MONTEREY PARK — Police are seeking a wanted parolee and a second man in connection with a series of auto break-ins targeting the cars of parents as they drop their children off at San Gabriel Valley day care centers, authorities said.
Brian Gilbert Renteria, 25, and Jerry Angelino Ristich, 27, have been linked to three such burglaries at Alhambra day care centers in January and February, and were being investigated in connection with additional crimes in other cities including Arcadia and Chino, Monterey Park police Lt. Carrie Mazelin said. Renteria is described as a transient believed to be staying in San Gabriel Valley motels, while Ristich is a Monterey Park resident.
Renteria, who has previously been convicted of kidnapping, has absconded from parole supervision and is considered armed and dangerous, officials said.
An alleged accomplice of the men, 20-year-old Tamara Rios of West Covina, was arrested Feb. 13 in connection with one of the auto burglaries, which took place in the 300 block of North Alhambra Avenue, according to Monterey Park police and Los Angeles County booking records. She has since been released on bond.
In the day care center burglaries, the thieves smashed the windows of vehicle of parents whowere escorting their kids to day care and left valuables, such as designer purses, in plain sight, Mazelin said.
After identifying Renteria and Ristich as suspects in the crimes, police recently found and impounded Renteria’s 1999 Dodge Durango, in which more apparently stolen property was recovered, Mazelin said. Police were still working to locate the victims.
After stealing items from cars, the suspects used stolen credit cards throughout the San Gabriel Valley, officials said.
Renteria is described as Latino, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 230-300 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, police said. He has the letters “SSG” tattooed on the right side of his face.
Ristich is described as Latino, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 190 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information is advised not to approach the men, but to call police immediately.
PHOTOS of Brian Renteria and Jerry Ristich courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department.
MONTEREY PARK – A man wearing blue clothing and armed with a handgun robbed a gas station of $300 Thursday morning, police said.
The suspect hit the Chevron station, 2301 S. Atlantic Blvd., at 12:39 a.m.
Monterey Park Police Lt. Tina Montoya said the employee at the gas station reported the robbery.
She said the suspect was described as a black man, about 30, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 220 pounds. He wore blue jeans and a blue plaid shirt.
- Ruby Gonzales
MONTEREY PARK — Police investigating a Valentine’s Day disturbance between a boyfriend and girlfriend shot and killed an Ontario man early Friday after he allegedly brandished a gun, authorities said.
Emmanuel Franco, 25, died at the scene of the officer-involved shooting, which took place just after midnight in the 400 block of South Atlantic Avenue, Lt. Larry Dietz of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner said.
Monterey Park police officers responded to a report of a disturbance between a boyfriend and girlfriend at a motel, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
On arrival, the officers were directed to a vehicle that was leaving the motel, officials said. Two patrol cars pulled the vehicle over at Atlantic Boulevard and Harding Avenue.
“The suspect vehicle stopped and a male passenger exited the vehicle,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “After the suspect brandished a handgun, an officer involved shooting occurred.”
The man — later identified as Franco — died at the scene, officials said, and a handgun was recovered, officials said.
It was not clear how many officers fired, how many shots were fired or how many times the suspect was struck. Also not released was whether the driver of the vehicle the suspect had been riding in was the girlfriend mentioned in the initial call to police.
No officers were injured in the incident, officials added.
A phone number listed in public records as belonging to Franco was disconnected Friday.
A search of San Bernardino and Los Angeles County booking records turned up numerous prior convictions for Franco, all of them traffic cases primarily involving driving on a suspended license.
Franco’s license was suspended following an August, 2006 drunken driving conviction, according to court documents.
A domestic violence case Franco was dismissed in November of last year, and he had no conviction for violent crimes in Los Angeles or San Bernardino counties.
Monterey Park police officials deferred all comments to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is assisting in the investigation. Handling detectives could not be reached for comment.
Officials shut down the intersection of Atlantic Boulevard and Harding Avenue as they investigated the scene until about 9:30 a.m.
No further details were available.
City officials cited at least a dozen unlicensed business this week which were operating as illegal boarding homes and commercial nursing facilities during a joint investigation with police and state officials, the city manager said.
The illicit businesses were visited Tuesday and Wednesday by code enforcement officers, Monterey Park police officers and officials from the California Medical Board, Monterey Park City Manager Paul Talbot said.
On Tuesday, code enforcement officers cited four homes that had been illegally converted into unlicensed boarding homes, Talbot said.
In some cases, “There were maybe 20 to 30 people living in a two- to three-bedroom home,” he said. Additionally, the homes showed signs of numerous unpermitted modifications.
