COVINA — Police serving an arrest warrant did not find the ex-con they were looking for Friday, but did seize four high-powered rifled and a handgun from his home, police said.
Officers showed up to serve an arrest about warrant on a man wanted for narcotics charges about 7:30 p.m. at the home he shares with his parents in the 700 block of Rancho Simi Drive, Covina police Sgt. Tom Tardif said.
The man they were seeking was not at the home, but police did recover four AR-15-style rifles in various stages of assembly, as well as a starter pistol which Tardif said was capable of firing a live round.
The man is a previously convicted felon and barred from possessing any firearms, the sergeant added. It was believed he was assembling the guns from parts ordered online.
It was not clear what the suspect’s previous conviction was for.
Along with the rifles and starter pistol, officers also seized a pellet gun, Tardif said.
Family members of the suspect who were at the home when police arrived were cooperative, he added. “They weren’t aware of what he was doing.”
Police did not release the suspect’s name as they continued searching for him Saturday.
COVINA – A masked intruder robbed a disabled man inside his own home Friday afternoon, police said.
The victim, a man in his 50s who walks with the aid of a cane or crutch due to cerebral palsy, heard a knock at his door about noon in the 200 block of East Nubia Street, Covina police Sgt. Robert Bobkiewicz said.
The resident saw no one and asked who was there, the sergeant said. In a deep voice, the person at the door claimed to be an animal control official.
When the resident opened his door, the robber rushed in and pushed the disabled resident to the ground, Bobkiewicz said. The man suffered minor cuts to his legs and feet in the fall.
The intruder then demanded money from the victim, who was unable to get up due to his disability, he said. The victim told the robber he had no money.
Bobkiewicz said the victim told the intruder he was disabled and asked the man not to steal from him.
The robber helped himself to a jewelry box containing about $800 worth of valuables that was in the resident’s bedroom and fled out the front door, police said. It was unclear if a getaway car was involved.
The robber was a black man between 28 and 32 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 175 pounds, Bobkiewicz said. He wore a blue hooded sweat shirt and covered his face with a blue bandana.
Detectives have released the name of a 22-year-old La Puente man whose body was found set on fire along Covina Hills Road last month.
The body of Angel David Grajiola was discovered by a sheriff’s deputy and an off-duty Los Angeles police officer about 3:45 a.m. Aug. 20 on a secluded stretch of Covina Hills Road, just west of Via Verde in an unincorporated county area southeast of Covina, Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said Wednesday.
An autopsy had been performed and the death ruled a homicide, however Corina declined to say exactly how Grajiola died, citing the ongoing investigation.
The man was killed elsewhere before his body was left along the street and set ablaze, Corina said. He did not die as a result of the fire.
But detectives were still trying to figure out where the actual slaying took place, he said.
There was no suspect information available.
“We’re looking for the public’s help,” Corina added.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
COVINA — Police and city officials are planning a town hall meeting focusing on public safety and the ongoing California prison realignment process.
The meeting is to take place at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at Royal Oak Middle School, 303 S. Glendora Avenue in Covina, organizers said in a written statement.
Keynote speakers will include Covina Police Chief Kim Raney and Mayor Walter Allen III.
In addition to discussing the impacts of the prison realignment brought about by A.B. 109 in 2011, topics will also include public safety issues such as school safety, neighborhood watch, disaster preparedness and social media.
Los Angeles County firefighters will bring the department’s “Shakey Quakey Schoolhouse” earthquake simulator.
For more information, the Covina Police Department can be reached at 626-384-5653.
COVINA — A multi-agency sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint late Friday netted five drunken driving arrests, including one driver whose blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit, authorities said.
The operation was held from 6 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday in the 700 block of South Citrus Avenue.
More than 2,500 cars passed through the checkpoint, which was stagged by officers from the Covina, Glendora, Azusa, Claremont, Irwindale and Los Angeles police department, according to Glendora police Community Service Officer Wendy Brewer, who also serves as a coordinator for an anti-DUI task force comprised of more than 100 Southland law enforcement agencies known as Avoid the 100.
Of the five drivers arrested on suspicion of drunken driving during the Covina checkpoint, one had a blood-alcohol level of more than triple the legal limit for an adult of .08 percent, Brewer said.
And Avoid the 100 plans to continue its DUI crackdown through Labor Day, Sept. 12.
More checkpoints were planned Saturday night in cities including Azusa, Arcadia, El Monte and La Mirada.
Since the task force kicked of it’s summer enforcement campaign Aug. 16, more than 975 DUI arrests have been made.
A sheriff’s deputy and an off-duty Los Angeles police officer who discovered a body set on fire along a secluded section of Covina Hills Road Tuesday likely “just missed” whoever dumped and ignited the body, according to a homicide investigator.
Officials have determined a body discovered ablaze about 3:45 a.m. Tuesday on Covina Hills Road, just west of Via Verde Street, was that of male, however his identity, age and the circumstances of his death remained a mystery, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. The body was listed a the coroner’s office as a John Doe.
The body was still in flames when a sheriff’s deputy came upon it in the unincorporated county area between Covina and Walnut, about the same time as a off-duty LAPD officer, Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
“They just missed whoever dumped that body,” the lieutenant said. “Probably by a minute or two.”
The body was lying face-down on a dirt area beside the road.
The deputy used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames and checked for signs of life, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“Once it was determined that the person was deceased, investigators from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau responded and assumed control of the investigation,” according to the statement.
Though the “badly burned” condition of the body made it impossible to estimate an age Wednesday, the size of the body was consistent with that of an adult, Corina said.
