Police: Reported chemical attack at Santa Fe Springs social office was hoax

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A Santa Fe Springs social worker who told police she was attacked with a caustic chemical last month made the story up, police said Thursday.
Mary Quinones reported to police that a man and woman had thrown an unknown caustic chemical on her on the afternoon of Aug. 19 outside her workplace at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services office, 10355 Slusher Drive, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.
Few detailed were initially available regarding the alleged attack, officials said. Quinones was treated for burns to her arms.
“The Whittier Police Department conducted a thorough investigation into the facts in this case and determined that the assault did not occur,” police officials said in a written statement. “It was also determined that no other person was responsible for the injuries sustained by Quinones.”
Prosecutors at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed a misdemeanor count of filing a false police report against Quinones Thursday, Scoggins said.
She had not been arrested prior to the case filing, officials said. An arraignment date was yet to be scheduled.
Quinones age and city of residence were not available Thursday, nor was a motive in the alleged hoax.

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UPDATED: ‘Bizarre’ crash caught on camera in Rowland Heights

ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> A woman is accused of intoxicated driving after she abruptly stopped her car along a major street, abandoned the vehicle and allowed it to careen into opposing traffic in a “bizarre” crash captured in a video that emerged this weekend, officials said.
The crash, which took place about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday along Harbor Boulevard between Vantage Point Drive and Pathfinder Road, was recorded by a dashboard camera in a video that quickly went viral after being uploaded to YouTube late Friday by user UlikeUC Here. By Saturday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 170,000 times.
As depicted in the video, titled, “Bizarre Accident,” a woman was at the wheel of a silver Hyundai Sonata heading downhill along the major thoroughfare when car suddenly came to a screeching halt. The driver exited the car and walked away casually, allowing the Hyundai to continue rolling out-of-control.
The Hyundai crossed over a center divider and into opposing traffic lanes, where it collided with an SUV. Another SUV then became caught up in the wreck as well before the driverless Hyundai continued to the side of the road and struck two trees along the sidewalk, according to Officer A. Stubblefield of the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office.
The drivers of the other two vehicles involved in the crash reported only minor injuries, officials said.
The driver of the Hyundai, 22-year-old Jasmine Lacey, of San Bernardino, was taken to an area hospital for “a non injury-related reason” before CHP officers arrived on scene, Stubblefield said.
“(Lacey) was later contacted and identified at St. Jude Medical Center facility and, after investigation of the traffic collision, was arrested for DUI,” he said.
But Lacey was released from custody early Saturday due to insufficient evidence to support a criminal complaint, according to Los Angeles County booking records.

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Police help wrangle large runaway lizard in Irwindale


IRWINDALE >> Police helped a teenager wrangle his pet, 3-foot-long lizard after it escaped from its yard Saturday afternoon for the second time in recent weeks.
A neighbor first called police about 11 a.m. to report what they described as a Komodo dragon loose in the neighborhood along Nora Avenue, just north of Cypress Street, Irwindale police Sgt. Armando Lopez said.
While officers did not find a Komodo dragon, which is the largest lizard species on Earth and known for highly toxic saliva, they encountered an very “well-fed, 3-foot-long iguana,” Lopez said.
And the officers recognized the runaway reptile as the same one they had helped capture after a previous escape July 24, the sergeant added.
The officers contacted the teenage boy who owns “Peppy” the iguana, who came and picked him up.
Lopez said the large lizard did not cause any problem during Saturday’s foray.
“He just hisses a little when you get close,” he said.

PHOTO of “Peppy” the iguana, taken July 24, 2015, courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department.

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Man accused of stealing money from friend’s wallet in front of police during Covina traffic stop


COVINA >> Police stopped a driver for a traffic violation but ended up arresting his passenger after an officer spotted the suspect stealing money from his friend’s wallet during the traffic stop early Saturday, officials said.
Victor Hugo Rojas-Salgado, 22, of Rowland Heights was arrested on suspicion of petty theft following the unusual incident, which unfolded about 1:45 a.m. in the 200 block of West College Street, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
Two officers stopped a car, suspecting the driver may have been intoxicated, the sergeant said. The driver was ultimately found to be sober, but was issued a ticket for a traffic violation.
But while one officer spoke with the driver outside the car, Rojas-Salgado helped himself to $20 from his friend’s wallet and placed it in his pocket, Peterson said. Rojas-Salgado apparently didn’t realize the second officer was watching.
The officer asked the driver if his passenger should be taking money, and arrested Rojas-Salgado after the driver told them his friend did not have permission.
Rojas-Salgado was released with a misdemeanor citation, Peterson said.

