MONTEBELLO >> A judge sentenced a Montebello doctor to five years in prison Friday for sexually molesting four female patients in his care, officials said.
Arturo Vargas, 44, pleaded “no contest” Friday to two counts of felony sexual battery, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
A jury convicted Vargas in February of two counts of sexual exploitation by a physician for molesting two additional patients, but acquitted him of seven charges involving four other alleged victims, officials said. The Los Angeles Superior Court jury failed to reach verdicts on more than a dozen additional charges.
Vargas entered Friday’s “no contest” pleas during what was scheduled to be a pretrial hearing on the remaining charges.
In addition to being sentenced to five years in state prison, Judge Curtis Rappe also ordered Vargas to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Montebello police first arrested Vargas in Jan. 2012 after a woman reported being molested by him at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices on Towne Center Drive, authorities said. Seven additional women subsequently came forward and made similar allegations of molestation at the Baldwin Park facility, as well as at other medical facilities in Los Angeles County.
MONTEBELLO >> A 75-year-old man convicted of strangling his wife of 44 years at their Montebello apartment received a sentenced of 15 years to life behind bars Wednesday, authorities said.
Baghdo Hayrapetyan, 75, received the sentence from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta, court officials said.
A jury convicted him Oct. 30 of second-degree murder for the March 5, 2012, strangling death of his wife, 63-year-old Anahit Hayrapetyan, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials. At a hearing the following month, the same jury determined that Baghdo Hayrapetyan was sane at the time of the killing.
The couple, who had been married for more than four decades, became involved in an argument at their home in a seniors’ apartment complex in the 2000 block of West Whittier Boulevard.
Rescuers and police arrived at the scene to find Anahit Hayrapetyan unconscious and not breathing, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. Baghdo Hayrapetyan was also suffering from stab wounds on his torso that were believed to be self-inflicted. He was initially hospitalized in critical condition before receiving medical treatment and facing trial.
The crime was first discovered by worried family members who went on the apartment to heck on the couple after being unable to contact them, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
MONTEBELLO >> Police asked the public to keep an eye out for a Montebello family’s service dog, which went missing last week.
Pipistrello, a 2-year-old Australian terrier called “Pip” for short, was last seen Tuesday in the 300 block of North Greenwood Avenue, near Harding Avenue, Montebello police Lt. Rich Meadows said.
More than a pet, Pip is a service dog who aids her owner, who suffers from a medical condition, Meadows said.
Upon hearing of the lost service dog, Montebello police decided to help the family spread the word in hopes that someone will find and turn in Pip, the lieutenant said.
Pip is reddish-blond and was wearing a pink collar and a dog tag attached to the collar with a pink, heart-shaped clip, officials said.
Anyone who spots the dog is asked to contact Montebello police at 323-887-1313.
PHOTO courtesy of the Montebello Police Department
MONTEBELLO >> A man escaped injury Sunday when a masked gunman opened fire on him in a seemingly random shooting in a Montebello alley, authorities said.
The incident took place about 3:30 p.m. in an alley behind the 100 block of North Poplar Avenue, Montebello police Lt. Mike Flores said.
A man was standing in the alley when he noticed a male attacker with a handgun crouching near a car, wearing all black clothing and a bandana over his face, the lieutenant said.
Flores said the gunman fired two shots, both of which missed the victim. The bullets struck two nearby apartments, but injured no one.
The attacker fled on foot and was not found, Flores said. The victim told investigators he had no idea who the gunman was.
Anyone with information can reach Montebello police at 323-887-1313.
MONTEBELLO >> A car crashed into an apartment building in Montebello Sunday afternoon, prompting the temporary evacuation of four units, officials said.
The crash was reported about 2:51 p.m. at a two-story apartment building with carports located below in the 800 block of North Wilcox Avenue, Montebello Fire Department officials said.
A Honda Accord being driven by a man in his 20s was northbound on Wilcox Avenue when it crossed southbound lanes and struck a wall of the carport that lies beneath the apartment’s building’s first floor, Montebello police Lt. Mike Flores said.
The driver told police he swerved to avoid another car that was entering traffic, though the cause remained under investigation, the lieutenant said. Intoxicated driving was not initially suspected.
The driver, as well as another man in his 20s who was riding as a passenger in the car, suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene by paramedics, Flores said. No injuries were reported in the apartment building or carport.
The Honda ended up partially penetrating the carport wall, Flores said.
As a precaution, authorities evacuated four apartment units, which housed about a dozen residents, he said.
Engineers examined the building and declared it was safe for the displaced residents to return shortly after 5 p.m., Flores said.
MONTEBELLO >> Coroner’s officials have released the name of a 20-year-old Montebello man who died in a suspect street racing crash in Montebello Wednesday.
Luis Manuel Oliveras died at the scene of the crash after the 2004 Honda Accord he was driving struck a light pole about about 11:15 p.m. on San Gabriel Boulevard, just north of Plaza Drive, in an unincorporated county area near Montebello, according to California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Department of Coroner officials.
A 19-year-old woman riding as a passenger in the Honda suffered injuries in the crash, CHP officials said. An update on her condition was not available.
