Man robbed and carjacked outside Glendora Walmart

GLENDORA — Two men robbed and carjacked another man in the parking lot of a Walmart store early Saturday, police said.
The crime took place just after 1 a.m. at the store at 1950 Auto Centre Drive, Glendora police Lt. Matt Egan said.
Two men approached another man as he was loading up his car with purchases from the store, the sergeant said. One of the robbers was armed with a handgun.
They ultimately fled with the man’s blue 2001 Volvo S40, as well as some money, the sergeant said.
A detailed suspect description was not available.

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Student robbed at knifepoint at Citrus College

GLENDORA — A man armed with a knife robbed a student of his wallet at Citrus College Wednesday night.
The victim wasn’t injured during the 3;20 p.m. incident on the campus at 1000 W. Foothill Blvd.
The robber pulled a knife and took the victim’s wallet which contained cash and credit cards, according to Sgt. Scott Strong.
Strong said the suspect was last seen running eastbound Foothill Boulevard.
The suspect was described as a Latino, about 25, clean cut, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds.

- Ruby Gonzales

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Memorial planned for two men killed in Glendora stabbing

GLENDORA – A memorial service is planned this weekend to honor the memories of two homeless men with deep roots in Glendora who were stabbed to death earlier this month.
A memorial service for John “Little John” Welch and Warren Blagrave, both 52, is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Church of The Brethren, 151 S. Glendora Avenue, according to Nicolette Wingert, founder of the Glendora-based organization of Nurses For Christ, which is organizing the event.
The friends were fatally stabbed Aug. 15 at a carwash in the 200 block of Route 66, where both had been spending their nights in recent weeks, according to friends and investigators.
Welch and Blagrave were each stabbed more than 20 times in the early-morning attack, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
Investigators later in the day arrested 28-year-old Drew Alan Friis of Glendora in connection with the double-fatal stabbing. He had been charged with two counts murder, and prosecutors also allege the special allegation of multiple murders, making Friis potentially eligible for the death penalty. A decision regarding wither the death penalty will be sought in the case has not yet been made.
A motive in the knife attack has not been released. Friis was scheduled to appear in Pomona Superior Court for an arraignment hearing Oct. 3.
Wingert said members of Nurses For Christ, which regularly provided meals to Welch, Blagrave and local homeless people and gave Welch with his last meal, are still having a hard time coming to grips with the double-slaying.
“We saw them pretty much every day,” she said. “It was really sad. It’s very hard to accept, because of how it happened.”
Welch was a member of the Church of the Brethren, while Blagrave — who had just returned from a stay in Oregon — was hoping to join the church and use his guitar to play music for the congregation, Wingert said. “He wanted to join the church and sing songs. But he never got a chance. He was slain.”
So the volunteers who tried to make sure Welch and Blagrave had a quality meal each day are now working toward providing the men with a proper burial.
Donations collected at Saturday’s memorial will be used for the funerals, Wingert said. Any extra funds collected will benefit other local homeless people.
For more information, contact Wingert at Nurses For Christ at 626-315-7392.

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Ex-Glendora school officials denies embezzlement

LOS ANGELES — A longtime Glendora Unified School District employee accused of embezzling more than $350,000 entered a not guilty plea in court Thursday, officials said.
Cynthia Lee Schlig, 57, of Upland entered the plea at an arraignment in Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said. She is charged with five felony counts including forgery, embezzlement and misappropriation of funds.
Schlig was ordered back to court Sept. 26 for a preliminary hearing setting, Davila-Morales said.
Glendora investigators arrested Schlig Tuesday following 19 months of investigation, Glendora police Lt. Brian Summers said.
Detectives found evidence of the embezzlement scheme going back five years, the lieutenant said.
Schlig, a former accounting specialist for the district’s finance department, had worked for the GUSD for 35 years, officials said.
She resigned her position in January of 2012, shortly after the allegations came to light, district officials said.
Schlig remained in custody Friday at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood in lieu of $140,000 bail, county booking records show.

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Transient accused of sparking Glendora brush fire

Edward Zavala, 35, transient

A homeless man was arrested late Wednesday in connection with a brush fire on Glendora Mountain Road north of Big Dalton Canyon, Glendora police said Thursday.
The fire was spotted climbing 100 feet up the hillside by a Glendora Police officer at 9:23 p.m. Wednesday, Lt. Brian Summers said in a statement.
Capt. Tim Staab said the on-duty police officer was able to get responders to the scene while the fire was still small.
“It could have been just horrible,” Staab said, referring to the fire’s proximity to the Angeles National Forest.
The initial officer spotted Edward Zavala, 35, walking away from the fire scene and he was arrested on suspicion of arson after making inconsistent statements, Summers wrote.
“Zavala later told officers that he accidentally started the fire with his lighter while attempting to use it as a light source and panicked, fleeing the area,” Summers wrote. “The lighter was recovered.”
Responders from the Los Angeles County Fire Department were able to contain the fire to a quarter acre and county arson investigators assisted the police department, Summers said.
Zavala was being held at the Glendora City Jail on a felony charge of recklessly starting a fire. Bail was set at $20,000.

