La Puente Business Watch Program meeting planned Thursday

LA PUENTE >> Sheriff’s officials are inviting La Puente business owners to join in a meeting of the La Puente Business Watch Program next week.
The program in run by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department La Puente Special Assignment Team, operating out of the sheriff’s Industry Station, officials said in a written statement. It scheduled for 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Starbucks, 1283. N. Hacienda Blvd.
“The goals are to link business owners via the Le Puente Business Watch program in taking systematic steps to reduce opportunities for crimes in and around business locations,” according to the statement. “It includes training business personnel to be the eyes and ears of the law enforcement.”
Topics to be covered will include reporting crime, marking equipment with identifying marks, robbery prevention, burglary preventions and self protection.
Those interested are asked to RSVP with Deputy Rudy Zamora at 626-934-3061.

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Man wounded in La Puente car-to-car shooting

LA PUENTE >> A car-to-car shooting in La Puente left a man wounded late Thursday, officials said.
The gunfire erupted about 10:40 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 16900 block of Turk Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Infante said.
A shooter or shooters in a car opened fire on the victim, a man in his late teens, as he was driving in his own car, the lieutenant said.
The victim’s car was struck six times, and one bullet struck the man in the shoulder, he said.
No further details of the shooting, including a suspect description, were available, Infante said.
The wounded man did not appear to be cooperating with investigators, he said.
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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UPDATED: Deputies raid alleged ‘internet gambling cafe’ in La Puente


LA PUENTE >> Sheriff’s deputies carried out a raid at an alleged illegal gambling house operating out of La Puente internet cafe on Wednesday night, authorities said.
The bust took place about 8 p.m., when deputies showed up at PC TIME Internet Cafe, 1047 N. Hacienda Blvd., with a search warrant, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said.
“When deputies gained access to the location, they detained over 15 patrons who were engaged in illegal gambling,” Cacheiro said.
Investigators arrested five alleged proprietors, described as Glendale residents, he said.
Twenty-five computers, other communications devices and cash were seized as part of the investigation, officials said.
The computers were running an online gambling program known as “Internet Sling 7,” Cacheiro said.
The complex gambling operation was “fortified” with security measures and surveillance cameras and catered only to a select clientele, he said.
Detectives launched their investigation in June, when authorities received anonymous complaints of illegal gambling at the establishment.
“During the investigation, deputies conducted surveillances and undercover investigations and determined that the business was utilized as an ‘Internet Gambling Café,’” according to the lieutenant.
The investigation is ongoing, he said. Detectives have identified other possible internet gambling houses in other cities.
Officials withheld the suspects’ identities Thursday as they continued pursuing leads, Cacheiro said.
Investigators additionally found that the business was operating without a permit and in violation of city codes, he added.
Deputies from the La Puente Special Assignment Team, Major Crimes Bureau, Cyber/High Tech Crimes Bureau and Operation Safe Streets took part in the raid, Cacheiro said, along with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials.
Code enforcement officials are handling the civil aspect of the case.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Police, sheriff’s deputies, CHP officers host ‘Coffee with a Cop’ in La Puente

LA PUENTE >> Local sheriff’s deputies, police officers and CHP officers will be meeting with the community this week for a “Coffee with a Cop” event in La Puente, officials said.
The informal gathering will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday at Starbucks, 1283 N. Hacienda Blvd., organizers said in a written statement.
Deputies from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Industry Station’s La Puente Special Assignment Team will chat with residents, as well as Covina police officers, West Covina police officers and California Highway Patrol officers.
There are no agendas or speeches planned, “just a chance to meet your deputies and officers,” according to the statement.
For more information, contact Deputy Viviana Marez at 626-934-3061.

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Memorial planned for Fontana man allegedly slain by girlfriend in Valinda


FONTANA >> A memorial service is planned today for a Fontana man who died after his girlfriend allegedly intentionally ran him down with a car in Valinda.
A service in memory of Randolph “Randy” John Morales, 51, is planned for 1 p.m. at Saint Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church, 9112 Oleander Ave., daughter Priscilla Morales said. The family only recently received his ashes.
Randolph Morales died after his girlfriend, 52-year-old Sharon Hood of La Puente, struck him with a car during an argument during the early-morning hours of May 8 outside a motel in the 500 block of North Azusa Avenue, in the unincorporated county area of Valinda, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Hood is being held in lieu of $2 million bail pending trial, records show. Her next court appearance was scheduled Aug. 30 in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
In addition to his daughter, Morales is survived by son Randy John Morales, mother Doralene Weitz, father Richard Morales, brothers Richard and Raymond Morales and sister Yvette Guerrero

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Man wounded in La Puente shooting

LA PUENTE >> A man suffered a gunshot wound to the back but was expected to survive after an argument escalated into a shooting Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 5 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 200 block of North 5th Street, between Workman and Rowland Streets, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Tubbs said.
A man in his 30s was standing in front of a home when the attacker approached in a white Nissan sedan, the lieutenant said.
After exiting his car and having a brief argument with the victim, the attacker pulled a handgun and opened fire on the victim several times, striking him once in back, the lieutenant said.
The shooter got back into his car and fled the area, Tubbs said. A detailed description was not available.
Paramedics took the wounded man to a hospital, where he was listed in stable condition, he said.
The motive in the shooting remained under investigation.
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 named on of state’s 50 safest cities for third year in a row

