Replica grenade prompts evacuations in Covina

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

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Grenades found in Whittier garage determined to be inert

WHITTIER — A bomb squad responded to a Whittier neighborhood Friday after several grenades, which were ultimately found to be inert, were discovered in a garage, police said.
A real estate agent and homeowner were cleaning out a garage in the 8800 block of La Entrada Avenue shortly after 11:20 a.m. when they discovered the grenades, Whittier police Lt. Mike Przybyl said. They were described as having the appearance of “pineapple-shaped” grenades used during the World War II and Vietnam eras.
Nearby homes were evacuated as a bomb squad from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Arson-Explosives Detail was called in to investigate, Przybyl said.
Officials ultimately determined the grenades were inert and posed no danger, the lieutenant said.
The neighborhood resumed to normal by about 1 p.m., he added.

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Alleged shoplifter makes bomb threat at Covina shopping center

COVINA – Bomb squad officials responded to a Covina shopping center Sunday after a woman detained for shoplifting inside a Walmart store claimed to have a suitcase containing a bomb, authorities said.
Officials blasted the suitcase with a high-pressure stream of water and ultimately discovered it contained only clothing, Covina police Sgt. Ray Marquez said.
The incident unfolded about 2 p.m. at a shopping center in the 1200 block of Azusa Avenue, the sergeant said.
Walmart security guards detained a woman for shoplifting and called the police, Marquez said.
When officers arrived, the woman threatened that there was a suitcase outside the store, “and it had explosives in it.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail responded to the scene and determined the suitcase posed no threat.
The name of the woman was not available as she was being taken for psychiatric treatment, Marquez said. She was described as a transient appearing to be in her mid-40s.
Officials cordoned off the area as the bomb squad carried out their work, he said, and southbound Azusa Avenue was shut down in the area for about 20 minutes.

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Grenade in San Dimas parking lot turns out to be fake

SAN DIMAS — Several businesses were evacuated after a grenade was found in the parking lot of a commercial center Friday night.
Deputies said the sheriff’s Arson/Explosives Detail, which is the bomb squad, rendered the device safe and also determined it was a replica grenade.
The San Dimas station received a call at 7:23 p.m. of a hand grenade lying in the parking lot near a pizza parlor in the 500 block of West Arrow Highway, according to Lt. Diana Gealta.
She said businesses were evacuated and the bomb squad notified.

– Ruby Gonzales

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Abandoned suitcase prompts bomb scare in Alhambra

ALHAMBRA — A suitcase found on the side of the road Wednesday led authorities to block off Garfield Avenue and shut down the Garfield Avenue offramp to the 10 Freeway for a little over an hour.
Alhambra Police Sgt. Edward Rodriguez said the sheriff’s bomb squad X-rayed the suitcase and found it was empty.
Police got a call shortly after 5 p.m. about a suspicious package on Garfield Avenue.
Rodriguez said Alhambra firefighters were driving by, saw the suitcase and reported it to police.
Police notified the sheriff’s bomb squad.

– Ruby Gonzales

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UPDATE: Bomb squad detonates suspicious package at Arcadia mall, found to contain marijuana

ARCADIA — Sheriff’s bomb squad members responded to an Arcadia mall Thursday and detonated a suspicious package, which was found to contain marijuana.
Security guards at the Westfield Santa Anita mall called police shortly before 10 a.m. to report a package sitting in a parking lot on the north side of the mall, near J.C. Penney, Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
Police cordoned off the area and called in a bomb squad from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, who detonated the package and determined it was not explosive, Crowther said.
But it did contain a brick of marijuana which the sergeant estimated amounted to more than a pound.
The package was initially described as a box with another package inside of it wrapped in tape.
No suspects were identified Thursday afternoon, Crowther said, however the investigation was ongoing and detectives were following leads.

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UPDATE: West Covina City Hall evacuated due to bomb threat

WEST COVINA – Police evacuated West Covina City Hall Thursday afternoon after a bomb threat was made against the facility, officials said.
Police were notified about 3:30 p.m. that a threat had been made against the building, 1444 W. Garvey Ave., West Covina police Lt. David Rozeboom said. The threat came in the form of a letter that indicated an explosive device had been left in the building.
Officials evacuated all employees from the building as they brought in bomb-sniffing dogs from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Fontana Police Department to assist officers in a search, Rozeboom said.
Ultimately, he said, officials found “nothing suspicious or out of the ordinary.”
The lieutenant declined to describe the specific language of the letter, adding that the investigation was ongoing.
“We have some leads that we’re following,” he said.
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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.
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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.
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Man arrested on explosives charge in Arcadia after bombs scare

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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.
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