2 sought in takeover robbery at San Dimas cell phone store


SAN DIMAS >> Two gunmen fled with more than $30,000 worth of cell phones following a takeover robbery at a San Dimas cell phone store Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime unfolded just after 1 p.m. at a Sprint store, 875 W. Arrow Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Omar Carbajal said.
Two robbers both brandished handguns when they entered the store and confronted two employees in the front of the business, the sergeant said.
The robbers ordered the two employees to the back of the store, where two other employees were working, he said.
Carbajal said the robbers ordered an employee to open up a locked case containing cell phones. They helped grabbed 47 Samsung and Apple phones, values at $32,600.
The robbers locked the four employees in a bathroom at the store and fled, Carbajal said. No injuries were reported.
The gunman were last seen fleeing west along Arrow Highway in a black pickup truck, he added.
Detailed descriptions of the robbers were not available.
No injuries were reported as a result of the robbery.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2700. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Suspect identified in slaying of San Dimas sandwich shop owner

"LASD Lieutenant David Coleman of the Homicide Bureau speaks during a press conference seeking the publicÕs assistance in locating the suspect involved in the murder of San Dimas Quiznos sandwich shop proprietor Pravin Patel that occurred on Tuesday, June 2 at 3:20 p.m. in the 1000 block of West Arrow Highway. Patel, was shot after being robbed at gunpoint in his restaurant. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune) "

“LASD Lieutenant David Coleman of the Homicide Bureau speaks during a press conference seeking the publicÕs assistance in locating the suspect involved in the murder of San Dimas Quiznos sandwich shop proprietor Pravin Patel that occurred on Tuesday, June 2 at 3:20 p.m. in the 1000 block of West Arrow Highway. Patel, was shot after being robbed at gunpoint in his restaurant. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

SAN DIMAS >> Homicide detectives have identified a man already in custody for a custody in connection with armored car robberies and the shooting of an armored car driver as the alleged gunman in the fatal shooting of a San Dimas sandwich shop owner in San Dimas last year, authorities announced Friday.
Sergey Gutsu, 24, is suspected in the June 2, 2015, slaying of Pravin “Peter” Patel during a robbery at the Quiznos shop Patel owned and operated at 1034 W. Arrow Highway in San Dimas, Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
He is already in custody in Sonoma County, where he and alleged accomplice Ivan Morales, 24, are accused of shooting an armored car driver during a robbery in Windsor on Tuesday, then fired shots at deputies during a chase that preceded their ultimate arrests, according to Sonoma and Los Angeles county sheriff’s officials.
“During the course of the investigation, “(Violent Crimes Investigation Unit) detectives developed information that Gutsu and Morales were likely involved in other crimes throughout the state,” Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha said in a written statement.
“Although we cannot divulge specific details of the investigations, we are confident that one or both are responsible for an armored car robbery in Granada Hills and a robbery/homicide in San Dimas.”
Los Angeles County homicide detectives met with Gutsu in Santa Rosa on Wednesday, officials said.
“During the interview, the suspect admitted to being involved in the murder of victim Patel,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Morales had not been linked to the San Dimas slaying, Corina said.
Q2In the San Dimas case, Patel was working behind the counter when a gunman robbed the sandwich shop, Lt. David Coleman of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said at the time.
Patel turned over the money from the register, amounting to no more than a few hundred dollars, when the robber threatened to shoot two customers inside the store, officials said.
But once the robber left, Patel followed him outside and became involved in a struggle with the robber, Corina said. The gunman opened fire, mortally wounding Patel.
Patel, 62, described by Coleman as a “loving, kind man,” worked alongside his wife at the family restaurant.
Authorities released a composite sketch of the killer and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of Patel’s killer. But the gunman remained elusive, and unidentified, until he implicated himself in the slaying on Tuesday, Corina said.
A gun seized from Gutsu at the time of his arrest in Sonoma County is of the same caliber used in Patel’s killing, Corina said. Forensic testing was pending to determined whether the weapons were one and the same.
Gutsu grew up in Arcadia, and more recently split his time between southern and northern California, Corina said.
According to Sonoma County booking records, Gutsu remains in custody without bail on charges of robbery attempted murder, along with special allegations that he personally used a gun.
The investigation into his alleged crimes in Los Angeles County and elsewhere remained ongoing, officials said.
“We’re still working our case and putting it together,” Corina said.

