HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A gunman robbed and kidnapped pizza delivery driver late Tuesday, deputies said.
The crime unfolded just after 7:15 p.m. after the delivery man dropped off an order in the 1500 block of Fieldgate Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Infante said.
A man approached the driver while brandishing a black, semi-automatic handgun, the lieutenant said.
He demanded the delivery man’s money, obtaining about $75, he said. He then ordered the delivery driver to give him a ride.
The gunman fled on foot after being driven to the area of Gale and Farmstead avenues in neighboring Industry, Infante said.
He was described as a Latino man between 22 and 25 years old, about 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 5 inches tall, 140 to 150 pounds, with a shaved head.
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.
DUARTE >> Detectives are seeking a man who tried to kidnap a woman as she was jogging in Duarte over the weekend, authorities said.
The woman managed to fight off her attacker and escape following the assault, which took place about 7:30 a.m. on Sunday along a running trail near Royal Oaks Drive and Oak Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
A woman in her mid-50s, was jogging on the trail, as she often does, when the would-be kidnapper approached and suddenly grabbed her, Lt. Tom McNeil said.
She managed to fight off the man as he began to drag her away, he said. The victim suffered minor injuries but declined to be taken to a hospital for treatment.
The suspect was last seen driving off in a tan, four-door sedan, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. He was described as about 5 feet 6 inches tall, 160 pounds, wearing all-black clothing. No weapons were seen during the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective N. Brenes of the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-292-3309, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> Police arrested a man wanted in connection with a San Bernardino County armed kidnapping following a short pursuit in Pasadena on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
Pasadena police received information that a suspect in the San Bernardino County kidnapping investigation may be in their city, Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
Officers spotted the suspect driving a burgundy SUV the area south of the Rose Bowl, police said. The driver refused to pull over, initiating a short pursuit.
“The suspect drove to a residence in the area of Manzanita Avenue and Orange Grove Blvd. where a brief police containment was established,” the statement said.
Police surrounded the home and ordered the suspect to surrender via a loudspeaker, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said. He complied and was taken into custody without a struggle.
The suspect is a 50-year-old man who’d been sought in San Bernardino County since November of 2015 in connection with an armed kidnapping case, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
No further details regarding the kidnapping case were available.
Police withheld the suspect’s name was not available Thursday afternoon as they continued their investigation.
WHITTIER >> Prosecutors declined to file charges Wednesday against an autistic Whittier man arrested this week on suspicion of kidnapping after he allegedly tried to grab a young girl outside an elementary school, authorities said.
After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors declined to file a criminal case against David Brooks, 50, of Whittier, in connection with Monday’s incident outside Ocean View Elementary School, 14359 E. Second Street, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The decision to declined the case was made, “in the interest of justice,” she said.
Whittier police jailed Brooks on suspicion of attempted kidnapping Monday afternoon after he approached and tried to grab a 12-year-old girl, Whittier police Cpl. Glenn Hedgpeth said at the time. The frightened girl ran onto the school to seek help.
Neighbors and family members immediately came forward to say that Brooks was severely mentally disabled, but kind, gentle and peaceful, and the incident must be a misunderstanding. Police declined to comment on Brook’s mental state, citing medical privacy laws.
Officials booked Brooks into jail and set bail at $1 million pending an initial court appearance, scheduled for Wednesday, Los Angeles County booking records show.
Brooks’ brother Bill Brooks said David is severely autistic and has lived in the same East Whittier home for his entire life.
“I don’t feel by my brother had the physical strength or the wherewithal to commit the type of crime he was accused of,” the brother said.
He pointed out that David Brooks has never been in trouble with the police before. And when coaches at the school told him to stay there and wait for police, he complied, making no effort to flee.
Once family members arrived at the police station Wednesday night and explained David Brook’s condition, officials appeared to be sympathetic, but informed them that he would have to remain in custody pending his court appearance, unless the $1 million bail was posted.
Bill Brooks said he wished the police had been more understanding of his brother’s condition from the beginning, especially since the family has informed the police of his condition in the past as a precaution.
“They assured me that this was in the computer,” so officers who encountered him would immediately be notified of his disability,” Bill Brooks said. “To my knowledge, that did not happened when he was initially contacted by the Whittier Police Department. It took them a long time to realize that he had a disability.”
And Brooks said the $1 million bail amount seemed excessive, under the circumstances. “ He has no drivers license, no ability to drive. He doesn’t have the wherewithal to flee. He doesn’t have a passport,” the brother said.
But Bill Brooks also said he was grateful to Whittier police officials for their consideration.
“He’s a picky eater,” the brother said. Police officers picked up food from Subway Sandwiches and other familiar foods David Brooks was willing to eat.
Bill Brooks said he sympathized with the young girl, as she was likely “traumatized” by the incident.
But the incident was also traumatic for David Brooks, he said. “He thought he couldn’t go home ever again.”
“It’s hard for me to second-guess the police, because I wasn’t there,” Bill Brooks said. “I do not know what David said to his victim. I don’t know if he actually attempted to touch her in any way.”
But Brooks said he feels the incident could be a learning experience.
“I think that the Whittier Police Department needs to review their policies regarding the way they deal with disabled people,” he said.
David Brooks’ father looked after him until his death in 2001, at which time the family obtained caretakers to look after David.
The organization Community Advocates for Peoples’ Choice, or CAPC, initially provided a caretaker seven days a week, Bill Brooks said. But the caretaker services were reduced to five days a week following a change in labor laws related to “domestic workers” in 2014.
Following this weeks incident, the agency plans to again provide David Brooks with a caretaker seven days a week, he said.
According to county booking records, David Brooks was released from custody shortly after noon Wednesday.
PASADENA >> Prosecutors filed charges against a convicted sex offender from Compton Friday for the alleged kidnapping of two young Pasadena woman managed to break free from their captor in harrowing escapes, officials said.
Anthony Seth McDaniel was charged with two counts of kidnapping with intent to commit oral copulation, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
He entered no plea, Santiago said. His arraignment hearing was postponed until May 20 in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
McDaniel is accused of abducting two 18-year-old women about 10 p.m. on April 30 from a bus at Fair Oaks Avenue and Montana Street in Pasadena, Pasadena police officials said. He offered the victims a ride and persuaded them to get into his car.
But the women realized something was amiss when McDaniel drove in the opposite direction of where he had said he would take them, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
One of the women jumped from McDaniel’s pickup truck as it entered the 210 Freeway at Mountain Street, suffering a broken angle.
After the first victims escaped, McDaniel allegedly pulled a gun, threatened the second victim not to escape as well and ordered her to perform sex acts on him, police said. But she yanked on the steering wheel of the truck, causing it to crash into another car on the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles, police said in a written statement. McDaniel then pushed her from the slowly-moving car, causing injuries to her shoulder and arm.
In addition to two counts of kidnapping with intent to commit a sex crime, prosecutors also allege the special circumstances that McDaniel caused great bodily injury during the crimes, and that he is already a convicted sex offender.
McDaniel was convicted in 2008 of assault with intent to commit a sex offense, according to California’s sex registrant database. He remained on parole and was fitted with a GPS ankle bracelet.
During Friday’s court appearance, McDaniel’s bail was set at $2.08 million, Santiago said.
If convicted as charged, McDaniel faces up to two life terms in prison.
NORWALK >> Detectives are seeking possible additional victims of a 54-year-old sex offender caught trying to lure a 10-year-old girl into his car at a Norwalk park over the weekend, officials said.
Armando Hernandez of Norwalk had children’s pamphlets from a church, as well as an extra license plate, inside his car at the time of his arrest about 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Norwalk Park, 13000 Clarkdale Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective Henry Jaquez said in a written statement.
He tried to abduct the girl shortly after 6:40 p.m., authorities said.
“(Hernandez) attempted to pull the victim, a 10-year-old girl, into a 2000 tan Toyota Corolla, licence plate 7PMD192,” Jaquez said.
The girl’s parents saw what was happening and yelled at the would-be kidnapper, who released the girl, Lt. Robin Limon said.
Responding deputies soon found the suspect, later identified as Hernandez.
Along with two hats and a red flannel shirt, deputies pamphlets for a children’s ministry at Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount, as well as a second license plate with a number of 4YRT979 in the trunk, according to a flyer issued by the sheriff’s department.
His car was further described as having a black hood and front fenders and dented rear quarter panels on both sides.
According to California’s online database of registered sex offenders, Hernandez has a previous conviction for annoying or molesting a minor.
He was being held without bail pending a scheduled appearance Friday in Norwalk Superior Court, Los Angeles County booking records show.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Jaquez at 562-466-5434. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
PASADENA >> Two young Pasadena women escaped from an armed kidnapper late Saturday, including one who broke her ankle leaping from his truck as it entered the 210 Freeway, authorities said.
The would-be kidnapper remained at-large following the attempted abduction, which took place about 10:20 p.m. at Fair Oaks Avenue and Montana Street, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
The suspect approached the two victims, both young Pasadena women in their late-teens, and offered them a ride across town, the lieutenant said. The victim agreed and got into his pickup truck.
“They realized, as they went in the opposite direction of where they wanted to go, he was not going to take them to their destination,” Mercado said.
One of the young women, who was riding as a front passenger, jumped from the car as it entered the 210 Freeway from Mountain Avenue to escape her captor, he said. She suffered an apparent broken ankle.
