SAN DIMAS — Officials suspected arson Thursday after firefighters quickly doused a small but suspicious brush fire in the San Dimas Canyon Thursday afternoon, for the fourth time this week, authorities said.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies first reported spotting the fire at 3:47 p.m. along San Dimas Canyon Road, near Golden Hills Road, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Sims said.
Firefighters had extinguished the flames at 6:02 p.m., before they consumed more than a 50-foot by 50-foot portion of brush at the base of the canyon.
The cause was under investigation, however Sgt. Louie Serrano of the sheriff’s San Dimas Station said investigated suspected Thursday’s fire was “most likely arson.”
Deputies, who first reported the fire after spotting it while performing extra patrols in the area due to the recent fires, saw several vehicles leaving the area but could not determine if any of them had been involved in the fire.
“We’re not detaining anybody. We don’t have anybody that saw anybody light this,” Serrano said.
Thursday’s fire was the fourth time since Sunday that firefighters have responded to brush fires in the same area.
Another fire reported shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday nearby along Horsethief Canyon Road was ruled arson, Serrano said.
Wednesday’s fire scorched about half an acre of brush before being extinguished, authorities said.
Two other fires broke out Sunday afternoon, officials said. An update on the cause of those fires was not available late Thursday.
None of the fires have resulted in property damage, officials said.
SAN DIMAS — Firefighters made quick work of a spot fire along San Dimas Canyon Road near San Dimas Sunday afternoon, hours before a second blaze ignited in the same area, officials said.
The initial grass fire was reported at 3:27 p.m. along San Dimas Canyon Road, north of Golden Hills Drive, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Sims said.
Los Angeles County firefighters, aided by La Verne firefighters, extinguished the flames in just over 15 minutes, Sims said.
Firefighters returned to the area about 5:30 p.m. after smoke was again spotted emanating from the same area, Sims said.
It was not immediately clear if the second fire was a separate incident, or a flare-up related to the earlier blaze, Sims said.
Water-dropping helicopters were quickly brought to bear on the fire as it remained less than an acre in size, officials said.
No structures were threatened by the flames, Sims said. The fire had initially been burning uphill through brush, but appeared to be, “backing down on itself.”
Some of the assisting firefighters were cancelled as their counterparts were getting the upper hand on the second blaze, which was declared “under control” about 6:15 p.m.
An arson investigator was summoned to the scene to look into the cause of the fires, she said.
SAN DIMAS — A deputy stopped an Upland man for jaywalking in San Dimas early Thursday and soon discovered he had just attempted to rob a nearby coffee shop, authorities said.
The deputy encountered Dean Andrew Perez, 19, about 6:30 a.m. as he was illegally crossing the street near Bonita and San Dimas avenues, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Vega said.
After determining Perez appeared to be under the influence of drugs, the deputy began making an arrest, the lieutenant said.
The deputy found a replica handgun in the Perez’s waistband as he patted him down and noticed he was wearing a handkerchief tied around his neck, Vega said.
Deputies soon discovered Perez had just tried unsuccessfully to rob a Starbucks coffee shop on Bonita Avenue, just west of San Dimas Avenue, officials said.
He had entered the store and just begun to pull the fake gun from his waistband when a customer walked in, apparently starling him, Vega said Perez fled empty-handed moments before being stopped by the deputy for jaywalking.
Perez was booked on suspicion of attempted robbery and being under the influence of drugs, Vega said.
According to county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment hearing Monday in Pomona Superior Court.
Deputies subdued a fleeing, wanted suspect with a Taser Saturday after he tried to run deputies off the road in Pomona, then led them on a freeway chase which ended in a crash in West Covina, authorities said.
Eddie Mendez, 30, of Pomona was arrested following the pursuit, which began about 11:30 a.m., according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records. He is on felony probation or Post Release Community Supervision under AB 109 of 2011, also known as prison realignment, following drug-related convictions.
At least one civilian car was also run off the roadway during the chase, Lt. Andy Berg of the sheriff’s San Dimas Station said. No injuries were reported to deputies or civilians.
Two deputies were driving in a patrol car at Gillette Road and Dudley Street in Pomona when a blue Chevrolet HHR with no license plates exited the parking lot of a nearby motel, sheriff’s officials said.
The driver, later identified as Mendez, “looked straight at them and drove toward them as if trying to strike them,” Berg said. “He tried to run them off the road.”
The deputy driving the patrol car managed to avoid a collision, turned around and began chasing the SUV.
As the fleeing SUV entered the westbound 10 Freeway, it pulled in front of a civilian car, forcing it off the road, Berg said. Officials were also looking into a report that a second civilian vehicle may have been struck by the suspect’s SUV during the chase.
Mendez continued weaving in and out of traffic as he sped down the 10 Freeway, Berg said. He soon crashed in West Covina.
“Eventually, in his weaving, he lost control. He hit the center divider near Azusa avenue,” the lieutenant said.
Mendez ran across eastbound traffic lanes and tried, but failed, to climb over a sound wall, Berg said.
Deputies chased after Mendez on foot and caught up with him as he was making a second attempt to scale the wall about 100 yards to the west.
Deputies shocked Mendez with a Taser, which disabled him and allowed them to place him in handcuffs without further struggle, Berg said.
Deputies determined Mendez was wanted on a “no bail” warrant due to a violation of parole or probation, Berg said.
After being examined at a hospital, Mendez was expected to be booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, evading police and hit-and-run, as well as the outstanding warrant.
