SAN MARINO >> San Marino police jailed a San Gabriel man this on suspicion of identity theft, mail theft and other crimes after catching him with a car filled with hundreds of pieces of stolen mail, checks, identification cards, credit cards, and other identity-theft related materials, police said.
Joseph Kamel, 40, was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail Saturday following his arrest on Thursday evening, according to San Marino police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Investigators had been seeking Kamel after he and his car were seen in connection with at least two mail or package thefts in the city dating back to May,San Marino police Sgt. Robert Matthews said.
After spotting Kamel driving through the city, an officers summoned backup and followed him into the 1500 block of Oak Knoll Avenue in Pasadena, where they pulled the car over and detained Kamel without a struggle, police said. He was alone in the black, 2011 Chevrolet Camaro.
“A subsequent investigation revealed Kamel to be in possession of a U.S. Postal service master key, hundreds of pieces of mail addressed to individual persons and businesses across Los Angeles County, over 100 checks that were addressed to other victims, banking statements, U.S. Passports, California Identification cards and Driver Licenses, credit card encoding and skimming devices, and ledgers containing personal and banking information of many other potential victims,” Sgt. Timothy Tebbetts said in a written statement.
Some of the people whose information was recovered from Kamel’s car had already been the victims of identity theft, Matthews said.
It was yet to be determined whether the case would be turned over to federal officials for prosecution, though it appeared likely, Matthews said. Mail theft is a federal crime.
Thursday’s arrest was the latest in series of arrests by area police for alleged large-scale mail and identity theft schemes.
Police in South Pasadena arrested a Highland Park woman on Sept. 3 after finding her driving through town with a treasure trove of stolen mail, documents, mail keys and other theft-related items. Marisa Rae Delgado, 27, is facing federal charges in the case.
And San Marino police in May arrested a mother and daughter for allegedly driving around with stolen mail, a U.S. Postal Service master key and methamphetamine, police said at the time. Estela Castaneda, 48, of Huntington Park and Elizabeth Castaneda, 22, of Rosemead, also face federal charges.
The two San Marino cases appear to be linked, officials said. Kamel posted bail for Elizabeth Castaneda following her arrest in May, officials said. Their relationship was unclear Saturday.
Kamel is scheduled to make his first appearance Tuesday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, records show.
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SAN GABRIEL >> Police arrested a convicted arsonist on suspicion of breaking into a San Gabriel plant nursery early Sunday, less than a month after the same nursery lost $34,000 worth of rare bonsai trees in another burglary, officials said.
Alonzo Delgadillo, 38, of Commerce was arrested in connection with this weekend’s burglary as detectives continued investigating his possible connection to the earlier break-in, San Gabriel police Lt. Riki Nakamura said.
A burglary alarm triggered just before 4 a.m. first brought police to the San Gabriel Nursery & Florist, 632 S. San Gabriel Blvd., according to the lieutenant. The owner also notified police that an intruder was visible remotely on the businesses’ surveillance cameras.
The suspect ran into the surrounding neighborhood as officers arrived, Nakamura said.
San Gabriel officers set up a search perimeter with help from Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Marino and South Pasadena police, he said. Officers and ultimately found Delgadillo hiding in a residential backyard, Nakamura said. They were about to send in a K-9 to apprehend him when he elected to surrender.
It appeared the burglary was interrupted before the suspect managed to steal anything, Nakamura added.
The same nursery was the victim of another break-in on Aug. 8.
“The suspect cut a hole in a chain link fence of the nursery and stole about $34,000 worth of bonsai trees,” Nakamura said.
The nine trees stolen in last months heist were valued between $950 and $5,000 each. The stolen trees have not been recovered.
Detectives had yet to establish a concrete link between the two break-ins, but were looking into the possibility they were releated, Nakamura said.
Delgadillo is already on probation due to a previous arson conviction, officials said.
SAN GABRIEL >> A man cut a woman’s neck and also stabbed her boyfriend when he defended her in an unprovoked attack at a San Gabriel boarding house early Thursday morning, police said.
