UPDATED: Bees swarm, sting motorists after car crash in La Canada Flintridge; two hospitalized

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE >> An agitated hive of bees swarmed cars following a minor car crash Sunday, sending two people to the hospital with stings, officials said.
The incident began with a two-car crash shortly after 3 p.m. at Castle Road and Los Amigos Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Larios said.
The crash itself was not believed to involve injuries, however one of the cars ended up striking a tree that contained a bee hive, the sergeant said.
Disturbed by the impact, “The bees went everywhere,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Sims said.
The insects swarmed into about a dozen nearby cars, she said.
Deputies arrived to find two people with many bees clinging to them, Latios said. Both were taken to a hospital with “numerous stings.”
Tt was not clear how many stings the victims suffered, Larios said. The conditions of the patients were not immediately available.
A deputy who responded to help suffered a single sting, but was fine, the sergeant added.
Firefighters remained on the scene more than an hour later.
“They’re foaming down the area to keep the bees from being active,” Sims said.
A La Canada Flintridge city beekeeper was summoned to the scene to deal with the swarming bees, Sims added.
There was no initial word regarding whether the swarm was composed of Africanized “killer” bees or ordinary bees.

$7,000 worth of wiring stolen from La Canada Flintridge Rose Parade float construction site

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — Thieves made off with about $7,000 worth of heavy-duty copper wiring being used to create the La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association’s 2014 Rose Parade float earlier this week, officials said Thursday.
The missing wire was first discovered Tuesday when workers arrived at the construction site in the 4500 block of Hampton Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Randy Forney said.
Based on the scale of the heist, it appeared to involved more than one burglar, Forney said. “It would almost have to.”
The thieves cut a padlock on a storage unit to access the wire, he added.
The theft was believed to have taken place sometime between Friday night and Tuesday morning, Forney said.
No description of the culprits was available.
The La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association has been building its float, titles “Dog Gone,” to enter in the 2014 Rose Parade.
Donations to help the nonprofit organization replace the stolen equipment are being accepted at the http://www.lcftra.org.

Motorcyclist badly injured in Angeles Crest Highway crash

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — An Agoura Hills man was flown to a hospital in critical condition after a motorcycle crash early Sunday on Angeles Crest Highway in the forest north of La Canada Flintridge, authorities said.
The crash was reported about 7 a.m. on Angeles Crest Highway near Angeles Forest Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Angela Shepherd said.
The motorcyclist, 50, went over the side of the road on his Harley-Davidson and tumbled an estimated 100 feet down, she said.
Rescuers stabilized the man before flying him to a trauma center by helicopter with major injuries, the lieutenant said.

Body found in car along Angeles Crest Highway, suicide suspected

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Officials are investigating the death of a man whose body was discovered inside a car parked along Angeles Crest Highway early Wednesday as a suicide.
The body was discovered about 10 a.m. inside a vehicle parked near mile marker 29.31 of Angeles Crest Highway north of La Canada Flintridge, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Angela Shepherd said.
It initially appeared man had mixed chemicals to produce a poison inside the car, she said.
There were no initial signs of foul play, Shepherd said. The investigation was ongoing.

Burglars steal valuables, guns in La Canada Flintridge burglary

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — Burglars broke into two houses and took antique silverware worth about $50,000, four computers and two weapons Friday.
They tried to hit a third house but fled when a resident spotted them in the backyard. Deputies and a sheriff’s helicopter searched for the silver Porsche Cayenne carrying two men and a woman driver but didn’t find the culprits.
Lt. Brian Fitch of the sheriff’s Crescenta Valley Station said the first break-in occurred sometime between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday in the 4700 block of La Canada Boulevard.
Residents came home to find the back sliding door smashed, Fitch said. The burglars took silverware, two laptops, a handgun and a shotgun.
At 2:45 p.m., a woman rang a doorbell in the 4300 block of Oakwood Avenue. As the resident was walking to the front door, he noticed two black men in red hooded sweatshirts in the backyard, Fitch said, The resident yelled at the intruders. A neighbor saw the two men getting into a vehicle driven by a black woman, according to the lieutenant.
Half an hour later, the trio struck again.
Fitch said a baby-sitter pulled into a circular driveway in the 4500 block of Loma Vista Drive and saw a Porsche driven by a black woman with a male passenger. She discovered a smashed back door. Fitch said two Mac computers were stolen from the house.
- Ruby Gonzales

Body discovered in Angeles National Forest north of JPL

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — A hiker discovered a man’s body early Saturday in the Angeles National Forest north of La Canada Flintridge, authorities said.
The body, described as that of a man in his 20s or 30s, was found and reported to officials about 7:50 a.m. near the Gould Mesa Debris Basin Dam in the forest north of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Cynthia Gonzalez said.
Paramedics responded to the scene via helicopter and pronounced the man dead at 8:33 a.m., officials said.
The investigation remained in its early stages and communication from the remote canyon area was limited, however Gonzalez said it initially appeared the dead man may have been another hiker who had taken a fall.

