Suspect in NorCal home-invasion robbery, attempted murder arrested in La Puente

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

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Same La Puente cell phone store robbed twice in one afternoon; 3 suspects jailed


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.

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Industry deputies seize guns, drugs during raid in West Covina

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

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Deputies credited with saving life of 7-year-old boy who collapsed at school in La Puente


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.

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17 arrested in San Gabriel Valley probation and parole sweep

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)

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La Puente man killed in West Covina crash identified


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.

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Deputies, local businesses reward La Puente kids for good grades, school attendance with free bikes

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

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Two men wounded in La Puente shooting


LA PUENTE >> Two men are expected to survive following a late-night shooting in La Puente on Saturday, officials said.
The attack took place about 11:05 p.m. in the 300 block of Ardilla Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. David Contreras said.
Deputies responded to a report of an “assault with a deadly weapon” and encountered two men suffering from gunshot wounds, he said.
One of the victims is a man in his 20, and the other is in his 40s, according to the sergeant.
Both were hospitalized with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
Little information was available regarding the circumstances of the shooting, which Contreras said was carried out by two attackers who fled the scene in a compact car.
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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La Puente man convicted of killing girlfriend, dumping body in Hacienda Heights


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A La Puente man who lived as a fugitive in Mexico for three years before his capture is guilty of murdering his girlfriend in 2011 and dumping her body in Hacienda Heights, a jury found Friday.
A jury at the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court deliberated for less than a day before convicting Francisco Nila Rojas of first-degree murder for the Feb. 18, 2011, slaying of 41-year-old Claudia Tecuautzin of La Puente, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
The jury also found true the special allegation that Rojas personally used a gun. He faces up to 50 year to life in state prison at his sentencing, scheduled Monday, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
After shooting Tecuautzin in the head, he dumped her body down an embankment along Turnbull Canyon, near Skyline Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. A passer-by discovered her remains on March 2, 2011. It took coroner’s investigators several weeks to identify the body, due to the condition in which it was found.
“According to evidence presented at trial, Rojas stole money from Tecuautzin’s bank accounts before and after she was killed,” according to Ardalani.
“Additionally, a Ford Explorer that Rojas and the victim co-owned contained remnants of the victim’s blood. Also, the car’s passenger floor was bleached.”
Further cementing Rojas’ guilt, prosecutors learned that Rojas had purchased a gun on Feb. 12, 2011, less than a week before the slaying took place, Ardalani said. “The same gun was consistent with bullet fragments recovered from the victim’s head, according to expert testimony.”
But by the time the victim and suspect had been identified, the killer had fled the country.
Rojas, a Mexican national, fled to Mexico five days after the killing, according to Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
He was captured in Mexico in 2014, then extradited back to Los Angeles County to face trial in October of 2015.

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Alleged hit-and-run driver who crashed in to La Puente home arrested

LA PUENTE >> An 18-year-old man accused of crashing his father’s Mercedes-Benz through a La Puente bedroom in which to children were sleeping early Wednesday, then running away, turned himself in to deputies late in the day, authorities said Thursday.
The crash took place about 1:45 a.m. at Temple and Duff avenues, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Michael Lang said.
A 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 was eastbound on Temple Avenue when it veered to the side of the road, crashed through a fence and plowed through the side of a house, Lang said.
Two children sleeping inside the room penetrated by the car were unhurt, Lang said.
The driver got out of the car and ran away, officials said. He left his tennis shoes behind in the car as he fled.
The 18-year-old suspect showed up at the sheriff’s Industry Station Wednesday afternoon with his father and turned himself in, Sgt. Gina Eguia said. The car turned out to belong to his father.
Deputies issued the driver a misdemeanor citation for hit-and-run, she said. His name was not available Thursday afternoon.

PHOTO by Pedro F. Garcia

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