Gunman robs Hacienda Heights cell phone store

HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A masked man with a handgun robbed a cell phone store Saturday afternoon, officials said.
The heist was reported just before 6 p.m. at Bell Star Wireless, in the 16400 block of Colima Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Boese said.
The robber entered the store and demanded money at gunpoint, Boese said. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, and was last seen running north on Punta Del Este Drive.
A man and woman working at the store were not injured, he added.
Deputies described the robber as a white or Latino man in his 20s, about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 130 pounds. He wore all-dark clothing and a mask.
The robbery was being investigated by detectives from the sheriff’s Industry Station.

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Man wounded in Hacienda Heights car-to-car shooting

HACIENDA HEIGHTS — A man was wounded but expected to survive following a car-to-car shooting in Hacienda Heights Sunday afternoon, officials said.
The victim, a 21-year-old man, was stopped at a red light on Lujon Street at Hacienda Boulevard in a 2004 Audi when the attacker pulled up in an older-model, white pickup truck, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Thurlo said.
“(The shooter) pulled up next to him on he right side and fired into the victim’s vehicle, striking him once in the upper right shoulder,” Thurlo said. A rifle was believed to have been used in the shooting.
Thurlo said the wounded man drove north a short distance to Hacienda Boulevard and Gale Avenue, where deputies encountered him.
Officials initially described the shooter only as male. He was last seen driving south on Hacienda Boulevard from the shooting scene. The motive in the shooting was not clear.

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UPDATED: Man shot in the neck in Hacienda Heights; suspect arrested

HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A man suffered a gunshot wound to his neck and a suspect was in custody following a gang-related shooting in a residential neighborhood Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 3:40 p.m. in the 1000 block of Olympus Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Art Marrujo said.
The victim, a 44-year-old Hacienda Heights resident and member of a local street gang, suffered a through-and-through wound to his neck but was hospitalized in stable condition after undergoing surgery, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Thurlo said.
The suspect, a local gang member man in his early 20s, was arrested nearby after the chain broke on the bicycle he was using as a getaway vehicle, Thurlo said. His name was not available Sunday afternoon pending the booking process.
All three were on Olympus Avenue when the suspect and victim became involved in an argument over gang affiliations, Thurlo said. The suspect pulled a handgun and shot the victim before fleeing on a bicycle.
A friend of the victim flagged down a sheriff’s deputy and pointed out where the gunman had gone but refused to cooperate further, the sergeant said.
Deputies found the suspect around the corner in the 15700 block of Wallbrook Drive, Thurlo said. He was taken into custody without a struggle.
Deputies found a handgun discarded in the area of the same caliber used in the shooting, officials said.
Deputies summoned their counterparts in the gang unit to take over the investigation.

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Hacienda Heights man convicted of child molestation

POMONA — A Hacienda Heights man faces up to 60 years in state prison next month when he returns to court for sentencing after being convicted Wednesday of molesting four underage female relatives over an eight-year period, authorities said.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury in Pomona deliberated for about two hours before finding Juan Hernandez, 51, guilty of one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child and four counts of committing a lewd act on a child, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
He is scheduled to return to court for sentencing June 26, when he could received a maximum sentence of six decades behind bars, officials said.
“The prosecutor said Hernandez sexually molested four underage family members at various times between March 1999 and July 2007,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
“Authorities were notified about the sexual abuse and the defendant was arrested Sept. 26, 2013 and held on $4 million bail,” the statement added.
The investigation was carried out by detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau.
In addition to being held without bail pending sentencing, Hernandez was also had a hold placed on him by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, according to county booking records.

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Hacienda Heights man accused of theft, practicing law without license

LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors charged a Hacienda Heights man Thursday with nine felony counts for practicing law without a license and bilking four immigrant clients out of thousands of dollars, officials said.
Michael John Hernandez, 57, surrendered at Los Angeles Superior Court, pleaded not guilty and promptly posted $145,000 bail, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.
He’s charged with six counts of grand theft, two counts of unauthorized practice of law and one count of perjury by declaration, district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Hernandez previously practiced law in Florida but has never been a member of the State Bar of California, prosecutors said. But he ran a law office in Hacienda Heights where he claimed to specialize in immigration matters.
“The alleged offenses involve four victims and occurred between Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2013,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “A loss of approximately $16,000 is attributed to the defendant.”
“Hernandez, who allegedly targeted individuals with immigration issues, purportedly engaged in a pattern of financial fraud against clients who paid for legal services which were not rendered,” the statement continued.
District Attorney Jackie Lacey said commended the prosecution team and had harsh words for those who would falsely portray themselves as lawyers.
“To betray the trust of these victims and cheat them out of hard-earned money is heartless,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “Any person practicing law without a license in Los Angeles County — especially those who target vulnerable immigrant populations — will be identified and vigorously prosecuted.”
If convicted as charged, Hernandez could face up to 10 years in county jail.
He was ordered back to court June 9 for a preliminary hearing setting June 9.

