New Mexico mother and children sought in Amber Alert found safe in Lancaster; car abandoned in La Verne

A mother and her three sons who disappeared from New Mexico, triggering a multi-state Amber Alert, were found safe in the Lancaster area Sunday night, hours after the car the were driving in was found abandoned in La Verne, authorities said.
The three boys, ages 6, 8 and 9, were believed to have been taken in Albuquerque, New Mexico during the early morning hours and driven to California by their 28-year-old mother, Laria Walker-Anderson, according to an Amber Alert issued by the California Highway Patrol.
They were last seen in a silver, 2009 Kia Spectra, according to the CHP.
According to CHP logs, authorities learned of an electronic “ping” indicating the car had been on the 210 Freeway near Foothill Boulevard, just east of the 57 Freeway, in La Verne at 2:28 p.m.
A witness called police shortly after 5 p.m. to report seeing the car listed in the Amber Alert parked at Foothill Boulevard and Ramona Avenue with no one inside, La Verne police said in a written statement.
Officers responded and confirmed the car was the one being sought. The woman and children were no where to be found.
The family turned up safe in the Lancaster area shortly before 10 p.m., according to La Verne police Lt. Monica Schusse. Further details were not immediately available.
Walker-Anderson was not formally accused of any crime on Sunday afternoon, Bernalillo County sheriff’s officials said during a news conference broadcast on the department’s Facebook page. She has legal custody of the children, and no arrest warrant has been issued.
But the woman had made threats of possible self harm, or harm against her children, to the children’s father via a phone conversation, and there was believed to be a .45-caliber handgun in the car she had been driving, according to deputies. Due to the circumstances, officials said they wanted to make sure both the children and their mother were OK.

PHOTOS courtesy of the CHP

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Two teens escape from probation camp north of La Verne

Authorities are seeking two teenage boys who escaped from a juvenile probation fire camp in the forest north of La Verne on Saturday morning.
The two 16-year-old boys went missing shortly before noon from Camp Afflerbaugh, 6631 Stephens Ranch Road, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Thomas Reid. They were believed to have walked away from the lockdown facility, which houses juvenile offenders and teaches them wildland firefighting skills.
Sheriff’s deputies joined county probation officers to search the numerous nearby trails for the escaped boys, but they had not been found Saturday afternoon, Smith said.

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Traffic stop in Rowland Heights leads to seizure of weapons, arrest

ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> Deputies who approached a man for a traffic violation last week ended up arresting him after discovering him with two loaded handguns, a shotgun, and expandable baton, pepper spray, a security guard badge and his brother’s ID in Rowland Heights, officials said.
Alejandro Raygoza, 25, of La Verne was arrested on suspicion of possession of concealed, loaded weapons during the incident, which unfolded about 8:20 a.m. on Aug. 24 along Fairway Drive near the 60 Freeway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said Thursday in a written statement.
Deputies first approached a car after noticing it was impeding traffic, according to the statement. As they spoke with the driver, they noticed he had a handgun holstered on his waist.
“The driver claimed to be a security guard and handed the deputies an ID,” the statement said. “When the deputies questioned the driver about the ID they discovered he had handed them his brother’s ID and he is not licensed to carry firearms.”
Inside the car, deputies found an additional handgun, a shotgun and the other items, authorities said. It was not clear why the suspect was driving around with the weapons.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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5 suspected in robbery, kidnapping of man at La Verne park

LA VERNE >> Police arrested five suspects they say kidnapped, robbed and pistol-whipped another man at Heritage Park in La Verne early Friday.
The crime took place about 12:40 a.m. at the park, 5001 Via De Mansion, La Verne police officials said in a written statement.
A 19-year-old man was approached by a group of five people in a car who tried to rob him, but he initially managed to flee, Lt. Tom Frayeh said.
But the group caught up with the young man, pistol-whipped him and forced him into their car, the lieutenant said. They then drove the victim back to the park and stole several chains the man was wearing before releasing him.
Police were first summoned to the scene by a neighborhood resident who reported an unknown person was knocking on the front window of a home, according to the police statement.
They soon learned the person knocking on windows was the robbery victim, seeking help.
Officers found one of the suspects on foot in the area and took him into custody, officials said. The other four were found sitting in a Toyota Prius parked near Heritage Park.
Tyler Strickland, 19, of La Verne; Darius Kennedy, 19, of Azusa, Julius Sims, 41, of La Verne; Jazmyn Tyus, 22, of Twentynine Palms; and a 17-year-old boy were arrested on suspicion of robbery and kidnapping, Frayeh said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, the four adult suspects were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances.

