COVINA — A man tried to steal a folder containing the personal information of a girls’ softball team as members gathered at a pizza parlor Friday before being chased down and captured by an outraged group of players and parents, police said.
Police arrested Marvin Duenas, 29, of Covina on suspicion of robbery, as well as an outstanding vandalism warrant out of Van Nuys, Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said.
The alleged crime took place about 8:20 p.m. at a pizzeria in the 900 block of North Citrus Avenue, the lieutenant said.
Eleven- and 12-year-old members of the Covina National Little League Softball girls’ all-star team, along with parents and coaches, were meeting at the restaurant ahead of a scheduled game Saturday against Baldwin Park Eastside Little League, police said.
The coach had with him a folder containing personal information of players, such as birth certificates, utility bills and tax forms which the league uses to verify players’ eligibility, Doonan said.
The lieutenant described the folder as a “gold mine” for someone seeking to carry out identity theft. The documents were also necessary for the team to be allowed to play their game.
After looking down an realizing the folder was gone from the table, Doonan said another patron of the restaurant told him that a man had just snatched the folder and walked out the door with it.
The group went outside and spotted the man, as well as a woman, entering a nearby gas station, Doonan said.
During a brief confrontation at the gas station, he said, Duenas shoved a 12-year-old girl, as well as one of the parents accompanying the group.
The group demanded the folder back, and Duenas returned it after pulling it from a backpack he was carrying, police said. The suspect then tried to run, but the group held onto him until police arrived.
Police detained the woman Duenas was with, but released her later in the evening after determining she did not appear to have been involved in the theft.
Duenas was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
Police are seeking a lizard with red-painted claws that was stolen from an Alhambra pet shop last week.
Ganga the Bearded Dragon was pilfered by an unknown crook June 12 while she was being boarded at McCormick’s Met Emporium, 644 E. Main Street, Alhambra police Sgt. Esther Rodriguez said. The theft occurred between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The 12-inch-long lizard, which had the claws on three of its legs painted with red nail polish, requires daily doses of sunlight or artificial ultraviolet light to remain healthy, police said in a written statement.
“We have exhausted our leads in trying to recover the beautiful animal,” according to the police statement. So investigators turned to the public to see if anyone has seen the pilfered pet.
“If a friend or neighbor should suddenly be in possession of a dragon with painted nails, please give us a call,” the police statement said. “If, you should happen to see this animal unattended, please call us so we can return her to the rightful owner. If you have Ganga, bring her to the police station immediately.”
Anyone with information can reach Alhambra police at 626-570-5130.
PHOTO courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department
INDUSTRY >> A big rig hauling milk overturned on Azusa Avenue near the Puente Hills Mall early Saturday, snarling traffic and spilling some of its cargo onto the roadway, authorities said.
The crash took place about 7:15 a.m. on northbound Azusa Avenue at the 60 Freeway, blocking northbound lanes of Azusa Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer Monica Posada said.
The driver, a Riverside man in his 40s, was taken to a hospital with apparently minor injuries, she said.
He had just exited the eastbound 60 Freeway and was making a left turn onto Azusa Avenue from the offramp when the truck tipped over, the officer said.
The tanker was compromised and began leaking a “significant amount” of milk, Posada said. Officials treated the milk as a hazardous material and tried to keep it out of storm drains, as it can be toxic to marine life.
Officials remained a the scene more than four hours later working to right and remove the overturned tanker.
The truck was placed back on its wheels Saturday afternoon, and two of four northbound lanes of Azusa Avenue were reopened about 5 p.m., according to CHP logs.
The Azusa Avenue offramp from the eastbound 60 Freeway was also shut down Saturday morning and afternoon due to the crash.
WEST COVINA >> A man believed to be high on bath salts and methamphetamine threatened passers-by with a gas can, doused himself in the flammable liquid and bit a police officer before finally being wrestled into custody by police early Saturday, authorities said.
Juan Carlos Urrutia, 24, of West Covina was arrested in connection with the incident, according to West Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The bizarre series of event unfolded shorty after 7 a.m. in the area of West Covina Parkway and Glendora Avenue.
Police received numerous calls of a man — later identified as Urrutia — of about 19 years old walking in the middle of the street with a gasoline can in-hand, “threatening motorists to light them on fire,” West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Callers further reported that the man had doused a bush, as well as himself, in gasoline, and had been seen carrying both a lighter and a crowbar, the lieutenant said.
Officers arrived and confronted Urrutia, who was still carrying the gas can, as well as some jumper cables and paper towels that had been soaked in gasoline, Patton said. He appeared highly intoxicated.
“He disobeyed call commands,” Patton said.
But because the man was soaked in flammable liquid, officer were unable to use a Taser to subdue Urrutua for fear of igniting a fire, police said. So police wrestled him into custody.
“It took multiple officers to get this guy into custody,” Patton said.
Urrutia bit an officer in the arm during the struggle, breaking the skin and causing a “significant injury,” Patton said. The officer was treated and released at a hospital.
The suspect told officials that he had consumed bath salts and methamphetamine, he said. He was taken to a hospital for examination.
Bath salts is a term used to describe a family of synthetic stimulants often sold as items such as bath salt, labeled not for human consumption.
After being examined at a hospital, Urrutia was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, resisting arrest and being under the influence of drugs, police said.
According to county booking records, Urrutia was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his arraignment, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE >> An agitated hive of bees swarmed cars following a minor car crash Sunday, sending two people to the hospital with stings, officials said.
The incident began with a two-car crash shortly after 3 p.m. at Castle Road and Los Amigos Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Larios said.