Investigators believe the Honda was involved in a street race when the crash occurred, CHP Sgt. Cesar Murillo said. The car that was racing the Honda fled the scene and has not been found. No description was released.
Oliveras lost control of the car as he was driving south on San Gabriel Boulevard at high speed, CHP officials said in a written statement.
The car crossed the center median and struck a light pole along the northbound traffic lanes, officials said.
Anyone with information about the crash was asked to call theCHP’s East Los Angeles office at 323-980-4600.
MONTEBELLO >> An improperly secured cargo container slipped from a big rig Saturday, knocking down a power pole and shearing a fire hydrant on Telegraph Road in Montebello, authorities said.
The mishap occurred about 4:30 p.m. on Telegraph Road, just west of Gage Road, Montebello police officials said.
A big rig had just pulled out of a nearby business when the metal cargo container loaded on the back slipped, Lt. Julio Calleros said.
“The load was improperly secured,” he said. “The load fell from the truck, striking the telephone pole and the fire hydrant.”
The driver was unhurt, he said.
A geyser erupted from the damaged fire hydrants, and power lines fell to the street, he said.
The accident knocked out power to the nearby Quality Inn & Suites, trapping several people inside elevators, but the electricity was restored within minutes, Calleros said.
The eastbound lanes of Telegraph Road remained shut down early Saturday evening, though the westbound lanes were closed as workers repaired the damage, police said.
PHOTO courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.
MONTEBELLO >> Rescuers freed a 68-year-old man from his minivan Thursday after he became trapped by high-voltage power lines when his vehicle struck a utility pole, authorities said.
The incident, which began with the crash about 7 p.m. on Beverly Boulevard, just east of Poplar Avenue, resulted in no injuries, Montebello Fire Department Capt. Fernando Pelaez said. With 16,000-volt power lines sparking and arcing all over the crash scene, the situation could have been much worse, he said.
The solo-vehicle crash sent power lines down onto the street and over the minivan, the captain said.
Firefighters arrived on scene and warned passers-by to stay away from the lines, as well as metallic items such as fences and lampposts that were electrified by them.
They also told the driver of the minivan to stay inside until Southern California Edison officials could shut down the power, which took about 45 minutes, Pelaez said. Had he stepped out prior, “He definitely would have gotten electrocuted.”
The sheared power pole also supported an electrical transformer, officials said.
Rescuers tried to keep the driver calm until the power was ultimately cut off to the wires, officials said. Firefighters then managed to free him from the crashed minivan.
The driver, a doctor, did not appear injured and declined to be taken to a hospital, Pelaez said.
The intersection of Beverly Boulevard and Poplar Avenue was expected to remain closed into Friday morning as utility crews repaired the damage.
About 5,000 SCE customers initially lost power as a result of the crash, Montebello police Lt. Kelly Gordon said. By 10:45 p.m., about 500 SCE customer remained without electrical service.
No crime was initially suspected in connection with the crash, which was being investigated as an accident, Gordon said.
MONTEBELLO >> Police released a sketch Friday of one of two men sought in connection with the failed kidnapping of a Montebello woman at the laundry room of an apartment building earlier this week.
The woman and her husband fought of the two attackers, who remain at-large, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
The crime took place about 9 a.m. Monday in the laundry room of an apartment complex in the 100 block of North 10th Street, Sgt. Marc Marty said.
One of the two men, who was wearing a mask, grabbed hold of the woman by the hair and began pulling her into the laundry room, the sergeant said. The woman, who was in her early-30s, managed to break free. The two suspects ran in different directions.
”The victim’s husband was nearby at the time and saw a male suspect run down his driveway,” according to the police statement.
“The victim’s husband chased and caught the suspect in the street and a fight ensued,” the statement said.
During the fight, the masked suspect who initially grabbed the woman returned to the scene and punched the husband, causing him to release the other suspect.
Both attackers fled in a white, 1995- to 2000-model Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck, Marty said.
Neither the woman or her husband suffered significant injury, police said.
As the suspects fled, they dropped a bag containing rope, Marty said.
Since the crime was not completed, it was unclear what the attackers’ ultimate goal was, the sergeant said. It was unclear if they committed the failed kidnapping as part of an attempted robbery, a sexual assault or some other crime.
Police described the first suspect, who grabbed the woman, as a male, 6 feet 2 inches tall, wearing a mask, gloves and a dark-colored gray and black shirt and blue jeans.
His accomplice was described only as male, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a baseball cap.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police Detective Zabala at 323-887-1254.
MONTEBELLO >> A leaking water main prompted officials to shut down a section of Lincoln Avenue in Montebello Sunday.
The water leak did not damage the roadway, however authorities determined it was necessary to shut down both directions of Lincoln Avenue to allow work crews room to make repairs, Montebello police Lt. Stan Flores said.
Crews shut down Lincoln Avenue between San Gabriel Boulevard and La Merced Avenue at 2 p.m., police said. The road was expected to remain closed through at least 10 p.m.
Police suggested motorists take Montebello Boulevard as an alternate route.