COVINA >> Police arrested a West Covina teen Wednesday hours after he scrawled graffiti on a flagpole and newly installed parking meter dispenser outside the Covina Police Department, officials said.
The teen had gone to the Covina Police Department, 444 N. Citrus Ave., for unrelated business about 9 a.m. and decided to scrawl graffiti with a marker on the flagpole and parking machine as he left, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
After noticing the damage, police reviewed station surveillance cameras, which had captured the crime on video, he said.
Investigators identified the teen and arrested him about 9 p.m. Wednesday, the lieutenant said.
He was cited for vandalism and released to his parents pending his initial court appearance.
COVINA >> Police jailed an out-of-compliance sex offender after he tried to lure a 4-year-old girl into the men’s bathroom at a Covina park Friday, authorities said.
Matthew James Smith, a 49-year-old transient, was booked on suspicion of child annoyance and failing to register as a sex offender following his arrest shortly after 11 a.m. at Covina City Park, 301 N. Fourth Ave., Covina police Sgt. gregg Peterson said in a written statement.
Police responded to the park after receiving a report, “that an adult male had attempted to lure a 4-year-old female
into the men’s public restroom at the park,” Peterson said.
The child’s mother prevented her daughter from going with the man, he said. She did not confront him directly, but kept an eye on him as she called police and explained what had happened.
Officers found Smith still in the park and detained him.
“Initially the suspect denied having any contact with the victim, however, he was positively identified and placed under citizen’s arrest for child annoyance,” the sergeant said.
Police soon also discovered that Smith was a registered sex offender who had failed to register, he said.
Further details regarding Smith’s prior criminal history were not available late Friday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Covina police detectives at 626-384-5628. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LOS ANGELES >> A Covina doctor accused of prescribing a powerful painkiller to an undercover investigator, then laundering the proceeds, agreed to plead guilty Thursday to two federal charges, officials said.
Dr. Daniel Cham, 48, of Covina — who operated medical offices in La Puente and Artesia — agreed to enter guilty pleas to one count of distribution of oxycodone and one count of money laundering, US Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
“Painkillers like oxycodone can be life-threatening to those who abuse them,” US Attorney Eileen M. Decker said. “Many of the prescription drugs that find their way to the street come from doctors who prescribe them without medical justification. This defendant put lives at risk for money, making him no different than street-level drug dealer.”
Cham admitted that he wrote prescriptions for oxycodone for an undercover agent at his La Puente office three times in 2014, Mrozek said.
Each time, he accepted $200 to $300 in money orders in exchange, officials said. On at least one occasion, Cham then deposited the funds into a bank account in the name of another business.
The deposits were made in order to “conceal and disguise the nature and source of the money order,” according to the plea agreement.
Cham wrote prescriptions for oxycodone for an undercover agent at his La Puente office three times in 2014, Mrozek said. Each time, he accepted $200 to $300 in money orders in exchange.
“As discussed in the affidavit, Cham issued a prescription for oxycodone even though the undercover operative said he ‘had been high and drunk while receiving controlled substance prescriptions’ previously from Cham.” Mrozek said. “On another occasion, Cham prescribed oxycodone even though the undercover law enforcement officer presented, in lieu of photo identification, a written notice that his license had been suspended for driving under the influence.”
Cham often saw patients between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. on weekends, but post-dated prescriptions to they would appear to have been issued on weekdays, officials said.
The doctor wrote more than 5,500 prescriptions for powerful drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone over a one-year period ending in March of 2014, Mrozek said. “And he issued more than 42,000 such prescriptions since July 2010.”
Cham is expected to formally enter his guilty plea April 4 in federal court in Los Angeles.
He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of the two felony counts he had admitted to, according to Mrozek. He also agreed to forfeit more than $60,000 in admitted proceeds from his crimes.
A federal grand jury returned a 31-count indictment against Cham in October of 2014. If convicted as originally charged, he could have faced more than 300 years in federal prison.
COVINA >> Covina Police Chief Kim Raney received the California Police Chief’s Associations most prestigious award Wednesday.
The CPCA presented Raney with the Joe Molloy Award, “ for his dedication and service to law enforcement and to the California Police Chiefs Association,” CPCA officials said in a written statement. “This award embodies the characteristics represented by the late Chief Joe Molloy of Anaheim; professionalism, leadership, energy, and commitment to the mission of the Association.”
Raney received the honor from CPCA President and Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano during the Installation Banquet during the CPCA’s 39th Annual Training Symposium in Ontario.
“Chief Raney has tirelessly served the association in several capacities, including as a past president. He also emerged as a leader in the fight against the legalization of marijuana in 2010 and also championed the effort to draft legislation to regulate medical marijuana,” Bejarano said.
“Kim Raney’s record of commitment and contribution on a statewide level and to the association is greatly appreciated. He is highly respected within the law enforcement community. I was honored to present Chief Raney with the award for the work he has done for Cal Chiefs, for law enforcement, and for public safety.”
Raney served as president of the CPCA in 2008.
The CPCA is comprised of municipal police chiefs from throughout the state, with jurisdictions protecting more than 26 million Californians.
PHOTO: Covina Police Chief Kim Raney, left, received the Joe Mollow Award, the most prestigious honor bestowed by the California Police Chiefs Association, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (Courtesy, Covina Police Department)
COVINA >> Police jailed two alleged car thieves after a short pursuit that ended in Covina Sunday after the victims of an auto theft spotted their recently-stolen SUV driving through West Covina, officials said.