Investigators Wednesday visited another 8 to 10 homes operating as “commercial nursing homes,” Talbot said.
They primarily appeared to cater to new mothers recovering from childbirth, he said. The exact number was not available Thursday.
No arrests were made during the two-day operation, Talbot said.
The two-day operation resulted in citations and orders for the illegal business to shut down, however no one was arrested, Talbot said.
“They’re all code enforcement items,” he said.
Police deferred all comments to the city manager’s office.
The California Medical Board also declined to comment on the agency’s presence in Monterey Park this week.
“All investigations are considered confidential by law,” California Medical Board spokeswoman Jennifer Simoes said in an email.
MONTEREY PARK — A driver who asked for directions ended up being carjacked by two armed pedestrians Thursday.
Monterey Park police Lt. Eric Kim said the carjacking happened at 11:30 a.m. on Atlantic Boulevard and 1st Street.
“The victim pulled over to ask a pedestrian for directions,” Kim said, adding that the pedestrian pulled out a gun.
“A second suspect approached the driver’s door and pointed a gun at the driver’s head. They ordered him out of the vehicle.”
The suspects pulled the victim out and drove off with the vehicle.
Descriptions of the suspects weren’t available Thursday night.
- Ruby Gonzales
GLENDALE – A jury on Thursday awarded a Monterey Park police sergeant and his wife $2.23 million after he was injured in a 2009 on-duty motorcycle crash involving an Athens Services truck.
Sgt. Scott Wiese suffered two fractured wrists and a torn urethra. He said he now has metal plates on both wrists.
“It’s been a long time,” Wiese said. “The jury process works, and we feel very vindicated in this.”
MONTEREY PARK — An electrical fire at a Monterey Park condominium led police to find an indoor marijuana growing operation Thursday, officials said.
Firefighters responded to a fire shortly before 3 p.m. at 528 N. Chandler Avenue, Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
Upon dousing the flames and checking the condominium for possible victims, officials discovered “a large number” of grown marijuana plants, along with chemicals and other items used to grow the pot, according to the police statement.
The number of plants uprooted was not available Sunday.
The fire was determined to be electrical in nature, police said. The electrical system of the home had been illegally re-wired to bypass the electrical meter.
No one was at the home when officials arrived, and the investigation was ongoing.
A Los Angeles County Fire Department hazardous materials team was called to the scene to identify and dispose of any potentially dangerous materials being used at the marijuana grow site.
MONTEREY PARK — A man struck two people in the head with a hammer Sunday at an Arcadia home, officials said.
The incident occurred about 4 p.m. in the 400 block of Elizabeth Avenue, Monterey Park police Sgt. Gus Jimenez said.
Two patients, one male and one female, were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment, according to Monterey Park Fire Department officials.
A suspect was in custody, officials said, however his name was not available late Sunday.
No further details were released.
MONTEREY PARK — Two men who were initially believed to be Chinese tourists were seriously injured, one of them critically, after they were struck by a vehicle along Garvey Avenue early Saturday, officials said.
The men were struck just after 10 a.m. in the intersection of Garvey and Baltimore avenues, Monterey Park police Lt. Tina Montoya said.
One of the injured men was described as being in his 40s or 50s, while the other appeared to be in his 50s or 60s, police said.
The men were walking north across Garvey Avenue, at an unmarked crosswalk, when they were struck by a westbound Honda civic being driven by a 19-year-old man, Sgt. Brent Archibald said.
One of the men suffered head injuries and was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in critical condition, officials said. The other man appeared to have suffered a broken leg and possible internal injuries and was taken to the same hospital.
“They appear to be tourists,” Sgt. Brent Archibald said. Both men were carrying passports, but no identification linking them to the local area.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, however drugs or alcohol were not believed to be a factor, Archibald said. The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.
PHOTO courtesy of the Monterey Park Fire Department
MONTEBELLO — A 40-year-old clerk was in critical condition after he was stabbed several times during an an attempted robbery at a liquor store Tuesday night.
Montebello police said the suspect or suspect got nothing in the attempted heist at Garfield Liquor, 2433 W. Whittier Blvd.
At 9:46 p.m., Lt. Michael Bergman said officers were on the way to a robbery alarm at the store when someone called police to report the clerk was bleeding profusely.
A customer came into the store after the attempted robbery and found the wounded clerk.
Bergman said the victim’s injuries included a stab wound to the back of the head. The man was in critical condition at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center.
The clerk was able to tell police that the robber came into the store and demanded money.
He was described only as a man in his 40s and may have left in a tan SUV-type vehicle.
Police say there may be more than one suspect.
- Ruby Gonzales