- Melissa Masatani

PHOTO of Edward Zavala courtesy of the Glendora Police Department.

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One of two men killed in Glendora double-homicide identified

GLENDORA — Coroner’s officials Sunday released the name of one of two homeless men found stabbed to death at a Glendora carwash last week.
Warren Blagrave, 52, was pronounced dead after he was found stabbed about 2 a.m. on the property of a carwash in the 200 block of West Route 66, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Jim Blacklock said. Also found fatally stabbed was a second local homeless man in his 50s whose name was not released pending notification of his family.
Drew Alan Friis, 28, of Glendora and a second suspect whose name was withheld by Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials were booked on suspicion of murder later in the day, sheriff’s and Glendora police officials said.
Police said he knew the victims prior to the attack, however a motive was not clear.
According to county booking records, Friis was being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending his scheduled arraignment Monday in Pomona Superior Court.

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UPDATED: Two men arrested in connection with Glendora car wash double-homicide

GLENDORA — Police announced two arrests Friday in connection with the fatal stabbing of two homeless men at a Glendora car wash.
Drew Alan Friis, 28, of Glendora was arrested on suspicion of murder about 4:10 p.m. Thursday, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and county booking records.
Friis, who Glendora police said was not homeless, knew the victims prior to the stabbing, however a motive was not clear, officials said.
“A second individual was also arrested and booked, however, his name is being withheld pending further investigation by homicide detectives,” according to Deputy Irys Alvarez of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau.
The two suspects are accused of the stabbing deaths of two local homeless men in their 50s whose bodies were found about 2 a.m. Thursday at a car wash in the 200 block of W. Route 66, where they had been spending the night, according to officials and friends said.
The dead men’s names were not released Friday pending notification of their families, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
““We’re confident that the two people who are in custody are the ones who committed this heinous crime,” Glendora Police Chief Rob Castro said. “This was an isolated crime and a very unusual occurrence in Glendora as evidenced by the fact that we have not had a murder in our community since 2009. I firmly believe the community can be assured the suspects in this case are not roaming free.”
The motive in the alleged double-slaying remained a mystery Friday, police said.
There was a great deal of information investigators could not disclose to the public for fear of jeopardizing the investigation, Staab said, “Chief Castro believes it’s important for the community to receive factual preliminary information regarding this incident to dispel rumors, false assumptions and fears.”
“It is still early in the investigation, and there is a significant amount of evidence, including a possible murder weapon, that has been collected and needs to be scientifically analyzed, which takes time,” according to the police statement.
Investigators planned to present a case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing early next week, Staab said.
Both slain men were transients with deep roots in Glendora, according to police and friend Jodi Bybee, who said he’s known both men for more than 35 years.
The two stabbing victims had both been spending the night on the car wash property in recent weeks, Bybee said.
He and others expressed shock that anyone would want to harm the homeless men.
While the area where the fatal stabbings took place is known as a place where transients tend to congregate, police and nearby business owners said they had never seen any major problems as a result.
“While the victims were living on the street, I want to be clear that their lifestyle is not the cause of this tragic situation,” Castro said. “Being homeless is not a crime. The murder of two innocent people is, and we hold everyone involved accountable for their actions.”

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UPDATED with PHOTOS: Man in fake mustache robs Glendora bank branch


GLENDORA — A man in a fake mustache robbed a Glendora bank branch early Friday, officials said.
The heist took place just after 9 a.m. at the U.S. Bank at Grand and Mauna Loa avenues, Glendora police Lt. James De Mond said.
The robber handed a teller a note demanding money and fled after receiving an unknown amount of cash, the lieutenant said. No weapon was seen during the crime.
GLBANKROB1Police described the robber as a white man in his 40s, wearing a fake mustache and prescription glasses. He also wore khaki pants and a blue shirt, as well as a hat.
He was last seen running south from the bank and jumping a wall onto Helensburg Avenue, De Mond said.

