COVINA >> Police are seeking a man caught on surveillance video breaking into a downtown Covina jewelry store last month and stealing three Rolex watches valued at more than $10,000.
The crime took place about 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 26 at Willy’s Jewelry, 142 N. Citrus Ave., Covina police Detective Ivan Ostarcevic said.
The burglar first disabled an overhead light behind the store before leaving to retrieve a sweatshirt, flashlight and pry bar, the detective said. He then forced open the back door, the detective said.
“He went straight for the three most expensive watches,” Ostarcevic. “It appears he’s been there before.”
Nothing was stolen other than the Rolex watches — valued at a total of $10,600, he said.
Police described the thief as a white man in his 50s, about 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, clean-shaven, with short gray hair and eyeglasses.
Anyone who recognizes the burglar is asked to contact Covina police at 626-384-5595. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
VIDEO/PHOTOS courtesy of the Covina Police Department
COVINA >> Police jailed an Azusa gang member late Friday after he ran from a traffic stop with large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine and concentrated cannabis, as well as other people identifying documents, officials said.
Steven Anthony Quintana, 42, of Azusa, who was already on felony probation for previous robbery conviction under the terms of AB 109, was ultimately booked on suspicion of possession of drugs for sales, possession of identity theft-related materials and resisting arrest, according to Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Quintana’s passenger, 37-year-old Darlene Denise Martinez, whose hometown was unclear, was booked on suspicion of possession of drugs for sales and possession of identity-theft related materials.
An officer first tried to pull Quintana over for a traffic violation about 6:30 p.m., Covina police Sgt. Antonio Zavala said.
After a delay, Quintana pulled over in the 5300 block of Cedarglen Drive, where he ran from the car, the sergeant said.
A police helicopter which was already overhead directed officers on the ground to Quintana, who was found in the area and arrested without a struggle, Zavala said.
Quintana ditched his jacket while running from police, he said. Inside the jacket, police found 46 grams of methamphetamine, seven grams of cocaine and 32 grams of concentrated cannabis. Inside the car, police also found identifying documents in the names of other people.
Quintana and Martinez were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances, records show.
BOOKING PHOTOS of Steven Quintana and Darlene Martinez courtesy of the Covina Police Department.
COVINA >> A man refused to cooperate with deputies after he was found stabbed in a residential neighborhood near Covina early Saturday, officials said.
The incident was first reported about 1:45 a.m. as a stabbing victim spotted wounded in the street in the 4600 block of West Bellbrook Street, in an unincorporated county area just outside of Covina, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Bertha Payes said.
Deputies found a man in his late-30s suffering from at least one stab wound to his back, she said. But he would not tell investigators what happened or who stabbed him.
The victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Payes said.
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 >> Police uprooted about 1,000 marijuana plants from a Covina commercial building posing as an insurance agency on Friday afternoon, officials said.
Dashun Lin, 59, was arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana as police served a search warrant about 3 p.m. at the businesses, labeled Catano Enterprises Inc., 1055 W. San Bernardino Road, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said. Lin had a listed address in Baldwin Park, though it appeared he’d been living in the alleged front business.
Officers found about 1,000 mostly-mature marijuana plants inside the business, along with several pounds of processed marijuana, the lieutenant said.
The complex, seven-room operation included about 100 light ballasts and sophisticated electrical work, he added.
Police sought a warrant after an officer went to the area Thursday on a service call and noticed a powerful odor of marijuana emanating from the purported auto insurance agency, according to Walczak.
Upon looking up the business’ permit, the officer found that it was licensed with the city to operate as an auto dealership under the name, “Chronic Inc.” Chronic is slang for high-quality marijuana.
A tiny, sparsely furnished office separated the front door from a security door within the business, behind which the marijuana was growing, Walczak said. It did not appear that any legitimate business was taking place there.
Authorities suspected the pot-growing operation was set up some time in 2016.
According to county booking records, Lin was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Covina Police Department
COVINA >> Police jailed a Glendora man Sunday on suspicion of selling heroin at an apartment building across the street from a high school in Covina, officials said.
Christopher Michael Strohl, 30, was booked on suspicion of possession of heroin for sales, as well as an existing traffic warrant, following his 9 a.m. arrest at an apartment complex in the 1000 block of West Cypress Street, across the street from Northview High School, according to Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officers had received complaints of drug dealing in the area when they spotted Strohl, who appeared suspicious, standing in a carport, Covina police Sgt. Antonio Zavala said.
They soon realized the man, later identified as Strohl, had an outstanding traffic warrant, he said.
While searching the suspect, officers discovered 9.8 grams of heroin, as well as a small amount of methamphetamine, the sergeant said.
The heroin had an estimated street value of $1,000, he added.
Strohl was being held in lieu of $65,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
PHOTO courtesy of the Covina Police Department
COVINA >> Police on Sunday jailed a San Dimas man on suspicion on outstanding robbery and drug smuggling warrants, and were investigating his possible connection to an armed robbery in Glendora early Saturday, after he led Covina police on a high-speed chase before being captured by a SWAT team and a K-9, authorities said.
Bryan McMaster, 46, was ultimately booked on suspicion of felony evading of police, as well as warrants for robbery and smuggling drugs into the Glendora Police Department’s jail, Covina police Sgt. Antonio Zavala said.
Detectives were also looking into the possibility McMaster was responsible for a Saturday morning armed robbery at a CVS Pharmacy in Glendora, Covina and Glendora police officials said. A concrete link was yet to be established.
The chase began after an officer spotted the wanted man about 9:30 a.m. in a car in the parking lot of the Park Inn, 1211 E. Garvey Street, Zavala said.
McMaster refused to pull over, initiating a chase that reached speeds of more than 100 mph on surface streets, the sergeant said. After leading police on a chase for about three miles, McMaster abandoned his car and continued fleeing on foot after driving into a cul-de-sac on Bender Avenue, just north of Navilla Place, in an unincorporated county area just outside of Covina.
A SWAT team was summoned to search for the suspect, as he was presumed armed and dangerous, according to Zavala.
SWAT officers, aided by Covina police K-9 Jarno, found McMaster hiding in a shed behind a vacant home nearby about noon, he said.
McMaster was treated for minor dog bite injuries and booked into jail, Zavala said.
His wife, who was riding as a passenger during the pursuit, was also being detained for questioning Sunday afternoon, he added.
COVINA >> A nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping kids away from gangs, drugs and violence through sports, academic and life mentorship marked a bittersweet milestone on Thursday.
It was the 9th anniversary of the slaying of Manuel “Manny” Moreno, a 26-year-old graphic designer who was gunned down on Nov. 10, 2007, in his hometown of Covina. But out of his tragic death, Moreno’s family launched the Man-e Moreno Foundation in his memory.
The group started helping families individually, then obtained a “mobile teen center” in a trailer before ultimately achieving its goal of opening a permanent teen center, the 212 Academic and Athletic Training Center, at 542 N. 2nd Street in Covina in 2012.
More than 150 young people, from 8-year-olds to college students, as well as 25 adults, now attend the center to make use of state-of-the-art sports training facilities, an academic study hall and other resources.
Covina’s new Police Chief, John Curley, and other city officials were on hand to mark the anniversary.
“(We) marked the nine-year anniversary of Manny’s passing the only way we know how: to continue our healing and also continue our mission,” Man-e Moreno Foundation President Robert Moreno said.
He thanked the many “amazing people” in the community who have helped the Moreno family in their journey to seek justice, as well as to become part of the solution to senseless violence.
The Man-e Moreno Foundation presented Covina City Councilman John King, Covina police Sgt. Anthony Zavala, who is investigating Manny Moreno’s murder, and Covina Police Chief John Curley with certificated of appreciation. The Covina Police Department has been “beyond supportive” of the family in its endeavors, Robert Moreno said.
Looking forward, he said, “We have pledged to continue fighting for a cause as we develop the complete student athlete as well as encourage and challenge the youth in our community to live life with a purpose.”
