Man sought for attempted kidnapping of teenage girl in San Gabriel

SAN GABRIEL — Police are seeking a man who tried to kidnap a 16-year-old girl from the front of a family member’s home earlier this week, authorities said.
The girl escaped unharmed from the man, who grabbed onto her 9 p.m. Tuesday in the 1900 block of South Jackson Avenue, near Ramona Boulevard, San Gabriel police Lt. Brian Kott said.
Prior to the incident, she had been sitting on the east curb of Jackson Avenue near the home of a family member, police said in a written statement. She saw the suspect pass by her in his car, make a U-turn and pull over along the east curb.
The man got out of his car, and the girl became worried for her safety and began walking back to her family member’s home, which was beyond the man’s parked car, officials said.
“As the victim walked past the suspect, he stated, ‘You need to come with me,’ while simultaneously opening the rear passenger door of the vehicle,” according to the police statement.
“The suspect then forcible grabbed the victim by the collar, causing her to fall to the ground,” the statement continued. “As the victim tried to get back up, the suspect continued to grab at the victim’s feet while she kicked and struggled to get away.”
After breaking free of the man’s grasp, the ran back to her relative’s home, officials said, noting that the man followed beside her in his car for a short distance.
“No weapon was used or seen,” Kott said.
The lieutenant described the attacker as a Latino man in his late-30s, about 6 feet tall and of thin build. He had dark, wavy, shoulder-length hair and he wore a black jacket and blue jeans with holes in them.
He was driving a late-1990s-model black, four-door NIssan with tinted windows and chrome rims, Kott added.
While there was no indication Tuesday’s failed kidnapping was directly related to any other crime, Kott said it was worth noting that several other kidnappings and attempting kidnappings have been reported in the region over recent months, including incidents in Whittier and the San Fernando Valley.
Anyone with information on the San Gabriel incident was asked to contact San Gabriel police Detective Joseph Pelano at 626-308-2836, or the department’s dispatch center at 626-308-2828

Toddler struck by SUV in East San Gabriel

EAST SAN GABRIEL — Paramedics rushed a 2-year-old girl to the hospital in unknown condition Saturday after she was struck by an SUV on a residential street in the unincorporated county area of East San Gabriel, authorities said.
The incident was reported just after 5:10 p.m. in the 8900 block of Naomi Avenue, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
The child was conscious and alert when transported to the hospital, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Tim Bushrow said.
“The extent of the injuries won’t be known until she gets a full examination at the emergency room,” the captain said.
The driver of the SUV, a woman estimated to be in her 50s or 60s, remained at the scene and appeared to be cooperating with investigators, Bushrow added.
Both sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers responded to the scene of the collision, however the investigation was being handled by the Altadena office of the CHP.
The cause and circumstances of the collision remained under investigation, officials said, however reduced visibility due to sun glare was initially believed to be a factor.

FBI: San Gabriel man skips out on sentencing after admitting more than $11 million in fraud

The FBI is seeking a San Gabriel man who failed to show up for his sentencing Monday after pleading guilty to defrauding dozens of families of more than $11 million.
David Kaup, 29, pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of wire fraud April 9, FBI officials said in a written statement.
He admitted taking part in three separate schemes using the business names Lunden Investments, American Loans and Funding and First Mortgage West, officials said.
“Kaup admitted in his plea agreement that over a period of approximately five years, he defrauded more than 50 families out of more than $11 million,” according to the FBI statement. “Many of these victims were working class families who sought Kaup’s assistance in refinancing their homes.”
Through Lunden Investments, authorities said, Kaup solicited more than $9 million from investors, telling them them he was using the money to fund commercial loans.
“Kaup admitted in his plea, however, that he instead lost approximately $9 million of the victims’ money trading on the foreign currency exchange market,” according to the FBI statement.
Through the other two companies, ALF and FMW, Kaup tricked homeowners into sending him money by promising to help them refinance their homes at below-market rates, officials said. He told the victims he needed an up-front payment to demonstrate that they were financially qualified, which would be returned to them upon approval or denial of their loans.
But instead, officials said, Kaup used the money to buy luxury items for himself and trade on the foreign currency exchange market.
While carrying out the schemes, Kaup used the aliases David Smith and David Martinez, according to the FBI.
He’s described as 5 feet 11 inches tall, 190 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He’s been known to work as disc jockey in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas areas using the moniker, “New Age Dave.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles office at 888-226-8443.

