150-pound tortoise stolen from La Verne backyard

LA VERNE >> A 150-pound tortoise disappeared from a La Verne backyard last week in what police are investigating as a theft, officials said.
Residents of the 4700 block of Camber Avenue called police on Oct. 9 to report the enormous sulcata tortoise had been taken from their backyard, La Verne police Sgt. Sam Gonzalez said.
The theft took place sometime between 5 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9 a.m. Oct. 9, he said.
Anyone with information can reach La Verne police at 909-596-1913.

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La Verne police arrest Pomona man, 3 teens, in connection with robbery and carjacking spree

LA VERNE >> La Verne police arrested a man and three teenagers early Sunday accused of a crime spree including an armed carjacking in La Verne, as well as armed robberies in La Verne, Pomona, Claremont and Upland in recent days.
Officers arrested Edwin Miguel Garcia, 18, of Pomona, and three teenage boys from Pomona were arrested in connection with the series of crimes after tracking them down in Pomona about 2:30 a.m., according to La Verne police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. Officials withheld the names of the juvenile suspects due to their age.
A man called police just before 11 p.m. Saturday to report being robbed and carjacked outside the Shogun Restaurant, 2123 Foothill Blvd. in La Verne, La Verne police Sgt. Sam Gonzalez said.
“Upon arrival, officers received information that three armed suspects demanded money and a cellular phone from the victim before forcibly taking his vehicle and fleeing the scene,” Gonzalez said.
A short time later, police received a second call from a bicyclist reporting he had been robbed by a group of young men in the 1900 block of Dover Way, police said.
“A preliminary investigation revealed the same subjects from the earlier carjacking were also responsible for the incident on Dover Way,” Gonzalez said.
Police found the four suspects in the area of Towne Avenue and the 10 Freeway in Pomona, Gonzalez said. Officers arrested them without a struggle.
They were found with the carjacked car, as well as a second car that had been reported stolen.
“Upon further investigation it was discovered the suspects arrested were responsible for similar crimes in the cities of Claremont, Pomona, and Upland,” Gonzalez said.
All of the crimes took place within recent days, he added.
In addition to the two stolen cars, the suspects were in possession of a loaded gun, two replica guns, stolen property and drugs, Gonzalez said.
Garcia was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail and the La Verne Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

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Bogus report of weapon at high school in La Verne prompts lockdown

LA VERNE >> Police and school officials placed Bonita High School in La Verne on lockdown Wednesday after an anonymous tipster reported a student had brought a gun to the campus, authorities said. No weapon was found.
The La Verne Police Department received an anonymous phone call about 10:30 a.m. reporting had a handgun with him at the campus, 3102 D Street, Bonita Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Curtis Frick said.
“The administration, as we’ve practiced many times, put the school in a lockdown to secure the campus,” Frick said. “Police arrived and began investigation.”
The school remained locked down for about an hour, he said. The lockdown was lifted about 11:40 a.m., after investigators determined there was no weapon on campus.
Students were released at noon, Frick said. An early release schedule was already planned Wednesday to accommodate a staff development day.
The phone call made to La Verne police came from what appeared to be a prepaid cell phone, La Verne police Lt. Tom Frayeh said.
Police were looking into the possibility the unfounded phone call was related to an incident that had just unfolded at the school, the lieutenant added.
Just prior to the phone call, police and school officials had detained a 15-year-old sophomore on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sales at the school, Frayeh said. The teen was arrested and released to his parents with a court date.
But a second 15-year-old boy, who police suspected was trying to buy marijuana from the other boy, ran from the school, police said.
As police were searching for the second teen, the anonymous phone call reporting a weapon on campus was received, Frayeh said.
Though a concrete link had not been established, police were looking into the possibility someone may have made the bogus report to distract officials from their search for the second teen, Frayeh said.
The freshman was found and arrested about the same time the phone call came in, he added.

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Police checkpoint planned this weekend in La Verne

LA VERNE — Police are planning a sobriety and drivers’ license checkpoint late Saturday in La Verne, official said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday at an undisclosed location within the city, La Verne police officials said in a written statement.
Over the past three years in La Verne, 26 people have been injured in DUI-related crashes,” La Verne police Sgt. Dave Mortazavi said. A total of 53 DUI-related crashes took place over the past three years.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Irvine man killed in crash on 210 Freeway in La Verne

LA VERNE — An Irvine man died and another man suffered major injuries after their car was struck by a dump truck while stopped along the side of the 210 Freeway in La Verne early Wednesday, authorities said.
Gregory Ashe, 34, died at the scene of the 3:15 a.m. crash on the eastbound 210 Freeway at Fruit Street, according to California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
A second man who accompanied him was hospitalized with major injuries, CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez.
It was not initially clear which man had been driving the Lexus ES 300, or why it was stopped along the shoulder, Jimenez said.
A dump truck approached the Lexus traveling at an unknown speed in the right-hand lane, the officer said. The truck veered off the roadway and struck the rear of the Lexus, Jimenez said.
“It was a hard collision,” he said.
Ashe was pronounced dead at the scene. The second man was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, however no citations or arrests were made at the scene, Jimenez said.
Officials issued a Sig Alert for all eastbound lanes of the eastbound Freeway near Fruit Street, as well as the westbound carpool lane, through 8 a.m.
Officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP are handling the investigation.