A man and wife called police about 12:45 p.m. to report that they’d just seen their 2007 Honda Element SUV, which has been stolen the previous day, being driven down Citrus Avenue near the 10 Freeway in West Covina, West Covina police Lt. Dave Lee said. A man was at the wheel, and a woman was riding as a passenger.
Police tried to pull over the stolen Honda, but the driver sped away, blowing through red lights and stop signs, Lee said.
The car slowed in the 2000 block of Puente Avenue, where both suspect jumped from the still-moving car, which continued rolling until it struck a mailbox, the lieutenant said.
The female passenger broke her ankle as she hopped from the still-rolling car and was immediately captured, Lee said. She was estimated to be about 30.
The driver, a man in his mid-20s, was found hiding in a residential garage and arrested with the help of a police dog following an hour-long neighborhood search, he said.
Both suspects were taken to a hospital for treatment, Lee said. Their identities were not available Sunday afternoon.
They were expected to be booked on suspicion of auto theft and resisting arrest, Lee said. The driver was also expected to be booked for evading police.
COVINA >> Police raided a an illicit marijuana shop selling marijuana and pot-laced candy out of a Covina storefront Thursday, officials said.
A tip from the public first brought the attention of police to the commercial unit in the 400 block of West Badillo Street, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
The Covina police Special Enforcement Bureau launched an investigation and began staking out the business, Peterson said.
“They surveilled the location and determined that the location was possibly involved in the sales of marijuana,” the sergeant said.
Police went in to the business about noon to speak with the owner and immediately saw evidence of marijuana sales, he said.
The business owner, 40-year-old Juan Francisco Pacheco of Covina, was detained as police obtained a search warrant for the unit, Peterson said.
Police recovered a significant amount of marijuana, cash and marijuana-laced candy, some of which was still in the process of being manufactured, he said. A tally of the amount of drugs and money seized was not available late Thursday.
Police also seized a handgun from the business, Peterson said.
Pacheco was expected to be booked on suspicion of selling marijuana as well as possible weapon violations, however, the investigation was ongoing, Peterson said.
It was not immediately clear of the business was operating as a medical marijuana dispensary, though city law prohibits such businesses in Covina.
According to county booking records, Pacheco was released from jail Friday pending his initial court appearance after posting $25,000 bail.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Covina Police Department
COVINA >> No significant injuries were reported after sheriff’s patrol car and a black sedan collided in a Covina intersection Sunday afternoon, officials said.
The collision took place about 1:50 p.m. at Covina Boulevard and Citrus Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jorge Chavez said.
The deputy involved in the crash, who is assigned to the sheriff’s San Dimas Station, was taken to a hospital as a precaution, but she did not appear to have suffered any significant injuries, Covina police Sgt. Tom Tardif said. A man at the wheel of the other car — a Chevrolet Monte Carlo — was also hospitalized as a precaution, but appeared OK.
Tardif said witnesses relayed that the Monte Carlo drove through a red light as it headed south on Citrus Avenue, colliding with the patrol car, which was heading east on Covina Boulevard.
The deputy was not using of the patrol car’s emergency lights or siren when the crash occurred, Chavez added.
A photograph of the crash aftermath showed the patrol car with moderate front-end damage, and the black sedan with moderate damage to the passenger side.
No citations or arrests had been made as the investigation continued, Tardif said.
PHOTO courtesy of John Recendez
COVINA >> Police are seeking a 50-pound tortoise stolen from a Covina backyard Friday.
The pet reptile — valued at about $450 — was reported missing about 9 p.m. in the 1500 block of East Adams Park Drive, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
Its owner arrived home to find the side gate leading to the backyard open and the tortoise gone, officials said.
COVINA >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a 21-year-old Covina man killed Thursday when his motorcycle collided with a city truck.
David Antonio Hernandez died at the scene of the crash, which took place just after 2 p.m. along San Bernardino Road at Prospero Drive, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator B. Kim said.
An autopsy determined Hernandez died from “multiple blunt force trauma,” and the death was ruled accidental, Kim said.
The rider was heading east on San Bernardino Road when his Harley-Davidson Sportster collided with a city-owned Ford F-250 pickup truck being driven by a 54-year-old Covina Department of Public Works employee, California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said.
The truck was heading north on Prospero Drive at San Bernardino Road when the two vehicle collided in the intersection, officials said.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, Jimenez said.
COVINA >> A 21-year-old Covina man died Thursday after his motorcycle collided with a Covina Department of Public Works pickup truck, authorities said.
The crash took place at 2:04 p.m. on San Bernardino Road at Prospero Drive, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
Paramedics pronounced the motorcyclist dead at the scene, he said. His name was not available.
California Highway Patrol officers were summoned to handle the investigation to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, since the fatal collision involved a city-owned truck and city employee, Peterson explained.
The motorcyclist was heading east on San Bernardino Road at an “undetermined speed” in the left-hand lane on a 2011 Harley-Davidson Sportster just prior to the crash, CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said. A 2014 Ford F-250 truck being driven by a 54-year-old Covina man and city employee was heading north on Prospero Drive, approaching San Bernardino Road, at 5 to 10 miles per hour, Jimenez said in a written statement.
“The public works truck entered the intersection, directly in the path of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle,” the officer said. “The Harley-Davidson motorcycle collided with the left side of the truck, causing the rider to be thrown off the motorcycle.”
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, though intoxicated driving did not initially appear to be a factor, Jimenez said.
The driver of the truck was unhurt and cooperated with investigators, Peterson said.
Officials shut down both directions of San Bernardino Road between Grand and Barranca Avenues for several hours as they carried out their investigation Thursday afternoon.
PHOTO courtesy of the Covina Police Department