La Puente man sentenced for sex crimes against young relatives

POMONA >> A 46-year-old La Puente man will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars after a judge sentenced him to 65 years to life in prison Thursday for the continuous sexual abuse of two underage family members over an eight-year period, officials said.
A Pomona Superior Court jury convicted Mark Christopher Acosta in March of 2015 of nine felony counts related to child molestation, including continuous sexual abuse of a child.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Martinez sentenced Acosta to 65 years to life in prison, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement. He faced a maximum sentence of 120 years to life behind bars.
“Acosta sexually abused two female family members at separate times between 2001 and 2009,” according to the statement.
The first victim told an adult of the crimes in 2007, but the adult did not believe her, officials said.
The second victim came forward in 2013, prompting the first victim to also report her abuse to authorities, according to the district attorney’s office. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrested Acosta on Feb. 21, 2014.
Judge Martinez also ordered Acosta to register as a sex offender for life.

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Hit-and-run driver sought after running over, badly injuring La Puente teen in Hacienda Heights

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HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Authorities and loved ones are reaching out to the public for help in finding a hit-and-run driver who struck and dragged 18-year-old college student in Hacienda Heights last weekend, then fled the scene.
Isabel Gonzalez of La Puente remained hospitalized Thursday with major injuries suffered after she was struck by a car about 11 p.m. Sunday along Gale Avenue, at Riderwood Lane, according to California Highway Patrol officials and family members. She has undergone four surgeries since the incident.
“This was a hit and run of a beautiful young lady that was crossing the street and was ran over, dragged, and was just left there,” Gonzalez’s aunt Lucy Solis said. “Isabel suffered major injuries and remains hospitalized at (Los Angeles County-)USC Medical Center.”
California Highway Patrol investigators, who are handling the investigation, were left with few leads to follow, Officer Al Perez said.
Perez said he could not confirm initial reports that the involved car was described as a silver 2013- or 2014-model Honda or Toyota.
Gonzalez was walking south across Gale Avenue when she was struck by a car in the westbound, right-hand lane, Perez said.
Gonzales was struck after she had just finished a shift at an area Olive Garden restaurant and was heading home along with her boyfriend, who also works at the restaurant, Solis said. The boyfriend was walking ahead of Gonzalez when she was struck.
Solis said her niece suffered injuries including a shattered pelvis, a fractures skull, broken ribs and internal bleeding.
Gonzalez’s leg was severely injured, and it was unclear whether she would walk again, thee aunt said. But she had not suffered brain damage.
Doctors removed a breathing tube Tuesday, and Gonzalez has been breathing on her own since, Solis said. The injured woman has drifted in and out of consciousness, though she remains heavily sedated. And family members were encouraged when Gonzales recently took a sip of water.
Gonzalez is a student at California State University, Los Angeles, where she is studying to be a translator on a scholarship, Solis said.
Officials and family members asked anyone with information to contact the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office at 562-868-0503 during business hours. After hours, tips may be submitted to the CHP at 800-835-5247.
Funds to help the family cover medical expenses are being collected online at www.gofundme.com/Isabel_Gonzalez.

PHOTOS: [LEFT] Isabel Gonzalez, 18, of La Puente, was struck and injured by a hit and run driver on Gale Avenue, east of 7th Avenue, in Hacienda Heights late Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. Photo undated. (Courtesy) [RIGHT] Isabel Gonzalez, 18, of La Puente, was struck and injured by a hit and run driver on Gale Avenue, east of 7th Avenue, in Hacienda Heights late Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. She’s pictured here at a hospital on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. (Courtesy)

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La Puente mayor hosts community, law enforcement at annual prayer breakfast

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LA PUENTE >> Elected officials, sheriff’s deputies, police officers, clergy and community members met Friday morning to discuss issues affecting the La Puente area and seek divine guidance during the Third Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. Representatives of State Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis took part in the gathering, where issues ranging protecting the homeless during El Nino to crime statistics were discussed, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said. La Puente Mayor Dan Holloway praised the partnership between the city and the sheriff’s department, which provides its law enforcement services. He pointed out that La Puente made the Safewise Top 50 Safest Cities in California list last year. City Manager David Carmany spoke of successes in policing, as well as relationship building among residents, elected officials and businesses. Officers from neighboring police agencies, as well as Hacienda La Puente Unified School District Police Chief John Babbitt. Pastor Kelly Dupee of Faith Community Church in West Covina offered an invocation. The gathering concluded with a prayer by Rev. Matthew Cumberland of the St. Joseph Parish in La Puente. Free breakfast was provided at the event, sponsored by C&F Foods Inc.

