PICO RIVERA >> Deputies this week recovered two valuable English bulldog puppies and arrested three teenage suspects who allegedly stole them at gunpoint from a Whittier Boulevard pet shop on Christmas Eve, sheriff’s officials announced Saturday.
The robbery took place Wednesday afternoon at Mr. Bulldog, 9432 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Serge Escobedo said.
A young man armed with a handgun demanded cash and the puppies before fleeing in a BMW driven by an accomplice, Escobedo said.
“Media coverage of the incident fanned public interest, which led to a crime tip about the robbery,” Escobedo said. “As a result, Pico Rivera Station detectives were called in on Christmas Day. They worked unremittingly on every lead in order to identify the suspects. Their efforts led to the execution of a search warrant on Christmas night at a residence in West Whittier. The warrant resulted in the arrest of the primary robbery suspect, who was a juvenile.”
Deputies arrested the alleged gunman, a 17-year-old West Whittier boy, on Christmas Day, Sgt. Jacqueline Sanchez said.
Further investigation led deputies to arrest the alleged getaway driver Jonathan Mora-Medina, 18, of Whittier, who turned himself in Friday at the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station, officials said.
Sanchez said deputies also arrested a 15-year-old West Whittier girl Friday as an accomplice to the armed robbery, though her alleged specific role in the crime was not available Saturday.
Both 10-week-old puppies have been recovered safe and returned to the business they were stolen from.
A woman found one of the animals wandering near her West Whittier home on Christmas Day, officials said. An unidentified person returned the second puppy to the store Friday.
According to county booking records, Mora-Medina was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Downey Superior Court.
The names of the juvenile suspects were withheld due to their ages.
PICO RIVERA >> A man escaped with two English bulldog puppies and cash Wednesday after robbing a Whittier Boulevard pet shop at gunpoint, officials said.
The robbery occurred about 12:25 p.m. at Mr. Bulldog, 9432 Whittier Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The robber entered the store with a handgun and demanded money and dogs from the owner, Lt. Sergio Escobedo said.
The victim complied, and the robber fled with two Enlish bulldog puppies values at $2,500 each, as well as an undetermined amount of cash, the lieutenant said.
Deputies described the gunman as a white man between 20 and 25 years old, Escobedo said. He wore a bandana over his face.
Officials were looking into reports that a light-colored sedan may have been involved in the crime, Escobedo said. No injuries were reported.
PICO RIVERA >> Coroner’s officials Sunday identified a Pico Rivera man found fatally shot beside a bicycle on a Rosemead Boulevard sidewalk early Saturday.
Matthew Albert Garcia, 26, died following the shooting, which was reported just before 6 a.m. Saturday in front of an apartment complex in the 5400 block of Rosemead Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Dana Bee said.
A passer-by found him lying on a sidewalk with gunshot wounds, Sgt. Troy Ewing of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
No suspect description was known, officials said. The shooting was believed to be gang-related.
PICO RIVERA >> Investigators sought witnesses Saturday in the slaying of a man who was found fatally shot beside a bicycle on a Rosemead Boulevard sidewalk.
The shooting took place shortly before 6 a.m. in front of the Paradise Island apartment complex, 5430 Rosemead Blvd., according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Sgt. Troy Ewing of Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau described the victim as a Latino man who appeared to be in his mid-20s.
The dead man’s identity was not available pending positive identification and notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
A passer-by found the victim lying wounded on a sidewalk in front of the apartment complex, Ewing said.
“Pico Rivera (deputies) received a call of a gunshot victim,” Ewing said.
Nearby residents heard gunshots, but none reported seeing the shooting, he said.
“There’s no suspect info, no witnesses at this time,” the sergeant said.
A white-frame bicycle with blue wheels and handlebars remained leaned against a fence Saturday morning, next to where the shooting victim was discovered.
Neighbors said they did not recognize the bicycle.
A pair of shoes, clothing and other items scattered around a pool of blood at the shooting scene were labeled with yellow evidence marker cards.
Forensic investigators scoured the scene for clues and took photographs.
Detectives were looking into the possibility the shooting was gang-related.
The shooting was one of two violent incidents reported about the same time within a mile-long stretch of Rosemead Boulevard, officials said.
A 25-year-old man showed up at the emergency room of PIH Health Hospital in Whittier with stab wounds, Lt. Sergio Escobedo of the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station said.
Deputies developed information that the stabbing occurred at or near the Knights Inn, he said, just over a mile to the south of the shooting scene at 6540 Rosemead Boulevard.
Escobedo said the stabbing victim was hospitalized in stable condition Saturday after undergoing surgery. But investigators had not yet had a chance to interview him, and no further information regarding the stabbing was available.
It was unclear if there was any connection between the shooting and stabbing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
PICO RIVERA >> A man died Friday after jumping in front of a train in Pico Rivera in what was reported as a suicide, officials said.
The incident took place just before 5:40 p.m. on a set of train tracks running along the 9200 block of Bermudez Street, just northwest of the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Passons Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Sergio Escobedo said.
Rescuers loaded the badly injured man into a helicopter to rush him to a hospital for treatment, the lieutenant said. He succumbed to his injuries a short time later.
Officials described the injured man as 25-year-old Pico Rivera man.
The death was being investigated as a suicide, and no foul play was suspected, Escobedo said.
The man, whose age was unclear, was believed to be despondent over the recent break-up of a relationship, Escobedo said. He had told his significant other that he was going to jump in front of a train shortly before following though on the threat. The woman notified authorities.
