PASADENA — Police sought a person of interest after a Lexus was stolen from an Arcadia shopping mall, then found set ablaze in Pasadena.
Pasadena police were notified of a 2008 Lexus IS 250 on fire about 8:45 p.m. at Lincoln Avenue in Del Monte Street, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
Once firefighters extinguished the flames, it was determined the fire was suspicious in nature, and that the car had been stolen from the parking lot of the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia earlier in the evening, according to Pasadena and Arcadia police.
The car’s owner emerged from the shopping mall to find the Lexus missing and reported it to police shortly before 9:30 p.m., Arcadia police Sgt. John Bonomo said.
But by the time the theft was discovered and reported, the luxury car was already in flames in Pasadena. It was believed to have been taken sometime after 8 p.m.
A “person of interest” was seen leaving the area of the burning car, Clawson said. He was described as a Latino man between 20 and 30 years old, about 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a shaved head and wearing a dark hooded sweat shirt and dark jeans.
PASADENA — A burglar smashed the window of dry cleaning business and fled with the cash register early Saturday morning, officials said.
The break-in took place just before 2:30 a.m. in the 700 block of East Green Street, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
“The suspect smashed the window with a piece of concrete,” Clawson said. “Once inside, he took the cash register and left through the same smashed window.”
The register contained an undisclosed amount of cash.
The burglary triggered an alarm, which notified police of the crime, he added.
The intruder’s image was captured by a security camera, the lieutenant said.
He was described as a white man between 30 and 40 years old, of medium height and build and balding with a comb-over hair style. He wore a tan jacket, jeans and dark shows.
PASADENA — A bomb squad investigated after workers found what was ultimately determined to be an inert practice grenade inside a box of donated goods at a Pasadena Goodwill distribution center Thursday, police said.
Police were first notified of the suspicious find about 5 p.m. at the business at Fair Oaks Avenue and Del Mar Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. John Dewar said.
“They were opening up a shipment of boxes,” the lieutenant said. “They found a Grenade in one of them. It appeared to be a real grenade with a pin in it.”
Police evacuated the building and summoned a bomb squad to the scene, Dewar said. Bomb squad members determined the device was a harmless practice grenade, Dewar said.
PASADENA — A bear attracted attention by taking a stroll through a Pasadena neighborhood Thursday afternoon before scampering back into the woods, authorities said.
Sightings of the “small-to-medium” bear were first reported about 3:30 p.m. along Sierra Madre Villa Avenue, north of New York Drive, Pasadena police Lt. John Dewar said.
Police, Pasadena Human Society & SPCA and California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials responded to the scene.
After vanishing then popping up again about a block away, the bear ended it’s visit to Pasadena about 5:30 p.m.
“The bear went up into the brush, then disappeared into the forest by itself,” Dewar said.
PASADENA — Officials Wednesday released the name of a 95-year-old man who was found dead after a fire tore through his duplex late Friday.
Abel McDaniel died at the scene of the fire, which was reported about 11:40 p.m. at his home in the 100 block of Carlton Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
An autopsy had been performed, however a cause of death had not been determined pending the results of further tests, Winter said.
Officials rushed to the burning duplex after family members of McDaniel, who live in the adjoining unit, noticed the smoke and fire, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. Family members had tried to rescue the man themselves, but were overcome by the smoke and flames.
The cause of the fire was determined to be electrical, and it was ruled an accident, she said.
Officials described McDaniel as a longtime Pasadena resident known as “Mr. Mac” who was known to sit on a white lawn chair in his front yard and greet neighbors.
The fire caused an estimated $300,000 worth of damage.
- Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales
PASADENA — A 95-year-old longtime Pasadena resident died late Friday in a fire at his Carlton Avenue home, authorities said.
The man’s officials identity was not released Saturday pending positive identification by coroner’s investigators.
The fatal fire broke out just before 11:40 p.m. inside the front unit of a duplex in the 100 block of Carlton Avenue, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
The man’s great niece and her teenage son, who live in the rear unit of the duplex, were alerted to the fire when their smoke alarm went off, she said.
“They tried to go in and rescue him, but they were overcome by smoke and flame,” Derderian said. The frantic family members then called 9-1-1, reporting the fire and the elderly man trapped inside the burning home.
“We got there within minutes and did an aggressive attack,” Derderian said.
Firefighters found the man and pulled him outside, officials said. He succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
The elderly man had lived in the home since the early-1970s and had lived in Pasadena even longer, Derderian said. He had become a fixture on his street, where he was known for greeting neighbors from his white lawn chair and passing out homemade jellies and jams.
“He was still physically active at 95 years old,” Derderian said.
Investigators determined the cause to be electrical in nature and ruled the fire accidental, Derderian said. Further details regarding how the fire ignited were not immediately available.
The relatives were not injured, Derderian said, but were displaced from their home due to smoke and water damage.