Qiznyi Wang, 35, was jailed on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon following the bloody attack, which unfolded about 2:20 a.m. in the 1900 block of South Twin Avenue, San Gabriel police Lt. Brian Kott said.
“On arrival, officers found a 56-year-old female near the front of the residence near the street in front of the residence who was bleeding profusely from her neck,” Kott said.
The nine or so other residents of the home also came outside when officers arrived, the lieutenant said. They didn’t speak English, but directed police toward the inside of the house.
Inside, officers encountered a 53-year-old man suffering from stab wounds, as well as Wang, police said.
“Both males were covered in blood and it appeared they were involved in some type of struggle, Kott said.
The injured woman was hospitalized in critical condition, he said. Doctors were optimistic she would survive her wounds.
The male victim, described as her boyfriend, suffered less-severe slashed to his head and arm, Kott said. He had been treated and released from a hospital Thursday afternoon.
Wang had moved into the house, which was operating as an unpermitted boarding house, just a day or two before, Kott said. Both victims were serving as managers.
Prior to the stabbing, other residents of the home had complained about excessive noise related to Wang, Kott said. But there was no physical fight or heated argument when Wang suddenly, and without provocation, grabbed a large kitchen knife and stabbed the woman in the neck.
The woman’s boyfriend tackled Wang and struggled with him before the knife was knocked free from his grasp, Kott said. Other residents of the home then helped hold Wang down prior to the arrival of police.
Wang was treated for minor injuries before being booked into jail, officials said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Wang was being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Monday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
SAN GABRIEL >> Police in San Gabriel are planning a checkpoint Saturday night to screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday at an undisclosed location within the city, San Gabriel police officials said in a written statement.
San Gabriel officers have investigated 69 DUI-related collisions, claiming one life and resulting in another 38 injuries, over the past three years, officials said.
Funding fro the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.
SAN GABRIEL >> Coroner’s officials have identified a 38-year-old Rosemead man who was fatally shot in the back during a gang-related dispute in South San Gabriel last week.
John Daniel Pollerana died at a hospital about 45 minutes after Thursday’s 11:47 p.m. shooting in the 1600 block of Del Mar Avenue, in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said.
He was among three men who became involved in an altercation with fourth other men in the parking lot of a motel, Lt. Jose Mendoza of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. The dispute was believed to be gang-related.
One of the four men pulled a handgun and shot the victim in the back, according to sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
One of the attackers drove away from the shooting scene in a white, four-door sedan, Mendoza said. The other three suspects fled the area on foot.
Deputies quickly found one suspect — later identified as 31-year-old Juan Luis Colin of Bell Gardens — on foot in the area and detained him, officials said.
Juan Luis Colin, 31, of Bell Gardens, was treated for cuts to his arms he suffered while fleeing from deputies through backyards before being booked on suspicion of murder, Mendoza said.
Investigators determined Pollerana was staying at the motel along with two friends, Mendoza said. The group had ties to a local street gang.
The four suspects, who are tied to an East Los Angeles street gang, had been staying in another room at the motel, he said.
The groups encountered one another in the parking lot and an argument ensued before “at least one” of the suspects pulled a handgun and opened fire.
Pollerana was mortally wounded. Another man who was with him suffered a grazing wound, it was later determined.
The three additional suspects remained at large Wednesday.
According to county booking records, Colin was scheduled to appear in the El Monte branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday for an arraignment hearing. He was being held in lieu of $2 million bail.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SAN GABRIEL >> Two brothers from Long Beach were behind bars Friday after San Gabriel police found them driving through town with a kilogram of cocaine stowed in a shoe box, officials said.
Manuel Eugenio Salazar, 23, and brother Jorge Eugenio Salazar, 22, were both booked on suspicion of transportation of narcotics following their arrests shortly before noon Thursday, according to San Gabriel police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The bust stemmed from a “routine traffic stop” about 10:25 a.m. in the 1300 block of South San Gabriel Boulevard, Lt. Riki Nakamura said.