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La Puente, sheriff’s officials plan prayer breakfast Thursday

LA PUENTE >> La Puente and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials are inviting the public to join them Thursday for pancakes and prayer at the city’s third annual Sheriff and Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.
The free event begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Villa Carino restaurant, 1066 N. Hacienda Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said. It is being presented by the City of La Puente and Mayor Dan Holloway.
Other elected officials will also take part, along with Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and local clergy.
A free Mexican breakfast will be provided at the meeting, sponsored by C&F Foods Inc., Cacheiro said.
For more information, contact La Puente Special Assignment Deputy Viviana Marez at 626-330-3322, ext. 3303.

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Carjacking suspect arrested in East Valinda after pursuit

1230_NWS_SGT-L-CARJACKER1EAST VALINDA >> Deputies arrested a carjacking suspect after he led them on a chase, which ended in a crash in East Valinda Wednesday, authorities said.
The incident began shortly before 2 p.m. when deputies spotted a suspect wanted in connection with a carjacking driving in the unincorporated county area of East Valinda, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials. The SUV has been reported carjacked in Hawthorne, Lt. David Infante said.
“The suspect was considered armed and dangerous,” the lieutenant said.
Aided by a helicopter, deputies chased the SUV along surface streets for about 15 minutes before the driver crashed into a tree along McLaren Street, between Jellick Avenue and Trafalgate Avenue in East Valinda, and continued to flee on foot, officials said.
1230_NWS_SGT-L-CARJACKER2Deputies captured the suspect as he was pounding on or trying to kick in the door of a nearby home, Infante said. The home may have been that of a relative of the suspect.
The name of the suspect was not available Wednesday afternoon pending booking.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Deputies, businesses, charity brighten holidays in La Puente

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LA PUENTE >> Sheriff’s deputies from the La Puente Special Assignment Team joined businesses and a nonprofit organization to hand out more than 650 bags of food, along with toys, to needy families throughout La Puente Wednesday.
For the fourth year, deputies from the Sheriff’s Industry Station, which patrols La Puente, demonstrated their Community Oriented Policing mission by delivering holiday goodies, said Lt. Pete Cacheiro, who effectively serves as La Puente’s Chief of Police.
“It keeps getting bigger,” Cacheiro said.
1224_NWS_SGT-L-LPGIVE2Sprouts Farmers Market, La Bodega Market, Casique USA Authentic Mexican Cheese and Chino-based charity Isaiah’s Rock provided bags filled with food, while Roly’s Trucking donated toys to delight La Puente’s younger residents.
The team of helpers delivered the gift packages throughout the city, including at Apartments along Orange Avenue, Hurley Elementary School, and numerous local churches, Cacheiro said.
La Puente City Councilman Charlie Klinakis thanked the organizations and businesses that have formed relationships with the sheriff’s department to make the annual giveaway possible.
“They do a lot of good for the community,” he said, noting that they take part in other charitable endeavors as well.
Klinakis said he enjoys seeing the smiles the project brings to local residents young and old.
“I’ve just got nothing but praise for our Special Assignment Team,” Klinakis said. 1224_NWS_SGT-L-LPGIVE3“They go over and above what they need to to help the people in our community, and it’s appreciated.”

PHOTOS: Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies from the La Puente Special Assignment Team help distribute food and toys to families throughout La Puente on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. (Courtesy)

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Driver wounded in La Puente road rage shooting


LA PUENTE >> A man suffered a gunshot wound to his leg in a car-to-car shooting believed to have been motivated by road rage early Tuesday, authorities said.
A 21-year-old man was driving about 5:20 a.m. when the shooting took place along Amar Road at Del Valle Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Infante said.
The driver of another car — described only as a white vehicle with tinted windows — apparently became enraged over a traffic-related dispute, the lieutenant said.
“The victim heard multiple gunshots and felt a burning sensation,” the lieutenant said. He pulled over and discovered he had been shot in the upper leg.
A detailed suspect description was not available, as the victim ducked down once the shooting started, Infante said.
The wounded man was taken to a hospital with a wound not considered to be life-threatening, he said.

