GLENDALE — Firefighters responded from both ground an air after a brush fire ignited in the hills above Brand Library Park in Glendale and grew to 50-acres in size, officials said.
The fire was reported just before 12:30 p.m., according to a dispatcher at the Verdugo Fire Communications Center.
A third-alarm was called as firefighters from various area agencies, with the aid of fire-fighting aircraft, attacked the flames.
By 3 p.m., the fire had grown to 50 acres in size, according to Glendale city spokesman Dan Bell.
No evacuations were ordered or expected, however firefighters were taking positions to protect structures, officials said.
No home’s were considered “directly threatened” by the fire, however Glendale Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Propst said homes along Allen Avenue and Thurber Place were potentially in the path of the fire’s travel.
Two hikers called for help to report they were stranded by the fire, Glendale Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Propst said. Firefighters ended up finding and rescuing a total of five hikers in two separate groups from the area and assessed them for possible dehydration, Bell said. No additional hikers were believed stranded in the area.
About 100 firefighters on the ground and five airships continued fighting the flames Sunday afternoon.
- Brian Day and Brenda Gazzar
Police arrested two Glendale men, including one already under investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, after they were caught installing a skimming device on a gas pump at a Sierra Madre gas station early Saturday, authorities said.
Edvard Martirosyan, 27, and Aram Manasaryan, 22, were arrested shortly before 3 a.m. outside the Valero gas station, 4 N. Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre police officials said in a written statement. They’re accused of several felony charges for allegedly trying to install the device in order to capture credit card numbers of unsuspecting customers.
The U.S. Secret Service, which has already filed a separate case against Martirosyan, is spearheading the investigation into the two suspects, officials said.
The arrests came after police officers were responded to an alarm at the gas station.
“The officers’ quick response to the alarm call allowed us to catch the suspects in the act,” Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Giannone said. “Officers were on scene within one minute of being dispatched to the call and caught the suspects as they were attempting to leave.”
In the suspects’ car, police found other skimming devices, laptop computers, counterfeit credit cards and other tools used to break into gas pumps, officials said.
Martirosyan was out of custody on bond in his pre-existing federal case when he was arrested along with Manasaryan Saturday, officials said. He was arrested in August in connection with an alleged identity theft ring operating skimmers at gas stations in and around the San Fernando Valley.
The incident was the second time in recent weeks police have investigated possible tampering at the gas station.
Police cautioned the public to be wary late last month after learning someone had tried to break in to the gas pumps at the Valero station May 23, police said.
But station owner Edgar Artenyan said an expert had examined the pumps and determined no customer information had been compromised in the crime, which was thwarted by an alarm.
It was unclear if Martirosyan and Manasaryan were also suspected in the May incident.
Officials again asked customers of the station who purchased gas at the pumps using a credit or debit card between May 22 and June 6 to watch their financial accounts for suspicious activity, “just to be on the safe side,” according to the police statement.
“At this point, we cannot be 100 percent certain that some personal information was not captured,”
According to county booking records, Martirosyan and Manasaryan were being held in lieu of $500,000 bail each at the Pasadena Police Department’s jail pending their initial court appearances.
PHOTOS of Edvard Martirosyan (top) and Aram Manasaryan (below) courtesy of the Sierra Madre Police Department.
GLENDORA — Police and California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control officials cited four people this week who purchased alcohol for minors during a “shoulder-tap” sting operation, authorities said Wednesday.
The operation took place Saturday at business throughout the city, Glendora police Cpl. Shawna Celello said in a written statement.
The four adults who purchased alcohol for underage decoys working with police face a minimum penalty of a $1,000 and 24 hours of community service if convicted, Celello said.
“Under the program, a minor under the direct supervision of a peace officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol,” Celello said. “The minor indicated in some way he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol.”
Funding was provided by a grant from the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control through the department’s Grant Assistance Program.
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Human remains found in a shallow grave in the Angeles National Forest earlier this month have been identified as those of a missing Glendale man who was beaten to death.
The body found Jan. 19 near mile marker 2.72 of Big Tujunga Canyon Road was that of Nicholas Carter, 25, of Glendale, Lt. Mike Rosson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said Wednesday.
An autopsy determined he had been beaten to death, the lieutenant added.
“We’re treating it as a homicide,” Rosson said.
Carter went missing sometime between Jan. 4 and 7, officials added.