SAN DIMAS — Two men carjacked a man of his Ford Mustang early Wednesday before getting the car stuck and abandoning the just-stolen vehicle, authorities said.
The ill-fated carjacking took place about 1:35 a.m. in the 400 block of West 5th Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Vega said.
A 21-year-old man was near his 1998 Ford Mustang when to men approached and demanded his car, the lieutenant said.
The victim refused, and one of the carjackers grabbed the man while the other pulled his keys from his pocket, Vega said.
One of the carjackers then entered the Mustang and began driving away, but the car became caught on a nearby gate, Vega said. Both men then fled the area on foot.
They were described as Latino men between 25 and 30, one with black hair and brown eyes, and the other only described as having brown eyes.
Electrical problems left nearly 200 Southern California customers without electricity in San Dimas Friday afternoon, as temperatures soared into the mid-90s.
An outage was first reported about noon in the area just northwest of intersection of the 10 and 57 freeways, according to SCE. About 140 customers in that area remained without power as of 4:30 p.m., and some were expected to remain in the dark through 2 a.m. Friday.
Another outage was reported just before 4 p.m. toward the northern end of San Dimas, according to SCE, shutting off power to 152 customers, according to SCE’s outage map, but electricity was restored within about an hour.
Also just before 4 p.m., more than 1,800 more SCE customers briefly lost power in northern San Dimas, La Verne and Glendora, though the power was restored within minutes.
SAN DIMAS — Three parked cars were destroyed in an arson fire early Wednesday, officials said.
Officials responded to a vehicle fire just after 3:40 a.m. in the parking lot of a business park in the 600 block of W. Covina Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Rebecca Rodriquez said.
All three vehicles were owned by the same person, she added.
One of cars appeared to have caught fire first, before the flames spread to the other two, the sergeant said.
The hood of the first vehicle that caught fire had been stolen, Rodriquez said.
It was unclear if the car had been set afire intentionally, or if it had caught fire while someone was attempting to steal parts from it.
The destroyed cars were valued at about $10,000 in all, she added.
Deputies turned the investigation over to the investigators from the Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail.
SAN DIMAS >> A 64-year-old Los Angeles man died Saturday in a speedboat crash during a racing event on the Puddingstone Lake in San Dimas, authorities said.
Gregory Wayne Belda was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which took place about 11 a.m. at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, 120 Via Verde, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Betsy Magdaleno. An autopsy was scheduled Sunday to determine exactly how he died.
The crash took place during a the 5th Annual Lake Puddingstone Sprint Boat Races.
“During one of the events, the lead boat lost control,” Lt. Denise Stephenson of the sheriff’s Parks Services and County Services bureaus said. “The boar traveling directly behind it collided into it.”
Belda was driving the lead boat, Stephenson added.
A man driving the second boat involved in the crash was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, the lieutenant added.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division, Stephenson said. Nothing criminal was initially suspected.
Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation officials have reported 15 watercraft-related fatalities since 1968.
Three women lost their lives there in an Oct. 15, 2011, watercraft crash.
Anesia Bautista, 47, of Glendora, Maricon Abello, 34, of San Diego and Aurora Yeso, 53, of the Philippines, died after the Sea-Doo personal watercraft they were riding collided with a 21-foot speedboat, officials said.
The remainder of the weekend races were cancelled following the fatal mishap, Stephenson said.
The races were scheduled to take place Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to dusk, according to park officials and the event Facebook page.
Race organizers could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park was open Sunday, however the lake itself was closed, Stephenson said. The lake was expected to reopen for public access Monday.
SAN DIMAS — An armed man held up a San Dimas check cashing business Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime took place about 4:15 p.m. when the robber entered Check Into Cash, 865 W. Arrow Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Vicki Gregory said.
The man brandished a handgun as he demanded money, ultimately fleeing with more than $2,000, officials said.
As he left, he ordered the employees and customers to go to the rear of the business, Gregory said. He was last seen running south from the store.
Two employees and a family including two children who were inside the store at the time were unharmed, Gregory said.
Officials described the robber as a white man between 40 and 50 years old, wearing a baseball cap, a hooded sweat shirt and jeans.
- Brian Day and Greg Cappis
SAN DIMAS — A Pomona woman suffered major injuries Thursday in a solo-car crash along the 10 Freeway in an unincorporated county area just south of San Dimas, authorities said.
The woman, 42, was rushed to a trauma center by helicopter following the 2:55 p.m. crash on the eastbound 10 Freeway, just east of Via Verde Street, California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said in a written statement.
She was eastbound on the 10 Freeway in a 2000 Nissan Maxima when she exited at Via Verde Street, went through an intersection at the base of the offramp, then got onto the onramp back onto the eastbound 10 Freeway, Jimenez said.
For reasons that remained under investigation, the Nissan veered toward the left until it went off the side of the onramp, the officer said.
“The Nissan travelled out of control through the uphill embankment, became airborne and landed within the eastbound (10 Freeway) lanes,” Jimenez said.
The car overturned and skidded across traffic lanes, striking the concrete center divider wall coming to a rest on it’s wheels, blocking the two right-hand lanes of the eastbound 10 Freeway, according to Jimenez.
The woman at the wheel of the Maxima suffered major injuries to her head and face, officials said. Officials briefly shut down both directions of the 10 Freeway to allow a rescue helicopter to land.
The two right lanes of the eastbound freeway remained closed for about an hour after the crash.
Officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP are handling the investigation.