PICO RIVERA — Deputies are carrying out extra patrols and advising the public to remain vigilant in response to a spate of more then two-dozen auto burglaries in recent months in the parking lot of a Pico Rivera gym.
About 30 car break-ins have been reported over the past six months outside L.A. Fitness, at Washington and Rosemead boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Van Damme said. And the trend has been increasing lately, with eight burglaries reported over the past two weeks.
Van Damme and other deputies keeping watch over the parking lot Friday afternoon in an undercover operation spotted two burglars in the act, though the men escaped following a brief pursuit.
Deputies saw two men arrive in a four-door, pewter-colored, 2003 Nissan Maxima and break into a car parked in the parking lot, Van Damme said.
The driver of the Nissan swerved head-on toward a sheriff’s vehicle when deputies tried to pull the car over, then sped away, initiating a chase, Van Damme said.
The car blew through red lights before deputies lost sight of it in the area of Paramount and Whittier boulevards, the sergeant added. The driver was described as a Latino man between 25 and 30 years old, with a stocky build. The passenger was a thin Latino man between 18 and 25.
In addition to the car that fled from deputies Friday, two other different vehicles — a late-model Chevrolet Uplander minivan and a late-model Infinity coupe — have also been connected to the string of break-ins via surveillance cameras, Van Damme said.
The thieves have been smashing windows and forcing locks to access the vehicles, though they primarily appear to be targeting cars with valuables left in plain sight.
Van Damme encouraged the public to always stow valuables out of the sight of opportunistic burglars if leaving them behind in a vehicle.
PASADENA — Officials arrested a man Wednesday with the help of a K-9 after he led deputies on a brief pursuit in a stolen car in an unincorporated county area near Pasadena, authorities said.
Deputies spotted a car that had been reported stolen about 3:45 p.m. in the area of Colorado and Rosemead boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Harris said.
The driver failed to pull over and led police on a brief pursuit that ended at Lotus Avenue and Green Street when he crashed into a parked car, the sergeant said. The suspect continued fleeing on foot.
A sheriff’s K-9 found the suspect hiding in a nearby backyard and bit him in the arms and buttocks, Harris said. Deputies arrested him on suspicion of auto theft and evading police.
The 33-year-old suspect’s name was not immediately available pending the booking process, Harris said. He was taken to a hospital for examination of his dog bite wounds before being booked into jail.
Officials arrested a man sought on suspicion of a takeover robbery at a La Crescenta dental office following a chase that ended in Sunland Thursday, officials said.
Bryan Michael Mackey, 33, was booked on suspicion of crimes including robbery, assault on peace officers, making terrorist threats, evading police after he was taken into custody about 9 a.m. along Fenwick Avenue, west of Mt. Gleason Avenue in Sunland, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
In Wednesday’s robbery, Mackey is accused of tying up two women and a man inside a dental office in the 3900 block of Ocean View Boulevard, sheriff’s Sgt. Booker Hollis said.
After leaving the employees tied up inside the office, “It took four to five hours before they were able to free themselves,” Booker said. The robbery was reported about 5 p.m.
Mackey fled with the purse, cell phone, car keys and a Toyota Corolla of one of the victims, Hollis said.
Officials were hunting for Mackey and the stolen car when a deputy spotted him driving in the Sunland area, initiating a pursuit, Hollis said. The car had been fitted licenses plates from another car.
The pursuit headed to La Crescenta and reached high speeds before deputies called it off, but continued “surveillance” of the suspect, officials said.
California Highway Patrol officers again began pursuing the Corolla when it returned to Sunland, Hollis said. A CHP officer ultimately stopped the car with a PIT maneuver.
Mackey sat in his car and smoked a cigarette while CHP officers held him at gunpoint before deputies shot out the windows of the car with bean bag rounds, Hollis said. The suspect then exited the stolen car and surrendered.
According to county booking records, Mackey was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
A driver allegedly shot at two sheriff’s deputies on the westbound 60 Freeway Wednesday night.
The deputies weren’t injured.
Previously convicted felon Jesus Navarro, 20, was being held in lieu of $1.07 million bail Thursday at the sheriff’s Industry Station, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and county booking records. His city of residence was not available.
