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
A man and woman from Ontario were behind bars Thursday on suspicion of a spree of more than 40 commercial burglaries in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties over the past two months, officials said.
Glendora police investigators arrested Andrew Martin, 47, and his girlfriend Gloria Quintero, 46, Wednesday at the Capri Motel in Ontario, Glendora police Lt. Brian Summers said.
They’re accused of break-ins in Glendora, Azusa, Covina, Diamond Bar, La Verne, Claremont, Chino Ontario, San Bernardino and La Palma, Glendora police said in a written statement. And the investigation was ongoing.
“We believe the suspects will be linked to additional burglaries in surrounding cities,” Glendora police Detective Matt Fenner said.
“We haven’t even scratched the surface in Orange County,” Summer added.
The burglaries largely took place in clusters, with several businesses in the same neighborhood being struck in the middle of the night, Summers said.
“The suspects typically used a large rock or other heavy object to break out the front windows of small commercial businesses, such as hair salons and restaurants,” according to the police statement. “The suspects would steal the cash register or rifle through the till for any money left in the register overnight.”
Police began noticing the trend in early march, officials added.
The amounts of money stolen in the crimes was relatively small, and appeared to be overshadowed by the damage the suspects allegedly caused to the businesses’ windows and cash registers, Summers said.
Detectives got a break in the case when the burglars broke into a Covina deli, the lieutenant added.
Police were able to obtain a clear image of Martin and a pickup truck used as a getaway vehicle, and the images were distributed among law enforcement aencies, he said.
“A Glendora patrol officers recognized the male suspect and vehicle from a crime bulletin as a person he had stopped for a traffic violation a week earlier,” according to the police statement.
Officers located Martin and Quintero at the Ontario motel Wednesday and arrested them without a struggle, police said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, they were being held in lieu of $20,000 bail each and were scheduled to be arraigned Friday in West Covina Superior Court.
PHOTOS of Andrew Martin, 47, and Gloria Quintero, 46, both of Ontario, courtesy of the Glendora Police Department.
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.
POMONA – Police arrested two San Gabriel Valley men Saturday on suspicion of operating a chop shop in Pomona and seized stolen property including a stolen handgun, authorities said.
Gabriel Mejia, 33, of Covina and Hijinio Arroyo, 37, of Glendora were each being held in lieu of $100,000 bail Sunday at the Pomona Police Department’s jail, according to Pomona police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officers acting on a tip from a confidential informant discovered the alleged chop shop about 1:45 p.m. at 1124 Price Street, Pomona police officials said in a written statement.
“When they arrived, several male subjects fled from the building,” according to the police statement. One attempted to flee police by climbing onto the building’s roof.
Officers detained two of the men — later identified as Mejia and Arroyo — then obtained consent to search the building, police said.
Inside, officers found several vehicles being dismantled and car parts scattered throughout the building, officials said. Three of the cars were determined to have been stolen.
In addition to the stolen vehicles and parts, officers also recovered a handgun that had been reported stolen, the police statement said.
According to county booking records, Mejia and Arroyo were scheduled to appear for arraignment Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.
COVINA — Two teenagers were wounded, but expected to survive, men were wounded but expected to survive following a shooting late Saturday, police said.
A 16-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man were struck by gunfire in the 7:05 p.m. attack in the 1100 block of North Conwell Avenue, just north of Covina Boulevard, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
One of the victims was struck in both legs, while the other was wounded in the mid-torso, the sergeant said. Police declined to say which victim suffered which injury, citing the ongoing investigation.
They were standing near their parked car when shot, police said.
Police responded to a report of gunshots and found evidence of a shooting, but found no victims or suspects, Peterson said.
A short time later, the two wounded teenagers showed up at an area hospital, he said.
A silver Dodge Charger with after-market rims was seen leaving the area, officials said, however further suspect information was not available.
The wounded young men were believed to have gang ties, and the shooting initially appeared to be gang-related, Peterson said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Covina police Detective Ryan Davis at 626-384-5620, or 626-384-5808.
PASADENA — Authorities Sunday released the name of a 37-year-old Covina man killed in a motorcycle crash on the 210 Freeway in Pasadena Saturday afternoon.
