Covina, West Covina cops to host National Night Out festivities

COVINA >> The community is invited to join Covina and West Covina cops for a night of festivities as the police departments host their National Night Out event early next month.
Officers will join law enforcement agencies throughout the nation in setting aside time to get to know their neighbors with community events. National Night Out is traditionally held on the first Tuesday of August, which falls this year on Aug. 1.
Covina’a event will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Heritage Plaza Park, Heritage Plaza Park, 400 N. Citrus Ave., police said in a statement.
It will feature food, station and vehicle tours, a K-9 demonstration and meet-and-greet with K-9 Jarno, kids’ activities, information booths and more, organizers said.
Live classic rock music will be provided by “Thief.”
For more information, visit www.covinaca.gov.
Next door in West Covina, officials are planning to kick off their National Night Out event at 5 p.m. at the Plaza West Covina shopping mall, 112 Plaza Drive.
“Plaza West Covina values its partnership with the West Covina Police Department, and that we have the opportunity to do our part in helping the fight against crime,” Plaza West Covina Marketing Director Lisa Avakian said in written statement. “The police officers welcome all questions from the community and will be on hand to give safety tips on ways West Covina a safer place to live.”
A DJ, raffles and giveaways will be part of the festivities, organizers said.
“In West Covina, we have approximately 15 different venues who will sponsor National Night Out events, including apartment complexes and neighborhood watch groups,” then-West Covina Police Chief David Faulkner said in a written statement. “This year, we are happy to team up with Plaza West Covina and that it is a family-friendly event.”
For more information on West Covina’s National Night Out event, contact Gilbert Amis or Renee Schultzl at 626-939-8515, or visit www.westcovina.org/departments/west-covina-national-night-out.
NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the correct start time and contact persons for the National Night Out event in West Covina.

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Covina police arrest El Monte man on suspicion of peeping, possession of child pornography

Police arrested an El Monte man Wednesday on suspicion of possessing hundreds of images of child pornography, as well as secretly recording video of an female relative in her Covina home, authorities said.
Anthony Patrick Reyes, 26, was jailed following two-month long investigation, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
The investigation began about two months ago when a woman reported to police that she had discovered a cell phone hidden in her closet and recording her, the lieutenant said.
Investigators seized the cell phone, but found some of its files were encrypted and not readily accessible, according to Walczak.
Following a forensic examination of the phone, officials managed to recover the encrypted files, he said included not only surreptitiously recorded videos of his relative, but also about 200 images depicting young children engaged in sexual acts.
Police arrested Reyes without a struggle at his home in El Monte about 10:35 a.m., according to polcie and county booking records.
“He was interviewed by our detectives and admitted to both the possession of the images and video taping his family member,” Walczak said.
Reyes faces charges of peeping and possession of child pornography.
Records show he was being held in lieu of $45,000 bail pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Thursday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

PHOTO: Anthony Patrick Reyes, 26, of El Monte. (Courtesy, Covina Police Department)

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Covina man fatally struck by car on 60 Freeway in Hacienda Heights


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A 21-year-old Covina man died early Saturday when he was struck by a car on the 60 Freeway in Hacienda Heights after exiting his car following a previous minor collision, officials said.
Aaron Joseph Sandoval died at the scene of the crash, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Joyce Kato said.
The crash was first reported about 3:05 a.m. on the 60 Freeway at 7th Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer C. Black said in a written statement.
Black said Sandoval was driving eastbound on the freeway in a 2004 Honda Civic and been involved in a collision with a Toyota Prius. He got out of his car, which was stopped between the carpool and fast lanes.
An eastbound 1990 Honda Accord being driven by an 18-year-old Joshua Tree man struck the pedestrian, Black said. The Accord then careened into a 2015 Dodge Challenger that was stopped in the carpool lane.
The impact threw Sandoval over the center divider and into the carpool lane of the westbound side of the 60 Freeway, according to the CHP. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
A woman riding as a passenger in the Dodge suffered major injuries, Black said. The man at the wheel of the Dodge and a teenage boy riding as a passenger were treated for injuries described as moderate.
No injuries were reported on the part of the Accord driver.
No arrests were made Saturday morning.
A Sig Alert affected lanes on both sides of the freeway through 8:50 a.m., according to CHP logs.
The crash remains under investigation by the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs-area office. Any witnesses, or anyone with information, can reach the office at 562-868-0503.