Lt. Ray Enriquez said the deputies saw a pickup truck speeding on Fairway Drive in Industry at 10:22 p.m. The patrol car followed the vehicle to the 60 Freeway.
He said the deputies tried to pull over the driver on the westbound 60 near the Azusa Avenue off-ramp. The driver fired at the patrol car and took off.
The pickup, described as a silver or gray Toyota Tacoma, was later spotted by the California Highway Patrol. It was stopped on the 91 Freeway near the 605 Freeway, Enriquez said.
Enriquez said the driver was arrested for attempted murder of peace officers and felony evading.
Deputies also recovered a weapon believed used in the shooting.
The westbound 60 Freeway was shut down from Azusa Avenue to Fairway Drive while deputies looked for evidence.
According to Los Angeles Superior Court records, Navarro was convicted in December of 2012 of possession of an assault weapon in Compton Superior Court.
– Staff report
PASADENA — A woman with drugs and an open container of hard liquor in her car led police on a short pursuit before crashing and being arrested early Thursday, authorities said.
Larissa Grudt, 31, of Los Angeles was booked on suspicion of felony evading of police following the incident, which began just before 12:15 a.m. in the area of Green Street and Marengo Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
An officer tried to pull over Grudt’s Volkswagen Jetta for a traffic violation, but she failed to pull over for the officer’s patrol car lights and instead sped away east on Green Street, the lieutenant said.
“The suspect drove on Green Street at high speeds, failing to stop for red lights” Clawson said.
When Grudt began making a left turn from Green Street onto Holliston Avenue, just over a mile from where the chase began, the car struck a curb and became disabled, Clawson said. Grdt continued fleeing on foot but was quickly captured by officers.
Inside her car, police found an open container of hard alcohol and drugs, he said. Further details regarding the type or amount of drugs found in the car were not available.
According to county booking records, Grudt was being held in lieu of $105,000 bail at the Pasadena Police Department jail pending her initial court appearance.
PASADENA — A Pasadena man arrested early Saturday told police he led them on a high-speed pursuit the previous morning because he was late for work and is afraid of police, officials said.
Chilel Carlitos Lopez, 29, was arrested at his home about 3 a.m. Saturday on suspicion of felony evading of police, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. The arrest stemmed from an alleged high-speed chase Lopez led Pasadena officers on early the previous morning.
When arrested, “He admitted he fled from the officer because he was late to work,” Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said. “He also said he was afraid of the police.”
The chase took place shortly after 5:30 a.m. Friday when an officer tried to pull over Lopez’s SUV at Fair Oaks Avenue and State Street, the lieutenant said.
“The driver fled,” Clawson said. The SUV headed south in South Pasadena at high speed before police lost sight of the vehicle after it turned onto Huntington Drive. The pursuit was discontinued, however police continued working to identify the driver.
Investigators showed up at Lopez’s home early Saturday after determining he was the registered owner of the car, Clawson said. The SUV was parked out front when they arrived.
According to county booking records, Lopez was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail at the Pasadena Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance.
An alleged drunken and reckless driver led authorities on a freeway chase Wednesday that began in Industry and ended with his arrest West Covina, officials said.
A deputy assigned to the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station spotted an allegedly drunken driver about 11 a.m. on the northbound 605 Freeway, just north of Valley Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Sanchez said.
The driver of the car, described as a black Dodge Charger, failed to pull over, initiating a chase, officials said.
Deputies chased the fleeing car north on the 605 Freeway, then east on the 10 Freeway before calling in California Highway Patrol officers to take over the pursuit, Sanchez said.
Shortly after CHP officers joined the chase, the driver exited at Citrus Avenue in West Covina and surrendered, Sanchez said. He was expected to be booked on suspicion of drunken driving and evading police.
The driver’s name was not immediately available pending the booking process, Sanchez said.
EL MONTE — Police arrested wanted El Monte parolee and his girlfriend Wednesday after they allegedly stole cell phones from pedestrians along Peck Road, authorities said.
