MONROVIA >> Police arrested four suspects who led Monrovia police on a short chase in a carjacked minivan before continuing to flee on foot, prompting a lockdown at an elementary school where one of the suspects was ultimately arrested, authorities said.
A police automated license plate reader spotted a stolen 2006 Ford Freestar about 11:30 a.m. at Mayflower Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, police officials said. The van had been carjacked Saturday from a senior citizen outside Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.
The driver of the minivan led officers on a short chase, which circled the neighborhood and came to and end when the minivan stopped abruptly at Lemon and Mayflower avenues, Monrovia police Lt. Heath Harvey said.
Three teens and one young adult — two male and two female — fled from the car and run in four different directions, Harvey said. Two were quickly apprehended, and a third was apprehended with help from Arcadia and Pasadena police during a search of nearby yards.
As the search for the fourth suspect continued, officials at nearby Monroe Elementary School, 402 W. Colorado Blvd. called police to report a young woman had arrived at the campus and walked into the cafeteria, Harvey said.
The school was placed on lockdown, and officers rushed to the campus where they took the female suspect into custody without a struggle, he said.
Investigators were still looking into whether the four suspects arrested after fleeing from the stolen minivan were involved in the original carjacking five days earlier in Arcadia.
A 68-year-old man was getting out of his car when two teenagers approached him and demanded his car keys, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said.
The young men approached the victim and demanded his keys, and he turned them over out of fear. The carjackers fled in the minivan. No weapon was seen.
The identity of the adult suspect was not available pending the booking process, officials said.
PHOTOS by Sarah Reingewirtz
A man and woman carried out a robbery in San Dimas and an attempted robbery in Diamond Bar before fleeing from deputies in the wrong direction down the 60 and 57 freeways, crashing their car and being arrested, authorities said.
The series of crimes began about 12:30 when the two suspects robbed a woman of her purse at gunpoint in a commercial area in the 100 block of East Via Verde in San Dimas, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tonya Edwards said.
A man pointed a gun at the woman and demanded her purse before driving off in a getaway car with a female accomplice riding in the passenger seat, Edwards said.
About 15 minutes later, deputies received a report of a second crime along Sunset Crossing Road near the 57 Freeway in Diamond Bar, sheriff’s Lt. John Saleeby said.
A man and woman brandished a gun at a man and demanded property, but fled empty-handed after he told them he had nothing to take, Saleeby said.
Within minutes, deputies spotted a car matching the description of the robbers’ vehicle driving on Grand Avenue along the border between Diamond Bar and Walnut, Saleeby said.
They began a pursuit, but quickly cancelled it when the fleeing Toyota Corolla got onto the 60 Freeway, heading eastbound in the westbound traffic lanes, officials said.
The car continued fleeing, heading southbound in the northbound lanes of the 57 Freeway, Saleeby said. The car ultimately crashed into a cinder block wall at the 57 Freeway and Pathfinder Road.
The man and woman were taken into custody, Saleeby said.
The suspects’ names were not available, as they suffered apparently minor injuries in the crash and were taken to a hospital for treatment prior to booking.
ARCADIA >> A Pomona man and woman fled from Arcadia police in a stolen car before being arrested Friday night, officials said.
Michael Gomez, 35, and Chelsea Casas, 25, were expected to be booked on suspicion of auto theft “at a minimum,” Arcadia police Lt. Vaughn Whalen said. Gomez was also accused of evading police.
Arcadia officers tried to pull over a 1996 Honda Civic about 8:10 p.m. at Huntington Drive an Second Avenue, the lieutenant said. The car had been reported stolen out of Pomona.
The car accelerated away, kicking off a pursuit.
The driver stopped at Huntington Drive and Fifth Avenue and let out a passenger before continuing to flee, Whalen said. Police detained the passenger, later identified as Casas.
Police chased Gomez onto the eastbound 210 Freeway before calling off the chase and electing to follow the car via helicopter, Whalen said.
Officers watched from a safe distance as Gomez exited the freeway, abandoned the car at a mobile home park at Foothill Boulevard and Garey Avenue and ran, officials said. Pomona police found and arrested him within minutes.