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2-year-old girl rushed to hospital after near-drowning in Covina

COVINA >> Rescuers flew a 2-year-old girl to a hospital on Saturday following a near-drowning in a backyard swimming pool in Covina, officials said.
The little girl was “conscious and breathing” when paramedics rushed her to a hospital by helicopter for treatment following the 5:30 p.m. incident at a home in the 200 block of E. Hurst Street, Covina police Lt. Trevor Gaumer said.
The details of the apparent accident remained under investigation, he said. It appeared the girl briefly slipped away from supervision before ending up underwater in the backyard pool.
Officials took the girl to nearby Kelby Park, where a rescue helicopter was landed to rush her to a hospital.
Her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, the lieutenant said.

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DUI suspect surrenders to police in the nude following pursuit from Monrovia to Covina


A Covina man allegedly high on drugs led Monrovia police on a pursuit before driving home, barricaded himself inside, taking a shower, then surrendering to police in the buff on Saturday night, authorities said.
The incident just after 8 p.m. when a witness flagged down a Monrovia police officer to report seeing a possible intoxicated driver, Monrovia police Sgt. Glen Coleman said.
Officers soon found the car, driving on the wrong side of the road, and tried to pull it over, he said. The driver refused to yield, initiating a chase.
The fleeing suspect drove through red lights and ultimately made his way into the eastbound 210 Freeway, according to the sergeant.
He exited the freeway and drove to his home along Cloverland Drive, near Mesarica Road, in the unincorporated county area near Covina, officials said.
The driver entered the home and refused officer’s orders to surrender, Coleman said. He took a shower, then surrendered to police about 45 minutes later, wearing only a towel.
Brian Robert Borland, 28, who was suspected to be under the influence of an unknown drug, was booked on suspicion of DUI and evading police, Coleman said.
Police in Sierra Madre had pulled Borland over a short time before the chase began in Monrovia, but he fled from officers and was not found, authorities said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Borland was being held in lieu of $155,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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72-year-old bicyclist robbed at gunpoint near Irwindale


Two men robbed a 72-year-old man riding his bike home from a doctor’s appointment at gunpoint on Tuesday in an unincorporated county area between Covina and Irwindale, authorities said.
A 72-year-old man was riding home on a bicycle following a doctor’s appointment about 11:10 a.m. when two robber approached him in a silver Toyota compact car at Irwindale Avenue and Queenside Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Thomas Reid said.
The car pulled in front of the bicyclist, blocking his path, he said. The driver pointed a handgun at the senior citizen and demanded he turn over a backpack he was carrying.
A passenger emerged from the car and took the victim’s backpack, which contained credit cards and other personal items, according to the lieutenant. Both robbers then fled in their car.
The gunman was described as a Latino man in his 30s with black hair. No description of the second robber was available.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2700. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Officer follows nose to marijuana grow in Covina: Hacienda Heights man jailed

COVINA >> A “strong smell of marijuana” led police to discover a pot grow and hash lab, as well as other drugs, inside a commercial building in Covina on Saturday, officials said.
Michael Ray Valdez, 28, of Hacienda Heights was arrested on suspicion of drug manufacturing, identity theft and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The bust took place about 2:40 a.m. after a patrol officer stopped to talk to two “suspicious persons” hanging out near a commercial building in the 1000 block of East Edna Place, Covina police said in a written statement.
“During the investigation, the strong smell of marijuana was noticed coming from inside the building and the subjects admitted that marijuana was being grown inside in the industrial building,” according to the statement.
Officer uprooted 120 marijuana plants from the building, as well as marijuana that had already been harvested, authorities said.
“Evidence that the marijuana was being processed into hash, hash oil and wax was also found at the location, along with evidence of methamphetamine use and hallucinogenic mushrooms,” the statement said.
Police said the owner of the businesses admitted knowing about the marijuana grow, but denied having anything to do with the other drugs. He was not arrested as the investigation continues.
According to booking records, Valdez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Covina Police Department

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Teen girls accused of pepper spraying man during iPhone robbery in Covina


