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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
COVINA >> The K9 Partners of Covina are inviting the community to join Covina’s four-legged finest for food and fun and the Bark and Barbecue later this month.
K-9 demonstrations, free hot dogs, a chili cook-off, raffles, music and community-oriented booths are planned for the event, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Heritage Plaza, 444 N. Citrus Ave., organizers said. There is a $25 entry fee for the chili cook-off,
Covina police K-9 Jarno will be on-hand, duty permitting.
K9 Partners of Covina is a nonprofit organization dedicating to gathering funds and community support for the Covina Police Department’s newly-revitalized K-9 program.
For more information, and for a list of other upcoming K9 Partners of Covina events, visit www.k9partnersofcovina.org.
COVINA >> A mentally disturbed man who threw knives and hammers at police, holed up inside his home and lit several fires before a SWAT team took him into custody following an eight-hour standoff on Friday, officials said.
Kevin Daniel Harmon, 20, was booked on suspicion of assaulting police officers, felony vandalism, elder abuse and brandishing a weapon at police, Covina police Sgt. Antonio Zavala said.
Police first received a call about 2 p.m. from a woman reporting her neighbor, a 20-year-old man, was acting erratically and throwing items in his front yard in the 1100 block of North Stephora Avenue, Zavala said.
Officers had previously responded to the home before regarding mental health issues involving Harmon, who lives at the home with his grandmother, according to the sergeant.
When they arrived, Harmon initially tried to prevent his grandmother from answering the door for officers, the sergeant said. When she ultimately managed to get to the door and come out, Harmon brandished a machete at the officers.
Harmon allegedly then began throwing items including knives, hammers and picture frames at officers before going back inside his home and refusing orders to come out. No officers were hurt, though several of the projectiles narrowly missed their heads.
A crisis negotiator was summoned to the scene but was unable to persuade Harmon to surrender.
During the course of the hours-long standoff, “He started lighting objects in the house on fire,” Zavala said. He also set off fireworks inside the home.
Police summoned a SWAT team to take over the standoff.
Harmon surrendered to the SWAT team about 10 p.m., just as officers were forcing their way into the home through a window. He was taken into custody without injury.
After being booked into jail, police turned Harmon over to a psychiatric facility for examination, Zavala said.
According to county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
WEST COVINA >> A cyber-sleuthing mother helped police to get her 13-year-old daughter’s stolen snowboard back and arrest a man on suspicion of the theft, as well as at least three others, officials said.
Tony Jesus Cruz, 20, was booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property on March 8 after police arranged to meet him in West Covina in response to online advertisements he’d posted for stolen snowboards, West Covina police Officer David Sifling said.
Sophia Hert, 13, was snowboarding at the Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood on March 4 when someone snatched her snowboard, along with others, from a rack, the officer said.
Adding insult to injury, Sophia had worked hard to purchase the snowboard herself, Sifling explained.
“She makes homemade dog biscuits and treats,” he said. Selling the pet treats, “She raised enough money to buy her own snowboard,” he said.
The girl’s mother, Jennette Hert, took to the internet and soon found her daughters snowboard, which was recognizable due to distinctive features, being advertised for sale on the online marketplace OfferUp, Sifling said. She posed as a buyer and arranged to meet the seller at a mall in West Covina on March 8 to complete the transaction, and notified police.
Sifling said he then contacted the same seller, later identified as Cruz, posing as a potential buyer interested in another snowboard. An meeting was arranged about the same time and place as the other meeting arranged by the victim’s mother.
Police arrested Cruz when he showed up at the meeting place with the girl’s stolen snowboard, as well as a second stolen board, Sifling said. A search of a Covina home where Cruz had been staying turned up to additional allegedly stolen snowboards.
Police had yet to determine the value of the recovered snowboards, he said, though each was likely worth several hundred dollars.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Cruz was released from jail the same day of his arrest pending his initial court appearance after posting $20,000 bail.
PHOTO: West Covina Police Officer David Sifling, left, poses for a picture with 13-year-old Sophia Hert after police, aided by the girls’ mother, recovered the teen’s stolen snowboard and arrested the alleged thief on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. (Courtesy)
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.