Officials rescue dog from Angeles National Forest

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Search and rescue team members hoisted a stranded dog to safety Saturday after it tumbled 150 feet over the side of a steep cliff during a hike with its owner, authorities said.
A man was hiking with his dog shortly before 5:45 p.m. in the Dark Canyon area of the Angeles National Forest, off of Angeles Crest Highway about 5 miles north of the Foothill (210) Freeway, when the dog fell over the side of a hiking trail, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The 100-pound animal tumbled down a steep cliff and became trapped in debris, officials said. The owner was unable to rescue the dog himself and went to a nearby U.S. Forest Service Ranger Station to seek help.
Members of the sheriff’s Montrose and Sierra Madre search and rescue teams responded.
“Working in the rain and fog with 24 rescuers, the teams were able to rapel down 150 feet of a steep cliff to retrieve the dog who was stuck in debris,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
Team members calmed the frightened dog as they attached it to a hoist to they could being the animal back to the trail, officials said. The pet was then loaded onto a stretcher to be carried out of the canyon.
“The dog has minor injuries from his fall and is recovering with his grateful owner,” the statement said.

“Lucky” Altadena teen bicyclist escapes major injury after 150-foot plunge off side of Angeles Crest Highway

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — A 16-year-old bicyclist was “very lucky” to escape serious injury after plummeting 150 feet over the side of Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest north of La Canada Flintridge, officials said.
The teen, an Altadena resident, was riding with two friends when the mishap occurred, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Angela Shepherd said.
“He just got too close to the edge and fell right off, 150 feet down,” the lieutenant said.
The injured rider’s friends summoned help, and rescuers hoisted the teen out of the canyon via helicopter, she said. He was then taken to a hospital by ambulance with apparently minor injuries including scrapes, bruises and a possibly sprained ankle.
Considering the distance the young man fell, “He is very lucky,” Shepherd said.

Three accused of real estate fraud involving $3.5 million La Canada Flintridge home

Detectives arrested three people Friday in connection with a complex real estate fraud scheme centering around a multi-million dollar La Canada Flintridge home, authorities said.
Saliya “Sal” DeSilva, 49, of Northridge, Nora Yefima, 50, of Santa Clarita and Vahe Hayrapetian, 45, of Burbank were each arrested at their homes Friday after being indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on charges of wire and bank fraud, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The alleged scheme began in July of 2009 after the owner of a $3.5 million home on Gould Avenue in La Canada Flintridge defaulted on the mortgage, officials said. Bank of America then foreclosed and the property and took possession of it.
Posing as the home’s previous owner and presenting counterfeit documents, DeSilva contacted Bank of America and persuaded officials there that the foreclosure was improper, sheriff’s officials said.
The bank rescinded the foreclosure and DeSilva, who is a licensed real estate salesperson, “listed the property for sale without the consent or knowledge of the prior owner,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
DeSilva sold the house in 2011 through a fraudulent short sale for a fraction of it’s market value, officials said. Fraudulent documents were used to move the transaction forward.
The buyer obtained $1.5 million in loans for the purchase, which were wire transferred to Oshana Escrow in Encino, owned by Yefima.
Yefima is accused of sending false documents to a title insurance company, Fidelity National Title Company, as well as wiring a small portion of the $1.5 million loan to the title insurance company while dispersing more than $1 million to “several other parties who had nothing to do with the transaction,” according to the statement.
In order to secure the fraudulent $1.5 million loan, authorities allege loan broker Vahe Hayrapetian provided falsified documents to the lender.
The new buyer of the Gould Avenue home defaulted on the allegedly fraudulent loan, officials said. But since Bank of America never approved the short sale and is still owed $3.5 million, there is not enough equity in the home to reimburse the subsequent lender for the $1.5 million lost in the defaulted loan.
The title insurance company may end up having to pay for the discrepancy, officials added.
The investigation was carried out by detectives from the sheriff’s Real Estate Fraud Team, in partnership with the FBI.

Teen struck by motorcycle in La Canada Flintridge

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — A 14-year-old La Canada Flintridge boy was hit by a motorcycle when he tried to run across an intersection Friday night, deputies said.
Lt. Brian Fitch said the teen’s injuries included a broken leg and a collapsed lung. The motorcyclist sustained minor injuries, he added.
The collision happened 10:07 p.m. at Chevy Chase Drive and Foothill Boulevard.
Fitch said after being struck, the boy was carried by the motorcycle about 50 feet until he was thrown off or fell off. The motorcycle then hit a curb and the rider was thrown off, according to the lieutenant.
Both were taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital.
None of the injuries were believed to be life-threatening, Sgt. Randy Tuinstra said.
The initial indicated that the injured teen and another young man were jaywalking across the street when the boy was struck, he said.
- Staff Report