Carlos Gonzalez, 22, and Jessica Alexandra Ortiz, 20, also from El Monte, were arrested at the end of a short car chase that ended about 1 p.m. when the fleeing suspects drove into a cul-de-sac, according to El Monte police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Police began looking for the suspects about 11:30 a.m. when two pedestrians had their cell phones stolen from them in the area of Peck Road and Lambert Avenue, El Monte police Detective Ralph Batres said.
In one case, a teenage girl was approached by a man — later identified as Gonzalez — who put a gun to her head and demanded her cell phone, Batres said. The young woman turned over her cell phone and was not harmed in the crime.
In another incident nearby, a car pulled up alongside a man and a young woman inside — later identified as Ortiz — asked to borrow his cell phone, Batres said. The victim handed the woman his phone, and the car drove off.
Victims were able to provide information to police, including the fact that the black, newer-model car had Arizona license plates, the detective said. El Monte police notified neighboring law enforcement agencies to keep an eye out for the car.
Cpl. Gary Gall spotted a car matching the description shortly before 1 p.m. at Cogswell and Ferris roads, Batres said. He called for backup as he watched the car and dropped off two women, who were arrested on unrelated charges including drug possession and an outstanding warrant.
Officers then tried to stop the car on Peck Road near Bryant road.
“(Gonzalez) sped off southbound peck in northbound, driving against traffic,” Batres said. The fleeing sedan got back into southbound lanes just before running a red light at Ramona Boulevard at high speed.
But then the car took a turn down a dead and at Federal Drive, police said. Ortiz was arrested without further incident.
Gonzalez ran and hopped a fence into a nearby car dealership, where he was soon captured by officers. A BB gun was found in the suspects’ car.
Ortiz, who was booked on suspicion of petty theft, was released from jail Wednesday after posting $1,000 bail pending her initial court appearance,according to police and booking records.
Gonzalez, a wanted parolee who was already being sought in a separate battery case, was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance.
SOUTH PASADENA — A 16-year-old boy is accused of ramming police cars during a pursuit in his parents’ car Thursday, officials said.
The teen, whose name was not released due to his age, was ultimately arrested on suspicion felony evading of police and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, South Pasadena police Cpl. Shannon Robledo said.
The incident began shortly after 11 a.m. when police responded to a report of a family disturbance in the 1600 block of Amberwood Drive, the corporal said.
“Immediately upon arrival, one of the parties involved entered the family vehicle and drove away,” Robledo said. “An officer attempted to stop the vehicle and the driver sped away.”
As the car sped off, the driver — later identified as the teenage suspect — attempted to ram to motorcycle officers who were arriving at the scene, Robledo said.
Additional officers were called to assist as the teen led them on a chase that circled through the same neighborhood at “excesive speeds,” the corporal said.
“The driver rammed two police units before the pursuit was terminated,” he said. The collisions resulted in no injuries and only minor damage to the patrol cars.
Officers brought an end to the chase when they were able to use their patrol cars to box in the fleeing vehicle, Robledo said. The teenage driver was then taken into custody without a struggle.
“The juvenile stated that he had had a verbal argument with his mother and took the car because he was mad at the world,” Robledo said.
He was taken to the Eastlake Juvenile Detention Center in Downey pending his initial court appearance.
PASADENA — Police arrested three 15-year-old boys Friday following three hit-and-run collisions and a brief pursuit in a stolen car, authorities said.
Police caught up with the teenage suspects about an hour after the third and final hit-and-run crash just before 4 p.m. in the 800 block of Sunset Avenue, Pasadena police officials said.
An officer spotted the vehicle, a blue Pontiac, less than a mile away at Pasadena Avenue and Walnut Street, police said in a written statement. It was determined that the car had been reported stolen from Altadena and had also previously been involved in two previous hit-and-run collisions between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Friday.
None of the crashes involved injuries, Lt. Jason Clawson said.
The driver of the car refused to pull over and led police on a chase on surface streets at the north end of Pasadena at “slow to moderate speeds,” the police statement said.
A helicopter was quickly overhead, and the car stopped at Pepper Street and Sunset Avenue, where all three suspects inside the Pontiac exited the car and ran, officials said. All three were captured nearby.
The driver was a Covina resident, while the two passengers were from Altadena and Pasadena, Clawson said.