PASADENA >> A tip from a neighbor led police to arrest three teenagers following a Pasadena home break-in and a short car chase Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The break-in was first reported about 12:45 p.m. at a home in the 1600 block of Paloma Street, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“A citizen reported three suspects were in the process of burglarizing a residence, Goodman said.
Officers arrived to see three teenage boys driving away from the home in a 1994 Acura Integrta, the lieutenant said. The driver refused to pull over, starting a 90-second chase that ended when the driver lost control and crashed into the side yard of a home along nearby Allen Avenue.
The young suspects continued fleeing on foot, Goodman said. Police quickly apprehended two of them, but the third eluded immediate capture.
Police found him hiding behind a shed, but he refused to surrender, Goodman said. Police dog “Figo” helped subdue the 17-year-old burglary suspect, who was taken to a hospital for treatment of a dog bite to his arm before being booked.
Electronics and jewelry stolen from the Paloma Street home were found inside the suspects’ car, which had been reported stolen to Los Angeles police Tuesday, Goodman said.
PASADENA >> Prosecutors filed criminal charges Wednesday against an Altadena man who led authorities on a three-hour chase throughout Los Angeles County over the weekend following a dispute with a neighbor, officials said.
Karnik Kendirian, 48, is accused of evading police, making criminal threats and five counts of vandalism in connection with Sunday’s lengthy, high-speed pursuit and the alleged crimes that preceded it, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Officials said in a written statement. He was arrested at his home Monday morning, hours after Pasadena police called off the wild pursuit as it passed through their city.
An arraignment hearing scheduled for Wednesday was postponed to Thursday, court officials said.
The incident series of events began Saturday, when Kendirian scrawled graffiti on his neighbor’s property in Altadena, district attorney’s officials said. He then allegedly threatened his neighbor for reporting the incident to authorities.
“In addition, (Kendirian) is charged with smashing a car windshield, scratching another car door and two other acts of vandalism,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
California Highway Patrol officers found Kendirian driving about 5 p.m. Sunday and began pursuing him on the 210 Freeway in Altadena when he refused to pull over, officials said.
Traveling at speeds of up to 100 mph, the fleeing suspect led several police agencies on a chase along the 210, 134, 2, 605, 10 and 57 freeways, as well as surface streets.
Pasadena police took over the chase when it returned to their city for the second time after a lap around much of the county. Officers cancelled their pursuit, electing to follow-up with their investigation later instead.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested Kendirian about 8:35 a.m. Monday at his Altadena home, according to officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
If convicted as charged, Kendirian could face more than three years in state prison.
He was initially held in lieu of $50,000 bail, records show. Prosecutors planned to ask that bail be increased to $125,000.
A man described as a Pasadena resident and wanted on suspicion of making criminal threats led California Highway Patrol officers on a high-speed chase that began in Altadena and looped around Los Angeles County freeways and surface streets for nearly three hours Sunday, officials said.
Eventually, Pasadena police called off the pursuit and the black Honda slipped into the night.
The chase began about 5:07 p.m. on the 210 Freeway in Altadena, CHP Officer Michelle Bond said. The vehicle was wanted in connection with a criminal threats investigation, however further details were not available.
The fleeing motorist accelerated to speeds of more than 100 mph as the driver fled east beneath the lenses of television news camera, using multiple freeways, before making his way back toward the east via the 210 Freeway.
The fleeing car then headed south on the 605 Freeway before going east on the 10 Freeway through the San Gabriel Valley and transitioning onto the northbound 57 Freeway through Diamond Bar.
CHP officers followed closely behind as the sedan got back onto the 210 Freeway westbound.
The car briefly exited the 210 Freeway in Arcadia shortly after 7 p.m. The driver drove on the wrong side of the road along Foothill Boulevard for several blocks, narrowly avoiding head-on collisions.
Pasadena police, who took over the pursuit once it reached surface streets in their city, cancelled the chase shortly before 8 p.m., Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
No further details were not available.
Police declined to discuss what their tactics will be in proceeding with the investigation.
WHITTIER >> Police arrested two men and sought a woman after a short pursuit of a stolen car ended in a crash in Whittier Sunday.
Officers tried to stop a reportedly stolen Toyota Prius about 4:20 p.m. in the area of Broadway and Western Avenue, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said. It was being driven by a woman, with two men riding as passengers.
