caller did the right thing by reported the suspicious device to authorities, adding that officials would rather err on the side of caution in such situations.
PHOTO – courtesy
PASADENA — A bomb squad investigated after workers found what was ultimately determined to be an inert practice grenade inside a box of donated goods at a Pasadena Goodwill distribution center Thursday, police said.
Police were first notified of the suspicious find about 5 p.m. at the business at Fair Oaks Avenue and Del Mar Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. John Dewar said.
“They were opening up a shipment of boxes,” the lieutenant said. “They found a Grenade in one of them. It appeared to be a real grenade with a pin in it.”
Police evacuated the building and summoned a bomb squad to the scene, Dewar said. Bomb squad members determined the device was a harmless practice grenade, Dewar said.
AZUSA – A sheriff’s bomb squad was called Friday after a briefcase was discovered near St. Francis of Rome Catholic school and drew authorities’ suspicions, but was ultimately found to be harmless.
The incident began at 1:49 p.m. in the 700 block of Pasadena Avenue when a school employee saw the briefcase on the east sidewalk, just west of the school, Azusa police Lt. Paul Dennis said. Police considered the newer-looking briefcase suspicious, as there was no known reason for it to be there.
The briefcase was near a sign in front of the school, though not on campus, he said.
A bomb squad from the Los Angeles Count Sheriff’s Department was summoned to the scene to take a closer look, Dennis said.
Children at the school were let out at the usual release time of 2 p.m. on the west side of the campus, opposite Pasadena Avenue, the lieutenant said. Residents along Pasadena Avenue were advised to stay indoors.
Bomb squad members used a robot to inspect and open the briefcase, Dennis said. It was found to contain only a small teddy bear.
PICO RIVERA — A report of a suspicious package prompted the evacuation of a bus terminal Thursday before officials determined the box was empty, authorities said.
Someone reported seeing a brown cardboard box that seemed out of place behind a building at a Montebello Bus Lines terminal at Passons Boulevard and Jackson Street about noon, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The package was described as a plain-looking carboard box, about 18 inches by 12 inches in size, sheriff’s Sgt. Marco Soto said.
Officials evacuated the terminal and were beginning evacuations of nearby homes when deputies from the Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail used a robot to determine the box was empty, the sergeant said.
The all-clear was sounded about 1:30 p.m.
COVINA — About 11 businesses were evacuated and part of College Street was shut down Wednesday after a man found what looked like a grenade inside a parcel.
It turned out to be a replica grenade, Covina Police Sgt. Jim McDonough said.
The incident started about 4 p.m.
A man picked up his packages at the post office in the 100 block of East College, walked to where he parked his car and opened a package, McDonough said.
“He sees what looks like a wrapped grenade,” the sergeant said.
The man called police. Officers evacuated nearby businesses plus closed down College Street between 2nd Avenue and Citrus Avenue.
The sheriff’s bomb squad examined the device and deemed it inert. McDonough said the replica grenade was from a surplus-type company.
The man didn’t recall ordering the item, McDonough said.
– Ruby Gonzales