PHOTO – Courtesy of the Covina Police Department

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Pico Rivera man accused of pellet gun attack on utility workers

PICO RIVERA >> A man shot at two gas company employees with what ultimately turned out to be a pellet gun Wednesday as they performed work at his mother’s Pico Rivera home, authorities said.
Deputies arrested Raul Zardenetta, 68, of Pico Rivera on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon following the bizarre, unprovoked attack shortly after 8:30 a.m. at a home near Arma Street and Acacia Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said.
Two Southern California Gas Company employees were performing work at the home of the suspect’s elderly mother prior to the incident, the lieutenant said.
For unknown reasons, Zardenetta appeared with what was later determined to be a pellet gun and began shooting at the workers, who fled from the home, Villanueva said. Neither was struck by the projectiles, which they believed at the time to be bullets, rather than airgun pellets.
Deputies evacuated nearby homes before ordering Zardenetta to come out and surrender, Villanueva said. The suspect complied and was taken into custody without a struggle.
According to county booking records, Zardenetta was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Wednesday in Downey Superior Court.

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Man smashes 27 large window panes at Alhambra courthouse


ALHAMBRA >> A seemingly mentally disturbed man smashed tens of thousands of dollars worth of windows at the front of Alhambra Superior Court Saturday afternoon, police said.
Twenty-seven 3-foot-wide by 12-foot-tall window panes were destroyed in the vandalism, Alhambra police Lt. Jennifer Wiese said. The man told police he was upset over a pending court case, and also that he was hearing voices.
Police received an anonymous call about 3:20 p.m. from a witness reporting a man was smashing windows at the courthouse, 150 W. Commonwealth Avenue, Wiese said.
As officers exited the police station, which sits across the street from the courthouse, “We could hear windows breaking,” the lieutenant said.
The man complied with officers’ orders to lie down and surrender, the lieutenant said. Officials took the man for psychiatric evaluation and treatment of cuts to his arms suffered while smashing the windows with a trash can and a rock.
Police planned to seek a felony vandalism charge against the man. It was unclear whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident.

PHOTO – courtesy

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Police: Report of men attempting to buy child in Covina was misunderstanding

COVINA >> An incident in which a woman believed two men were trying to buy her son from her at a Covina supermarket this week was actually a misunderstanding and not a crime, police said Friday.
The woman called police Wednesday evening to report two men had just tried to buy her 2-year-old son at the Baja Ranch Supermarket, 425 S. Citrus Ave., Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
Police released surveillance images of the two involved men in hopes of developing information.
The plan worked, Peterson said. And investigators were confident Friday that the encounter was not a crime, but an attempted good deed gone awry.
“These two men were embarrassed and immediately came forward after watching the story on local media outlets,” Peterson said. “The Covina Police Department confirmed their story and believed there was no criminal intent, rather a philanthropic man trying to do a good deed.”
After speaking with the man who approached the woman Wednesday, “It was learned the Hispanic male is a successful local business owner who was at the market with his business partner to buy items for celebrating a successful year in his business,” Peterson said. “The subject observed the mother and her son and gave her compliments on how beautiful her son was. He said the boy resembled his son at that age.”
When the man spotted the woman and child again in the parking lot, with their car parked next to his, “He immediately thought it was a sign to be generous and reached into his pocket removing a $100 bill,” according to Peterson. “He offered the money to the woman and said, ‘Please take and use it to buy your son something’.’”
The woman refused to take the money, police said, and the man relayed to investigators that he left the $100 bill with her as a good deed before driving away.
Detectives re-interviewed the woman after obtaining the new information.
“The woman did say it was possible she misinterpreted what he said and what his intentions were,” Peterson said. “She was nervous and afraid because it seemed very strange to her that he was complementing her son so much and she was unsure of his intentions. The Covina Police Department is confident the incident was a misunderstanding and the men were overly complimentary and generous.”

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Police: Men try to buy toddler from woman at Covina supermarket