The car sped away, beginning a chase that lasted about 30 seconds, he said.
The Prius then collided with a Honda Odyssey at El Rancho Drive and Howard Street, police said.
A man and woman inside the minivan suffered apparently minor injuries.
All three occupants of the Honda ran, Ruiz said
Officers quickly apprehended the suspected passengers, but the female driver of the Honda was not found.
Juan Carlos Pizano, 27, and Steven Magdaleno, 31, were expected to be booked on suspicion of taking a car without the owner’s permission after being examined at a hospital, according to police and county booking records.
ARCADIA >> Sheriff’s deputies detained four people Thursday after a stolen car led them on a brief chase from Temple City to Arcadia, officials said.
The chase began shortly after 6 p.m., when deputies spotted a reportedly stolen car with a driver and three passengers traveling down Rosemead Boulevard near Broadway in Temple City, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Haynes said.
After following behind the car as backup amassed, deputies tried to pull the car over, but the driver failed to stop, initiating a pursuit, the sergeant said.
The driver stopped the car and ran at Huntington Drive and Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia, officials said. He was soon captured.
The driver’s name was not available pending the booking process, Haynes said.
Three passengers of the car were also being detained as the investigation continued late Thursday.
PASADENA : Police jailed two Pasadena man — including one already on parole for burglary — who they say through more than an ounce of methamphetamine from their car during a short chase Thursday afternoon.
Manuel Navarro, 33, and Francisco Ricardo Tafolla, were arrested about 4:30 p.m., according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. Police recovered 29 grams of methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of $500.
Officers tried to pull over a Nissan van at Cypress Avenue and Villa Street for a traffic violation, but the van failed to pull over and sped away, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
“The van ran a stop sign on Villa and turned south on Lincoln (Avenue), and when they did so, the driver threw methamphetamine out the window,” Mercado said. Police recovered the drugs.
The driver — Navarro — turned onto Eureka Street and pulled over, the lieutenant said. Both men surrendered.
Police arrested Navarro and Tafolla on suspicion of transportation of methamphetamine and evading police, Mercado said.
Navarro was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, records show. Tafolla, who is on parole following an April burglary conviction, was being held without bail.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s with other police agencies stand outside the Chris & Pitts restaurants where deputies shot and killed the carjacking suspett in Downey on Thursday September 10, 2015. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)
A man fatally shot by deputies after carjacking a woman in West Whittier, firing shots and taking hostages inside a Downey barbecue restaurant last week was being sought for questioning in connection with the slaying of a woman found dead inside her burning East Los Angeles home in August, authorities said.
Eddie Tapia, 41, died shortly before 9 p.m. Sept. 10, when Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau deputies stormed the Chris’ & Pitt’s restaurant on Lakewood Boulevard in Downey where he had held four people hostage for more than an hour and shot him, according to county sheriff’s and coroner officials. The hostages were freed unharmed.
The standoff began after Tapia was spotted driving in a stolen car in the Pico Rivera area, then carjacked a woman in West Whittier before firing shots from a handgun as he fled into the crowded Downey restaurant, officials said.
As the investigation continued into Tapia, an ex-convict released from jail four months prior to the deputy-involved shooting, detectives revealed he had ties to 46-year-old Rocio Vasquez, who was found dead inside her home in the 700 block of Brady Avenue in East Los Angeles home early Aug. 8, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
“Initially, the preliminary consensus was that the fire may have been accidental, but additional investigation, as well as an autopsy, would be necessary to confirm how the victim died,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“It was determined during the autopsy that Victim Vasquez had not died as a result of the fire, but she had been shot and killed prior to the fire being set,” according to the statement.
Though not named a suspect in the slaying, Tapia was one of several persons of interest detectives have been seeking in connection to their investigation into Vasquez’s slaying.
“He was a person we wanted to talk to,” Corina said.
“He was her friend,” the lieutenant said, adding that Tapia was known to frequent the victim’s home.
Tapia’s city of residence was unclear.
No arrests in have been made in Vasquez’s slaying.
— Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales
PHOTO [ABOVE] by Keith Durflinger [BELOW] photo of Eddie Tapia courtesy of the California DMV.