COVINA >> Police arrested two of three teenage girls who they say pepper sprayed a man while robbing him of his cell phone in Covina before attempting an ill-fated getaway by boarding a bus on Sunday afternoon, officials said.
The robbery took place about 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant at Azusa Avenue and Cypress Street, Covina police Sgt. Antonio Zavala said.
A 47-year-old Azusa man was sitting in his car when two teenage girls approached his car on the driver side and asked him for a ride, the sergeant said.
While the victim was distracted by the two teens, a third young women reached into his car and snatched his iPhone from the center console of his car, officials said.
The man chased after the three girls. When he caught up with them and confronted him about the theft, one of the young robbers pulled out pepper spray and sprayed the man in the face, Zavala said. The girls managed to get away with the phone.
But the victim spotted the girls about an hour later, getting onto a bus at Citrus Avenue and Cypress Street, Zavala said. Police stopped the bust and detained three girls.
Two of the girls were arrested after the victim identified them as the girl who snatched his phone and the girl who pepper sprayed him, according to Zavala. They were described as a 14-year-old Covina girl and a 17-year-old Pasadena girl.
A third girl who accompanied the two suspects was not arrested, as the victim was not able to confirm she was involved in the incident.
Police recovered the victim’s phone from one of the girls, he added.

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Home Depot, Behr provide paint job for Covina nonprofit teen center

COVINA >> Workers from three area Home Depot stores armed with descended on a nonprofit teen center in Covina on Saturday to spiff up the building with a free paint job.
Representatives from the Glendora, Covina and West Covina Home Depot locations, as well as a Behr Paint employee equipped with 25 gallons of paint, gifted the work to the 212 Training Center, 542 N. Second Ave., as part of Home Depot’s ongoing community projects, Glendora Home Depot Manager Mako Kapaska explained.
The center opened its doors in 2012 with the goal of providing kids with athletic, academic and life mentoring to keep them on the right path and away from gangs, drugs and violence. It’s operated by the Man-e Moreno Foundation, which was founded by the family members of 26-year-old graphic designer Manuel Moreno following his fatal shooting in Covina in November of 2007.
Kapaska said he first met the Moreno family, as well as Man-e Moreno Foundation President and Manuel Moreno’s brother Robert Moreno years ago, before the 212 Training Center opened, while the organization was operating out of a trailer converted into a mobile teen center. Back then, Home Depot helped build the teen center on wheels.
“Robert and his family are great people,” Kapaska said.
He said he was drawn to the organization because of its dedication to at-risk youth and its goal of turning tragedy into triumph that benefits the community.
Bobby Lozano of Behr Paint, who happens to live in Covina, said he was glad to be a part of the project.
“They told me what they do here and how they came about and, of course, I wanted to help right away,” he said. “It’s a good program to have. It’s positive for the community.”
Robert Moreno said the organization, which now serves 160 youths and is approaching its 10th anniversary, was grateful for the helping hands.
“We’re really blessed to have this rapport with not just the city council and our police, but with the community,” he said. “We look forward to what God has planned for us for the next 10 years.”

PHOTOS by Trevor Stamp

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Man sought following suspicious encounter with young girls at park near Covina


COVINA >> Deputies have cautioned the public about a suspicious encounter between a man and two 10-year-old girls at Charter Oak Park near Covina on Tuesday.
The girls were playing about 6:45 p.m. in a fenced-in area of the park, 20261 E. Covina Blvd., in an unincorporated county area, when a man approached in a newer-model, silver, four-door sedan with tinted windows and chrome door handles, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
“An adult male drove by on the adjacent street and yelled several times for them to, ‘get in the car,” according to the statement. “The vehicle then circled the area once prior to driving away.” The girls immediately reported the incident to adults, who contacted the sheriff’s department.
Deputies were looking into the possibility the suspicious encounter was related to another report of lewd behavior in public received about 20 minutes before the incident at Charter Oak Park,” the statement said. “The sole occupant of the vehicle was engaged in lewd activity not involving children. No other related incidents have been reported to San Dimas Station.”
Officials described the driver of the car as a white man between 30 and 40 years old, with shoulder-length brown hair.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2700. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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