A man and woman who robbed a La Mirada convenience store of $700 worth of Red Bull energy along with their two young children in a brazen crime caught on camera have admitted to robbery and child abuse charges, authorities said.
Elizabeth Kathy Larez, 27, of La Puente and Bryan Gary Corona, 27, of Whittier, were immediately sentenced to jail and prison, respectively, during their court appearances on Friday, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
Larez pleaded “no contest” to two counts of robbery and one count of child abuse, while Corona pleaded “no contest” to two counts of robbery and one count of child abuse, Ardalani said in an email.
Lares was sentenced to 365 days in county jail and three years of formal probation, she said. A three-year state prison sentence was suspended, but could be reimposed if Larez violates her probation. She was also ordered to attend 52 weeks of parenting classes and barred from possessing any dangerous weapons.
Corona received a sentence of three years in state prison, Ardlani said.
The charges stem from a June 10 robbery at an ampm minimart at 13550 Beach Blvd., just south of Imperial Highway. The heist was captured on video by store surveillance cameras.
•Video: Surveillance camera footage of La Mirada Red Bull robbery
Larez and Corona entered the store about 11:30 p.m., accompanied by their two sons, ages 9 and 10, as depicted in the video.
The man and woman first distract their clerk while the two boys leave the store carrying cases of Red Bull, the video shows. When the clerk tried to stop the theft, Larez and Corona pelted him with cans of the beverage before also grabbing cases of Red Bull and running out the door.
Investigators released the video in hopes of generating clues, and anonymous tipsters soon helped police identify Larez and Corona as the robbers, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective David Sotomayor said at the time.
Deputies and Buena Park police found and arrested the suspects July 14 at the Portola Inn and Suites, 7921 Orangethorpe Ave. in Buena Park, officials said. The children were placed in the custody of family members.
Sotomayor said Corona admitted he had sold the drinks.
Los Angeles County fire and sheriff’s officials are hosting a series of Community Emergency Response Team classes in La Puente next month to teach San Gabriel Valley residents how to jump into action to help in the event of a disaster.
Three free CERT training courses will be held in October at the La Puente Senior Center, 16001 E. Main Street, organizers said in a written statement. The classes will be held from 8 .m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 14, Oct. 21 and Oct. 28.
All three sessions, totalling 21 hours of training, must be completed for participants to receive a certificate of completion.
Topics covered include disaster preparedness, fire safety, emergency medical operations, light search and rescue operations, CERT organization, disaster psychology and terrorism.
Those interest must register by Oct. 11 and can register online at www.fire.lacounty.gov/CERT. Seating is limited.
The classes are being sponsored by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the sheriff’s La Puente Special Assignment Team and the city of La Puente.
For more information, contact Deputy Vivian Marez of the sheriff’s Industry Station at 626-330-3322, or email VCMarez@lasd.org.
— LA County Sheriff’s (@LASDHQ) August 26, 2017
WHITTIER >> A massive convoy of law enforcement officers from throughout Southern California escorted the flag-draped casket of U.S. Marine Ruben Velasco of West Covina to his final resting place on Friday night.
Velasco, a 19-year-old private first class and lifelong San Gabriel Valley resident, perished along with two fellow Marines on Aug. 5 in an MV-22 Osprey tilrotor aircraft crash off the coast of Australia.
His devastated family met the airplane carrying Velasco’s body at LAX before a sea of law enforcement officers from throughout the region, joined by Patriot Riders and elected officials, accompanied the family in a silent tribute to Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Whittier.
West Covina police, Covina police, South Pasadena Police, Santa Ana police, Los Angeles police, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, California Highway Patrol officers and federal agents were among those taking part in the escort.
Grateful Americans and fellow military veterans lined the route outside the cemetery with flags and saluted the young warrior’s casket as it passed.
A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the SkyRose Chapel at Rose Hills, 3888 Workman Mill Road., followed by a funeral Thursday at 11 a.m.