No information regarding a suspect or motive in the slaying was available, and nothing detectives found in the man’s background indicated a reason someone would want him dead, Rosson said.
“He looks like a pretty normal person who had a job,” the lieutenant said.
Detective unearthed Carter’s remains after returning to the site of a Jan. 8 excavation.
A hiker had discovered what appeared to be a shallow grave with streaks of blood nearby, Rosson said.
Inside the grave, only a bag of animal remains was found, sheriff’s officials said.
But detective returned to the area Jan. 19 after tests indicated animal remains were not the only thing in the area.
“Once we confirmed that the blood in the area was human, we felt we needed to go back there,” Rosson said.
Carter’s remains were found several hundred yards from the site of the initial shallow grave.
It appeared he had been dragged past the site of the first grave, leaving a blood trail, though the animal remains were not believed to be related to the slaying, Rosson said.
EL SEGUNDO — Pasadena and Arcadia firefighters joined Verdugo Fire Academy recruits over the weekend to practice fighting oil and gas fires at the Chevron Oil Refinery in El Segundo.
The training took place Saturday and Sunday and made use of a “training prop” at the Chevron refinery, Verdugo Fire Academy Chief Sam DiGiovanna said.
About 45 recruits from the Verdugo Fire Academy took part in the training, alongside academy instructors, four firefighters from Pasadena and four from Arcadia, the chief said.
The training provides valuable skills that become necessary whenever dealing with a fire involving gas, oil and valves, he said, such as when a tanker truck caught fire on the Pomona (60) Freeway in Montebello in December of last year, destroying the Paramount Boulevard bridge.
“The recruits get some great training, and so do the firefighters,” DiGiovanna said.
Recruits trained by the Verdugo Fire Academy in Glendale staff fire departments throughout the San Gabriel Valley and Southern California.
PHOTO courtesy of the Verdugo Fire Academy
The Glendale Police Department has now issued a bulletin seeking clues in its search for Megan DiPiazza, 33, missing since last Sunday. Here’s what the flier says:
The Glendale Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating Megan Sue Dipiazza. She was last seen on the evening of November 11, 2012. A note was discovered “saying goodbye to her family.” Megan has a history of depression.
There is no indication of foul play. No suspicious activity has been identified. The Police Department would like to speak with Megan Dipiazza. The family is concerned for her welfare and has been working closely with the Police Department.
Last week a police spokesman said he believed DiPiazza was in the company of “people”. On Monday a second spokesman recanted that statement. Meanwhile, DiPiazza’s friends continue to search for her or her car, a “2013 Gray Toyota Scion.” The car has license plates of 6XJR885, but those plates may not be attached, according to Glendale PD.
GLENDALE — A young Alhambra man has pleaded not guilty to allegations of molesting 8-year-old and 3-year-old Glendale brothers he babysat over the course of eight months, authorities said.
Jordan Liu, 19, appeared in Glendale Superior Court Monday to answer to eight charges of child molestation, court officials said.
The allegations came forward as the children’s mother was discussing the ongoing child molestation investigation at Pennsylvania State University, police said.
He was arrested Nov. 22 after the older boy told his mother 11 days earlier that he’s been sexually assaulted by Liu, who the family had hired as a babysitter through the Website “Sittercity.com,” Glendale police officials said in a written statement. “The suspect provided babysitting services and took the child on outings at least once a month for the past eight months.”
The boys’ mother did not suspect any inappropriateness involving Liu when she began discussing a news story about the ongoing child molestation investigation at Pennsylvania State University as a form of educating her 8-year-old son and raising his awareness, according to the police statement.
“The mother soon learned that her 8-year-old son had been victimized by the babysitter,” the statement said.
After launching an extensive investigation, detectives found evidence of sexual abuse of both the 8-year-old boy and his 3-year-old brother.
Sittercity.com has been cooperating with detectives, officials added. In addition to Sittercity.com, Liu also advertised his services on another similar Website, “Care.com,” according to Glendale police.
Sittercity.com’s Website features the slogan, “We focus on safety, so you can focus on finding the right fit.”
“Sittercity was deeply saddened to learn of this situation,” Sittercity spokeswoman Mary Schwartz said in a written statement. “As soon as it was brought to our attention, we terminated Mr. Liu’s account and notified anyone who may have had contact with him about the termination.”
