COVINA >> Police are seeking a man who assaulted and robbed another man outside of a Covina 99 Cents Only Store earlier this week.
The crime took place about 8:40 a.m. Tuesday outside of the store in the 500 block of North Azusa Avenue, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
The victim, a West Covina man in his 30s, believed he was followed to the store by the suspect after seeing him at a nearby Stater Bros. grocery store just to the south along Azusa Avenue in West Covina, the lieutenant said.
The robber confronted the victim in the parking lot and demanded something from inside the trunk of the victim’s car, Walczak said. It was unclear what the robber was after.
As the victim ran toward the store, the robber chased after him and wrestled him to the ground, police said. The victim tried to use his cell phone to call police, at which time the robber grabbed it from him and fled.
The man suffered no serious injuries, Walczak said.
A detailed suspect description was not available. Though he motioned as if he had a weapon hidden in his waistband, no weapon was seen during the crime.
LOS ANGELES >> A judge sentenced a Covina man to prison Friday for fatally stabbing a neighbor in 2012.
Luis Alberto Villaneda, 36, received a sentence of 16 years to life in state prison after a Los Angeles Superior Court jury convicted him in May of last year of the Aug. 29, 2012 slaying of 38-year-old Homeboy Industries employee Gonzalo Robles, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
The jury convicted Villaneda of second-degree murder, along with the special allegation that he used a knife to commit the crime.
Villaneda and Robles had been involved in an argument earlier in the day in the neighborhood where both men lived in the 3600 block of Shadyglen Drive, in an unincorporated county area near Covina, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Robles considered the matter resolved by nightfall, Ardalani said. “However, Villaneda still harbored animosity toward Robles.”
The next day, Villaneda and a friend went to Robles’ home and became involved in a fight with him, authorities said.
“During the fight, the defendant pulled out a knife. Villaneda’s friend told him to leave, but the defendant refused,” Ardalani said.
Robles tried to get Villaneda to drop the knife, she said. “Another tenant threw the victim a smaller knife to protect himself.”
“After Villaneda began swinging at the victim, Robles stabbed the defendant in the shoulder,” Ardalani said. “Then Villaneda fatally stabbed the victim in the heart.”
Investigators found and arrested Villaneda hours later at a nearby convenience store.
Robles was pronounced dead in his own backyard. His roommate described him a father with another child on the way at the time of his death.
He worked at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, which provides employment opportunities and support to reformed gang members and others trying to improve their lives following incarceration.
COVINA >> Police are seeking three men who robbed a teenage high school student at gunpoint as he was on his way to school earlier this week.
The robbery took place about 7 a.m. Tuesday in the 800 block of West Griswold Road, Covina police Lt. Rick Walczak said.
Three robbers took part in the crime, and at least one of them was armed with a handgun, the lieutenant said.
“Thank God he wasn’t physically hurt,” said the victim’s mother, Sonia Frasquillo, who is running for a seat on Covina Valley Unified School Board. “He’s shaken up. He’s very paranoid, very jumpy right now.”
Frasquillo said her son was walking to Northview High School when a car pulled in front of him, blocking his path.
Two men with handguns and bandanas covering their faces jumped out of the car and demanded the teen turn over his property, she said. A driver remained in the car.
When her son replied that he had nothing, the men took off his watch and forcefully rifled through his pockets, backpack and sports bag, Frasquillo said, taking nearly everything.
The teen ran home and told his mother about the robbery, and she, in turn, said she notified police and the school district.
Northview parents received an automated phone call notifying of the robbery, though Frasquillo said the recorded message provided an incorrect location of occurrence. District-wide, parents received automated calls advising them to encourage their children to walk in pairs due to the Halloween holiday and earlier sunsets after daylight savings time ends Sunday morning, she said.
Frasquillo said she wanted to make sure parents were aware of the situation so they can better protect their children.
It was unclear if Tuesday’s robbery was related to a spate of four similar robberies and attempted robberies in West Covina on Wednesday and Thursday.
COVINA >> A man died early Friday in a stabbing in a residential neighborhood near Covina, authorities said.
The stabbing took place about 1:15 a.m. on Bellbrook Street, near Lark Ellen Avenue, in an unincorporated county area just outside of Covina, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Elisabeth Sachs said.
The victim died at the scene, she said. No suspects were in custody.
No further details were available as the investigation remained in its early stages.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau were summoned to the scene.
Anyone with information can reach the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
COVINA >> Police jailed a San Gabriel man found passed out behind the wheel of his car in Covina early Thursday after discovering nearly a quarter-pound of methamphetamine, along with some heroin, in his vehicle, officials said.
Officers first responded about 4:15 a.m. to reports of a solo-car crash in the 900 block of North Grandview Avenue, Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said.
“When officers got there, the driver-side tires were up on the sidewalk with the passenger side tires on the street,” the lieutenant said. “The vehicle was running with the suspect asleep behind the wheel.”
Police woke the suspect, who was believed to be under the influence of heroin and appeared “lethargic and confused,” Doonan said.
Upon searching the 2002 Lexus, he said, police found 100 grams of methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of more than $1,500, as well as a vial of heroin and a pipe and a “shaved” car key often used to steal or burglarize cars.
Binh Chi Ly, 33, of San Gabriel, was booked on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sales, possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a burglary tool, according to Covina police and Los Angeles County booking records.