PHOTOS/VIDEO of escort courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. PHOTOS of Ruben Velasco courtesy of family.
LA PUENTE >> Detectives arrested a man in La Puente who was being sought in connection with a home-invasion robbery and attempted murder in northern California, authorities said.
The arrest took place about 11 a.m. in the area of Main Street and Chatterton Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Tim Murakami said.
Detectives assigned to the Industry Station were notified by Clearlake Police Department investigators that a suspect in a home-invasion robbery and attempted murder case they were investigating was believed to be in La Puente, the captain said.
Officials conducted a stake-out at a home where the suspect was expected to visit, he said. They spotted the suspect and took him into custody without incident about 11 a.m.
Inside a bag carried by the suspect was a handgun believed to have been used in the Clearlake crime, as well as items believed to have been stolen, including two bags and a jar filled with marijuana, Murakami said.
The suspect was being held on a warrant and was expected to be sent back to Lake County to face charges, the captain added. His identity was not available Friday.
Representatives of the Clearlake Police Department, a 21-officer department serving a community of about 15,000 people, were not available to discuss the crime in their jurisdiction.
Clearlake police are investigating the shooting of a woman that took place at a home on Thursday, according to a statement issued on the department’s Facebook page.
Few details were released regarding the shooting, and officials said on Friday that they could not confirm whether that was the crime for which the suspect arrested Friday in La Puente was being sought.
No further details were available.
PHOTO: Courtesy, LASD
LA PUENTE >> Police arrested three suspects and sought two more after two separate armed robberies unfolded at the same La Puente cell phone store in just over an hour on Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
The first of the two crimes took place about 12:10 p.m. at the Verizon store, at Amar Road and Hacienda Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. William Kitchin said.
Two men entered the store, brandished a handgun and fled with property, he said.
It was not immediately clear what the robbers obtained during the heist, and detailed suspect descriptions were not available.
A trio of robbers then showed at the same business about 1:20 p.m. with the same felonious idea, according to the lieutenant.
The man brandished a handgun as they demanded property from the store, he said.
But a sheriff’s helicopter spotted the suspects’ car as it fled the area, Kitchin said. Deputies caught up with the suspects, stopped their car and arrested them without a struggle in South Gate.
Officials recovered a gun, as well as items believed to have been stolen from the store.
The identities of the three robbery suspects were not available pending the booking process, Kitchin added.
No injuries were reported in either robbery, he said.
INDUSTRY >> Detectives following up on an Industry attempted burglary investigation arrested two men and seized two pounds of methamphetamine, a large amount of marijuana, cocaine, three guns and stolen property while carrying out a search warrant in West Covina on Tuesday, authorities said.
The bust took place in the morning at a home in West Covina, Capt. Tim Murakami of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Industry Station said.
Detectives had obtained a search warrant from the home as part of an investigation into a burglary attempt that took place in Industry about a week earlier, the captain said. Would-be burglars had rammed a rental car into the roll-up door of a business in an unsuccessful attempt to break in.
While serving the warrant, investigators found more than they had bargained for.
Recovered was a sawed-off shotgun, two stolen handguns, about two pounds of methamphetamine, a large amount of marijuana, cocaine, stolen property and a ski mask, according to Murakami.
In addition, deputies seized equipment used to both grow marijuana, as well as process it into concentrated “honey oil,” he said.
Two men at the home were arrested on suspicion of multiple felony gun and drug charges, Murakami said. Their identities were not available Wednesday afternoon.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
LA PUENTE >> Two sheriff’s deputies are credited with helping save a 7-year-old boy’s live after he collapsed and stopped breathing at school in La Puente on Wednesday morning, officials said.
The medical emergency was first reported just after 9 a.m. at Sunset Elementary School, 800 Tonopah Ave., Capt. Tim Murakami of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Industry Station.
“Fortunately, deputies got there within two minutes and they immediately started CPR,” the captain said.
The child was still not breathing when deputies Tim Jennison and Mike Lopez turned him over to the care of arriving paramedics, who rushed him to a hospital, Murakami said.