The incident involved an eastbound Amtrak train traveling on tracks operated by BNSF, Metrolink officials said.
Commuter train traffic on the tracks was halted for about an hour as a result of the collision, officials said.
PICO RIVERA >> A judge Friday sentenced three of four people linked to a massive real estate loan modification scheme in Pico Rivera victimizing more than 500 Spanish-speaking homeowners already in financial distress, authorities said.
The years-long investigation into the company “Safe Haven,” also known as, “Your Dreams Come True,” has resulted in four felony convictions and the disbarment of an attorney, Sgt. Dana McCants of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau said in a written statement. Another suspect in the case remains a fugitive.
The investigation began in September of 2009 in response to customer complaints about the company, located on Slauson Avenue, officials said. Many of the victims sought out the fraudulent company for help after hearing advertisements on Christian Spanish radio.
“Safe Haven posed as a loan modification and foreclosure consultant company, but the entire premiss of their business was a scam,” McCants said.
“The Real Estate Team responded to the Safe Haven business office in Pico Rivera and served search warrants which led to the seizure of thousands of fraudulent documents and paperwork,” McCants said. “All the homes were being foreclosed on and all of the victims money had been taken (or) misused by the suspects.”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office ultimately filed fraud charges against five suspects in May of 2010, officials said.
Safe Haven Executive Director, who previously denied any wrongdoing, accepted a plea deal in the case in September, along with co-defendants Alex Canjura, Erika Perez and Oswaldo Flores, McCants said. Canjura received a 5-year prison sentence immediately following his plea.
Jurado, Perez and Flores, who have been free on bail, were sentenced Friday.
Jurado and Canjura each received a 5-year-prison sentenced, McCants said. A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge sentenced Perez and Flores to 16 months in county jail each.
The convicts were also ordered to pay $4.5 million in restitution.
Prior the filing of criminal charges, Jurado denied any wrongdoing, saying the company was merely, “behind on the files.”
A fifth suspect in the fraud case, Candy Cabrera, fled from Canada upon learning she was to be extradited back to California to face charges, McCants said. She is believed to be hiding out in Nicaragua.
An attorney involved with the bogus loan modification company, Tanmay Mistray, was disbarred after being accused of 13 counts of professional misconduct, McCants added.
— Staff Writer Ruby Gonzales contributed to this report.
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.
PICO RIVERA >> A man suffered a graze wound to his chin in a shooting at a Beverly Boulevard gas station early Thursday, authorities said.
The injured man declined to be treated by paramedics for the superficial injury, which he suffered in a shooting about 2:15 a.m. outside a gas station at Beverly and Rosemead boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jacqueline Sanchez said. He was believed to have been struck by shrapnel or a ricocheted bullet and not a direct hit.
Two men in their 20s or 30s were talking in the parking when a car described as possibly a Nissan approached, the sergeant said.
A passenger got out of the car and asked the men where they were “from,” referring to gang affiliation, she said.
The victims responded that they were not in a gang, and the former passenger opened fire with four shots from a handgun.
Detailed descriptions of the shooter and the getaway driver were not available Friday.
PICO RIVERA >> Families are invited the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station Saturday as officials once again host their “Haunted Jail” and open house.
The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the station, 6631 Passons Blvd., sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
A “scary and fun-filled day” is in store for guests, complete with lots of decorations along with treats and goodies, according to the statement.
Guests are encouraged to support the station’s holiday food drive by bringing canned goods and other non-perishable items to donate.
The event is being hosted in conjunction with the Pico Rivera Parks and Recreation.
For more information, contact the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station at 562-949-2421.
WHITTIER >> Prosecutors filed murder charges Friday against two alleged Pico Rivera gang members accused of fatally shooting a man as he took out the garbage at his Whittier home in broad daylight.
Jonathan Rojas, 34, died at a hospital following the Aug. 30 shooting at Washington Avenue and La Cuarta street, according to Whittier police and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
Anthony Michel Delci, 30, and Victor Marcus Arzate, 24, pleaded not guilty Friday in Bellflower Superior Court, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Police described both suspects as members of the Pico Nuevo street gang.
Delci, Arzate and a teenager who has not been charged in the case drove past Rojas’ home about 12:10 p.m., investigators said. They stopped in front of a front of a group of people on the porch.
“Delci and Arzate yelled out their gang affiliation, flashed some gang signs and then drove off,” according to the Whittier police department statement.
“Delci and Arzate circled around and came back to the residence on Washington Avenue, Delci stopped his vehicle in front of the victim’s address and Arzate exited the vehicle and approached Rojas who was taking out the trash,” the statement said.
Arzate asked Rojas what gang he belong to, and Rojas responded he was not in a gang, the police statement said. “Arzate then fired a .357 revolver at Rojas, striking him several times.”
The two suspects and the teen then all fled in Delci’s Honda CRV SUV, officials said.
After identifying Delci’s SUV as the one used in the shooting, Delci was arrested later that night, police said. He had the alleged murder weapon with him. Arzate was arrested Sept. 5.
Prior to being charged with murder Friday, Delci was being held on suspicion of illegal gun possession, and Arzate was being held in connection with an alleged robbery, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Brock Lunsford said. Arzate has also since been charged with illegal gun possession.
Prosecutors also allege the slaying was gang-related, that a firearm was used in the killing and that Delci personally used a gun in the crime.
If convicted as charged, Delci and Arzate could each face more than 50 years to life in state prison. They were scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court Oct. 14 for a preliminary hearing setting. Bail has been set at more than $2 million each.