PICO RIVERA >> Three men robbed a bicyclist of his wheels at knifepoint in Pico Rivera early Sunday, officials said.
The crime occurred about 9 a.m. as the victim, a 25-year-old man, was riding his mountain bike at Paramount and Whittier boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said.
A 1990s-model Honda sedan pulled up next to the victim and two robbers got out, he said. A third accomplice — the driver — remained in the car.
One of the robbers brandished a knife as they took the man’s bicycle, loaded it into the car and fled, the lieutenant said. The victim suffered no injuries.
Deputies found the stolen bicycle later in the morning, abandoned on a Montebello Bus Lines bus in East Los Angeles, Villanueva said.
Detailed suspect descriptions were not available.
PICO RIVERA >> Two men robbed two 14-year-old boys and slashed on of them with a knife along Durfee Avenue in Pico Rivera Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime and attack took place about 4:05 p.m. in the 4700 block of Durfee Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Noe Garcia said.
The two victims, both Pico Rivera boys, were walking down the street when two men with the appearance of gang members approached them, the lieutenant said.
One of the robbers brandished a knife as he and his accomplice demanded the teens’ property, Garcia said. The victims handed over three cell phones, a gold chain, two sets of headphones, a skateboard and $4 in cash.
After obtaining the boys’ belongings, the knife-wielding robber slashed at one of the victims, but he managed to dodge the attack, Garcia said. The attacker then turned his attention to the second teen, clashing him on his arm.
The wound was no serious, Garcia said.
The robbers were last seen running south along Durfee Avenue, he said.
One was a Latino man in his early-20s, brandishing a knife, with a black hat covering a bald head, Garcia said. The second robber was a Latino man in his early-30s with short black hair.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station at 562-949-2421. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LOS ANGELES >> A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer, who also ran an immigration consulting service, received a sentence of more than three years in federal prison late Thursday for his role in immigration bribery scheme, officials said.
George Wu, 63, was convicted in August of conspiracy to bribe a public officials and five counts of bribing a public official following a week-long trial.
At his sentencing Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald handed down a sentence of 37 months behind bars, U.S. DOJ spokeswoman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
He faced a maximum penalty of up to 80 years in prison.
“This defendant attempted to corrupt our nation’s immigration system by offering bribes in exchange for benefits. It is critical to our national security that our nation’s immigration system functions properly and free from corruption such as this defendant’s,” Central District of California U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said.
Wu worked as a CBP officer until 2012, then started an immigration consulting business called Great Eastern immigration Services, authorities said.
Wu and co-defendants paid tens of thousands of dollars in bribes, which they solicited from at least seven clients, to immigration officials top help secure citizenship and permanent legal status through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Mrozek said.
In one case, a client of Wu’s, “was allowed to pass an English proficiency exam even though she could not speak English,” he said.
Co-conspirator Michael Bui, who ran another immigration consultation firm, has already been convicted of conspiracy and bribery in connection with the case and sentenced to one year and one day in prison, officials said.
Eleven defendants in all are named in the case, and seven of them have already been convicted, Mrozek said. They include an attorney who paid bribes to a senior USCIS officials and arranging “sham marriages”; an ex U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent who lied to federal investigators about accessing immigration filed and providing the information to an immigration attorney; and a former USCIS officials who accepted an “illegal gratuity” from an immigration attorney after helping an immigrant gain legal permanent residence, officials said.
PICO RIVERA >> A Glendale woman who triggered a fatal crash when she drove through a red light in Pico Rivera while drunk has begun serving a six-year prison term for the crime, officials said Wednesday.
Christine Vahe Mesdjian, 28, pleaded “no contest” to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated during a pretrial hearing on Thursday in the Norwalk branch of Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
“She was immediately sentenced to six years in state prison,” Ardalani said.
An additional count of felony DUI was dismissed in connection with the Feb. 15, 2015, three-vehicle crash that claimed the life of David Andrew Jaramillo, 59, of Whittier.
Mesdjian initially told investigators she fell asleep at the wheel prior to the crash, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective Jose Marquez said. But skid marks created in the street prior to the collision contradicted her story, he said.
Mesdjian was driving a Toyota pickup truck north along Paramount Boulevard about 8 p.m. when she blew through a red light and hit the passenger side of a Toyota Scion heading east on Slauson Avenue, according to Marquez.
The force of the collision pushed the Scion into a Toyota Camry heading west on Slauson Avenue.
Jaramillo, who was driving the Scion, died at the scene.
Mesdjian and three people inside the camera were treated for injuries as well, officials said.
Deputies did not arrest Mesdjian the night of the crash, but ultimately turned over the findings of their investigation to prosecutors, who obtained an arrest warrant for Mesdjian in late June of 2015. She turned herself in to authorities June 30.
PICO RIVERA >> A man suffered major head injuries after he was struck by an Amtrak train in Pico Rivera early Saturday in what was being investigated as a suicide attempt, authorities said.