He was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
PHOTOS: [TOP] – Binh Ly, 33, of San Gabriel. [BELOW] – 100 grams of seized methampetamine
COVINA >> A fire erupted in a Covina warehouse early Saturday, where first-responders discovered marijuana plants growing inside, officials said.
Firefighters responded about 8:31 a.m. to reports of a fire in a commercial building in the 1000 block of East Edna Place, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms said.
• Video: Firefighters work to put out a Covina warehouse fire
The first firefighters to arrive called for backup to combat the flames in the 100-foot by 200-foot structure, Simms said. About 75 firefighters in all attacked the blaze.
• Photos: Covina warehouse fire
Firefighters “knocked down” the fire just over two hours after it began, officials said.
Two firefighters suffered minor medical issues while fighting the fire, Inspector Randall Wright said.
The building was subdivided into two units, Covina police Sgt. Ryan Davis said.
Once the fire was out, officials discovered that one of the units was being used to grow marijuana, he said.
It was unclear how much marijuana was being grown, as police had yet to enter the building Saturday afternoon due to concerns over structural instability, the sergeant said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation. It was unclear whether the marijuana-growing operation played a role in lighting the fire.
— LACounty Fire PIO (@LACoFDPIO) October 24, 2015
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
COVINA >> A man who reported being carjacked at gunpoint in Covina early Sunday ended up behind bars himself after police determined he made up the story, officials said.
Edward Romero, 30, of Azusa called police about 1:40 a.m. and reported he had been carjacked a little over an hour earlier while stopped at a red light at Azusa Avenue and Grondahl Street, Covina police Sgt. Tony Zavala said.
Romero told investigators two men were crossing the street and asked him for directions before pulling a gun and demanding his 1998 Honda Civic, Zavala said.
But as the investigation continued, the story fell apart, he said.
Romero ultimately admitted that he had lent his car to a friend, who had failed to return it, Zavala said.
Police arrested Romero on suspicion of filing a false police report, a misdemeanor. He was released with a citation, booking records show.
The car remained missing Sunday afternoon and was being treated as a stolen vehicle, he said.
COVINA >> A knife-wielding man robbed a gas station Friday along Arrow Highway in an unincorporated county area near Covina Friday, officials said.
The robber entered a Shell gas station at Arrow Highway and Sunflower Avenue about 11:40 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Nicole Davis said.
He walked behind the counter brandishing a folding knife and demanded money from the attendant, she said.
The clerk complied, and the robber fled with about $200 in cash, Davis said. The robber also took the receiver of the station’s cordless telephone, presumably to prevent the victim from calling for help.
Davis said the robber ordered the employee to lie on the ground and count to 20 as he fled from the gas station. He was last seen running north.
The robber was described as a Latino man in his early- to mid-20s, about 6 feet tall, 175 pounds, clean-shaven, with black hair and brown eyes. He wore a blue L.A. Dodgers baseball cap, a black T-shirt, beige shorts and black tennis shoes. He was armed with a silver folding knife with a blade of 3 to 4 inches long.
Anyone with information can contact the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2700.
SAN DIMAS >> A report of a “suspicious person” in a residential San Dimas neighborhood Friday led deputies to arrest an alleged methamphetamine dealer with a loaded handgun, officials said.
Paul Matthew Moreno, 43, of Covina was arrested on suspicion of possession of meth for sales and possession of a loaded, concealed handgun in public, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
A witness called police about 10:35 a.m. to report a “suspicious person in a vehicle” in the 1300 block of Calle Caballero, sheriff’s Lt. Tonya Edwards said.
Deputies confronted the man — later identified as Moreno — and found him in possession of a loaded revolver, as well as a “large quantity” of meth separated into multiple baggies, Edwards said. He was arrested without a struggle. The exact amount of drugs recovered was not available Friday afternoon.
Moreno was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Wednesday in Pomona Superior Court.
PHOTO of seized handgun courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
COVINA >> A police officer rescued a 63-year-old woman as she was being attacked by three large German shepherd dogs in her front yard Wednesday morning.
A neighbor called police about 8:50 a.m. after seeing the three dogs attacking the woman in the fenced front yard of her home in the 1400 block of East Covina Hills Road, Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said.
“An officer observed a female being attacked and bitten by three large dogs in the front yard of a residence,” Sgt. Gregg Peterson said in a written statement.
The officer approached the animals and began yelling in an effort to divert their attention from the victim, Doonan said. The dogs then began charging toward the officer.
“Fearing for his safety, the officer shot at the charging dogs with his department issued handgun,” Peterson said. “This caused the dogs to turn and run away from the officer and the victim and into a neighboring yard.”
The dogs were not struck by the gunfire, officials said.
The woman suffered puncture wounds and scrapes to her arms and legs, officials said. She was treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and released later in the day.
Doonan said it was fortunate the officer was able to prevent more serious injuries.
“We’re happy that a neighbor heard her screaming, and they called, and we were able to respond quickly,” he said.
Officers found all three dogs in a nearby yard, Peterson said. Police kept them there and summoned County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control officials to take charge of the animals.
A “potentially dangerous dog” investigation has been initiated, said Danny Ubario, manager of the agency’s Baldwin Park office. Several citations and orders to correct violations were issued, however Ubario said he did not have further details.
In the meantime, the three German shepherds — a male, a female and their puppy — were being quarantined on the owner’s property.
Once the DACA investigation is complete, the owner of the dogs may face a hearing to determine what steps are necessary to correct the problem.