An officers topped a Nissan being driven by Manuel Salazar, with his brother riding as a passenger, for having no license plates, the lieutenant said. It was also soon determined that the driver had no license.
Police prepared to tow the car, Nakamura said. While conducting an “inventory search,” police found a 2.2-pound brick of cocaine stashed inside a shoebox within the car.
A drug-sniffing dog examined the car but found no additional drugs, he said.
Manuel and Jorge Salazar were being held in lieu of $30,000 bail each at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Tuesday in Alhambra Superior Court, records show.
Ryan Dasalla, 17, of Rosemead (left) was shot to death near Gabrielino High School in San Gabriel on April 27, 2005. Daniel Guerrero, 29, of Rosemead (right) is on trial for the allegedly gang-related, mistaken-identity shooting. (Courtesy) Two other defendants, including Guerrero’s brother, have already been convicted and sentenced in the case.
PASADENA >> Trial is ongoing in Pasadena for a Rosemead gang member accused of murder in the mistaken-identity murder of a 17-year-old Gabrielino High School student in San Gabriel, which occurred 11 years ago today, authorities said.
Prosecutors made their case and continued calling witnesses Wednesday in Pasadena Superior Court in the trial of Daniel Guerrero, 29, in connection with the April 27, 2005, slaying of Ryan Dasalla, court officials said.
Guerrero, who was 18 at the time of the killing, along with then-23-year-old brother Daniel Guerrero and accomplice and fellow Varrio Nueva Estrada street gang member Sarah Toledo, then 17, shot and killed Ryan Dasalla in a case of mistaken identity, prosecutors said.
Toledo helped the brothers target Dasalla under the wrong belief that he was part of a tagging crew that had beaten up the Guerreros younger brother the night before, according to prosecutors and Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide detectives. Dasalla was shot in the back.
Friends of Gabrielino High student Ryan Dasalla mourn after school on April 28, 2005 at a makeshift memorial on Gladys Avenue, where he was fatally shot, about a block from the high school. (Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb)
Gabriel Guerrero and Toledo were arrested shortly after the fatal shooting, which took place about a block away from Gabrielino High School.
But the alleged triggerman, Daniel Guerrero fled and remained a fugitive until late-2013, when he was reportedly found and captured in Tijuana, Mexico, where he was living under an assumed identity.
He now faces charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, district attorney’s office spokesman Greg Risling said.
Records show jury selection in the case began April 4, and opening statement began April 20th, he said.
The other two defendants have since been convicted and begun serving lengthy prison terms.
Gabriel Guerrero received a sentence of 84 years to life in prison after a jury convicted him in 2010 of first-degree murder, and found true allegations the crime was gang-related and involved a gun.
Toledo received 50 years to life in prison in late 2011 after being convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, along with gang and gun enhancements.
SAN GABRIEL >> Police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and witnesses took up a collection to help a single mother who was dragged 20 feet by a pickup truck while being robbed of her purse in San Gabriel Saturday, officials said.
The crime took place about 10:45 a.m. outside a dry cleaning business in the 400 block of West Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel police Lt. Riki Nakamura said.
A 36-year-old woman stopped into the dry cleaning shop as her 7-year-old son waited in the back seat of her car. The boy was dressed in a costume, as the mother and son were planning a trip to the movies to see The Jungle Book before heading to lunch.
The woman saw a man approach her car and open a door, the lieutenant said. Fearing her son was in danger, the woman ran out to confront the man, he said.
The robber grabbed the woman’s purse from the front passenger seat of her car and fled to his own vehicle, a pickup truck.
Nakamura said the victim clung to the truck as the robber accelerated.
“He heads north on Ardmore (Drive), while she’s clinging on the driver-side door,” he said. “She’s asking for help and pleading with him to stop.”
The woman fell from the vehicle, tumbling in the roadway, before the suspect sped away, Nakamura said.
“I don’t know what possessed me. I guess it was just adrenaline,” said the mother, who asked her name be withheld due to safety concerns.”
She suffered injuries to her arms and legs, but declined to be taken to a hospital.
