PASADENA >> A man in a hybrid car led police on a reckless but fuel efficient chase in Pasadena before being arrested early Wednesday, officials said.
The incident began about 4:10 a.m. when officers spotted a Toyota Prius run a red light at Lake Avenue and Colorado Boulevard and tried to pull it over, according to Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“The suspect failed to yield and a short vehicle pursuit ensued during which the suspect ran a red signal and disregarded traffic laws,” Goodman said in a written statement.
“The pursuit ended when the suspect tried to enter a parking structure but was prevented from doing so by a barrier blocking the entrance,” the lieutenant said. “The suspect was taken into custody without incident.”
Hector Maya, 27, of Los Angeles was booked on suspicion of felony evading and driving on a suspended license, Goodman said.
The brief pursuit lasted less than two minutes and covered just over a mile of distance, Goodman added. No injuries or property damage were reported.
According to county booking records, Maya was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending his initial court appearance at the Pasadena City Jail.
A La Mirada man stole a GPS-laden “bait package” in Arcadia before leading police on a lengthy pursuit in a stolen car, then trying to hide inside a South Gate movie theater before being taken into custody on Thursday, authorities said.
Christopher Cook, 27, was ultimately arrested on suspicion of grand theft, auto theft and evading police following the incident, which began about 6:40 p.m.
“Arcadia police officers were dispatched to the 1600 block of Holly Avenue on a GPS package theft activation,” Arcadia police Lt. Vaughn Whalen said in a written statement.
Arcadia police regularly set out packages and bicycles equipped with GPS trackers to bust opportunistic thieves.
Police tracked the package to a parking lot in Hacienda Heights, where the suspect fled from officers in a Hyundai Sonata which was later determined to have been reported stolen, Whalen said.
Arcadia police soon cancelled the pursuit due to safety concerns, officials said. The fleeing car was speeding through red lights, and at times on the wrong side of the road, according to police radio traffic.
But officials continued following the suspect via helicopter, and California Highway Patrol officers resumed the chase on the westbound 60 Freeway.
The pursuit headed down the 60, 710 and 5 freeways before the suspect ditched his car in a parking structure near Garfield Avenue and Firestone Boulevard in South Gate and ran into a nearby movie theater as television news cameras broadcast live.
“Arcadia officers arrived at that location and with the assistance of multiple agencies, took the suspect into custody without incident,” Whalen said.
Officers could be seen in helicopter news footage escorting Cook from the theater in handcuffs about 9 p.m.
BOOKING PHOTO of Christopher Cook, 27, of La Mirada courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department.
WHITTIER >> A robbery suspect led police on a high-speed chase through several cities that began and ended in Whittier late Wednesday, officials said.
The incident began about 5:50 p.m. when Whittier police received a report that a witness had spotted a suspicious person at Whittier Boulevard and Broadway who may have been connected to a prior crime reported to the neighboring sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
As police approached the white GMC pickup truck, it fled from officers, initiating a pursuit.
The pickup truck traveled at high speeds, and at some points on the wrong side of the road, under the helicopter-mounted cameras of local TV news helicopters as it made its way north to Hacienda Heights via surface streets, then back into Whittier.
A dispatcher reportedly made contact with the suspect by phone before he stopped the truck and surrendered along Pickering Avenue, just south of Mar Vista Street. The driver was taken into custody without a struggle.
A passenger was initially inside the truck with the driver when the chase began, Ruiz said. He exited the car toward the outset of the chase and cooperated with police. He was not arrested.
The driver was expected to be booked on suspicion of evading police and driving on a suspended license, Ruiz said. His identity was not available pending the booking process.
Detectives in Pico Rivera were looking the man’s suspected connection with a robbery reported in their jurisdiction, sheriff’s officials said. Further details regarding the robbery case were not available Wednesday night.
PHOTO by Keith Durflinger
LA HABRA >> Police arrested one man and sought two more after they burglarized a La Habra cell phone store, then led police on a chase that ended in Montebello early Saturday, authorities said.
The incident began about 3:20 a.m. when a security alarm company notified police of a break-in at a Sprint store in the 1300 block of South Beach Boulevard, La Habra police Sgt. Rob Diehl said.
The alarm company reported that the burglars were still inside the store, based on remotely viewed surveillance cameras, police added.
“Officers arrived and observed three suspects in a silver SUV parked to the front,” Diehl said. “As soon as the officers got there, the suspects fled.”
The SUV, later determined to be a rental car, led police on a high-speed chase on surface streets and freeways through Orange and Los Angeles counties, the sergeant said. It ultimately came to a stop along the 605 Freeway in Montebello, where all three suspects ran from the SUV.
