Men sought in armed robberies at West Whittier, Sante Fe Springs donut shops

Police and sheriff’s deputies are seeking robbers in two separate, but possibly related, robbers at Whittier-area donut shops early Tuesday, officials said.
Both crimes involved two robbers and took place during the early-morning hours at businesses along the 605 Freeway. They were reported at 12:40 a.m. outside Cherri’s Donuts, 10017 Orr and Day Road in Santa Fe Springs, and at 2:34 a.m. at Yum Yum Donuts at 10426 Whittier Blvd. in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and Whittier police officials.
During the first crime in Santa Fe Springs, two robbers approached four men as they stood in front of the donut shop, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said. At least one of the men gestures as if he was armed with a handgun, though none was seen.
The robbers demanded property from the four men, who handed over their wallets and cellphones, Ruiz said. They were last seen running north on Orr and Day Road.
Police described both robbers as Latino men in their late-20s. One was about 6 feet tall, of heavyset and wore a fedora-style hat. The second robber was thin, of dark complexion, wearing a gray-and-blue hooded sweatshirt.
The second robbery targeted the business itself, officials said.
Two robbers showed up at the West Whittier Yum Yum Donuts location and one of them pointed a silver-colored handgun at an employee, Sgt. Janine Hanson of the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station said.
The men demanded money, ultimately escaping with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to the sergeant. They were described only as Latino men who fled the scene in a white sedan.
Detectives were looking into the possibility the two similar robberies were linked, Hanson said.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station at 562-949-2421, or the Whittier Police Department at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Women flee with footwear after pepper-spraying shoe store worker in Norwalk


NORWALK >> A trio of women pepper sprayed a Norwalk shoe store employee while stealing footwear on Sunday afternoon, official said.
The crime took place shortly before 5 p.m. at Warehouse Shoe Sale, 11820 Firestone Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Cunningham said.
Three women placed shoes in their purses and went to leave the store without paying for them, the sergeant said.
A store employee confronted the woman at the door and asked to look inside their purses, he said.
One of the women pulled out a canister of pepper spray and sprayed the employee with it, according to Cunningham.
The three women then fled in a gray Toyota Camry, according to sheriff’s radio traffic.
Officials declined to release a detailed suspect description as they continued pursuing leads late Sunday, Cunningham said.
Sunday’s robbery was just the latest in series of recent robberies in which pepper spray or other devices intended for self-defense have been used as weapons.
•A woman was pepper sprayed and robbed of her wallet outside an Arcadia business on March 17.
•A group of teen girls are accused of spraying a man with pepper spray in order to rob him of his iPhone in Covina on May 7.
•Two women pepper sprayed a security guard while stealing purses from a Monrovia store on June 23.
•Three women used a stun gun on security guards who confronted them for stealing at two stores in Temple City and Arcadia on July 13.
Pepper spray, as well as stun guns, can be purchased legally by adults who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing weapons due to prior criminal convictions. They are legal to possess for lawful self-defense purposes, but it’s a crime under California law, punishable as a felony, to misuse such devices.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Armed, masked men rob senior citizen in Pasadena


Two men armed with a rifle or shotgun robbed 71-year-old Santa Barbara man as he sat in his car on Thursday night, officials said.
The crime was reported about 11 p.m. in the 1800 block of East Del Mar Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe said.
The victim was sitting in his car when two men approached, carrying what was described as a black long gun, such as a rifle or shotgun, he said. They demanded money.
Grisafe said the elderly victim handed over about $100. The robbers were last seen walking east, “nonchalantly,” along Del Mar Boulevard.
Both robbers were described as men in their 20s wearing bandanas covering their faces, Grisafe said.
One was of undetermined race, about 5 feet tall, of heavy build with dark hair, he said. The second robber was possibly Latino or white, of thin build, with dark hair.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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San Gabriel men jailed in connection with West Covina bank robbery


