Man snatches woman’s purse from moving car in Rowland Heights

ROWLAND HEIGHTS — A man leaned out of a moving vehicle to snatch a purse from a woman’s shoulder Thursday in a motel parking, authorities said.
The crime took place just after 7:50 a.m. outside the Best Western motel on Gale Avenue, just west of Nogales Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Saleeby said.
A 35-year-old woman had just exited the motel’s lounge when a silver, American, 4-door car came up from behind her, the lieutenant said. One of the two men inside reached out and grabbed the woman’s purse before the car drove off.
Inside the purse was an iPad mini and other personal items,Saleeby said. The woman was not hurt.
One of the robbers was described as Latino man between 40 and 50 years old, while the other was a Latino man between 20 and 30, officials said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station.

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Ex-fugitives to stand trial in 1982 Rowland Heights slaying

More than 30 years after a stabbing and beating that left one man dead and another permanently injured in a Rowland Heights Park, two longtime fugitives are awaiting trial for the crimes, sheriff’s officials announced Saturday.
Gilbert Leal, 51, and Marcelino Diablos Corona, 49, and a third suspect, who remains at-large, fled to Mexico following the Aug. 8, 1982 attack that killed 20-year-old Richard Hernandez of Valinda and severely injured 19-year-old Daniel Ontiveros, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
But investigators earlier this year found Leal in Riverside County, officials said.
He was jailed July 20, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
Cold case detectives Thursday learned that Corona was living in Fontana and using a different name, sheriff’s officials said. They obtained a warrant and arrested him without a struggle.
Leal and Corona have both been charged with the murder of Hernandez, and assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated mayhem for the alleged attack on Ontiveros.
The crimes took place at the Rowland Heights Park, 1500 Banida Avenue, authorities said. Hernandez and Ontiveros were visiting with two female friends when they were approached by the three suspects, who challenged them to a fight.
“Both young men declined the challenge and continued their visit with the two young ladies,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
“A few minutes later the three suspects attacked Richard and Daniel armed with weapons,” the statement said. “During the assault, Richard Hernandez was beaten, stabbed and later died from his injuries. Daniel Ontiveros was beaten, struck in the head and suffered permanent brain damage.”
Hernandez was pronounced dead at a West Covina hospital about an hour after the 1 a.m. incident, sheriff’s deputy Tony Grace said at the time.
Knives, baseball bats and tire irons were used in what the deputy then described as a “melee.”
Information regarding the third suspect linked to the 1982 park attack was not available Saturday.
Corona, who was being held without bail, was scheduled to appear Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, according to county booking records. Leal, who was being held in lieu of $1 million bail, was scheduled to appear Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.

PHOTOS of Gilbert Leal (above) and Marcelino Corona (below) courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Teen wounded in foot in Rowland Heights shooting

A 16-year-old boy walking with another teen Friday night was shot in the foot by someone in a passing sport utility vehicle.
The shooting on Los Palacios Drive and Fullerton Road was reported to deputies at 10:43 p.m.
There’s no indication it was gang-related, Sgt. Christina Baker said.
She said a boy and a girl were on Los Palacios Drive when an SUV drove by and one of its occupants fired at the teens. The suspect said nothing before the shooting, Baker added.
She said the girl wasn’t hit. The 16-year-old boy was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.
The suspect was in an older model red SUV with dark tinted windows. Deputies didn’t know how many people were in the vehicle.

- Ruby Gonzales

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UPDATE: Man sought for ‘brutal’ rape of woman inside Rowland Heights apartment