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Officials: La Verne man arrested by SWAT after chasing neighbor with hammer

LA VERNE >> A 63-year-old La Verne man chased after a neighbor with a hammer and smashed up a car and other property before barricading himself inside his mobile home for more than six hours early Friday, authorities said.
Eric Alfred Bark, 63, was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after he surrendered to SWAT officers after a stand-off lasting for several hours, according to La Verne police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The incident began about 2 a.m. when police received a call of a man acting violently with a hammer at the Cobacobana Mobile Home Park, 2717 Arrow Highway, La Verne police officials said in a written statement.
Police responded to a report that a man with a hammer had chased after and tried to attack a fellow mobile home park with a hammer, police said. The neighbor was not injured.
“Following the attack, the male subject reportedly also used the hammer to damage a nearby vehicle and other property,” according to the police statement.
When police confronted the suspect, he fled into his mobile home and refused officers’ orders to come out, officials said.
The Foothills Special Enforcement Team was summoned to the scene, and Bark ultimately surrendered to them without further incident about 9 a.m., officials said.
Bark was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
No information regarding a motive in the alleged crime was available.

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Checkpoints net more than 100 arrests throughout the San Gabriel Valley

Checkpoints held throughout the San Gabriel Valley over the weekend resulted in more than 100 arrests, most of which were for driving without a license, officials said Sunday.
A six-hour checkpoint in La Puente late Friday and early Saturday resulted in two DUI arrests, along with 55 arrests of unlicensed drivers and 22 arrests for other alleged crimes, authorities said.
The checkpoint, run by deputies from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Industry Station, took place from 7 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday on Hacienda Boulevard at Temple Avenue, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. It was one of several checkpoints held throughout the San Gabriel Valley over the weekend by area law enforcement agencies from La Verne to Pasadena.
Of the 2,271 cars that passed through the overnight checkpoint, deputies screened 1,673 drivers, officials said.
Two drivers were arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and two people were arrested on suspicion of drug possession, according to the sheriff’s department statement. One person was jailed on suspicion of knowingly allowing an unlicensed person to drive and one driver was accused of driving without a court-ordered ignition interlock device.
One person was jailed on an outstanding traffic warrant, officials said. And 17 drivers were arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked license.
But the vast majority of the 79 arrests, 55 of them, were of unlicensed drivers, officials said.
Eleven cars were impounded for 30 days at the checkpoint, while 15 were impounded for one day and 48 were released at the checkpoint.
Similar results were seen during the sheriff’s Industry Station’s last checkpoint, which was also held in La Puente overnight Dec. 21 and 22.
More than 70 people were arrested at the December checkpoint, which took place on Hacienda Boulevard at Nelson Avenue, sheriff’s officials said at the time. One driver was accused of driving under the influence of methamphetamine; one person was jailed for drug possession; one person was arrested on a parole violation, three people were arrested due to traffic warrants; two people were arrested for allowing an unlicensed person to drive, 14 people were jailed for driving on a suspended or revoked license; and 56 arrests of unlicensed drivers were made.
The dozens of arrests of unlicensed drivers at the December checkpoint, as well as dozens more at a checkpoint in Baldwin Park the following weekend, sparked outrage from family members of those arrested and immigrant rights activist who allege the checkpoints unfairly target undocumented immigrants.
But the sheriff’s department maintains the checkpoints are designed to improve public safety.
“Checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety to the public,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. But arresting intoxicated drivers is not the only goal.
“This DUI/Driver’s License checkpoint lowers DUI deaths and injuries. A major component of these checkpoints is the deterrent effects it has on those who might drive drunk or drugged.”
The La Puente checkpoint was one of several held over the weekend throughout the region. Arcadia, La Verne, and Pasadena also had overnight checkpoints. The California Highway Patrol also sent 20 extra officers out on a DUI saturation patrol late Saturday and early Sunday.
In Arcadia, police screened about 1,200 of the nearly 2,000 cars that passed through a checkpoint held from 9 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday along Baldwin Avenue at the Gate 8 entrance to Santa Anita Park and the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, Arcadia police Lt. Bob Anderson said.
“Fifteen (field sobriety tests) were given, resulting in five DUI arrests,” Anderson said. Two people were jailed on traffic warrants.
Police cited, but did not arrest, 16 unlicensed drivers and 7 people who were driving on a suspended or revoked licensed, Anderson said. One person was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public.
Arcadia police impounded six cars for 30 days, and another six cars for 1 day, Anderson said.
Official results from Pasadena’s checkpoint, which took place late Friday and early Saturday at Fair Oaks Avenue and Hurlbut Street, were not available over the weekend, officials said. But electronic police logs indicated four suspected DUI drivers were arrested.
In La Verne, a checkpoint late Saturday and early Sunday netted 15 arrests, La Verne police Sgt. Monica Schusse said.
Two of the arrests were for intoxicated driving, while the other 13 resulted from other alleged crimes, the sergeant said. Further details regarding the arrests were not available Sunday.
The reasons for the difference in the ways in which police agencies deal with unlicensed drivers at checkpoints — whether such drivers are cited or arrested is not entirely clear.
Following protests in Baldwin Park in December and January, Baldwin Park police officials said unlicensed drivers were taken to jail because they did not have valid identification to prove their identities, as the Los Angeles Superior Court’s West Covina Branch, where the department files it’s cases, would no longer accept matricula consular cards as identification.
Court officials said no such policy change occurred.
Baldwin Park city officials subsequently announced police would resume accepting matricula consular cards as identification, and the city council discussed considering a moratorium on checkpoints. The city previously suspended checkpoints and changed its checkpoint impound policy in 2010 amid outcry from activists.
Funding for the checkpoints is provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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UPDATED: Checkpoints planned this weekend in La Puente, La Verne, Monterey Park, Arcadia