PHOTO of victim Pravin Patel, below (courtesy)

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Police: Suspect attacks Glendora police dog after pursuit ends in San Dimas


SAN DIMAS >> A man attacked a Glendora police dog after leading officers on a chase that ended in San Dimas Friday morning, authorities said.
Driver Armando Nunez, 28, of El Monte and passenger Vitoria Yvonne Narvaez, 29, of Pomona were ultimately arrested, Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab said.
Nunez was hospitalized for treatment of dog bites. The K-9 that apprehended him suffered injuries to its ear.
Nunez was already being sought by police in West Covina in connection with another chase and crash last week, West Covina police Lt. Travis Tibbets said.
The incident began shortly before 11 a.m. when an officer spotted a car in La Verne and found it suspicious, the chief said.
The officer approached the car when it pulled into a parking lot at Foothill Boulevard and San Dimas Avenue in San Dimas, he said. The car fled “at high speeds.”
Glendora police pursued the fleeing car to a residential cul-de-sac in the 900 block of Sedona Court, officials said. Both the driver and passenger abandoned the car and continued fleeing on foot.
Officers immediately captured the passenger, later identified as Narvaez, Staab said. But the driver, Nunez, fled into the surrounding neighborhood.
Police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies set up a search perimeter.
“One of the homeowners alerted us to their backyard,” the chief said. The resident noticed the storage shed in the backyard had become inexplicably unlatched.
Police ordered anyone inside the shed to surrender. After receiving no response, officers sent in a Glendora Police Department K-9 named Bo.
“Second later, both of them burst out of the storage shed,” Staab said.
“The male suspect had the K-9 in a headlock,” he said. “With the other hand, he grabbed its left ear and twisted its head around.”
Police tried to subdue Nunez with a Taser, but he continued fighting with officers before they wrestled him into custody.
“The suspect wouldn’t stop fighting,” Staab said. “Two of my experienced detectives said they’ve never fought with somebody so prolonged.”
No officers were hurt, Staab said.
Bo’s normally upright ear remained limp from the attack, but he appeared otherwise OK, Staab said. The K-9 was to be examined by a veterinarian.
Nunez was treated for dog bites to his face, arm and leg prior to booking, Staab said. He was expected to face charges including evading police and assault on a police dog.
He was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
West Covina police had been seeking Nunez since Sunday, when he allegedly led police on another chase in a stolen car, which ended in a crash at Amar Road and Valinda Avenue, Tibbetts said.
After crashing the stolen car after a brief chase, Nunez ran from the car, leaving a seriously injured woman who had been riding as a passenger behind, Tibbetts said. Officers did not find him that day, but investigators identified Nunez as the suspected driver.
Narvaez, was booked on suspicion of resisting police, Staab said. She is on parole for a prior burglary conviction and was being held without bail, according to officials and booking records.
The ignition system of the car the suspects were riding in Friday had been tampered with, Staab said. Detectives were investigating whether or not it had been stolen.

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UPDATED: Brush fire breaks out in San Dimas, prompts Sig Alert

SAN DIMAS >> Despite wet weather, firefighters battled a two-acre brush fire that ignited along the 57 Freeway in San Dimas Friday afternoon, officials said.
The fire was first reported about 1:15 p.m. as several small spot fires along the southbound 57 Freeway near Via Verde, Los Angeles County Fire Department Firefighter Humberto Agurcia said.
A “full response,” including fire-fighting aircraft, were summoned to the scene as the blaze scorched about two acres within an hour, fire officials said.
“All of our engines are working this aggressively,” Agurcia said as the fire continued burning.
Fire officials declared the 2-acre fire 100 percent contained just before 3 p.m.
No injuries were reported, and no structured were threatened, he said.
The fire remained confined to the west side of the freeway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials added.
The California Highway Patrol issued a Sig Alert for the two right-hand lanes of the southbound 57 Freeway as firefighters continued their work Friday afternoon.

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Man suspected of striking another man with chain during San Dimas robbery


SAN DIMAS >> Deputies arrested a homeless man after he whacked another man with a chain and robbed him of his backpack, officials said.
Jason Nicks, 37, was booked on suspicion robbery in connection with the incident, which unfolded about 1:15 p.m. along Arrow Highway, just east of Valley Center Avenue, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
Nicks struck the victim, another homeless man with whom he was acquainted, with a chain and stole the victim’s backpack, sheriff’s Lt. Tonya Edwards said. The victim was treated for injuries believed to be minor.
Deputies searched the area and soon found Nicks nearby. He was detained without a struggle and ultimately arrested in connection with the robbery, the lieutenant said.
Nicks was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment hearing Friday in Pomona Superior Court, records show.

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Chino woman killed in crash on 57 Freeway in San Dimas identified


SAN DIMAS >> Authorities Sunday released the identity of a 29-year-old Chino woman who died in a crash on the 57 Freeway in San Dimas.
Christine Soto died at the scene of the crash, which took place about 1:20 a.m. Saturday on the southbound 57 Freeway, just north of Via Verde, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records.
She was driving a 2013 Kia Optima when the car rear-ended a big rig, then smashed into the center divider, Officer C. Flores of the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office said in a written statement.
The driver of the big rig was unhurt, officials added.
Any witnesses are encouraged to contact the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office at 626-338-1164.