Officials estimated the fire caused $300,000 worth of damage.
PASADENA — A caller threatened to bomb a Pasadena grocery store and unsuccessfully demanded the manager deposit money on prepaid cash cards Friday in what officials said appears to be part of a nationwide crime trend.
The incident unfolded about 2:45 p.m. at Vons, 2355 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said.
The caller demanded the store manager load money onto prepaid card accounts, saying a bomb would detonate at the store if he did not, the lieutenant said. The voice was described as male.
The manager did not comply and immediately contacted police, Gourdikian said.
“We searched the store,” he said. “Nothing unusual was found.”
Store officials indicated the threat appeared to be consistent with similar calls being received by retail stores throughout the United States in recent months, Gourdikian said.
“They do it remotely,” he said. “It’s not clear if the suspects are in the city.”
Similar threatening calls elsewhere in the country have been found to originate from overseas, internet-based numbers, according to an alert issued in September by the FBI’s Atlanta Division on the heels of more than 10 such calls in that jurisdiction.
“To date, no explosives devices gave been found anywhere in the country linked to this type of threat,” according to the September statement.
Updated information regarding the incidents nationwide was not available late Friday.
Store officials could not be reached for comment.
The callers generally demand that money be placed loaded onto a type of prepaid card called Green Dot MoneyPak cards, according to the FBI.
“Green Dot MoneyPak cards are re-loadable and available at most retail outlets throughout the country and, like money wire transfers, are just as untraceable,” the FBI statement said. “These cards are not associated with any bank, meaning that the money is in the card. Users of these Green Dot MoneyPak cards are reminded to never give anyone those numbers associated with those cards in that doing so gives them instant access to the money on those cards.”
It was not clear late Friday whether the Pasadena incident involved the same type of cards.
Anyone with information regarding the “emerging scam” was urged to contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complain Center online at www.IC3.gov.
PASADENA — A homeless man and a teenager charged with bombing a vacant Pasadena house on New Year’s Eve for thrills entered not guilty pleas in court Wednesday, officials said.
Steven James Rymer, a 28, and Hosea Daniel Dileoreto, 18, appeared in Pasadena Superior Court, where prosecutors successfully argued for each man’s bail to be increased from $250,000 to $750,000, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
They are each charged with arson of an inhabited structure, use of a destructive device and explosive to injure or destroy and burglary.
They were ordered back to court Feb. 6 for a preliminary hearing setting, he added.
Rymer is one of several transients who was staying illegally inside the vacant home in the 800 block of N. Oakland Avenue where the fire broke out about 7 p.m. Dec. 31, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
He became acquainted with 18-year-old Hosea Daniel Dileoreto who lived several doors down, she said.
“The motive was thrill and excitement to blow-up a house even though it was (Rymer’s) illegal residence,” Derderian said. “Our Arson Investigator determined it was not part of a larger scheme or greater network of individuals.”
A multi-agency task force arrested Rymer and Dileoreto Friday while serving search warrants, officials said. A SWAT team and a bomb squad stood by in case additional explosives were discovered, though none were, and the men were arrested without a struggle.
The home, which sits about a mile away from the route of the Tournament of Roses Parade held New Year’s Day, had been vacant since April following the death of the owner, according to police and fire officials. The fire caused about $450,000 worth of damage to the home and its contents.
If convicted as charged, Rymer and Dileoreto each face up to eight years in state prison.
PASADENA — Red Flag Warning parking restrictions will begin at 3 a.m. Monday in Pasadena due to increased fire danger, officials said.
Vehicles parked on streets designated with signs as restricted during elevated fire danger will be towed and cited, Pasadena city officials said in a written statement.
Anticipated strong winds and low humidity levels early this week are expected to create, “favorable conditions for rapid fire growth if fire ignition occurs,” according to the statement.
PASADENA — Police and fire officials carried out a search warrant Friday and arrested two men accused of bombing a vacant home in their neighborhood on New Year’s Eve, officials said.
Pasadena Fire Department’s arson investigator, Pasadena police, a Glendale police SWAT team and a Los Angeles County sheriff’s bomb squad converged shortly before 7 p.m. at the home of the suspects in the 800 block of N. Oakland Avenue, about 100 feet away from the Dec. 31 arson fire, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
The massive law enforcement presence was brought to bare out of an abundance of caution, in case the suspects had additional explosives, she said. “Nothing further was found.”
Steven James Rymer, 28, of Pasadena and Hosea Daniel Dileoreto, 18, of Pasadena were booking on suspicion of arson, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
A motive in the alleged bombing of the vacant home was not clear.
Officials estimated the fire caused $450,000 worth of damage to the home and its contents. The interior of the home, which has been vacant for months following the death of the owner, was described as being filled to pack rat conditions.
According to booking records, Rymer and Dileoreto were being held in lieu of $250,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances.