Deputies searched a Valinda neighborhood for a group of three carjacking suspects on Wednesday, authorities said.
The manhunt began with a report of a carjacking just before 2 p.m. at Fairgrove and Aileron avenues in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. David Cortinas said.
Three men took a man’s car by force, the sergeant said. No injuries were reported.
Deputies quickly responded and spotted the just-stolen car still within the same neighborhood, Cortinas said. The driver briefly led deputies on a chase before the suspects abandoned the Nissan Altima in the 1200 block of Bannon Avenue.
Officials cordoned off the neighborhood as they searched for the suspects, Cortinas said.
Deputies helped staff at nearby Fairgrove Academy, an elementary and middle school, to conduct a “controlled release” of students, Capt. Tim Murakami said via Twitter.
The suspects ultimately eluded capture, Cortinas said. Investigators were looking into the possibility they may have fled the area in a black Dodge Charger.
Authorities called off the search shortly after 5 p.m.
A man led deputies on a chase from West Whittier to South El Monte in a carjacked car before being captured by a sheriff’s SWAT team on Sunday morning, officials said.
Robert Larry Gutierrez, 34, was jailed following the pursuit, which began about 7:30 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said. His hometown was not available.
Deputies patrolling over the unincorporated county area of West Whittier in a helicopter detected a signal from a LoJack vehicle tracker in the area of Washington and Norwalk boulevards, the lieutenant said. The vehicle had been reported carjacked in South Gate earlier in the morning.
“It looked like he was going to pull over initially, but then he took off,” Villanueva said.
Gutierrez led deputies on a 6-mile chase that ended when he abandoned his car along Peck Road at the 60 Freeway in South El Monte and fled into a nearby brush area, according to Villanueva.
Deputies summoned a sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau SWAT Team to track down the suspect in the dense vegetation. A sheriff’s helicopter landed on the freeway in order to rush deputies to the scene.
The SWAT deputies, aided by a K-9, soon found Gutierrez hiding in the brush and took him into custody.
He was being booked on suspicion of driving a car without the owner’s consent, felony evading and possession of cocaine, Villanueva said. The earlier carjacking was being investigated by the South Gate Police Department.
The westbound lanes of the 60 Freeway were closed down for nearly half-an-hour as deputies searched for and apprehended the suspect.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Coroner’s officials have identified a La Puente man who was fatally struck by a car on the 605 Freeway in Irwindale minutes after allegedly trying to carjack a driver in El Monte on Tuesday.
Louis Marcus Martinez, 27, died after he was struck by a car about 10:10 p.m. in the southbound lanes of the 605 Freeway, just north of Ramona Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Chief of Operations Brian Elias said. An autopsy was yet to be completed.
The bizarre series of events began about 9:45 p.m. when El Monte police received a report of an attempted carjacking in the 4000 block of Gilman Road, according to El Monte police Lt. Pete Rasic.
A woman was entering her car when a man, later identified as Martinez, tried to force his way into her vehicle and grab her keys, police said.
The woman managed to push the would-be carjacker away, lock her car doors and drive away, Rasic said. The suspect left behind personal items including a photo ID.
Police received a second report of the same man grabbing onto a van and hanging onto to briefly it as it drove away in the area of Gilman Road and Ramona Boulevard in El Monte, officials said.
The man was not found, but turned up minutes later, walking in traffic lanes of the 605 Freeway along the border between Baldwin Park and Irwindale.
A car traveling about 70 mph in the No. 2 lane struck Martinez, who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez. He was soon linked to the prior attempted carjacking in El Monte.
It was unclear why Martinez ended up walking on the freeway.
ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> A “heavily tattooed” knife-wielding carjacker forced a man to drive him a short distance before fleeing in the victim’s car in Rowland Heights on Thursday, officials said.
The unfolded about 7 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Buckner said. The victim, a man in his mid-40s, was uncertain where exactly he was in Rowland Heights when the carjacker climbed into his car and brandished a knife, but it was in the vicinity of La Cueva Drive.
Buckner said the carjacker ordered the victim to drive to a residential neighborhood in the 1800 block of Camino Viejo in Rowland Heights.
Once there, the man ordered the victim out of the white, 2000 Mitsubishi Galant and drove away, Buckner said. No injuries were reported.
Officials described the carjacker as a Latino man of about 40 years old, “heavily tattooed,” of a heavy build, with a shaved head.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station at 626-913-1715. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SOUTH WHITTIER >> A man carjacked a woman at gunpoint in the carport of a South Whittier apartment complex on Saturday afternoon, officials said.
The crime was reported about 1:55 p.m. in the 12300 block of Clearglen Avenue, in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Cunningham said.
A victim, a woman in her 40s, was in the carport when a man approached her, pointed a handgun at her and demanded her car, the sergeant said.
“The victim complied and gave her keys to the suspect,” he said. The carjacker fled in her vehicle.
He was described as a Latino man in his 20s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, 200 pounds, wearing all-black clothing.
A description of the stolen car was not available Sunday afternoon, Cunningham said. It had not been recovered.
PASADENA >> A gunman carjacked a Fontana man of his rental car in a residential neighborhood in Pasadena on Friday afternoon, police said.
The victim, a 23-year-old man, was sitting in the rented car at Hurlbut Street and Jane Place about 4:25 p.m. when the carjacker approached on foot and brandished a handgun, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“The suspect demanded the victim exit the vehicle. The victim got out of the vehicle, at which time the suspect got in and drove away,” according to Goodman.
The stolen car was a cream-colored, 2017 Hyundai Accent. Police described the carjacker as a black man of unknown age, about 6 feet tall, of thin build, with dreadlocks in his hair and wearing all black clothing.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
COVINA >> A man carjacked a woman and her passenger when they stopped to use an ATM in Covina on Thursday, officials said.
The crime took place about 11:55 a.m. after a woman arrived at an ATM in the 900 block of West San Bernardino Road, just west of Azusa Avenue, Covina police Lt. John Zumwalt said. Another woman was riding as a passenger in the car.
After the driver got out of her car and went to use the ATM, the carjacker jumped into the driver’s seat, the sergeant said.
He told the passenger, “Get out of the car or I’ll shoot you,” Zumwalt said. The passenger, a Corona woman, complied.
The man then drove off in the freshly-stolen gray, 2016 Honda Civic with a California license plate of 7RDZ780. The car was last seen heading west on San Bernardino Road. The car had not been found Thursday afternoon.
Zumwalt said the carjacker was described as a black man in his mid- to late-20s, between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall, about 170 pounds, wearing a dark blue shirt.
Anyone with information can reach Covina police at 626-384-5595. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
POMONA >> A group of men carjacked a big rig containing more than half a ton of marijuana late Friday before leading police to an illicit marijuana grow at a Pomona home, police said.
Three men were arrested in connection with the carjacking, as well as on suspicion of cultivating marijuana and possessing pot for sales, according to Pomona police Sgt. Dennis Cooper. The victims of the carjacking were also ultimately arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sales.
“Although the investigation is still ongoing, it appears this was possibly a prearranged meeting between both parties and a drug deal gone wrong,” Cooper said in a written statement.
The armed carjacking unfolded about 11:45 p.m. at Mission Boulevard and Sorrento Drive, the sergeant said. Officers found the just-stolen truck and trailer a short time later in the 700 block of Washington Ave.
“The suspects were observed by the police helicopter unloading the trailer and throwing large bags into the backyard of the residence,” Cooper said. “When Officers arrived and detained the suspects, they found that the trailer and bags contained approximately 1,200 pounds of marijuana.”
Police got a search warrant for the home and soon discovered 240 marijuana plants growing inside, he said.
Arrested on suspicion of carjacking and possession of marijuana for sales were Tyler Brian Holthouser, 25, of Pomona and Xavier Leroy Blackmon, 26, of Victorville, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records. James Holthouser, 34, of Pomona is accused of conspiracy to commit carjacking and possession of marijuana for sales.
The two carjacking victims — Timothy Alan Frerich, 39, of Redding and Dennis Young, 40, of Redding — were booked on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sales.
Tyler Holthouser, James Holthouser, Frerich and Young were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances, records show. Blackmon was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Anyone with information can reach Pomona police at 909-620-2085. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> Police arrested a parolee on suspicion of attempted carjacking after he entered a parked car with two children sitting inside on Saturday morning, authorities said.
Donnie Jake Gutierrez, a 26-year-old transient, was jailed following the 8:30 a.m. incident in the 100 block of North Oak Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
A woman left her two children, ages 1 and 7, in the back seat of her car as she stopped in at a business, he said.
As the children waited for their mother to return, Gutierrez opened the driver-side door and began peering around inside the car.
The older child asked the man what he wanted, and he closed the door and walked away, Goodman said.
The child reported the encounter to his mother, who called police, according to the lieutenant. Officer found and arrested Gutierrez in the area without a struggle.
Based on “the totality of the circumstances,” police arrested Gutierrez on suspicion of attempted carjacking, Goodman said.
Gutierrez, who is on parole due to a previous conviction, was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, was expected to be held without bail pending his initial court appearance, Goodman said.
According to Los Angeles County Superior Court records, Gutierrez was charged with the same crime — attempted carjacking — in January, but the case was ultimately dismissed.
Gutierrez was convicted of making criminal threats and providing false identification to police in August, records show.
He was also convicted of possession of methamphetamine and petty theft in 2014, as well as robbery in 2009.
WHITTIER >> Police are seeking a trio of carjackers who made off with an elderly man’s car following a minor traffic collision in Whittier on Tuesday morning, officials said.
The crime took place about 10:30 a.m. as the victim was driving in the 15700 block of Mar Vista Street, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“The victim was followed by and older model green (Ford) Explorer,” according to the statement. “The explorer rear-ended the victim vehicle, causing the victim to exit his vehicle to exchange information. Two male subjects exited the rear of the Ford explorer and drove off with the victim’s vehicle.”
The driver of the Ford SUV sped away as well, police said.
Detailed suspect descriptions were not available. They were riding in a green, older-model Ford Explorer with gray bumpers and oxidation on the hood and roof.
Police obtained images of the suspects’ SUV.
The stolen car — a gray, four-door, 2012 Toyota Avalon with a California license plate of 6VPU334 and a missing rear bumper — remained missing Thursday, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Whittier police Detective Jose Bolanos at 562-567-9281, or the Whittier Police Department’s crime tip hotline at 562-567-9299.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Whittier Police Department.