LA PUENTE >> For the third year running, La Puente has been named one of the 50 safest cities in California by security organization Safe Wise.
The city earned the 48th spot on the SafeWise Report’s 50 Safest Cities in California list for 2016.
“Besides its enviably low crime rate, what caught our attention about La Puente is the way it cares for its children,” SafeWise said in a written statement.
“ La Puente’s Self-Esteem Through Activities Recreation and Sports program provides elementary school children with a diverse assortment of after-school activities. La Puente’s Teen V.O.I.C.E. program is a volunteer-based program for teens ages 13 to 18, and its Tiny Tot program helps build the self-esteem of children ages three to five.”
City Manager David Carmany said the designation “validated we are on the right track,” but said the majority of credit belongs to the city’s partners at the Los Angels County Sheriff’s Department, as well as city staff.
Six other San Gabriel Valley cities made the list of California’s top 50 safest cities.
Sierra Madre ranked 9th safest city in California, Walnut ranked 20th, Temple City ranked 38th, Diamond Bar ranked 42nd, Chino Hills ranked 47th and La Mirada ranked 49th.

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UPDATED: Senior citizen stabbed in La Puente parking lot; suspect jailed

LA PUENTE >> A suspect is in custody after a senior citizen suffered serious injuries after an argument escalated into a stabbing outside a La Puente donut shop late Thursday, officials said.
The victim, a man estimated to be in his 60s, became involved in a confrontation with another man shortly after 8 p.m. in strip mall parking lot in the 400 block of South Azusa Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Edward Lopez said.
The attacker pulled a knife and stabbed the victim in the upper torso, he said.
Paramedics took the injured man to a hospital, where he was rushed into surgery, the sergeant said. The injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
Deputies searched the neighborhood and ultimately detained a2 7-year-old Valinda man, Lt. David Infante said. The man was initially held on suspicion of an unrelated misdemeanor, but ultimately booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.
Officials withheld the suspect’s name Friday as they continued their investigation, Infante said.
No further details regarding the circumstances of the stabbing were available.
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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Cops visit dozens of San Gabriel Valley parolees, probationers; 4 arrested, weapons and drugs seized


SAN GABRIEL VALLEY >> San Gabriel Valley sheriff’s deputies and police officers arrested four suspects and recovered weapons and drugs Tuesday when they teamed up for a compliance sweep targeting parolees and those under AB 109 felony probation in the San Gabriel Valley, officials said.
More than 40 law enforcement officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the West Covina, Covina, Baldwin Park took part in the early-morning operation, joined by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, state parole agents, county probation officers and representatives from the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, according to sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro, who oversees law enforcement for the city of La Puente.
After visiting more than 30 homes of convicts, officials arrested a parolee for being a felon in possession of a loaded handgun in La Puente, Cacheiro said.
Officials arrested three AB 109 probationers in West Covina, he said. One was arrested for possession of a Taser by a felon, one was jailed for possession of ammunition by a felon and one is accused of possession of methamphetamine for sales.
The task force operation, “exemplified out community policing strategies,” Cacheiro said.
La Puente City Manager David Carmany commended the effort in a written statement. “
“Our local law enforcement strives to maintain our communities safe and provide quality services to our residents,” he said.

Law enforcement officers from agencies throughout the San Gabriel Valley prepare for parole and probation compliance sweep at their command post at the Plaza West Covina shopping mall on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Courtesy, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

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La Puente man denies fatal 2011 shooting of girlfriend whose body was found in Turnbull Canyon

HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A man accused of shooting his girlfriend to death in 2011 and dumping her body in Turnbull Canyon in Hacienda Heights before fleeing to Mexico appeared in a Pomona courthouse this week to answer to a murder charge, authorities said.
Francisco Nila Rojas, 39, of La Puente pleaded not guilty Tuesday in connection with the February 11, 2011, slaying of Claudia Tecuautzin, 41, of La Puente, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. He’s also accused of the special allegation of personally using a gun in the crime.
“Rojas allegedly shot his girlfriend in the head and left her body near Turnbull Canyon Road and Skyline Drive in Hacienda Heights,” Ardalani said in a written statement.
Tecuautzin had been reported missing by her family before her body was discovered about 10 feet down an embankment in Turnbull Canyon, near Skyline Drive, on March 2, 2011, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner officials said. But due to the condition of her body, identification was delayed, and she was officially listed as a Jane Doe in the weeks following the slaying.
An autopsy found that Tecuautzin died from a gunshot wound to the head, and the death was ruled a homicide, coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Rojas was quickly identified as the suspect in Tecuautzin’s slaying. Prosecutors filed a murder charge against him in April of 2011, Ardalani said.
But Rojas, a Mexican national, fled to Mexico shortly after the fatal shooting, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
He remained a fugitive for more than three years, but investigators never gave up searching for him.
Officials tracked him down in Mexico in 2014, where he was jailed for about a year before being extradited back to the Unites States to face trial in October of last year, Ardalani said.
Rojas and Tecuautzin first became acquainted about a year before the slaying, Corina said. Both worked for the same company vending snacks from push carts.
The co-workers began a romantic relationship several months before Tecuautzin vanished.
Worried family members reported her missing and began a search themselves, sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. A family member searching the area discovered remains, later identified as those of Tecuautzin.
Coroner’s officials worked until the following day to carefully collect the remains.
Homicide detectives and prosecutors declined to discuss the specific motive in the killing Wednesday.
Rojas was ordered back to court June 23 for a pre-preliminary hearing, according to district attorney’s officials. If convicted as charged, he faces up to 50 years to life in state prison.

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