The crash itself was not believed to involve injuries, however one of the cars ended up striking a tree that contained a bee hive, the sergeant said.
Disturbed by the impact, “The bees went everywhere,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Sims said.
The insects swarmed into about a dozen nearby cars, she said.
Deputies arrived to find two people with many bees clinging to them, Latios said. Both were taken to a hospital with “numerous stings.”
Tt was not clear how many stings the victims suffered, Larios said. The conditions of the patients were not immediately available.
A deputy who responded to help suffered a single sting, but was fine, the sergeant added.
Firefighters remained on the scene more than an hour later.
“They’re foaming down the area to keep the bees from being active,” Sims said.
A La Canada Flintridge city beekeeper was summoned to the scene to deal with the swarming bees, Sims added.
There was no initial word regarding whether the swarm was composed of Africanized “killer” bees or ordinary bees.
PASADENA — A San Gabriel man who punched a security guard while stealing a bottle of wine from a Vons store, and dropped his ID at the crime scene in the process, turned himself in to police late Saturday, officials said.
Steven Diaz, 18, was booked on suspicion of robbery after he arrived with his parents at the Pasadena Police Department about 11 p.m. Saturday in connection with the robbery, which was reported about 9:30 p.m. Friday at Vons, 2355 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
“The suspect went into Vons and exited the store without making an effort to pay for a bottle of wine,” Clawson said. The alleged thief was confronted by a security guard, and a struggle ensued.
“(Diaz) punched the security guard in the face and ran to a waiting vehicle,” the lieutenant said.
But in the struggle, the robber dropped both wine, as well as his wallet, he said.
After identifying Diaz from the ID he left at the store, police went to his home but did not find him, Clawson said.
Police were ultimately able to contact him and he agreed to turn himself in.
According to county booking records, Diaz was released from custody pending his initial court appearance within three hours of his arrest after posting $50,000 bail.
WEST COVINA — Police, aided by a news reading tipster, arrested a transient who struck a gardener in the head with a rock in an unprovoked attack Friday, officials said.
Andrew Lopez, a 24-year-old transients known to frequent the West Covina area, was arrested Friday afternoon in connection with the alleged assault with a deadly weapon, which took place about 10 a.m. at Amar Road and Woodgate Drive, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
A landscaper was using a leaf blower when he spotted another man out of the corner of his eye, Patton said.
“Without provocation or any exchange of words, the subject throws a rock at him, striking him in the area of his forehead,” the lieutenant said.
The gardener suffered a half-inch cut but declined to be hospitalized via ambulance, Patton said. He was taken by his employer for medical treatment.
The suspect was not found when police searched the area, but the gardener was able to provide officers with a detailed description of the attacker.
A local apartment manager saw the attacker’s description in a report on the San Gabriel Valley Tribune’s website and recognized him as a man who had just been in the area, Patton said.
Officers responded to the area where the tipster reported last seeing the man and found him in the area, Patton said. He was detained without a struggle, and arrested once identified by the gardener as his attacker.
Based on the unprovoked violence exhibited by the suspect, Patton said police were relieved to have him in custody before he potentially injured someone else.
A motive in the alleged attack was not clear.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Lopez was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail at the West Covina Police Department’s jail Friday pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
A bright streak observed flashing across the Southland sky Wednesday evening was believed to be an especially bright meteor from the ongoing South Taurid meteor shower, officials said.
Witnesses began reporting the sighting about 8 p.m., reportedly as far away as San Diego.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Sukup, whose normal field of study does not involve extraterrestrial objects.
“It sounds like it’s part of the South Taurid meteor shower,” he said. “That’s most likely what it was.”
Twitter user @Casheets described seeing the fireball from San Gabriel.
“I saw a meteor tonight, the coolest scariest thing I’ve ever seen,” she posted. “At first I thought it was a firework.”
The witness said the fireball was “bright yellowish and blue” as it fell from the sky.
According to the International Meteor Organization, a nonprofit agency tracking meteor showers worldwide, the South Taurids are expected to remain active through Nov. 20, though the shower was expected to peak in October.
This shower is made up of fragments of the Comet Encke, according to a 2005 publication by NASA. The shower is created as Earth passes through the debris left behind by the comet.
“Tiny grains hit our atmosphere at 65,000 mph,” according to the report. “At that speed, even a tiny smidgen of dust makes a vivid streak of light — a meteor — when it disintegrates. Because these meteors shoot out of the constellation Taurus, they’re called Taurids.”
PASADENA — A local transient was behind bars Wednesday, accused of climbing to the 14th floor of a Pasadena office building, smashing windows with a rock and threatening to kill people, police said.
Akil Talib Gibson, 40, was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats, burglary and malicious mischief in connection with the incident, which unfolded about 5:40 p.m. Tuesday at an office building at the corner of Lake Avenue and Corson Street, Pasadena police Lt. Tom Delgado said.
His motive was unclear when he allegedly headed up to the 14th-floor office and began his strange and threatening behavior, the lieutenant said. There was no indication he specifically targeted the office, which it appeared wandered into the office at random.
Police responding and took Gibson into custody without a struggle, Delgado said. No one was injured during the incident.
Gibson was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
AZUSA — A man who was seen running through the streets naked ended up at a hospital Thursday night.
Someone called Glendora police at 6:35 p.m. and reported a naked man running on Barranca Avenue and Armstead Street.
Azusa police found the man at 9:42 p.m. He was still in the buff and sitting on a sidewalk at Citrus Avenue and Baseline Road.
“It was determined he was in need of a psychological evaluation,” Azusa Police Sgt. John Madaloni.
The man was taken to a hospital, he added.
– Ruby Gonzales