Three men arrested for car burglary, auto theft in Whittier


WHITTIER >> A tipster helped police arrest three men accused of breaking into a car at the Whittwood Town Center mall Tuesday night, then fleeing in a stolen car, officials said.
David Payan, 31, of El Monte, Jose Pedro Zavala, 26, of El Monte and Jose Luis Hernandez, 25, of Hacienda Heights, were booked on suspicion of auto burglary and auto theft following their 77:20 p.m. arrests, according to Whittier police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
A witness called police to report seeing burglars breaking into a car parked at the Whittwood Town Center, 15466 Whittier Blvd., Whittier police said in a written statement.
The tipster followed the suspects in their car and provided information to police, Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
Officers stopped the suspects and took them into custody in the 15100 block Mulberry Drive in South Whittier, he said.
“Officers were able to detain three suspects and recover property taken in the burglary,” according to the police statement.
Police soon determined that the car the suspects had been using had been reported stolen in Los Angeles, officials said.
All three suspects were being held in lieu of $35,000 bail pending their initial court appearances, records show.

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Man sought in armed robbery of woman at Hacienda Heights park

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HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Investigators Thursday released a sketch of a man who robbed a woman of her purse at gunpoint inside the women’s restroom at a Hacienda Heights park last week.
The crime took place about 3:35 p.m. Jan. 22 at Countrywood Park, 16817 Copper Hill Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The victim was exiting the restroom stall when she was confronted by the suspect, who was holding a black handgun and demanded her purse,” according to the statement.
The woman handed over her purse, and the robber fled in an older-model, tan or brown, four-door Toyota Camry. He was described as a Latino man between 30 and 40 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 180 pound, with black hair, brown eyes and a goatee. He wore a gray shirt and dark blue pants.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Steven Lanigan of the sheriff’s Parks Services Bureau at 661-294-3544.

SKETCH courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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UPDATED: Hacienda Heights woman goes missing in Monterey Park found safe in Rosemead

MONTEREY PARK >> A 68-year-old Hacienda Heights woman with Alzheimer’s disease and other medical problem who vanished from a Monterey Park restaurant Wednesday afternoon was reunited with her worried family Wednesday evening, officials said.
Su Zhen Liao was dining with family about 4 p.m. at the Ocean Star dim sum restaurant, 145 N. Atlantic Blvd., when she went to use the restroom, Monterey Park police Lt. Eric Kim said. She failed to return, and worried family members soon reported her missing.
“(Liao) suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and takes various medications for various medical conditions,” police said in a written statement.
A family member spotted Liao walking along San Gabriel Boulevard near the 60 Freeway in the Rosemead area, Kim said. She was unharmed.

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Man robbed at gunpoint at Hacienda Heights has station


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Deputies are seeking two men who robbed a gas station patron as he sat in his car late Saturday.
The crime took place about 10:50 p.m. at an ARCO station at Colima Road and Azusa Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Desiree Campuzano said.
A man in his 20s was sitting in his car when two robbers approached, she said. One of them was armed with a black, semi-automatic pistol.
The bandits demanded the victim’s property, fleeing with ah gold watch, a gold ring, a bracelet, two cell phones, a wallet and about $200 in cash, the sergeant said.
A detailed suspect description was not available Sunday as investigators continued pursuing leads in the case.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Industry Station at 626-330-3322. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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UPDATED: Second victim of mysterious Hacienda Heights double-slaying identified as 16-year-old boy


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Authorities have identified a victim found stabbed to death inside a Hacienda Heights house along with the elderly homeowner last month as a teenage boy, but the mystery surrounding the circumstances of the double slaying remains.
Gavin Bustamante, 16, was found dead along with June Collins, 84, on Oct. 7 at Collins’ home in the 16600 block of Carriage Place, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. Alyssa Fleak said. Sheriff’s offiicals said he was also known as Gavin Wilhelm.
An autopsy determined both victims had been stabbed to death.
But exactly what unfolded inside the Carriage place home remained a mystery, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’ Homicide Bureau said.
The coroner’s identification of the young victim represents, “another piece of the puzzle,” he said. But detectives still have their work cut out for them.
““We’re trying to figure out who was there and who did what they did,” Corina said.
Both bodies were already well into the stages of decomposition when they were found by deputies who has been asked to check on Collins, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner officials said.
Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau estimated the killing took place about a week before the bodies were discovered.
Investigators noted signs of a struggle within the home, but no evidence of forced entry into the house, Corina said in the days following the double-homicide. Robbery was not believed to be the motive.
Handling homicide detectives could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Sheriff’s officials and neighbors said Collins had a 54-year-old adult son who was in jail for abusing his mother at the time of the killing.
But many associates of the son continued coming by Collins’ home, and even staying there at times, during the son’s incarceration, officials said.
Bustamante was believed to be one of those associates.
No city of residence for the teen was listed at the coroner’s office, however Corina said Bustamante, a former El Monte resident, had been staying at Collins’ home for several months.
Capt. Tim Murakami of the sheriff’s Industry Station said it appeared the son’s associates, often drug addicts, were taking advantage of Collins, who suffered from dementia.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTO of fatal stabbing victim June Collins, 84, of Hacienda Heights courtesy of the California DMV.

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Man kidnapped, carjacked outside Hacienda Heights 7-Eleven store


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A gunman carjacked and kidnapped another man at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Hacienda Heights convenience store Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime occurred about 3:40 p.m. outside a 7-Eleven store at Gale and Stimson avenues, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Infante said.
A 25-year-old man was sitting in his brown, 2005 Chevy Silverado, Infante said. “The suspect produced a handgun and demanded a ride.”
The suspect entered the pickup truck and ordered the victim to drive, the lieutenant said. The gunman directed the victim to drive to the 800 block of North Hacienda Boulevard in La Puente, where he ordered the victim to get out. The carjacker then fled northbound in the victim’s truck.
A detailed suspect description was not available. Officials withheld the truck’s license plate number as they continued their investigation late Thursday.