PHOTO of David Kaup courtesy of the FBI.

School placed on lockdown after auto theft suspect flees from deputies in Temple City

TEMPLE CITY — Officials cordoned off a neighborhood and placed a school on lockdown Thursday morning as they hunted for an auto theft suspect.
The incident began about 8 a.m. when deputies spotted a stolen truck near an apartment complex in the 5300 block of Rosemead Boulevard, near Broadway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ignacio Somoano said. The driver exited the truck and ran.
Deputies set up a search perimeter of about two blocks in the area southwest of Rosemead Boulevard and Broadway, the lieutenant said.
Nearby San Gabriel Academy, just across the city border in an unincorporated county area near San Gabriel, was placed on lockdown as a precaution, he added.
The suspects was described as a Latino man in his 20s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, wearing a blue sweater, black short and a blue bandana on his head.

San Gabriel police officers help deliver baby in police station parking lot

SAN GABRIEL — Two San Gabriel police officers helped deliver an impatient baby girl inside a car in the police station parking lot Thursday, officials said.
The 26-year-old woman was in labor and being driven to a hospital by a friend about 9:45 a.m. Thursday, San Gabriel police officials said in a written statement.
While en route to the hospital, “She exclaimed that she was giving birth,” according to the statement. “Knowing that they had just passed the San Gabriel Police Department, the driver decided to make a U-turn and pull into the police department’s parking lot to seek help.”
Officer Steve Rodrigues was pulling into the parking lot as well when the driver flagged him down and told him about the situation, Lt. Tony Hernandez said. Hernandez then came out of the police station to assist.
The baby refused to wait another minute, and was born just almost immediately after the mother and driver arrived at the police station, officials said.
“Everything went went well and the baby was born healthy,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said he wrapped the infant in a sweater and handed her to the new mother.
The newborn girl and her mother were taken to a hospital where both were reported to be in good health, he added.
“The birth of a child is always a momentous event, but when it happens in the parking lot of a police department, it’s a spectacular event,” San Gabriel Police Chief David Lawton said. “We are just glad there were no complications and our officers were there to help.”

Lightning strike sparks house fire north of San Gabriel

A lightning strike during Thursday’s storm is believed to be to blame for a fire that cause about $50,000 worth of damage to a home in an unincorporated county area north of San Gabriel, officials said.
The fire broke out about 3:20 p.m. at the two-story house in the 9000 block of Southview Road, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
The fire was confined primarily to a crawl space beneath the home, and was initially believed to have been ignited by lightning, officials said.
No injuries were reported, however the fire caused about $50,000 worth of damage to the house, and $2,000 worth of damage to the contents of the home.
The house was declared uninhabitable pending repairs, officials added. The residents declined Red Cross assistance in finding temporary lodging and planned to stay with friends.

Man who died after being found wandering nude in San Gabriel remains unidentified

SAN GABRIEL — Authorities haven’t identified the man who was found Sunday lying on a curb wearing nothing but a pair of tennis shoes.
The man later died at a local hospital.
Coroner’s officials on Friday said an autopsy is pending.
San Gabriel Police got a call at 12:57 a.m. Sunday about a man running into the street at Del Mar Avenue and Valley Boulevard, Lt. Ariel Duran said.
Officers found a naked man on the east curb of Del Mar Avenue. It was about two blocks south of the location mentioned by the caller.
Duran said the man was speaking incoherently, having trouble breathing and trembling. Officers called paramedics.
The man went into cardiac arrest while in the ambulance. He was pronounced dead at San Gabriel Valley Medical Center.
Duran said the man appeared to be a transient and was seen a couple of times before by police pushing a shopping cart with recyclables.
- Ruby Gonzales

San Gabriel man accused of operating large pot growing operations in two Hacienda Heights houses