“Sittercity takes safety very seriously,” Schwartz said. “Each caregiver who registers on Sittercity is pre-screened to verify his (or) her identity and the caregiver’s information is checked against state sex offender registries. “In addition, we allow members to run background checks on the site through LexisNexis. Background checks include identification verification and a national criminal search of local, state and federal criminal records.”
Before advertising with Sittercity.com, sitters must acknowledge a pledge to “put safety first,” and “be professional and uphold my commitments,” according to the Website.
Because of the ongoing investigating, Schwartz said, Sittercity.com deferred all further comments to police investigators.
While police were unaware of any additional victims tied to Liu, “the investigation indicates he may have conversed with over 100 parents through the web service, but it is unknown how many actually may have hired him as a babysitter,” the police statement said.
After pleading not guilty Monday, Liu was ordered held in lieu of $2.7 million bail, police said.
He’s due in Burbank Superior Court Jan. 5, when a date for his preliminary hearing will be selected, court officials said.
Liu faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted as charged.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Glendale police at 818-548-3106.
GLENDALE — Sheriff’s deputies assigned to the Crescenta Valley and Altadena sheriff’s stations arrested two men Wednesday after allegedly finding 10 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop in Glendale, authorities said.
Noe Virgen and Jose Pelayo — both 24-year-old Van Nuys residents, were booked on suspicion of possession and transportation of narcotics for sales, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Larry Landreth said.
The arresting deputies were members of the sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing, or COPS, bureau, Landreth said.
They spotted the car about 12:45 p.m. and pulled it over on the 5 Freeway near Colorado Street for having tinted windows, he said.
Deputies searched the car with the consent of Virgen and Pelayo and found the methamphetamine inside a backpacks, the lieutenant
Landreth said the ten pounds of methamphetamine seized had an estimated value of more than $140,000, and likely more.
“It’s a good find,” Landreth said. “It’s good to get that much (methamphetamine) off the street.”
The investigation will be continued by sheriff’s narcotics detectives, he added.
In wake of increased violence between outlaw motorcycle gangs, Palm Desert is prepping for a weekend orgy of motorcyclists to descend on the Riverside County Community, according to the Desert Sun:
Palm Springs Police Chief David Dominguez told merchants this week that while there have been recent incidents around the state between rival motorcycle gangs, he does not expect violence during this weekend’s event.
“They (the motorcycle groups) have let us know they are coming and they just want to have fun,” Dominguez said.
Earlier this year, Dominguez warned the City Council that he was concerned about rising incidents among the Mongols, Vagos and Hells Angels motorcycle gangs.
He said this week that there is always a chance that something could happen, but his department will be prepared.
There will be a heavy presence of uniformed officers throughout the weekend, as well as volunteer and off-duty law enforcement officers who will be in town showing off their own bikes, Dominguez said. Burke said he will also have security on hand to ensure a family-friendly event.
“I think we will be fine,” Dominguez said.
This time in Glendale, where again an officer attempting an arrest was shot. The suspect in this case was also shot and died at the scene. The AP provided this photo of the investigation.
Here’s a brief synopsis of the gunbattle:
GLENDALE – An officer was shot and a man was killed following a series of gun battles between the man and several officers Monday evening, police said.
The wounded officer was struck in the chest but was wearing a bullet-proof vest and is expected to survive, said Sgt. Tom Lorenz, with the Glendale Police Department.
The shooting occurred around 9:30 p.m. near Colorado Boulevard and Adams Street after an officer chased a suspect who then turned and began firing a weapon at the officer, Lorenz said.
The rest of the story is here.
Meanwhile, Monrovia police and Sheriff’s detectives continue to investigate the OIS that occurred there early Sunday morning. Police have identified the Monrovia officer wounded in the incident, but have yet to provide a name for the suspected shooter, who remains in the hospital.
Star-News reporter Melissa Pamer filed an update in the case, which includes this information:
The 50-year-old, 320-pound suspect allegedly shot veteran Monrovia police Sgt. Dan Verna during a gun battle in the southwest corner of the city just after midnight.
The man, whose name is being withheld pending his discharge from a hospital and booking, was shot several times after he fired on Verna, authorities said.
Officials believe he was the same man wanted in connection to recent crimes in Arcadia, Monrovia spokesman Dick Singer said.
“He’s suspected of being responsible for a whole string of burglaries in Arcadia,” Singer said. “If it’s this guy, then he’s been getting very aggressive recently.”
It’s interesting that city spokesman Dick Singer apparently knows more than the police department in regards to this case.