ROWLAND HEIGHTS — Sheriff’s officials Thursday sought the public’s help in tracking down a man who attacked and raped a Rowland Heights woman inside her apartment last week.
The crime took place about 6 a.m. Saturday in the 1500 block of Jellick Avenue, according to Sgt. Richard Ruiz of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau.
“This was a brutal rape,” Sgt. Richard Ruiz of the Special Victims Bureau said.
“The (29-year-old) victim was awakened by the suspect after he gained entry through an unlocked sliding glass door and then proceeded to assault and rape her,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The woman was beaten and suffered serious injuries in the attack, sheriff’s officials said.
The rapist was described by the victim as a Latino man between 30 and 35 years old, Ruiz said.
A further description or a composite drawing was not available Thursday, he said.
“It happened in the dark. She couldn’t see much,” Ruiz said.
In was also unclear Thursday whether usable samples of the rapists DNA had been recovered, pending ongoing crime lab examination, he added.
In the meantime, Ruiz said, investigators are reaching out to the public in search of anyone who has information or saw anyone suspicious around the time the crime occurred.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau at 877-710-5273. Tips may also be submitted anonymously be calling L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Rowland Heights doctor charged with three counts of murder appears in court

A Rowland Heights doctor accused of murdering three young men through abuse of her prescription pad pleaded not guilty Friday.
Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng, 42, of Walnut entered her plea in Los Angeles Superior Court, court officials said. She was ordered to appear in court again Oct. 11 for a pre-trial hearing.
She’s accused of second degree murder in connection with the deaths of Vu Nguyen, 29, of Lake Forest, who died March 2, 2009; Steven Ogle, 25, of Palm Desert, who died April 9, 2009; and Joseph Rovero III, 21, of San Ramon, who died Dec. 18, 2009.
Through a Rowland Heights medical clinic she operated with her husband, Advanced Care AAA Medical, Tseng is accused of supplying the young men with powerful medications such as oxycodone, methadone and xanax, without a valid medical reason.
Though she’s charged with three deaths, testimony heard at her preliminary hearing in June indicated that 12 of her patients have died from drug overdoses. She has settled in civil court with families of five of the young men.
If convicted as charged, Tseng could face a sentence of 45 years to life in state prison.
According to county booking records, Tseng remained jailed in lieu of $3 million at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood pending trial.
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Man accused of stabbing brother and brother’s pregnant girlfriend appears in court

WEST COVINA — A Rowland Heights man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to stabbing his brother and his pregnant girlfriend during an argument earlier this month, officials said.
David Campos, who turn 22 Thursday, denied two counts of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the Sept. 13 double stabbing at a home in the 18000 block of Los Palacios Drive in Rowland Heights, court officials said.
He was scheduled to return to West Covina Superior Court Oct. 10 for a preliminary hearing.
Campos is accused of using a kitchen knife to stab his 23-year-old brother in the face, head and torso, according to sheriff’s investigators.
He also stabbed his brother’s 18-year-old girlfriend, who was six months pregnant, when she tried to intervene, officials said.
The wounded couple was flown to a hospital with serious injuries but expected to survive. The young woman’s fetus was not believed injured in the attack.
According to county booking records, Campos was being held in lieu of $120,000 bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles.
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Man robbed along Colima Road in Rowland Heights

ROWLAND HEIGHTS — Two men with a handgun robbed another man of his wallet along Colima Road Tuesday, authorities said.
The victim, a 27-year-old man, was walking in the 18500 block of Colima road just after midnight when he was approached by two robbers, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Saleeby said.
One of the robbers brandished a handgun as they demanded the victim’s property, the lieutenant said.
The man turned over his wallet, and the robbers were last seen fleeing the area in a dark-colored, 4-door compact car, Saleeby said.
Anyone with information was asked to call the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station, which provides police services to Rowland Heights.
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Body found in ocean off Dana Point coast identified as missing Rowland Heights man

Coroner’s officials have identified a body found in the ocean off the coast of Dana Point as that of a 34-year-old Rowland Heights man who went missing while swimming one week ago.
The body of Frank Daniel Austin was discovered in the ocean about 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Orange County coroner’s officials said in a written statement.
He was reported missing several hours after he entered the water at Salt Creek Beach about 4 p.m. Sept. 2 and vanished, sheriff’s officials said.
Sheriff’s and U.S. Coast guard officials launched a massive search effort in the rough waters, which transformed from a rescue effort to a body recovery effort Monday, Orange County sheriff’s spokeswoman Gale Krause said.
An autopsy was planned this week to determine Austin’s cause of death.
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1,800 pot plants pulled from canyon near Pathfinder Park in Rowland Heights