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Chino woman killed in San Dimas freeway crash


SAN DIMAS >> A 29-year-old Chino woman lost her life in a crash on the 57 Freeway in San Dimas early Saturday, authorities said.
Coroner’s officials withheld the woman’s name pending notification of her family.
The crash took place about 1:20 a.m. on the southbound 57 Freeway near Via Verde, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
She was at the wheel of a 2013 Kia Optima heading south in the right-hand lane just before the crash, Officer C. Flores of the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office said in a written statement. A 2016 Volvo big rig being driven by a 53-year-old Fresno man was traveling directly in front of the Kia.
“Due to (the woman) driving her Kia at an unsafe speed for traffic conditions, the front end of the Kia collided into the rear end of the Volvo’s pull trailer,” Flores said. “After the impact, the Kia continued out of control in a southeasterly direction and the front end collided with the concrete center divider.”
Paramedics pronounced the Chino woman dead at the scene, officials said. The truck driver suffered no injuries.
CHP officials initially shut down all southbound lanes of the 57 Freeway. Lanes gradually reopened until the Sig Alert was cleared entirely just before 5 a.m.
Any witnesses are encouraged to contact the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office at 626-338-1164.

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San Dimas man who ran Ontario tool company pleads guilty to $9 million fraud of Pasadena bank

LOS ANGELES >> A San Dimas man who served as vice president of an Ontario tool wholesale company on Wednesday admitted to federal charges of defrauding a Pasadena-based bank out of more than $9 million, authorities said.
Chung Yu Yeung, also known as Louis Yeung, 39, served as vice president of Ontario-based Eastern Tools and Equipment Inc., U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
At an appearance Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles, Yeung admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and four counts of bank fraud, Mrozek said. He was scheduled to return to court June 20 to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder.
Between 2007 and 2012, Yeung admitted to setting up a network of shell companies, controlled by himself, to give the false illusion that Easter Tools was conducting far more business than he really was, officials said.
“Yeung admitted that the fictitious companies allowed him and other conspirators to falsely inflate Eastern Tools’ accounts receivable and financial statements in representations to East West Bank,” according to Mrozek.
After using fraudulent documents to boost his business’ line of credit, “Eastern Tools defaulted on the promissory note after East West Bank discovered the fraud, causing more than $9 million in losses to the bank, Mrozek said.
FBI and IRS agents conducted the investigation.
“This defendant went to great lengths to create the illusion of business that defrauded the victim bank out of millions, but law enforcement was able to penetrate the illusion,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said. “Crimes like these can threaten the stability of our financial institutions and therefore our national economy.”
Yeung was arrested in connection with the investigation in April of 2015. Alleged co-conspirator and Eastern Tools and former Equipment President Guo Xiang “David” Fan, 53, is also named in the same indictment charging Yeung. He remains at large.

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CHP, sheriff’s department to host ‘Coffee With a Cop’ in San Dimas


SAN DIMAS >> California Highway Patrol officer and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are inviting the public to join them for some coffee and conversation Tuesday during a “Coffee With a Cop” event in San Dimas.
The event is scheduled for 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Klatch Coffee, 806 W. Arrow Highway, California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said in a written statement.
“Coffee with a cop is as simple as it sounds. It is a chance to meet with your local officers and have a cup of coffee with them,” Jimenez said. “There are no agendas at this event, just an opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know the officers in your neighborhood.
Officers from the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office, which patrols much of the San Gabriel Valley, as well as deputies from the sheriff’s San Dimas Station will take part.
For more information, contact Officer Jimenez at 626-338-1164, or email rjiminez @chp.ca.gov.

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Have you seen these gunmen? 2 sought in San Dimas convenience store robbery

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SAN DIMAS >> Sheriff’s officials have released surveillance camera images of two gunmen who robbed a San Dimas 7-Eleven store last weekend.
The armed robbery took place shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday at the convenience store at Foothill Boulevard and San Dimas Canyon Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The two men pretended to be customers, browsing through products at the store, before both pulled handguns on the clerk, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Jorge Chavez. The robbers then emptied the cash register of money and fled with cash, as well as several miscellaneous items from the store. They were last seen heading east.
Officials described both robbers as Latino men in their late-20s.
One of the men was about 5 feet 11 inches tall, 180 pounds, of medium complexion, unshaven, with dark eyes. He wore a gray baseball cap with an 0319_NWS_SGT-L-ROBPHOTOS6American flag logo, glasses with white rims, a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants and black shoes.
The second robber was about 5 feet 10 inches tall, 180 pounds, of medium complexion, unshaven, with light-colored eyes. He had short, black hair, balding on top. He wore a dark brown zippered sweatshirt with a lighter color material inside the hood and possibly an “ECKO UNLTD” logo on the back. He also wore a black shirt with an unknown logo on the front, dark pants, and dark shoes accented with white.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2700. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
— Staff Writer Monica Rodriguez contributed to this report.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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