Suspicious package prompts bomb squad response in Azusa

AZUSA — Bomb squad officials examined a suspicious box abandoned on an Azusa sidewalk late Tuesday, ultimately determining it contained only food, officials said.
Someone called police about 9:20 p.m. to report a 2-foot by 2-foot box, wrapped in plastic, that had been left on a sidewalk near Azusa Avenue and San Gabriel Canyon Road, Azusa police Sgt. John Madaloni said in a written statement.
The package could not be readily identified, and no one claimed it, the sergeant said.
“Taking no unnecessary risks in handling the package, officers  summoned the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Arson Explosive Detail,” he said.
“They were able to safely inspect the package and deemed it safe for handling after discovering only harmless food items inside.”
The area was cordoned off for about 90 minutes during the investigation, police said.

Artillery shell at Mt. SAC determined to be inert

WALNUT — The sheriff’s bomb squad went to Mt. San Antonio College Thursday and determined an artillery shell brought to the campus was an inert display piece, authorities said.
Deputies were alerted about 4:37 p.m. that someone had brought what appeared to be a 40mm artillery shell to Mt. SAC, 1100 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Saleeby said.
Deputies evacuated the building and called for the bomb squad, the lieutenant said.
The bomb squad arrived at building 60 — listen on the campus website as a science building — and determined that the shell contained no explosives and was merely a display piece, the lieutenant said.
Officials sounded the all-clear about 6 p.m.
The reason the shell was brought to the school and who brought were not available, Saleeby said, however it appeared no crime had been committed.

Man arrested on explosives charge in Arcadia after bombs scare

49273-JOSHUA PARRADAVIS-thumb-300x375-49272.jpg
ARCADIA – A 23-year-old man was in custody Friday after he entered Foothills Middle School, was asked to leave by school officials and then left what appeared to be a “homemade explosive device” near a Foothill Boulevard bank, school district and police officials said.
Joshua Parradavis, 23, of Arcadia was booked on suspicion of possession of an explosive device, Arcadia police Lt. Paul Foley said.
The Bank of America, the McDonald’s and a strip mall parking lot on Foothill Avenue were among the areas evacuated for a few hours until the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad successfully detonated the device in the early afternoon. Traffic was also blocked with police cars between First and Second Avenues during this time.
“We were checking the backpack, found a suspicious item and called the bomb squad on it,” Police Sgt. Vaughn Whalen said at the scene. “They have since done whatever the bomb squad does back there.”
The suspect, later identified as Parradavis, was at the middle school’s campus trying to open up classroom doors before he was asked to leave and school officials called the police about 10 a.m.
He told someone at the school he was a former student, though it was not clear late Friday if that was true.
The suspect left the school and was seen dropping a backpack in bushes near the Bank of America and then ran through the parking lot where officers detained him, police officials said.
After the police found the suspicious device, the school was directed to go into lockdown while officers searched the school for anything out of the ordinary, said Arcadia Unified School District Superintendent Joel Shawn.
The suspicious device was described by police as having the appearance of a metal pipe bomb.
Nothing was found and the school was released from lockdown at about 1:30 p.m. after the object was detonated, he said.
“We have no idea why (the suspect) was on campus,” Shawn said. “He was not supposed to be on campus.”
There was no immediate danger to students or staff and procedures were implemented “flawlessly,” he said, adding that he was thankful for Arcadia police, fire and county sheriff’s departments that cooperated to resolve the incident.
About 16 McDonald’s employees were sitting outside a nearby KFC restaurant eating their lunch, waiting to be allowed back inside early Friday afternoon.
“They just told us to get outside and here we are,” said one employee, who declined to give his name, shortly before he and other employees were allowed back inside around 1:15 p.m.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Parradavis was being held in lieu of $500,521 bail and was due for arraignment Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.
The incident is being investigated by Arcadia police, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail and the FBI.

Crudely made explosive device found in Azusa mobile home park

AZUSA — A sheriff’s bomb squad investigated a “crudely constructed and non-functioning” explosive device found Sunday in a vacant mobile home, police said.
The manager of a mobile home park in the 700 block of North Loren Avenue was cleaning a vacant unit about 4 p.m. when she discovered the device, Azusa police Lt. Mike Bertelsen said.
The device resembled “two aerosol canisters taped together, with some lighters and fireworks attached to the top of canisters,” the lieutenant said.
Police evacuated the mobile home park and called in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad, the lieutenant said.
Bomb squad officials determined, “the device was crudely constructed and non-functioning,” he added. “They disassembled the device rendered it safe.”
Residents of the mobile home park were allowed to return to their homes about 6 p.m., police said.
Police continued to investigate who was responsible for leaving the the device in the mobile home, which had been vacant for at least two months.