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Deputies jailed a San Gabriel man Tuesday after uprooting two marijuana grow houses in Hacienda Heights valued at about $5 million.
Zhichi Xu, 42, was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sales in connection with the indoor pot-growing operations, which were discovered about 7 a.m. just over two miles apart in the 3300 block of Glenmark Drive and the 14800 block of Rockhill Drive, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Raymond Enriquez.
“Inside of both homes, elaborate marijuana grow systems were discovered and more than 1,400 marijuana plants in various stages of growth were recovered,” the sergeant said in a written statement.
In addition, the homes had been wired to steal their electricity from Southern California Edison, officials said. The utility estimated the value of the stolen power in at more than $125,000.
Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau investigators also served a search warrant at Xu’s home in the 1300 block of Elm Avenue in San Gabriel, where money and “other evidence” were recovered, Enriquez said.
Investigation determined that Xu, “was the person responsible for operating and financing the marijuana grow houses,” he added.
According to county booking records, Xu was released from jail early Wednesday after posting $100,000 bail. His initial court date was not available.
BOOKING PHOTO of Zhichi Xu courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

San Gabriel police plan charity golf tournament

SAN GABRIEL – The San Gabriel Police Officers’ Association is signing up players and diners for its 3rd annual Badges of Courage Golf Tournament and Banquet.
The event is Aug. 20 at the San Gabriel Country Club, 350 E. Hermosa Drive, organizers said.
The golf tournament will begin with a shotgun start at noon, with sign-ins beginning at 11 a.m.
A four-course meal will follow the tournament, officials said. A dress code will apply.
The fee for golfers is $160 and includes lunch, dinner and a caddy, police said. Non-golfers can take part in the dinner for $50.
Golfers are asked to sign up as soon as possible to reserve a place in the tournament. Non-golfing diners are asked to RSVP by Aug. 19.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the San Gabriel Police Officers’ Association, as well as local charity organizations.
To make reservations or for more information, contact San Gabriel police Officer Vincent Salazar at 626-422-9052, or e-mail board@sangabrielpoa.com. Reservations and payments can also be made online at www.sangabrielpoa.com.
NOTE: This story has been corrected to clarify the tournament is to be held on Aug. 20.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson accused of felony hit-and-run following two San Gabriel Valley crashes

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United States Secretary of Commerce John Bryson was hospitalized and is suspected of felony hit-and-run following two crashes Saturday in San Gabriel and Rosemead, authorities said Sunday.
Bryson was driving a Lexus southbound in the 400 block of South San Gabriel Boulevard in San Gabriel about 5:05 p.m. when he rear-ended a Buick that was waiting for a passing train, according to a joint statement issued late Sunday by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and San Gabriel Police Department. The Buick contained  two men and a 17-year-old boy.
After the collision, Byson pulled his car in front of the buick and exited, San Gabriel police Lt. Ariel Duran said.
“He was just really confused. He said something to the effect of, ‘I guess we’d better pull over and exchange information,” the lieutenant said.
But instead, Duran said, Bryson placed the car into reverse, striking the Buick again, before driving off.
“The three males followed him in their car while calling San Gabriel Police officers via 9-1-1 and asking for assistance,” according to the statement.
Secretary Bryson continued driving to Rosemead, where sheriff’s officials said he collided with a second car, a Honda,  about five minutes later on San Gabriel Avenue at Hellman Avenue, “where he was found alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle,” according to the statement.
Bryson was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Capt. Michael Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau said.
Paramedics treated two of the three occupants of the Buick for apparently minor injuries. 
A man and woman inside  the Honda declined medical treatment, officials said.
The damage to both Bryson’s Lexus and the Honda was minor, Duran said. It was not immediately clear why Bryson was unconscious following the second crash.
“The investigation is in its preliminary stages. At this point in time, there is no indication that alcohol or drugs played a role in the collisions,” according to the written statement. “All parties were cooperative with law enforcement.”
Bryson’s Lexus was stored by San Gabriel police investigators pending further investigation. He was issued a felony citation at the hospital but not arrested.
Representatives of his office could not be reached for comment late Sunday night.
Before becoming Commerce Secretary, Bryson served as chairman and chief executive officer of Edison International, the parent of Southern California Edison, from 1990 to 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce website. He has also served as president of the California Public Utilities Commission and chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board.
On Thursday, Bryson gave the commencement address at Pasadena Polytechnic School, where several of his daughters went to school.