Police arrested two cousins from San Gabriel on Thursday in connection with a West Covina bank robbery the previous day, and were looking into the possibility the suspects were also responsible for another bank heist in Baldwin Park last week, authorities said.
Ruben Edward Mora, 48, and James Vincent Luevano were booked on suspicion of bank robbery following their arrests on Thursday afternoon, according to West Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The investigation began after a robbery unfolded about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Cathay Bank, 2672 E. Garvey Ave. South, West Covina police Sgt. Tony Cortina said.
A man entered the bank and gestured as if he had a gun, though none was seen, the sergeant said. He threatened to shoot a teller and demanded cash.
He fled the bank after obtaining $1,900, Cortina said. He was last seen getting into a car, which sped away.
“Our patrol officers canvassed the area for witnesses and evidence,” Cortina said. The obtained surveillance camera images depicting both the suspect and the getaway car.
As they continued their investigation, detectives found the car pictured in the surveillance images parked in the driveway of a home in the 5000 block of North Rosemead Boulevard in San Gabriel, police said.
They watched the car until a man exited the home and drove away in it, according to Cortina. Police pulled over the car and soon determined the driver, Luevano, had acted as the getaway driver in Wednesday’s bank robbery, he said.
Police also determined that the second suspect, who carried out the robbery, Mora, was inside the home, Cortina said. Officers ordered him out of the home and took him into custody without a struggle.
Officials recovered the allegedly stolen cash from the home, which is shared by the two cousins.
Investigators also found that Mora strongly matched the description of a robber who carried out a robbery at the HomeStreet Bank, 3119 Baldwin Park Blvd. in Baldwin Park, Cortina said. Authorities were looking into the West Covina robbery suspect’s possible connection to the Baldwin Park crime.
According to booking records, Mora was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail his initial court appearance, while Luevano was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail.

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Armed man robs San Dimas dry cleaner shop


SAN DIMAS >> A gunman held up a San Dimas dry cleaner shop on Saturday afternoon, officials said.
The heist unfolded just before 3:45 p.m. at Bonded Cleaners, 409 W. Bonita Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Thomas Reid said.
A man entered the store brandishing a semi-automatic handgun and demanded cash before fleeing on foot with an undetermined amount of money, the lieutenant said.
He was described as a Latino man in his 40s, wearing a long-sleeve gray shirt, jeans, white shoes, a blue hat and sunglasses, Reid said.
Deputies at the scene additionally reported that the man was about 6 feet tall, 200 pounds and covered his face with a black shirt.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2709. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Home-invasion robbery reported in San Gabriel


SAN GABRIEL >> Police are investigating a reported home-invasion robbery in which a resident was tied up in San Gabriel early Friday morning.
The crime was reported about 1:30 p.m. at a home in the 1900 block of South Denton Avenue, according to San Gabriel police Sgt. Rebecca Gomez.
A resident of the home, a man in his 30s, and a Monterey Park woman in her 40s who was visiting were inside the home when the woman’s boyfriend, a Paramount man in his 30s, arrived to pick her up, she said.
Two male attacker followed the boyfriend as he approached the house, Lt. Brian Kott said in a written statement.
“The two males allegedly forced their way through the front door and bound one of the three victims,” Kott said.
Gomez said the male resident was tied up in his home, but not the other two victims.
“The suspects subsequently fled the location with miscellaneous stolen property,” Kott said. “However, the circumstances have not been confirmed and are still under investigation.”
No injuries were reported, police said.
No further description of the robbers was available.
Anyone with information can reach San Gabriel police at 626-208-2828. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Men sentenced to life in prison for fatal shooting of Hong Kong man during robbery in West Covina


WEST COVINA >> A judge sent two men to prison for the rest of their lives on Friday for fatally shooting a man visiting the U.S. from Hong Kong during a robbery after following him and his brother to a West Covina restaurant from a downtown Los Angeles jewelry store, authorities said.
Michael Quiroga Castiblanco, 25, and Juan Alejandro Cortez, 28, each received sentenced of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Feb. 1, 2013, murder of 29-year-old Sheron Khemlani in a parking lot in the 100 block of North Barranca Avenue in West Covina, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
A jury convicted them Monday of first-degree murder and second-degree robbery, along with the special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed during a robbery, and the special allegation that a gun was used in the crime, Ardalani said in a written statement.
“According to evidence presented at trial, the two defendants were part of an organized criminal group that targeted jewelers and individuals who made large cash withdrawals from banks,” Ardalani said. “Moreover,the group followed the Khemlani brothers from downtown Los Angeles to West Covina with the intent to rob them.”
Khemlani and his 32-year-old brother were in the jewelry industry and visiting from Hong Kong at the time of the slaying.
They had gone just conducted some business in the jewelry district in downtown Los Angeles prior to the fatal robbery, Ardalani said.
They were on their way to Las Vegas, but decided to stop in West Covina for lunch, according to police and prosecutors.
“When the brothers returned to their vehicle, they were attacked by a group of men,” Ardalani said. “During the assault, Sheron Khemlani was fatally shot in the head before the attackers fled the scene in a vehicle.”
The victim’s brother was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Stolen was a bag containing $9,000, Ardalani said.
The case remained unsolved for more than a year until investigators identified Castiblanco and Cortez as suspects in the deadly robbery, officials said. Detectives released composite sketches of the suspects in hopes of generating leads prior to the apprehension of the killers.
Prosecutors filed charges against them in March of 2014, and they were both arrested in May of 2014, records show.
Details of the suspect’s capture were not available.
Castiblanco also has a pending case with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to booking records.
West Covina, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Torrance, Cypress and Evanston, Illinois, police took part in the investigation, as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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VIDEO: Women use stun guns during robberies in Temple City, Arcadia