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Hacienda Heights high school teacher admits to student molestations

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A Hacienda Heights high school chemistry teacher admitted molesting two of his students during a court hearing Wednesday, authorities said.
David Park of Chino Hills pleaded guilty in Pomona Superior Court to charges of committing lewd acts on a child and oral copulation of a person under 16, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. He admitted to molesting one former student in 2014, and another in 2011, Ardalani said. Both girls were 15 years old when the abuse started.
Park taught at Los Altos High School at the time of the crimes, and previous worked as a “walk-on” football coach at Ruben. S. Ayala High School in Chino Hills, and taught at Western Christian School in Upland.
Park is expected to receive three years in state prison when he returns to court for sentencing Dec. 3, officials said. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Under a negotiated plea deal, four additional charges related to child-molestation are to be dismissed at the sentencing hearing, Ardalani said.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies first arrested Park in February after Hacienda La Puente Unified School District officials first learned of a sexual relationship between Park and a 15-year-old student, investigators said.
As the investigation into the 2014 allegations was ongoing, “A former student came forward and revealed Park had sexually abused her in 2011,” Ardalani said.

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Two killed, two injured in crash on 60 Freeway offramp in Hacienda Heights


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Two people died and two suffered injuries Sunday in a crash involving a pickup truck and a sedan on a freeway offramp in Hacienda Heights, officials said.
The crash took place about 7 p.m. on the 7th Avenue offramp of the eastbound 60 Freeway, California Highway Patrol Officer Patrick Kimball said.
Two victims, initially described only as male and female, were pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.
Paramedics took to more people to a hospital in unknown condition, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters said.
The sedan ended up overturned in the parking lot of a Denny’s restaurant, according to CHP logs.
The pickup truck came to a rest on the roadway with much of the passenger compartment sheared off.
Officials shut down the offramp for nearly four hours as they investigated the scene and cleared the wreckage.
Officers from the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs office are handling the investigation.

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Coroner: Elderly woman, man found dead in Hacienda Heights home were stabbed


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Coroner’s officials have identified an elderly woman who was found stabbed to death inside her Hacienda Heights home along with a yet-unidentified man.
JUNE COLLINSJune Collins, 84, and the unidentified male victim were discovered dead on the afternoon of Oct. 7 inside Collins’ home in the 16600 block of Carriage Place in Hacienda Heights.
An autopsy determined both victims had been stabbed to death, and both deaths have been ruled homicides, Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said Wednesday.
The second victim, described only as a man, remained listed at the coroner’s office as John Doe.
When found by deputies asked to check on the elderly resident, both bodies were already well into the stages of decomposition, slowing the investigation, sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said investigators the slayings occurred about a week before the victims were discovered.
No suspects had been identified Wednesday in connection with the mysterious double-homicide, and the motive remained unclear. But detectives continued gathering clues.
“It’s moving forward. Slowly, but it’s moving forward,” Corina said.
There were no signs of forced entry at the home, the lieutenant said. But inside, “There were signs of struggle.”
It was unclear what type of sharp weapon was used in the killings, Corina said.
Robbery was not believed to the motive, investigators said.
Collin’s Toyota Corolla was discovered missing from her home. It was found the following afternoon, abandoned in the 12100 block of Magnolia Street in El Monte, according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Detectives continue looking into how the car ended up in El Monte, Corina said, and the car was being examined by crime lab investigators.
The identity of the man found dead along with Collins remains a mystery.
Detectives had not yet linked any missing persons’ cases to the double-homicide investigation, Corina said.
Many people would often come and go from the home, he said.
Collins had a son who was in jail at the time of the killings in connection with an elder abuse case, officials said. Collins had a restraining order against him.
Officials and neighbors said deputies had responded to the home several times in the past to deal with her the son when he lived there,.
Associates of the son, including drug addicts, continued to show up even after the son was jailed, sometimes staying there, authorities said.
Capt. Tim Murakami of the sheriff’s Industry Station said the elderly woman had dementia, which the frequent visitors appeared to be taking advantage of.
Because of the ongoing issues at the home, deputies would regularly checked on Collins, the captain said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTO of June Collins, 84, of Hacienda Heights courtesy of the California DMV.

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UPDATED: Man and woman found slain in Hacienda Heights


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Homicide detectives are investigating the apparent slayings of an elderly woman and a man who were found dead inside a Hacienda Heights home Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
Deputies found the bodies about 4:15 p.m. in the 16600 block Carriage Place, according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
They had been asked to “check the welfare” of the resident of the home, sheriff’s Lt. David Infante said. The 84-year-old woman had not been seen in about a week, officials added.
Deputies smelled a “strong odor of decomposition” and forced their way into the home, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The victims were found in separate rooms and were in advance stages of decomposition,” according to the statement. “Both victims appeared to have been assaulted.”
The identities of the victims were yet to be confirmed, however investigators believed the woman to be the elderly homeowner, sheriff’s officials said. The identity of the man was unknown.
“The victim lives with her adult son, but he is currently in custody and was not home at the time of the incident,” the sheriff’s department statement said.
“The cause of death is unknown at this time,” Rouzan said.
Detectives discovered the homeowner’s car was missing. The beige, 2001, four-door Toyota Camry, with a California license plate of 7LXV190, was being treated as a stolen vehicle.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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