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La Verne man accused of Arson following 50-acre brush fire

LA VERNE >> Police arrested a man Friday on suspicion of igniting a brush fire that scorched about 50 acres in La Verne and nearby unincorporated hillsides, officials said.
Christian Joseph Romano, 18, of La Verne was booked on suspicion of arson following his arrest about 4:20 p.m., according to La Verne police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He’s accused of igniting the Rodeo fire, which broke out shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday in the area of Briley Point Road and Williams Avenue, La Verne police Lt. Thomas Frayeh said.
No injuries or property damage were reported in the fire, which burned through about 50 acres of brush before it was contained by firefighters the following day.
•Related: Fast-spreading brush fire in La Verne burns 40 acres
Several neighborhoods were placed under voluntary evacuation orders as the flames crept close to homes, including those on Rodeo Lane.
As the investigation continued in the following days, investigators determined that the fire was an arson and identified Romano as the suspect, Frayeh said.
Romano was released from jail after posting $20,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.
No further details were available.

PHOTO courtesy of the La Verne Police Department

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UPDATED: Fast-spreading brush fire erupts in La Verne

LA VERNE >> A brush fire ignited in La Verne and scorched 40 acres before firefighters got it under control, officials said.
La Verne Fire Department officials requested help from their counterparts in the Los Angeles County Fire Department just before 3 p.m. after the fire ignited in the area of Briley Point Road and Williams Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms said. The fire was burning near homes.
The fire was initially reported as 4-5 acres in size and was spreading quickly through medium to heavy brush, she said.
By 3:40 p.m., Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said the fire had grown to about 10 acres in size and was continuing to burn uphill, threatening homes at the top. Two air tankers were initially summoned to the scene to aid water-dropping helicopters, but cancelled shortly after 4 p.m. as firefighters gained the upper hand on the fire.
“It sounds like it’s dying down a little,” fire Capt. Ron Singleton said. “They’re getting a handle on it.”
But officials again called for reinforcements about 4:30 p.m. as the fire began to flare up once more, drawing a total of 200 firefighters to the incident.
The brush fire grew to 40 acres by Sunday evening, but was 50 percent contained, fire officials announced via Twitter.
Voluntary evacuations were issued for homes along Rodeo Lane, as well as in unincorporated county neighborhoods of Webb Canyon and Live Oak Canyon just to the east, La Verne police Sgt. Justin Newman said.
The voluntary evacuations were lifted shortly before 7 p.m.  as firefighters continued dousing remaining hot spots to ensure the fire didn’t re-ignite, officials said. Firefighters were expected to remain on scene through the night.
A near miss between a fire-fighting aircraft and a Cessna airplane was reported during the fire.
Baseline Road remained closed Sunday evening between Fruit Street in La Verne and Lynoak Avenue in Claremont.
No injuries or property damage were reported.PHOTO courtesy of the La Verne Police Department

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VIDEO: Officials rescue bear cub with jar stuck on head in La Verne

LA VERNE >> Police and animal control officials freed a bear cub who got his head stuck in a plastic jar in an adorable act of heroism caught on video early Saturday.
Officers first received a report about 8:30 a.m. that the young bear was spotted wandering with its head stuck in a large plastic jar in the 2500 block of Jasmine Court, La Verne police officials said.
They encountered the animal hopelessly stuck in the jar after apparently stealing itself a snack.
Police Officer David Weaver held the bear as a California Department of Fish and Wildlife official carefully cut the jar off, as depicted in a video posted to the La Verne Polcie Department’s Facebook page.
Once free, the cub immediately scampered up a tree, ultimately making its way back to the wilderness.
The cub’s mother kept a watchful eye over the rescue effort from a vantage point atop a nearby tree, Lt. Monica Schusse said.
Officials kept close tabs on the mother bear, as well, in case she became aggressive with the rescuers, but she didn’t interfere.