PHOTO: Covina’s new Police Chief, John Curley, center, meets with members of The Man-E Moreno Foundation’s 212 Training Center as it commemorate the 9th anniversary of the slaying of Manuel “Manny” Moreno, a 26-year-old graphic designer who was gunned in 2007, in Covina on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. The 212 Training Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping kids away from gangs, drugs and violence through sports, academic and life mentoring. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, San Gabriel Valley Tribune/ SCNG)
COVINA >> An underground equipment failure Covina on Saturday morning ripped a manhole cover from the street, caused a power pole to burst into flames and knocked out power to more than 2,000 homes and businesses, authorities said.
The problem involving an underground cable failure in the area of Covina Boulevard and Barranca Avenue was first reported about 8:20 a.m., Southern California Edison spokesman Paul Netter said. Slightly more than 2,000 customers were initially left in the dark, but all had their power restored by 10:35 a.m.
Police received reports about 8:40 p.m. that a power pole had burst into flames at Covina Boulevard and Glendora Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Tony Zavala said.
An apparent underground electrical vault explosion just after 10 a.m. blew off a manhole cover and ripped apart the street along Covina Boulevard, just east of Barranca Avenue, Zavala said.
The outage also affected area traffic signals both in Covina and neighboring Glendora, Zavala said.
No injuries or collisions were reported as a result of the incident.
VIDEO courtesy of Lauren Gold, photo courtesy of the Covina Police Department.
COVINA >> A man previously arrested but released without charges in the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Covina man during a robbery in Covina was re-arrested Wednesday after prosecutors filed a murder charge against him, authorities said.
Christopher Alexander Avila, 20, of Covina is accused of the Aug. 13 fatal shooting of 20-year-old Isaac Urena of Covina in the parking lot of Clearman’s North Woods Inn, at San Bernardino Road and Azusa Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
He joins co-defendant Adam David Hernandez, 21, of Covina behind bars as both await trial.
Both suspects were arrested the day after the killing.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Hernandez with being an accessory to murder, but released Avila due to insufficient evidence and requested further investigation.
Detectives continued gather clues and run forensic tests, developed new information and presented it to prosecutors, Peterson said.
“Based on the new evidence, The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed a murder charge (Wednesday) against Christopher Avila and amended the charge against Adam Hernandez to include murder,” according to Peterson.
Detectives found and arrested Avila at his home about 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Peterson said.
Investigators also arrested a third suspect at Avila’s home on suspicion of acting as an accessory to the slaying. Further details regarding that arrest were not available Wednesday night.
Hernandez has remained in custody since his arrest in August.
Both defendants were being held without bail.
The deadly shooting took place shortly before noon on Aug. 13 after the victim, Urena, was driven by a friend to the Clearman’s parking lot in order to meet a person who had agreed to buy jewelry Urena was offering for sale on the online marketplace OfferUp.com, police said.
The transaction turned into a robbery, which escalated into a shooting, police said. Avila allegedly produced a gun and shot Urena. Hernandez is accused of driving the car used in the crime.
Following the gunfire, Urena’s friend drove across the city border to the parking lot of Faith Community Church in West Covina, where paramedics ultimately pronounced Urena dead, officials said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Covina Police Department Detective Bureau at 626-384-5628. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS: [TOP} – BOOKING PHOTOS of Christopher Avila (left) and Adam Hernandez (right) courtesy of the Covina Police Deparmtent. [BELOW] – Police investigate outside the Clearman’s North Woods Inn parking lot in Covina where a 20-year-old Covina man was fatally shot on Saturday August 13, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
COVINA >> Seven children and two adults suffered minor injuries Saturday when a small-scale train ride hired for a child’s birthday party overturned, officials said.
The mishap took place about 2:10 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 2100 block of Rancho Culebra Drive, according to Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson.
The children’s train ride, essentially a gas-powered tractor pulling carts behind it, flipped over when the driver lost control while traveling down a hill, Peterson said. The occupants spilled off the ride into the street.
Seven children between 3 and 7 years old, as well as two adults, suffered apparently minor injuries such as abrasions and bruises, he said.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Covina Police Department’s Traffic Division.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Covina Police Department