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Police release sketches of Glendora ‘distraction burglars’

0816_NWS_SGT-L-DISTRACTION1GLENDORA — Police have released composite sketches of three men who posed as tree trimmers to distract two elderly Glendora residents in an unsuccessful bid to empty their safe of valuables earlier this week, officials said.
The crime took place about 5:20 p.m. Tuesday in the 700 block of East Carroll Avenue, Glendora police officials said.
An elderly man answered his front door and encountered a visitor dressed as a contractor, complete with a yellow construction hard hat, Detective Matt Fenner said in a written statement.
“The suspect posed as a tree trimmer and lured the victim into the backyard,” Fenner said.
“While the victim was distracted, two other male suspects entered the victim’s unlocked front door where they were confronted by the victim’s 92-year-old wife in her bedroom,” Fenner said.
0816_NWS_SGT-L-DISTRACTION2The men told the women she needed to exit her bedroom in order to sign paperwork.
Once both residents were distracted, one of the suspects tried to pry open the couples safe, however they did not succeed, officials said. They were last seen driving off in white SUV.
Police offered some advice to help residents avoid becoming victims of similar “distraction burglaries.”
If you are unsure of who is at your front door, do not open it, Fenner said.
If a person claims to be from an agency such as a utility, police advised residents to call the utility to verify the person’s identity. Always look up the number directly, and do not use a telephone number provided by the visitor.
0816_NWS_SGT-L-DISTRACTION3“Do not allow someone to coax you out of your home,” Fenner said. “Be suspicious of anyone asking you to step out of your home, especially during unscheduled visits.”
Anyone who encounters someone suspicious at their door is encouraged to call Glendora police immediately at 626-914-8297.

COMPOSITE SKETCHES courtesy of the Glendora Police Department.

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Two men fatally stabbed at Glendora car wash


GLENDORA — Two men died at the scene of a stabbing at a Glendora car wash early Thursday, authorities said.
The names of the men were not available, however they were initially described as white men in the 40s or 50s who were believed to be local homeless men, Glendora police Capt. Tim Staab said. One of the men used a wheelchair.
Glendora police Lt. Joe Ward was on patrol just before 2 a.m. near the car wash at Route 66 and Vermont Avenue when he was flagged down by a citizen, the captain said.
“He says he hears yelling here at the car wash,” Staab said.
When the lieutenant approached, “He sees two men down,” Staab said. “Both suffering from severe stab wounds.”
Paramedics pronounced both men dead at the scene.
Police, with help from a helicopter and neighboring law enforcement agencies, searched the area but found no suspect, officials said.
Investigators were looking into a report that a man had been seen running north on Vermont Avenue following the stabbing,Staab said, however no description was available.
“We’re following up to see if that lead goes anywhere,” Staab said.
Detectives were also checking surveillance cameras from nearby businesses for clues and called for a bloodhound to check the scene.
The double-slaying occurred at a car wash where homeless people are known to congregate overnight, according to officials and neighbors.
Though he was awaiting officials confirmation of the identities of the dead men, Jodi Bybee of Glendora believed it was two of his longtime friends, who had both recently been spending their nights at the car wash.
Both men were friendly and well-liked, and Bybee said he couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to hurt either of them. He added that he last saw one of the men about five days ago, and the other two or three days ago.
“It’s totally unbelievable,”said Bybee, who spent about 10 years living on the streets of Glendora before moving in to a home recently.
Police showed up at several known homeless encampments early Thursday, questioning transients where they were earlier in the morning and asking to see their hands, Bybee and police said.
“For something like this to take place, I wouldn’t think it would be somebody we know who would do this,” Bybee said. “Me and other local fellows are all mulling this over in our heads. Why did this take place?”
“That’s a heavy, heavy violent person that did this, and that person needs to be caught,” he said.
The man in the wheelchair was a generous man who liked inviting both friends and strangers to share what he had, Bybee said.
He was in a wheelchair because he broke his hip last year, the friend added. He was able to walk short distance with great difficulty.
His body was found beneath an awning where Bybee said he and the other man would sleep.
The other stabbing victim was a longtime Glendora resident, Bybee said, though he had just come back to the area several weeks ago after spending time in Oregon. Both men had gone to Oregon last year, however the man in the wheelchair returned several months ago.
The second victim’s body was discovered about 100 feet south of the first, near the sidewalk lining Route 66.
“He was a musician,” Bybee said. “He played the guitar. He loved the Beatles.”
Bybee said the owner of the car wash tolerated transients staying on his property overnight so long as they did not make a mess and left before sunrise.
Tareq Nasrallah, who owns a neighboring Big O Tires store, said transients often congregated behind the car wash overnight.
“We’ve never had any issues,” he said. “This is a sad situation.”
He recalled seeing the man in the wheelchair going up and down the street talking to himself. He described the local homeless men as “harmless.”
Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau were helping Glendora police with the investigation, and anyone with information was asked to contact the bureau at 323-890-5500.
The double-slaying was the first reported homicide in Glendora since 2009, when Ronson Edgerly, 20, of Glendora, was fatally shot during a marijuana robbery at his father’s home on April 20. A then-20-year-old La Verne man, Zachary Flanders, was ultimately convicted of the killing and sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2010.

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