To the relief of the deputies, “They were able to revive him at the hospital,” the captain said. “He’s now in stable condition.”
Emergency room doctors credited the swift response of the deputies with saving the boy’s life, he said.
Nearly 100 law enforcement officers from local, county and state agencies carried out 36 searches and made 17 arrests during a parole and probation compliance sweep in the central San Gabriel Valley on Thursday morning.
The series of raids focused primarily on the West Covina and La Puente areas, including the surrounding unincorporated county areas, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The operation was spearheaded by Los Angeles County sheriff’s La Puente Special Assignment Team and the West Covina Police Department, with help from agencies including Irwindale police, Azusa police, state parole officials and prison investigators, county probation officers and officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, according to sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro.
The arrests were for alleged crimes including drug violations, gang injunction violations, parole violations, probation violations and outstanding warrants, Cacheiro said.
“We specifically targeted individuals that had a nexus to gang related crimes,” Patton said.
The majority of the homes visited by police and deputies on Thursday were those of probationers or parolees, though some of the visits were the result of investigative leads, he added.
The task force set out to focus on emerging crime trends, as well as, “to bring a better sense of quality of life back to our communities,” Patton said.
“As we realize crime has no boundaries, our partnerships with our allied partners allow us to effective combat those quality of life issues,” Patton said.
La Puente Mayor Valerie Munoz applauded the effort.
“Our priorities are to safeguard our residents,” she said. “La Puente appreciated the efforts of our sheriff’s department and their collaboration with our surrounding municipal police agencies.”
PHOTO: Law enforcement officers prepare to visit three-dozen locations, primarily homes of probationers and parolees, during a compliance sweep in the La Puente and West Covina areas on Thursday, May 25, 2017. (Courtesy, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)
WEST COVINA >> Authorities have released the identity of a La Puente man who died in a three-car crash in West Covina last weekend.
Michael Moses Saavedra, 50, died shortly after the 11:55 a.m. crash on May 13 at Lark Ellen and Puente avenues, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
He was at the wheel of a 1960s-model Chevrolet Impala that was believed to have run through a red light and crashed into two other cars, according to West Covina police Lt. Ron Allen.
Saavedra had to be cut free from the wreckage by firefighters, he said. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A man driving one of the vehicles struck by the Impala was treated for significant injuries, while a woman and child riding as passenger in that car suffered injuries described as minor, Allen said. The driver of the second car struck by the Impala suffered minor injuries.
The Impala was southbound on Lark Ellen avenue when it passed through a red light at Puente Avenue, Allen said.
Though the first vehicle struck by the Impala was initially described by police as being in the left-turn lane from southbound Lark Ellen avenue to Puente Avenue, it was later determined the car was struck broadside while traveling on Puente Avenue, Allen said. The Impala then continued moving and struck a second car, which was in the left-turn lane from northbound Lark Ellen Avenue to Puente Avenue.
Police suspected Saavedra may have been driving under the influence at the time of the crash, Allen said.
LA PUENTE >> Sheriff’s deputies teamed with a food company and a bicycle shop to provide free bicycles on Saturday to 85 students from La Puente elementary schools as a reward for good grades and attendance.
The “Build Your Bike” program, hosted at Sparks Elementary School, was a collaboration of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Industry Station’s La Puente Special Assignment Team, Golden State Foods and Incycle Bicycles, sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said.
Sheriff’s officials worked with teachers at Sparks, Sunset and Hurley elementary schools to identify deserving kids, the lieutenant said.
“The selected kids have demonstrated their potentials in schools by maintaining a positive attitudes, outstanding grades and attendance,” he said. “They’re earning this bike.”
GSF procured the dozens of bicycles, which the kids then assembled with help from deputies and sheriff’s Explorers, as well as staff from Incycle Bicycles.
Officials also provided the students with helmets, bike locks and handlebar bells. And sheriff’s officials provided the kids with a bike safety class.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department