Despite her injuries, and the loss of her money and other personal belongings, including their movie tickets and Souplantation gift card, “She was more worried about breaking a promise to take her son to the movies,” the lieutenant said.
Touched by the scene, police officers, firefighters, EMTs and passers-by who witnessed the incident took up a collection to present to the woman, Nakamura said. They presented the mother and son with tickets to the same theater they were planning to attend, as well as extra money for popcorn or lunch.
Though sore and healing from deep abrasions and an injured knee, the mother said she was recuperating well Sunday.
Her son was also doing well, though she said the incident left him a bit nervous.
“He’s a little afraid now where he’ll stay with me. He doesn’t want to leave me,” she said. She planned to seek counseling for him.
The youngster also told his mother he was worried because he feared the “bad guy” now knows their home address from the items stolen from his mother’s purse.
But despite Saturday’s ordeal, the mother and son made it to the movies as planned, the grateful mother said.
With her family in Northern California, and while dealing with financial challenges, the woman said the kindness of strangers made her not feel alone following the frightening incident.
“I couldn’t believe it. What started off as a really dark, horrible situation ended up being jut an uplifting situation,” she said. “Complete strangers filled us with love and comfort and made us feel so secure.”
Police and the victim described the robber as a Latino man in his 40s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, 130 pounds, with a dark complexion. He drove a lowered, orange or copper pickup truck, possibly a Chevrolet Silverado, with dark tint on the windows. The truck’s paint was very shiny and clean.
Anyone with information is asked to contact San Gabriel police at 626-308-2828.
MONTEREY PARK >> Sheriff’s officials Friday announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with the fatal shooting of a man whose body was discovered inside a parked car in Monterey Park last week.
Andy Chen, 37, of San Gabriel is accused of the murder of Min Gu, 30, whose body was discovered about 6 p.m. March 21 in the trunk of a Lexus left parked in the 200 block of South Lincoln Avenue, according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
Investigators took Chen into custody about 4 p.m. Thursday, according to county booking records.
Sheriff’s officials announced the arrest in a written statement issued late Friday afternoon.
“Detectives believe the motive for the murder was a financial dispute,” Rouzan said.
No further details were released Friday.
The investigation began after witnesses reported a foul odor emitting from a a Lexus sedan, officials said.
Deputies soon discovered Gu’s body, which appeared to have been dead for at least a day or two when discovered.
An autopsy determined Gu was shot multiple times, and died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to sheriff’s and coroner’s officials. Gu’s city of residence was unclear.
Chen was being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending a scheduled arraignment Monday in the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Alhambra branch.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is assisting Monterey Park police in the investigation.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s homicide detectives at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SAN GABRIEL >> Police arrested a man and woman and seized nearly 700 marijuana plants Wednesday when they dismantled an illicit indoor marijuana farm operating out of the back of a San Gabriel tailor business, officials said.
Reports of suspicious activity at New Craft Design Inc., 864 Commercial Ave., first attracted the attention of police, who paid a visit to the longtime business about 2 p.m., San Gabriel police Detective Lt. Brian Kott said.
Officers entered the open business and immediately smelled a strong odor of marijuana, he said.
Officers detained a man and woman who were inside the building and detectives obtained a search warrant for the business, Kott said.
The front portion of the business was operating as a tailor business, and had been doing so for several years, Kott said. But the building had been subdivided.
“The other part of the facility was an elaborate marijuana-growing operation,” the lieutenant said.
Police uprooted between nearly marijuana plants, in various levels of maturity, from two subdivided rooms within the building, he said. The business had also been outfitted with a hydroponic gardening system.
Peggy Mui Do, 62, and Phuong Day Ung, 36, were booked on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, Kott said.
Do was in the front portion of the business when officers arrived, Kott said. Ung was detained after emerging from the subdivided pot farm.
Another woman not believed tied directly to the marijuana-growing operation was arrested after she showed up at the businesses during the investigation and was found in possession of a methamphetamine pipe, Kott added.
PHOTOS courtesy of the San Gabriel Police Department