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Officials seek missing Hacienda Heights man with Alzheimer’s disease

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HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Authorities and family members reached out to the public Wednesday to help track down a missing 66-year-old Hacienda Heights man who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
Victor Rubio was last seen Tuesday driving away from his home in the 1700 block of Park Lawn Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. He was driving a gold, 2003 Honda Odyssey minivan with a California license plate number of 5DFY507.
“He suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and has not made contact with his family,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “The family is asking for the public’s assistance in locating Mr. Rubio.”
He was described as Latino, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 210 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. He has a 4-inch vertical between his neck and shoulder blades, as well as a 12-inch horizontal scar on his stomach.
Anyone with information was asked to contact detectives Velasquez or Abraham of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Missing Persons Detail at 323- 890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Crim Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Failed armed robbery reported at Hacienda Heights Rite Aid

HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A gunman wearing a business suit fled empty-handed late Thursday following a failed robbery at a Rite Aid Pharmacy, authorities said.
The would-be robber entered the pharmacy, 2060 S. Hacienda Boulevard, and began walking around the business, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Raymond Enriquez said.
He then made his way to the pharmacy counter, where he pulled a small, silver semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at a female employee.
He told the woman to stand in front of him, but she instead fled from him, grabbed a telephone and notified fellow employees to lock the front doors, the lieutenant said.
The gunman unsuccessfully tried to hop the pharmacy counter before making his way back to the store’s main entrance, Enriquez said.
The armed man escaped after ordering an employee to open the locked front door, Enriquez added.
Officials described the failed robber as a Latino man in his 40s or 50s, with salt and pepper hair, wearing a gray suit with a tie and round-framed glasses.
He was last seen getting into a white, 2000s-model Toyota sedan with a waiting driver. The car headed north on Hacienda Boulevard.

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Hacienda Heights woman charged with manslaughter for pedestrian’s death in La Habra

Prosecutors have filed felony charges against a 21-year-old Hacienda Heights woman accused of speeding through a red light and striking two pedestrians in a La Habra crosswalk before leading police on a high-speed chase.
Caroline Sujin Kim is charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, hit and run causing permanent injury or death and evading police while driving recklessly in connection with the Oct. 25, 2013 incident, Orange County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
A scheduled arraignment last week was postponed to March 26 at the Orange County Superior Court’s North Justice Center in Fullerton, District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Roxi Sotomayor said. Kim, who had remained free pending the trial process on $100,000 bail, is yet to enter a plea in the case.
Officials allege Kim drove a Cadillac sedan at high speed down Whittier Boulevard shortly before 9 p.m. on Oct. 25.
“She is accused of illegally driving through a red light at the intersection at Rigsby Street and crashing her car into two pedestrians,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
Sandra Ceballos, 38, of La Habra suffered major injuries, district attorney’s officials said.
“The force of the collision (threw Ceballos) onto the hood and roof of the vehicle before falling into the roadway,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “She was pronounced dead approximately one hour later due to the injuries she sustained in the crash”
A second woman crossing the street with Ceballos, described as 43 years old, was also struck by the Cadillac and suffered minor injuries, La Habra police officials said.
After hitting the victims, Kim is accused of failing to stop and render aid,” the district attorney’s office statement said. “She is accused of fleeing the scene.”
A witness soon called police in Whittier to report spotting and following the hit-and-run driver, Whittier police Lt. Steve Dean said at the time.
When officers tried to pull over Kim on Colima Road, she sped off, leading police on a chase at speeds as high as 90 mph.
Kim ran through several more red lights before ultimately crashing into a parked car at Countrywood Avenue and Pepper Brook Way in her hometown of Hacienda Heights, police and prosecutors said. Officers then took her into custody.
If convicted as charged, Kim could face up to 13 years and 8 months in state prison.

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Ex-ice skating coach convicted of child molestation

A Pomona jury convicted a former ice-skating coach Tuesday of molesting a teenage boy and a young girl while living in Hacienda Heights and Downey.
Donald James Vincent, 30, who lived in Torrance when arrested in January of 2013, was ordered to return to Pomona Superior Court Feb. 21 for sentencing, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
“He faces multiple life sentences in state prison,” according to the statement.
The jury deliberated for less than one day before finding Vincent guilty of one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, two counts of lewd acts upon a child, two counts of forcible lewd acts on a child, and five charges relating to sex acts with a child under 10, according to the D.A.’s office.
The charged crimes took place between 2007 and 2011 , while Vincent was living in Hacienda Heights and Downey, D.A.’s officials said.
The charges were related to students he coached at Paramount Iceland in in Paramount, though he also worked at at least six other ice skating rinks throughout Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties in the 7 years leading up to his arrest, according to District Attorney’s and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
They included the East/West Ice Palace in Artesia; Glacial Gardens in Lakewood; Norwalk Ice, which has since closed; Skating Edge Ice Arena in Harbor City; Anaheim Ice in Anaheim; and Ice Town Riverside in Riverside.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Victim Bureau initially jailed Vincent in connection with the molestation of a male student while he was between 12 and 15 years old, Lt. Carlos Marquez said. The molestation came to light two years later when the victim told a friend at a youth camp of the molestation and was persuaded to tell authorities.
At the time of his arrest, officials encouraged any additional victims of Vincent to come forward. And one did, additional charged were later filed in connection with violent acts of molestation against a girl younger than 10 years old.
Vincent remained in custody in lieu of $6 million bail pending trial, officials said. Once convicted, he was ordered held without bail pending sentencing.

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Man wounded in Hacienda Heights shooting

HACIENDA HEIGHTS — A man was found shot in the front yard of a Hacienda Heights home early Sunday, officials said.
The shooting was reported about 4:50 a.m. in the 1800 block of Charlemont Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Craton said.
The shooting victim, a Hacienda Heights man in his 20s, was taken to a hospital for treatment, the lieutenant said.
He suffered a single gunshot wound to the “upper torso” and was listed in stable condition Sunday afternoon. Deputy Bob Boese said.
The circumstances of the shooting were unclear. A black, four-door vehicle was seen fleeing the shooting scene, but no description of the person or people inside was available.
The investigation was being handled by detectives from the sheriff’s Industry Station.

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