Though it was unclear exactly how the person died, Corina said, “It doesn’t look like the fire’s what killed him.”
An autopsy was planned to determine the cause of death, officials said. It remained to be seen Wednesday whether fingerprints could be used to identify the person, or whether other methods such as X-ray comparison would need to be used.
After canvassing the area and speaking with local residents, detectives had not been able to piece together the circumstances leading up to the discovery of the body, Corina said. No information regarding any possible suspect was available.
No violent incidents or missing persons’ cases had been identified as possibly connected to the body discovery, Corina added.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
COVINA — A gunman fled empty handed after two employees locked him out of the store mid-crime early Saturday, officials said.
Two employees were taking out the trash just before 3 a.m. at KFC on Grand Avenue at Covina Boulevard when they were approached by the would-be robber, Covina police Sgt. Rob Bobkiewicz said.
“He pulled a gun on one of them. He told them to get inside the store,” the sergeant said.
But when the gunman paused to look around, apparently to see if anyone was watching, the employees ran back into the restaurant and locked the doors, Bobkiewicz said.
The armed man knocked on the door and demanded the employees open it, but they refused and called police, he said. The gunman fled.
Police described the would-be robber as a black man between 25 and 30 years old, about 6 feet tall, of thin build, with a beard. He wore a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, and carried a semi-automatic handgun.
COVINA — A former resident of a Covina adult independent living home arrested earlier this week on suspicion of trashing the home following his eviction has been released from custody without charges, authorities said. The home was also filled with natural gas.
Steven Moss, 44, was booked on suspicion of burglary, vandalism and attempting to explode a structure Sunday afternoon after he was found at the home in the 200 block of West Gragmont Street, Covina police Sgt. Rob Bobkiewicz said. He and another resident had been kicked out of the home the previous day by the homeowner.
But prosecutors Tuesday declined to file charges against him citing insufficient evidence, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.
He was released from jail Tuesday morning, according to county booking records.
After a heated exchange between the two evicted residents and the homeowner Saturday, the home was found vandalized Saturday night, police said. The floor, windows and appliances had been badly damaged.
More damage was discovered Sunday afternoon when the homeowner returned. The home had been flooded with water and filled with natural gas from open but unlit gas ranges, Bobkiewicz said. Moss was spotted inside the home and ultimately taken into custody in the backyard, he added.
COVINA — A Covina couple was sentenced to two years in prison for abusing their 4-year-old daughter, officials said Wednesday.
Laci Jones, 28, and Gordon MacAndrew, 50, pleaded no contest on Monday to child abuse, according to Shiara Davila Morales, spokeswoman with the District Attorney’s Office.
She said each was sentenced to two years in prison with 10 days credit time.
The prosecution had originally charged Jones and MacAndrew with corporal injury to a child and child abuse. They were supposed to be arraigned Monday at West Covina Superior Court when they entered their pleas.
Covina police said the girl was abused at the family home in the 600 block of East Ruddock Street.
On Aug. 1, Jones took her daughter to Foothill Presbyterian Hospital in Glendora with suspicious injuries. Police said there were signs of physical abuse on the girl which included bruises and scrapes to her face, arms and buttocks.
Police arrested the couple the same day.
- Ruby Gonzales
PHOTOS of Laci Jones and Gordon MacAndrew courtesy of the Covina Police Department.
COVINA — A disgruntled former resident of a Covina adult independent living home is accused of vandalizing the home, flooding it with water and filling it with natural gas over the weekend, officials said.
Steven Moss, 44, was booked on suspicion of burglary, felony vandalism and attempting to explode a structure following his arrest shortly after 12:30 p.m. at a house in the 200 block of West Gragmont Street, Covina police Sgt. Rob Bobkiewicz said. The house was being used as a rent-free home for the disabled and homeless.
He, along with another man, had been kicked out of the home the previous day by the homeowner, Covina police Lt. Jason Walczak said. The homeowner had come down to discuss community concerns that the men were causing problems when she became dissatisfied with the condition of the home and ordered the two men to leave.
The man kicked out along with Moss was also arrested by Covina police on suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia, officials added. The homeowner temporarily relocated the other residents of the home to allow for repairs to be made.
But about 10:30 Saturday night, police were summoned back to the home after the homeowner discovered the home had been broken into and vandalized, Walczak said. The kitchen floor had been bashed with a sledge hammer, appliances had been damaged and windows broken out.
The vandal was gone when police arrived, however witnesses recognized him as Moss, Walczak said.
Bobkiewicz said the homeowner returned to the house shortly after 12:30 p.m. Sunday, but because of the recent commotion, asked police to look inside before she entered.
“She just wanted us to check the house before she went in,” the sergeant said.
Her concern proved to be founded, as police soon noticed a man inside the home, Bobkiewicz said. He was detained by officers when he exited the home and tried to hide in the backyard.
It was then that officers noticed, “There was this very, very strong odor of gas coming from inside the house, to the point that we were concerned to go in,” Bobkiewicz said.
Firefighters responded and found the stove burners in the home had been left on without a flame, filling the home with flammable gas.
Furthermore, the home had been flooded with about two inches of water, the sergeant said. Moss allegedly ran a garden house from the yard into the home, as well as used a pipe to direct water from the kitchen sink onto the floor.
Police said they suspected Moss may have been in the process of setting a trap when officers arrived.
An extension cord had been plugged into a socket in a flooded hallway and ran outside into the yard, Bobkiewicz said. Investigators speculated he may have been preparing to electrify the water or create a device to detonate the natural gas.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Moss was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Covina Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
PHOTO of Steven Moss courtesy of the Covina Police Department