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Officials: Death of man outside La Puente grocery store appears natural

LA PUENTE >> Foul play is not suspected in the death of a man whose body was discovered inside a car parked in front of a La Puente grocery store Saturday afternoon, officials said.
Employees noticed the body shortly before 5 p.m. in a car in the parking lot of Food 4 Less, along Hacienda Boulevard, just north of Francisquito Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Rico Sandoval said.
It appeared the man, who was estimated to be in his 50s, had died hours earlier, he said.
The investigation was ongoing, Sandoval said, but deputies found no signs of trauma on the body, and all initial signs pointed to a natural death.

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Man kidnapped, carjacked outside Hacienda Heights 7-Eleven store


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A gunman carjacked and kidnapped another man at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Hacienda Heights convenience store Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime occurred about 3:40 p.m. outside a 7-Eleven store at Gale and Stimson avenues, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Infante said.
A 25-year-old man was sitting in his brown, 2005 Chevy Silverado, Infante said. “The suspect produced a handgun and demanded a ride.”
The suspect entered the pickup truck and ordered the victim to drive, the lieutenant said. The gunman directed the victim to drive to the 800 block of North Hacienda Boulevard in La Puente, where he ordered the victim to get out. The carjacker then fled northbound in the victim’s truck.
A detailed suspect description was not available. Officials withheld the truck’s license plate number as they continued their investigation late Thursday.

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Deputies, church volunteers renovate seniors’ homes throughout San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles County

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LA PUENTE >> Dozens of volunteers teamed with sheriff’s deputies, church members, elected officials and local businesses Saturday to perform much-needed home repairs at the homes of elderly San Gabriel Valley resident and local park facilities as part of a county-wide effort dubbed “Operation Love Loud.”
The massive effort, lead by Faith Community Church in West Covina Pastor Kelly DuPee and Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Stanley, began Saturday and continues throughout the county through the end of October, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro, who effectively serves as La Puente’s police chief. A total of 140 projects are planned in 18 cities, from Sylmar to Long Beach.
“The mission of our deputies, volunteers and city staff will be to re-beautify the residences for the elderly home owners,” he said.
1018_NWS_SGT-L-LOVELOUD2More than 40 eager volunteers descended on two homes and a park building in La Puente, as well as seven schools, two parks and a house in West Covina and a park in San Dimas, Cacheiro said.
State Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, helped at the event at the invitation of his daughter, La Puente Councilwoman Valerie Munoz.
“It was great. I’m very pleased to see that not only the church and the (sheriff’s) department, but more importantly, the cities and local government, work together to help people in need,” the senator said.
He described a touching experience at the home of a senior citizen on Greenberry Drive in La Puente, where volunteers conducted extensive work, including painting her home’s exterior and taming overgrown landscaping.
“She was literally in tears, just ecstatic, Hernandez said.
The woman’s husband died last year. “She was going through a really tough time, the house was in disarray,” he said.
And it was only after deputies offered the woman help that they learned the woman herself was a sheriff’s department volunteer, who had recently been named a Volunteer of the Year, Hernandez said. “It was just such a great coincidence.”
And the community spirit proved contagious.
At the home of an elderly couple on Cadwell Street, curious neighbors came out to see what patrol cars were in the neighborhood, Cacheiro said.
“When they found out what we were doing for this homeowner, they got involved and started helping,” he said.
Officials including La Puente City Manager David Carmany also pitched in, Cacheiro said.
The residents benefitting from the campaign were selected by deputies, who identified homeowners in need of a helping hand during their routine patrols, he said.
Home Depot of Industry and Valley Vista Services provided supplies, and the La Puente donated food and drinks for the volunteers.
For more information, visit www.loveloud.go2faith.com.

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PHOTOS:

[TOP] – Church, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and community volunteers work to revitalize the home of a senior citizen on Greenberry Drive in La Puente as part of the Faith Community Church of West Covina’s “Love Loud” campaign on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015.
(Courtesy)
[CENTER] – Church, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and community volunteers work to revitalize the home of a senior citizen on Caldwell Street in La Puente as part of the Faith Community Church of West Covina’s “Love Loud” campaign on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. Sheriff’s Sgt. John Suh, pictured here, chips in with painting.
(Courtesy)
[BOTTOM] – State Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, center, talks with Church, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and community volunteers as they work to revitalize the home of a senior citizen on Greenberry Drive in La Puente as part of the Faith Community Church of West Covina’s “Love Loud” campaign on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015.
(Courtesy)

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