Officers captured one of the passenger, but the driver and second passenger were no found, Diehl said.
Police recovered dozens of cell phones, primarily iPhones, from the suspects’ SUV, he said.
The identity of the suspect who was in custody was not released Saturday as officials continued seeking his alleged accomplices, Diel said.
Anyone with information can reach La Habra police at 562-383-4300. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-847-6227.
ARCADIA >> A stolen car investigation led police to discover 600 marijuana plants growing inside an Arcadia home and arrest two suspects on Friday, officials said.
The series of events began about 10:30 a.m., when officers spotted a stolen car parked in the 200 block of West Palm Avenue, according to Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura.
Police watched the car until a man exited a nearby home, got into the car and drove off, the lieutenant said.
Officers tried to pull the driver over, but he fled, initiating a chase.
Police briefly pursued the car before cancelling the chase due to safety concerns, Nakamura said. Officials soon found the stolen car abandoned in the 2000 block of St. James Drive in Temple City, but the driver remained at large.
As officers continued their investigation back at the home from which the suspect emerged, they found “an active marijuana grow operation involving approximately 600 plants,” according to Nakamura.
Two men at the home, identified as Ian Woodworth, 38, of Denver, Colorado and Wayne Chong, 49, of North Hollywood, were arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana, according to police and county booking records.
Chong was free on a $50,000 bond at the time of his arrest, according to county booking records.
Police in Arcadia arrested him Feb. 22 on suspicion of false impersonation of another, using a driver’s license to commit gforgery, possession of a document with a forged government seal and driving on a suspended license.
He posted bail the same day he was arrested. Charges were yet to be filed when he again found himself in handcuffs on Friday.
“At this time, it appears the cultivation is connected to the stolen vehicle,” Nakamura added.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5151. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
AZUSA >> A wanted Azusa man remained behind bars in lieu of more than half a million dollars bail on Wednesday after leading police on a pursuit in a stolen car earlier in the week, authorities said.
Ricardo Angel Guzman, 36, was booked on suspicion of possession of a stolen car, evading police, drug possession and driving on a suspended license following the chase, which took place just after 9:30 p.m. on Monday, Azusa police Lt. Michael Bertelsen said. He also had three outstanding arrest warrants.
The incident began when someone called police from a residential neighborhood in town to report seeing a suspicious vehicle, the lieutenant said.
“On arrival, (officers) attempted to contact two occupants of the vehicle,” Bertelsen said. “The driver sped away. A pursuit followed.”
The driver, later identified as Guzman, led officers on a chase through city streets for about 20 minutes, according to Bertelsen. A woman was riding in the car as a passenger.
Officers soon determined the car had recently been reported stolen in Ontario, he added.
At one point, the car ran into a dead end on Kirkwall Road. But the driver drove through the adjacent Valleydale Park, 5525 N. Lark Ellen Ave., and continued the pursuit, Bertelsen said. The car also briefly sped toward an officer as he was sitting in a patrol car blocking traffic.
The car ultimately came to a stop in the 300 block of South Louise Avenue, where the Guzman exited the car and ran, but was soon apprehended, according to the lieutenant. The female passenger was detained at the scene and treated for an existing medical condition, but was not arrested.
Guzman was booked into the Azusa Police Department’s jail, where he was being held in lieu of $620,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Thursday in West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
GLENDORA >> Police arrested one suspect and sought two more after they burglarized a Glendora sushi restaurant early Saturday, then led police on a pursuit that ended in Compton, officials said.
A burglary alarm triggered about 4:30 a.m. first drew police to the restaurant in the 1800 block of East Route 66, according to Glendora police Lt. Rob Lamborghini.
“Officers responded and immediately confirmed that a burglary had occurred,” he said. Burglars had broken into the business through the back door and stolen cash, but fled before police arrived.
An officer searching the area spotted a suspicious car getting onto the 210 Freeway near Lone Hill Avenue and tried to pull it over, the lieutenant said. The car accelerated away, kicking off a high-speed chase on the 210, 605 and 105 freeways. Suspects inside the car were seen tossing unknown items from the vehicle during the pursuit.
The car exited the 105 Freeway in Compton and came to a stop, Lamborghini said. Two suspects ran from the car and were not found.
The driver, 33-year-old Erika Anette Washington of Redlands, was taken into custody, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records. She was booked on suspicion of burglary and evading police.
The money believed to have been stolen from the sushi restaurant was not found.