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ROWLAND HEIGHTS — Sheriff’s deputies removed more than 1,800 marijuana plants, valued at about $2.7 million, from a densely wooded county area near Pathfinder Community Regional Park Friday.
In addition to the marijuana plants, about 10 members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Marijuana Eradication Team also hoisted more than 1,000 pounds of fertilizers, chemicals, trash and other items from the illicit garden at the bottom of a steep canyon between the park and Vantage Pointe Drive, Lt. Nick Tippings said.
Though hidden by a canopy of trees and difficult to access due to steep terrain, the large-scale growing operation was found little more than 1,000 feet away from both Pathfinder Park and homes.
“One of the things that bothers me about this one is how close it is to a residential neighborhood and a park,” Tippings said.
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A sheriff’s helicopter pilot first spotted the site in recent weeks, he said. After investigating and obtaining a search warrant, the MET deputies arrived about 7 a.m. Friday and set up along Vantage Pointe Drive before hiking their way down to the marijuana garden, which was divided into several plots, each containing several hundred marijuana plants.
No suspects were found during the operation, however several campsites were dismantled. One contained a stove range and food such as Spam, canned sausages, tortillas and beans, along with laundry detergent and clothing hanging in a tree.
Other campsites stored fertilizers and other supplies used by the growers. Because of the relatively short hike involved in accessing the grow site, detectives said it appeared they visited during the day but did not spend the night.
Detectives gathered any items they believed might be useful in identifying those responsible for the grow.
No weapons were found, however a BB gun was recovered among the pot plants.
The entry point used by the growers appeared to have been along Fullerton Road, Wagner said.
Some of the camouflage-wearing deputies carried AR-15 rifles in case of an encounter with an armed pot farmer.
Possibly tipped off by increased sheriff’s helicopter traffic over the area in the days leading up to the bust, it appeared the growers had hurriedly harvested as much of the crop as they could, investigators said, but still left behind a significant amount of pot.
“They were here yesterday or the day before at the latest, based on the condition of the cut plants,” Detective Robert Wagner said.
To irrigate the crops, the growers laid miles of plastic tubing and dug plastic-lined reservoirs. They appeared to be stealing their water by tapping into the plumbing of the nearby residential community.
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And this was not the first time the same area has been used as a marijuana garden, Wagner said. The MET deputies visited the same area last summer, where they found an already-abandoned grow operation.
It’s likely the same people are responsible for both gardens, Wagner added.
Residents of Vantage Pointe Drive took photos as deputies used a helicopter to hoist bundles of marijuana and garbage out of the canyon and laid down along the side of the road before being loaded into a truck. Many said they were shocked to learn a marijuana grow, and particularly such a large one, was being tended so close to their homes.
Neighbor Stacey Wong, 53, said she had noticed that sheriff’s helicopters appeared to be spending a lot of time in the area over past week but did not know why.
A grassy area in the neighborhood often attracts loitering teenagers at night, she said, but she’d never seen any suspicious people entering or exiting the wooded area.
Wong added that she was especially angered to learn the growers had apparently been stealing their water from her community.
“I hope they catch who did this,” she said.
PHOTOS by Watchara Phomicinda
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Masked man armed with baton robs woman of purse in Rowland Heights

ROWLAND HEIGHTS — A masked man wielding a baton robbed a woman of her purse Tuesday along Colima Road, authorities said.
The crime took place about 2 a.m. in the 19200 block of Colima Road, just east of Otterbein Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Saleeby said.
A 21-year-old woman was approached by the robber on foot, the lieutenant said.
The man wore all black, including a black ski mask, and threatened to hurt the woman with a baton if she didn’t hand over her purse, Saleeby said.
The woman complied, and the man fled with the handbag, he said.
Officials described the robber as Latino, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 170 pounds.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s Walnut–Diamond Bar Station at 909-595-2264.
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