Officials in La Puente, La Verne, Monterey Park and Arcadia are planning to screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses at checkpoints this weekend.
Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Industry Station will hold a checkpoint from 7 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within La Puente, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
More than 70 people were arrested during the city’s last checkpoint, which took place overnight Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 on Hacienda Boulevard, just north Nelson Avenue, officials said.
One of the arrests was for suspected driving under the influence of methamphetamine, sheriff’s officials said. Fifty-six drivers were arrested for driving without a valid license, while one person was jailed on a parole violation, three people were arrested due to outstanding traffic warrants and 14 people were arrested on suspicion of driving on a revoked or suspended license.
The La Puente City Council suspended checkpoints in the city in mid-2011 amid concerns that such checkpoints unfairly target local residence who are unlicensed or uninsured. But the council reversed it’s decision a year later.
Protestors demonstrated against Baldwin Park police in late December after a checkpoint overnight Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 at Los Angeles and Littlejohn streets, as well as Ramona Boulevard and Barnes Avenue, in that city resulted in the arrests of more than two-dozen unlicensed drivers, along with five allegedly intoxicated drivers and several other arrests.
Another checkpoint is scheduled to take place this weekend in La Verne, La Verne police officials said in a written statement.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday at an undisclosed location within the city, police said.
Monterey Park police are planning a checkpoint at a undisclosed location within that city from 7 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m., officials said, Sunday, and Arcadia police will hold a checkpoint late Saturday into early Sunday.
Funding for all the checkpoints is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Woman flown to hospital following La Verne traffic collision

LA VERNE — Officials flew a woman to a trauma center as a precautionary measure Saturday following a two-vehicle crash in a residential neighborhood, authorities said.
The crash took place just after 3 p.m. at Via Campo and Via De Mansion, La Verne police Lt. Gary Mason said. It involved an older-model Toyota pickup truck and a Toyota Camry.
The Camry was making a left turn into a driveway when it collided with the pickup truck, the lieutenant said.
A woman estimated to be between 18 and 20 years old who was riding as a passenger in the pickup truck struck her head against the windshield, Mason said. She was wearing a seat belt, but it appeared the latch that held the belt in place was not working properly.
Her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, however paramedics flew her to a hospital for treatment as a precaution, Mason said. The driver of the pickup truck, the injured woman’s father, was unhurt. The lone woman inside the Camry also avoided injury.
The cause of the crash was under investigation.

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Sobriety checkpoints planned this weekend in La Verne, San Dimas, La Puente

Police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be screening drivers for sobriety and valid drivers’ licenses during three checkpoints planned this weekend in La Verne, San Dimas and La Puente.
The La Verne Police Department will hold a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint Friday.
The checkpoint will run From 6 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location in the city, police officials said in a written statement.
Also Friday, sheriff’s deputies will be holding a checkpoint from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. the following morning at an undisclosed location within San Dimas, authorities said.
And deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station plan to hold a checkpoint from 7 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. the following morning within La Puente, officials added.
Funding for the operations is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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