The incident took place about 8:35 a.m. on a set of tracks behind the 7600 block of Industry Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Noe Garcia said.
The Amtrak train was headed from San Diego to Los Angeles, he said.
The conductor reported seeing the man, described as a Los Angeles man in his 20s, lying near the tracks, with his arms crossed and his head sitting upon one of the rails, Garcia said. The conductor was unable to stop in time to avoid striking the man.
Paramedics rushed the severely injured man via helicopter to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment, the lieutenant said.
The Amtrak train resumed its journey with its passengers a little over an hour later, Garcia added.
Metrolink trains, which use the same tracks, were also delayed as a result of the incident, officials said.
PICO RIVERA >> Four people suffered injuries when a truck careened into an apartment building in Pico Rivera Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The crash was first reported just before 4 p.m. along Rosemead Boulevard, near Bradhurst Street, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Al Jackson said.
Paramedics treated four patients, he said.
The injuries appeared minor, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Noe Garcia said. Those hurt were all inside the vehicle, he added. No one in the apartment building was injured.
Ariel news footage showed a black truck embedded in the corner of a beige, two-story apartment building.
An Urban Search and Rescue Team was summoned to the scene to inspect and shore up the damaged structure ahead of an inspection by health and safety officials, Jackson said.
The cause remained under investigation, Garcia said. The driver told investigators the truck had experienced brake problems.
There were no overt signs of intoxicated driving.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police arrested two Pico Rivera teens Saturday in connection with an attempted break-in at a Monterey Park home the day before, officials said.
The failed burglary took place about 6:30 p.m. Friday in the 1000 block of East West Crest Way, Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
Two intruders got into the home’s backyard and tried to pry open a bedroom window, she said. But the would-be burglars fled when confronted by the homeowner.
Investigators obtained surveillance camera images of the suspect and soon identified them.
Monterey Park police arrested both suspects Saturday at their homes in Pico Rivera, officials said. Both were booked on suspicion of residential burglary.
PICO RIVERA >> Deputies arrested four suspect in an armed robbery at a Pico Rivera pharmacy following a pursuit and crash Wednesday, officials said.
Authorities firs received a silent alarm notification about 11:40 a.m. from a pharmacy in the 9200 block of Whittier Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said. Robbers had held up the business at gunpoint, stealing painkillers such as codeine.
Deputies soon found the suspects’ getaway car heading south on the 605 Freeway, Villanueva said.
“Deputies tried to initiate a traffic stop, but the vehicle continued to drive away and a pursuit was initiated,” the lieutenant said.
Deputies chased the sedan as it exited the freeway and ultimately crashed in a utility pole at Telegraph Road and Rosemead Boulevard, he said.
Several suspects ran from the car, but all four were captured nearby, Villanueva said.
Deputies recovered two handguns and a backpack full of items, including drugs believed to have been stolen in the robbery, he said.
The suspects were described as three men and juvenile boy. Some were treated at a hospital for apparently minor injuries suffered in the crash before booking.
The names of the adult suspects were not available Wednesday.
PICO RIVERA >> Deputies rescued suicidal man who tried to hang himself from a telephone pole in Pico Rivera Friday morning, officials said.
Deputies were summoned about 9:20 a.m. to the 9300 block of Wampler Street by a family member of the man, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“A male adult became despondent and attempted to hang himself from a telephone pole on the south side of Wampler Street,” according to the statement. A family member tried to intervene and called 911.
“(Deputies) found the man hanging from an electrical cord tied to the pole,” the statement said. “They quickly climbed the telephone pole and lifted the man up, preventing his death. Deputies cut the noose from his neck and carried him down from the pole.”
Paramedics took the man to a hospital, where he was listed in serious but stable condition, officials said.
Sheriff’s officials urged anyone thinking of hurting themselves to reach out and take advantages of resources designed to help, such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hotline at 800-273-8255. For more information, visit www.afsp.org.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
PICO RIVERA >> Road rage sparked a car-to-car shooting in Pico Rivera late Saturday, leaving one teen wounded in the face and another in the leg, authorities said.
The gunfire erupted about 11:30 p.m. along eastbound Whittier Boulevard, just west of the 605 Freeway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Harvey Crosthwaite said.
The victims, described as three men in their late-teens, passed a slower moving car, the lieutenant said.
Crosthwaite said the maneuver apparently angered the occupants of the other car, who made hand gestures before opening fire on the victims’ car. It was unclear whether the gestures were gang-related.
A bullet passed through a window and headrest of the victims’ car, ultimately striking the driver in the jaw, Crosthwaite said. A rear passenger in the car suffered a grazing wound to his leg, while a third passenger in the car was unhurt.
Following the shooting, the victims pulled into a gas station at Whittier Boulevard and the 605 Freeway, along the border between Pico Rivera and Whittier, to seek help, officials said. Both wounded men were hospitalized in stable condition.
Deputies described the suspects as a man in his late-20s or early-30s, who was driving the dark-colored sedan, and a woman with black hair, who was riding as a passenger.