Leo David Villalobos Jr. died in the 3:45 p.m. collision on the eastbound 210 Freeway, just east of Lake Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said.
He was riding a 2008 Harley-Davidson Softail in the carpool lane at a “high rate of speed” when a 1997 Mitsubishi Montero ahead of him began slowing to a stop because of traffic ahead, Sgt. R. Lynch of the California Highway Patrol’s Altadena office said in a written statement.
“For an unknown reason, Villalobos Jr. failed to notice traffic ahead coming to a stop and collided into the rear of the Montero,” Lynch said. He was thrown from his motorcycle and died at the scene.
The driver of the Mitsubishi, a 38-year-old Pomona woman, was not injured, he added.
The investigation was ongoing.
COVINA — Police are searching for a burglar, or group of burglars, who stole cash registers from three Covina businesses, and tried to break into a fourth, early Saturday.
The four crimes took place within between 4 a.m. and 4:28 a.m., Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
The three successful capers took place at a jewelry store in the 900 block of East Badillo Street, a deli in the 700 block of East San Bernardino Road and cafe in the 900 block of Grand Avenue, the sergeant said. In all three cases, windows were smashed and cash registers stolen from the businesses.
The register stolen from the jewelry store was found emptied of money and discarded in the street in the 1100 block of East Badillo Street, Peterson said.
The thief or thieves smashed a window at a coffee shop in the 900 block of East Badillo Street, in the same shopping center as the burglarized jewelry store, but did not manage to steal the cash register, officials said.
The amount of money stolen in the crimes was not disclosed, however at least of the stolen registers contained only change, Peterson said.
Detectives continued checking area surveillance cameras for clues and studying evidence Saturday afternoon.
AZUSA — A judge sentenced a Covina man to seven years in state prison this week for shooting another man during an argument at an Azusa barbershop, officials said.
Dustin Juan Trujillo pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault with a deadly weapon, and admitted the sentence-enhancing allegation that her used a semi-automatic firearm in the crime, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said. West Covina Superior Court Jack P. Hunt immediately sentenced him.
The shooting took place about 6:20 p.m. Jan. 10 at a barbershop in the 300 block of North Citrus Avenue, Azusa police officials said.
It stemmed from a personal dispute, investigators said. The victim was wounded in the arm.
After identifying him as a suspect, police worked with family members to persuade Trujillo to turn himself in within hours of the shooting, officials said. He initially faces a charge of attempted murder in connection with the attack.
COVINA — California Highway Patrol officers are planning a sobriety checkpoint this weekend in an unincorporated county area near Covina, authorities said.
The checkpoint will begin at 8 p.m Saturday at an undisclosed location within the unincorporated area, CHP officials said in a written statement.
It will be manned by officers specially trained to detect impairment on the part of drivers, who are equipped with state of the art, handheld breath testing devices to screen motorists’ blood-alcohol levels, according to the CHP.
“Traffic volume permitting, all vehicles will be checked,” CHP Capt. Steve Urrea said. “If volume becomes too heavy, vehicles to be checked will be selected by a preset standard, such as every 3rd or 5th vehicle, to assure objectivity.”
The checkpoint is being conducted by officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP.
COVINA — Officials are seeking a man who molested a woman outside her apartment complex late Wednesday.
The incident, which police are investigating as a sexual battery and false imprisonment case, occurred just after 10 p.m. in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 1900 block of East Cienega Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Ray Marquez said.
A 25-year-old woman exited the apartment complex to move her car and noticed a man standing nearby in the parking lot, the sergeant said.
“As she entered her vehicle, he ran toward her from behind and placed his arms around her and sexually battered her,” Marquez said. The man placed his hand over the woman’s mouth.
There was a struggle. The female managed to get away,” Marquez said.
The woman was “very scared,” however not injured, he said.
Police described the attacker as a Latino man in his early-20s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 175 pounds. He wore a black hooded sweat shirt and dark-colored jeans.
No getaway car was seen, and the man was last seen heading east on Cienega Avenue, Marquez said.
Anyone with information can reach Covina police at 626-384-5595.