COVINA >> In a crime described by police as both bizarre and disturbing, two men tried to buy a woman’s 2-year-old son as she shopped at a Covina supermarket Wednesday, officials said.
Both the woman and child got away unharmed following the 7:40 p.m. encounter at the Baja Ranch Supermarket, 425 S. Citrus Ave., which detectives are investigating as an attempted human trafficking case, West Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said.
Two men took part in the crime, police said. One approached the woman and child, while the other remained in the suspects’ SUV.
0109_NWS_SGT-L-CHILDThe first suspect walked up to the woman as she was checking out, Sgt. Gregg Peterson said in a written statement. He began complimenting the woman, telling her that both she and her son were beautiful.
“The suspect asked the woman if she wanted to sell her son, and when she told him no, the suspect continued with the compliments, but they were focused solely on her son.”
After finishing checking out at the store, the woman waited until several minutes after the man had left before exiting herself and heading toward her car with her son.
When the woman reached her car, she found the man sitting in the driver’s seat of a brown or champagne colored Honda Pilot parked next to her car, Peterson said. A second suspect was sitting in the passenger seat of the SUV.
The first man again began complimenting the woman and child.
Doonan said the man did not appear to be trying to intimidate the woman. “It was more like he was trying to charm her,” he said.
CHILD2“The woman told the suspect to leave them alone and he exited his vehicle,” Peterson said. “The suspect approached her and removed a $100 bill from his pocket. The suspect said, ‘Can I buy your son.’”
“The woman felt the suspect was going to try and kidnap her son and became so scared, she could not scream or yell for help,” he said.
Still clutching the $100 bill, the suspect urged the woman to take the money. The second suspect inside the SUV also told the woman, ‘Just take the money,’” Peterson said.
“When the woman did not answer, (the first suspect) said, “Just keep it, here”, and dropped the $100 bill in her shopping cart. (He) got into his vehicle and drove away with (the second suspect).
Police described the first suspect as a Latino man of about 45 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 200 pounds. He wore blue jeans, a brown button-down shirt and a black baseball cap with a white logo on the front.
The second suspect, who remained in the SUV, was a black man in his 50s, about 6 feet tall and 215 pounds, wearing tan slacks and a long-sleeve white shirt, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Covina Police Department Detective Bureau at 626-384-5612. Tips may also be submitted anonymously via L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTO/VIDEO: Police are seeking the men pictured in this surveillance video (brown shirt, black baseball cap) for trying to buy a woman’s 2-year-old son at the Baja Ranch Supermarket in Covina on Jan 7, 2015. (courtesy)

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Whirlwind tosses canopy outside Rose Bowl; 4 minor injuries reported

PASADENA >> A large whirlwind outside the Rose Bowl sent a canopy airborne, resulting in four minor injuries, as preparations were being made for Thursday’s Rose Bowl Game authorities said.
Paramedics treated three men and a woman at the scene and none wished to be taken to a hospital, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. One of them sought his own medical treatment for a finger injury.
The “sporadic wind event” took place shortly before 2 p.m. in Lot H of the Rose Bowl, where Oregon will take on Florida State in the College Football Semifinals New Year’s Day.
“A strong gust of wind blew a large framed canopy up in the air,” Pasadena police Lt. Marie Sell said.
A video posted on Youtube.com shows a large whirlwind making its way through the lot, before picking up the canopy, lifting it high into the air.
About 20 people were in the area at the time, Derderian said. “It could have been a lot worse.”
Police officers and firefighters assigned to the Rose Bowl Wednesday were on-scene within seconds, she added.
But despite online speculation, the whirlwind was not a tornado, Derderian said. Lot H was closed Wednesday afternoon as officials cleaned up the mess, but was expected be reopened in time for Thursday’s Rose Bowl Game.

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UPDATED: Suspect in random crossbow attack arrested after 6-hour standoff in Pico Rivera


PICO RIVERA >> Deputies subdued and arrested a psychologically troubled man following a six-hour standoff early Saturday after he shot passers-by with a crossbow in Pico Rivera, authorities said.
A SWAT team ultimately arrested Armando Marron, 48, of Pico Rivera on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and drug possession, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said.
Deputies first responded about 10:45 p.m. Friday to reports of an assault in the 8500 block of Hasty Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Chapman said.
They encountered a 23-year-old Pico Rivera man who had been shot in the leg with a crossbow, Villanueva said. The victim was accompanied by a second young man who was not injured.
Marron also allegedly fired his crossbow at another nearby home with people gathered in the front yard, the lieutenant said. No one in the yard was struck.
No argument or exchange of words preceded the seemingly unprovoked attack, sheriff’s officials said. The wounded man and his companion were merely passing by when the attack occurred. At least one of the young men was riding a skateboard.
Paramedics treated the wounded man at the scene and removed the arrow from his leg, Chapman said. He declined to be taken to a hospital.
Deputies learned the attacker was inside his nearby home, Chapman said. Deputies ordered the occupants out of the house.
Two relatives of the suspect emerged from the home and told deputies that Marron was still inside, Chapman said. The relatives also told officials that the man had a history of psychological problems, off his medication and potentially violent.
A SWAT team was summoned to take over the situation, and a stand-off ensued for about six hours, officials said.
Deputies fired tear gas into the home about 5 a.m., and the suspect ultimately came out, Chapman said. But he continued refusing to surrender.
Officials used a less-lethal projectile and a K-9 to subdue the man, who was taken to a hospital for treatment prior to booking, Chapman said.
Deputies recovered a crossbow, arrows and a small amount of a substance believed to be methamphetamine from the suspect’s home, Chapman said.
Deputies have had more than a dozen past encounters with Marron in connection with calls such as disturbances, officials said.
According to county booking records, Marron was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Downey Superior Court.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Special Enforcement Bureau.

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