VIDEO/PHOTO courtesy of the La Verne Police Department

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Caution urged after bear fatally attacks dog in La Verne

LA VERNE >> Officials in La Verne reminded residents to be aware of their forest-dwelling neighbors after a bear attacked and killed a pet collie in a residential neighborhood on Wednesday morning.
The attack took place about 3:30 a.m. in the 5400 block of Edgewood Drive, La Verne police officials said in a written statement.
A resident called police to report hearing suspicious noises coming from the garage area of the home, police said.
“Upon arriving at the location, officers observed a large dog with injuries lying on the floor of the garage,” according to the statement.
Officers rushed the badly injured dog to a local animal hospital.
“Hospital staff treated the injuries, which they determined to be consistent with a bear attack,” according to the statement. “However, the dog succumbed to said injuries.”
Police notified the California Department of Fish and Game of the incident, officials said.
“Residents living near the foothills are reminded that it is not uncommon for wildlife to enter residential neighborhoods,” the statement added. “We ask that you be vigilant and take precautions so as not to attract bears and other wildlife.
Officials urged residents took check out information on discouraging bear encounters and tips on what to do if encountering a bear, as well as other wildlife, online at

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13 students fall ill after ingesting ‘unknown substance’ at Bonita High School in La Verne

LA VERNE >> Thirteen students at Bonita High School in La Verne fell ill Thursday after ingesting an unknown substance, police said.
The incident was first reported about 1:50 p.m. at the campus, 3102 D Street, La Verne police and school officials said.
Students began showing up at the school nurse’s office reporting feeling ill, the lieutenant said. “The students “all appeared to have ingested an unknown substance.”
The 13 students were taken to hospitals as a precaution, some by ambulance, and some by parents, Gonzalez said. Their conditions were not believed to be life-threatening.
Police were continuing their investigation into what exactly the students had ingested, he said. No arrests had been made Thursday afternoon.
“All affected students were assessed by paramedics, appropriate care was administered and parents have been contacted,” Bonita High School Principal Derek Bub said in a written statement. “Due to confidentiality laws, we are only able to release limited information. We are confident that this was an isolated incident that does not pose a continued threat to student safety. We would like to thank La Verne Police and Fire Department for their rapid response.”
No further details were available.

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UPDATED: Pilot and passenger escape serious injury after emergency airplane landing at Pomona Fairplex

POMONA >> Two people walked away with apparently minor injuries after a small airplane crashed or made a hard landing at the Fairplex in Pomona on Wednesday evening.
The incident was first reported at 6:42 p.m. at the Fairplex, which is just across Fairplex Drive from Brackett Field in La Verne, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms said.
Details of the incident were not yet clear, however, firefighters treated one person for apparently minor injuries, she said.
The single-engine Beechcraft F33A experienced engine failure near Brackett Field, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
“The pilot made an emergency landing near the race track grandstands,” Gregor said, “Neither of the two people on board was seriously injured.”
“There was substantial damage to the plane, he said.
Pomona police officials received no 911 calls reporting the emergency landing, Lt. Alex Rilloraza said in a written statement.
“The police helicopter was in the area and advised of a possible aircraft down on the property,” according to the lieutenant.
Upon locating the downed airplane,
“Two occupants were in the plane and have reportedly sustained minor injuries only and are walking on their own accord, Rilloraza said. “Both subjects were treated at the scene and released.”
Firefighters also dealt with fuel that was leaking fuel after the incident, police said.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are conducting an investigation, officials said.
FAA records show the airplane is registered to a Rancho Cucamonga man. The aircraft, manufactured in 1977, has a valid flight status through the end of 2018.
The aircraft was heading to Cable Airport in Upland from Selma Airport, Gregor said.
No further details were available.

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