Three women shocked one security guard and threatened another with stun guns after they were caught stealing from two stores — in Temple City and Arcadia — within an hour Thursday night, authorities said.
The crimes unfolded about 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. in Temple City and Arcadia, respectively, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and Arcadia police officials.
“At this point, it appears they’re related,” sheriff’s Lt. Ronald Daily said.
The three women were first spotted trying to shoplift items from CVS Pharmacy, 5585 Rosemead Blvd., according to sheriff’s Lt. Robert Leyba.
One of the women headed for the makeup section and began filling a bag with items, while the other two stuffed their bags with more than $1,000 worth of hygiene products, such as soap and deodorant, the detective said.
When a security guard confronted them about the theft, one of them pulled a stun gun threatened him with it, sparking the electroshock weapon at him, he said. The women got into a red, four-door car with paper license plates, possibly a Kia or a Ford Focus, and sped away, Daily said.
The security guard was checked out by paramedics but did not wish to be taken to a hospital, officials said. He managed to snap a picture of the women as they got into their car and fled.
The three women were seen during the second crime at Vons, 745 E. Naomi Ave., according to Arcadia police Sgt. John Bonomo.
Again, a security guard approached them as they were stealing items from the store, the sergeant said. And once more, one of the women pulled a stun gun and shocked him with it.
The women were last seen fleeing the area in a red car, he added. The grocery store security guard also declined to be taken to a hospital.
In both cases, the suspects were described as black women wearing dark or black clothing. In the Temple City robbery, one of the two women seen was described as heavyset, according to Daily. The three women seen in the Arcadia caper were all described as being in their 30s, Bonomo said.
And investigators were looking into the possibility that the same crew of robbers may be responsible for additional crimes in the area, Leyba said.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple City Station at 626-285-7171, or the Arcadia police Department at 626-574-5151. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTO/VIDEO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Gunman sought in South Whittier pizza parlor robbery


SOUTH WHITTIER >> Deputies are seeking a man who help up a South Whittier pizza parlor at gunpoint on Thursday night.
The crime unfolded about 8:30 p.m. at Double or Nothing Pizza, 15010 Mulberry Drive in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robin Limon.
A robber entered the business and displayed a handgun he had tucked into his waistband, the lieutenant said. He demanded money from an employee and fled with an undetermined amount of cash.
Deputies described the gunman as a Latino man of about 40 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall, wearing a gray shirt, shorts, and a baseball cap. He was last seen running north along La Mirada Boulevard.
No injuries were reported.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Glendora man guilty of crime spree including San Marino home-invasion robbery, Glendora shooting

A jury convicted a 26-year-old Glendora man of attempted murder, robbery, burglary and a host of other criminal charges on Wednesday for a 2015 crime spree including a home-invasion robbery in San Marino and a shooting in Glendora, authorities said.
A Pomona jury deliberated for one day for finding Clayton Ruben Addleman guilty of 13 criminal charges, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. He was convicted of three counts of burglary with a person present, attempted murder, residential robbery, grant theft auto, grand theft, identity theft, forgery related to identity theft, assault with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and petty theft. Jurors also found true the special allegations that Addleman personally used a firearm in the crimes.
He faces a maximum penalty of 52 years to life in state prison when he returns to the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court for sentencing on Aug. 3, Ardalani said in a written statement.
Prosecutors said Addleman shot at, but did not strike, another man in his hometown of Glendora on Dec. 27, 2015.
“During the investigation, law enforcement believed Addleman may have been the suspected shooter,” Ardalani said. “Two days later, police located the defendant and took him into custody.”
Investigators soon found that Addleman was also responsible for a home-invasion robbery that occurred on Dec. 29, 2015, at a home in the 500 block of Huntington Drive in San Marino.
In that crime, “Addleman armed himself with a handgun, broke into the San Marino home while the residents were inside and then attempted to steal the victims’ vehicle before ultimately fleeing the scene,” according to Ardalani.
A terrified female resident hid in the closet during the home invasion, San Marino police officials said.
When arresting Addleman, police discovered ammunition, as well as checks and identifying documents in the names of other people, Ardalani said.
Addleman was already on probation stemming from another criminal case when he was arrested in connection with the current one.
He was convicted of possession of drugs for sales and possession of a firearm in by a felon in July of 2015, three months after police searched his Starcrest Drive home and discovered two rifles, four handguns, ammunition, 1,000 Xanax pills and a scale, Glendora police Lt. Matt Egan said at the time. Investigators has gone to his home to serve a warrant related to a previous conviction for possession of illegal fireworks in 2014.
Addleman received 180 days in jail and three years of probation for the 2015 gun and drug case, court records show.

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