According to county booking records, Washington was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending her arraignment hearing, scheduled Monday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
LA HABRA >> A La Habra man is accused of kidnapping after leading police on a pursuit through Orange County with his girlfriend riding as an involuntary passenger on Saturday, police said.
Christopher Jonathan Westreicher, 22, was booked on suspicion of kidnapping following the pursuit, which began about 5:45 p.m. in La Habra and came to an end in Irvine, according to La Habra police officials and Orange County booking records. He was also being held on a pre-existing “no-bail” warrant.
A witness called police to report seeing a possible domestic disturbance between a man and woman inside a car in the area of Imperial Highway and Walnut Street, La Habra police Sgt. Rob Diehl said. Officers caught up with the small, gray Toyota in the area of Imperial Highway and Village drive.
The driver, later identified as Westreicher, refused to pull over, initiating a chase that sped through La Habra, Brea, Fullerton, Buena Park Anaheim and Irvine, Diehl said.
As the car drove slowly approaching the 91 Freeway at Brookhurst Street in Anaheim, the woman exited the car as it was still moving, according to the lieutenant. The woman managed to stay on her feet as she exited the moving car and ran toward officers for help. She suffered no significant injuries.
The chase continued until Westreicher stopped and surrendered to police on the 5 Freeway, near Culver Drive in Irvine, Diehl said.
Westreicher was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court’s Central Jail branch, records show.
BALDWIN PARK >> Police and California Highway Patrol officer jailed an auto theft suspect who led them on a pursuit from El Monte before crashing into a CHP cruiser in Baldwin Park while fleeing in the wrong direction of traffic on the 10 Freeway, authorities said.
The suspect was found and taken into custody nearby, and no officers were hurt in the incident, which began shortly before 9 p.m. in El Monte, California Highway Patrol Officer Tony Polizzi said. Authorities briefly shut down the westbound lanes of the 10 Freeway following the collision, but quickly reopened them.
A LoJack vehicle anti-theft signal first attracted the attention of El Monte police to the vehicle, officials said.
The driver failed to pull over for police, initiating a chase that reached high speeds and travelled on the wrong side of the roadway more than once.
The CHP took over the pursuit as the driver made his way onto the 60 Freeway. Shortly after he began heading east in the westbound lanes of the freeway, he collided with a CHP cruiser near Baldwin Park Boulevard, Polizzi said.
It was not immediately clear whether the CHP officer crashed into the suspect intentionally or unintentionally.
The driver got out of the crashed car and continued to flee on foot, but was soon captured in a nearby neighborhood, officials said.
CHP officials could not confirm initial radio reports from the scene that a gun was recovered from inside the suspect’s stolen car.
No further details were available late Wednesday.
LA PUENTE >> Deputies arrested six suspects in a series of San Gabriel Valley robberies and carjackings after they crashed a just-stolen car in Chino late Tuesday, authorities said.
The incident began just after 9:10 p.m. when a woman was carjacked in front of a home in the 800 block of Greycliff Avenue, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The woman told deputies she had just arrived home when she was confronted by a group of carjackers, “one of whom was armed with a baseball bat,” Navarro-Suarez said in a written statement.
The carjackers threatened to retrieve a handgun if the woman refused to turn over her vehicle, and she complied out of fear for her safety, the deputy said. The group of carjackers then fled in her car.
Deputies spotted the carjacked vehicle moments later in the area of the 60 Freeway and Fullerton Road in Industry, she said. They initially gave chase on the 60 Freeway, but soon cancelled the chase and followed the fleeing vehicle via helicopter only “due to excessive speeds,” Navarro-Suarez said.
The vehicle continued speeding east before ultimately crashing at Euclid and Merrill avenues in Chino. All six suspects ran from the crashed car but were soon apprehended by deputies during a search of the area.
Brian Mendez, a 20 year-old national of El Salvador and Christian Lucero, an 18 year-old national of Honduras, were booked on suspicion of carjacking, officials said. They were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each.
Four juvenile suspects, two boys and two girls, were also arrested and taken to a juvenile hall, Navarro-Suarez said. They were described as nationals of El Salvador, Mexico and Honduras.
While continuing their investigation, deputies noticed a second car parked near the scene of the La Puente carjacking which had been reported stolen in Texas, where all six suspects are believed to live, according to Navarro-Suarez.
“It is believed that the six suspects abandoned the stolen vehicle during the time of the carjacking,” she added.
The stolen car from Texas matched the description of one used in a series of recent robberies in the La Puente and Rowland Heights areas, officials said.
Further details regarding the spate of robberies were not available late Wednesday.
The investigation was ongoing.