The kidnapper continued driving with the second victim still in his truck, the lieutenant said. “He pulled a gun out and told her not to do the same thing.”
But after the truck reached Los Angeles, the second victim managed to escape the gunman as well and flee. She was taken to a hospital for examination after complaining of pain to her body, but it was not clear exactly how she was injured.
Police described the kidnapper as a black man in his 20s, clean-shaven, of medium complexion. He drove a light-colored pickup truck with a rear seat and was armed with a black, semi-automatic handgun.
It was not clear Sunday what the kidnappers ultimate intentions were, had his victims not escaped.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
MONTEBELLO >> A car thief stole a minivan with a 1-year-old boy inside of it from a Montebello recycling center Thursday afternoon before being found unharmed, along with the abandoned vehicle, four hours later in Pico Rivera, authorities said.
The theft and possibly unintentional kidnapping took place about 3 p.m. at S.A. Recycling, 1545 Gage Road, Montebello police officials said.
One-year-old Caleb Castro, who was passenger in the red 2003 Honda Odyssey minivan when it was stolen, was found safe inside the minivan nearly four hours later after it was abandoned outside a Pico Rivera McDonalds restaurant, according to police.”
“The child was found inside (the minivan) safe and unharmed and is at a local hospital being looked at,” police said in a written statement.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert following the initial carjacking, Montebello police Lt. Michael Bergman.
“The suspect approached the parked vehicle, while three children sat in the car. Their mother stepped away approximately 10 feet and was going to recycle some items,” according to a police statement.
“The suspect approached the vehicle, ordered two girls — 6- and 4-year-olds out of the car,” the statement continued. But the woman’s 1-year-old son remained in the minivan.
The thief drove off in the minivan, which had the keys still in the ignition, police said.
“The mother screamed that her baby was in the car, however the suspect fled with the vehicle out of the parking lot and southbound on Gage Road,” according to the statement.
A witness who had seen the Amber Alert spotted the stolen minivan shortly before 7 p.m. in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant, 9333 W. Slauson Ave. in Pico Rivera, officials said.
The carjacker remained at large, officials said. He was described as a Latino man, about 30 years, with spiked hair. He spoke Spanish.
Suspect photo courtesy of the Montebello Police Department
WHITTIER >> Police are seeking a Whittier woman they say fled with her 1-year-old son as child services workers tried to serve an order to remove the child from her custody Thursday morning, officials said.
The boy was found safe at a relatives home Thursday night, however the mother remained at large, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Martha Martinez, 26, fled from the 12800 block of Foxley Drive with her 1-year-old son about 9:45 a.m. as officials from the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services arrived to serve a removal order, police officials said in a written statement.
“During the contact, the mother fled the location on foot with the child,” according to the police statement.
Officers searched the area for hours, with help from a bloodhound, but did not find the mother and child.
After reaching out to the public for help, the boy was found safe at a relative’s home Thursday night, Ellis said.
Martha Martinez is Latina, 5 feet 4 inches tall and 120 pounds, police said. She was last seen wearing a tank top, blue jeans and yellow boots.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Whittier police at 562-567-9240.
MONTEBELLO >> Police arrested a transient Wednesday they believe kidnapped and carjacked a 19-year-old Azusa woman at knifepoint the day before.
Police, aided by a K-9, found and arrested Omar Alfaro Juarez, 23, about 7:40 a.m. in the 1300 block of South Montebello Boulevard, according to Montebello police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He’s accused of kidnapping, carjacking and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a series of crimes, unfolding about 2 a.m. Tuesday at Bluff Road and Whittier Boulevard, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
The woman had stopped her car in the area to rest and wait for a friend while driving home and fell asleep with car unlocked, police said.
“She was later awakened when she felt something on her neck and realized that a male was in her passenger seat holding a knife to her neck,” according to the statement.
Juarez allegedly forced the woman over to the passenger seat and drove her around for several hours, forcing her to remove $20 from an ATM at Beach Street and Greenwood Avenue, Montebello police Detective Alfred Martinez said, officials said.
The woman reported seeing a possible second suspect at the convenience store, though police were still seeking that man and trying to determine whether he was involved in the crime, Martinez said.
The woman was freed about six hours later when a parking enforcement officer called police to report what they thought to be domestic violence in the 1700 block of Bluff Road, Martinez said. Juarez fled when officers arrived and was not found.
Detectives later identified Juarez as the suspect and began surveillance in the area of Montebello Boulevard and Elm Street, where he was known to frequent. They spotted Juarez Wednesday afternoon.
“Juarez refused to surrender and was apprehended by K-9 Cody,” the police statement says. Vernon and Monterey Park police assisted in the arrest, along with a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter.
The woman suffered a superficial cut to her neck, but no serious injuries, Martinez said.
Juarez was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
PHOTO of suspect Omar Juarez courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.