SAN GABRIEL >> Police plan to screen drivers for sobriety and valid licences during a checkpoint Friday night.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within San Gabriel, San Gabriel police officials said in a written statement.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the National Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.
SAN GABRIEL >> The San Gabriel Police Officers’ Association is once again seeking players to take part in its annual “Badges of Courage” charity golf tournament.
The tournament will take place Nov. 9 at the Via Verde Country Club, 1400 Avenida Entrada, organizers said. Sign-ins will begin at 10 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at noon. A dinner will be held after the tournament.
•“Badges of Courage” golf tournament flier and entry form
The cost of entry is $125 per golfer, and $30 for non-golfing diners.
In addition to benefiting the SGPOA, a portion of collected funds will be donated to local charities, police said.
Golfers are advised to sign up as soon as possible. Non-golfing diners are asked to RSVP by Oct. 9. The event will include raffle prizes and a live auction.
For more information, to make reservations, or to inquire about advertising, sponsorship or donation opportunities, contact San Gabriel police Office Vince Salazar at 626-422-9053, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
INDUSTRY >> Authorities have released the name of a San Gabriel man who was fatally struck by a big rig after exiting his car on the 605 Freeway i Industry early Saturday.
Richard Taiyung Tswei, 62, died at the scene after being struck by a truck about 6:20 a.m. on the right shoulder of the southbound 605 Freeway near Valley Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Betsy Magdaleno said.
Tswei had exited his car for an unknown reason when he was struck by a big rig, according to Officer J. Gomez of the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office.
The truck driver remained at the scene.
INDUSTRY >> A San Gabriel man died after he was struck by a big rig after exiting his car on the right shoulder of the 605 Freeway in Industry early Friday, officials said.
The man, described as 62-years-old, died at the scene of the 6:17 a.m. collision along the southbound 605 Freeway, just south of Valley Boulevard, Officer J. Gomez of the California Highway Patrol’s East Los Angeles area office said in a written statement. His name was not released pending notification of family.
Officers investigating reports of a man lying on the right shoulder found the man unconscious, lying directly in front of his Toyota Camry, Gomez said.
Investigators determined that, for an unknown reason, the man had exited his car before being struck by a 2004 Peterbilt big rig, the officer said.
The driver of the truck remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, CHP Officer Alex Rubio said. The collision remains under investigation.
SAN GABRIEL >> A sewer line backup prompted officials to evacuate eight residents from a San Gabriel assisted living home for the night late Friday, officials said.
The incident was first reported about 7:10 p.m. at Vista Cove Care Center, 901 W. Santa Anita Street, according to a dispatcher at the Verdugo Fire Communications Center.
A crew working on the Alameda Corridor East San Gabriel Trench project nearby accidentally ruptured a sewage line earlier in the day, San Gabriel police Lt. Riki Nakamura said. By 7 p.m. or so, the sewage has seeped onto Santa Anita Street, creating noxious fumes and odors for residents of the nearby convalescent home.
About 30 residents were initially evacuated, though only eight were ultimately displaced overnight, according to police and fire officials. The displaced residents were taken to other care facilities for the night. They were able to return to their homes Saturday morning.
SAN GABRIEL >> Police are seeking a man on a bicycle who snatched a woman’s purse Wednesday, and possibly several others in the same area recent days, officials said.
The most recent robbery took place about 7:20 p.m. at Valley Boulevard and Palm Avenue, San Gabriel police Lt. Fabian Valdez said.
A woman in her 60s was walking down the street when a man on a bike rode past, grabbed her Coach purse from her shoulder and continued pedaling, the lieutenant said. The purse itself was valued at about $600. Inside was a cell phone, other personal items and more than $1,200 in cash.
A man on a bicycle also tried, but failed, to grab a purse from a woman’s shoulder about 5:15 p.m. in the area of Valley and San Gabriel Boulevards, just a few blocks east of the 7:20 p.m. crime, Valdez said. A witness reported seeing the robbery attempt, but police did not find the victim herself.
Several other purse snatchings have been reported in the same general area in recent days, he said. Further details were not available late Wednesday.
Valdez said police have increased patrols in the area and urged residents to be aware of their surroundings and avoid walking alone whenever possible.
Anyone with information was asked to call San Gabriel police at 626-308-2828.
SAN GABRIEL >> A transient is accused of a vandalism spree in which he damaged at least three cars and a home early Tuesday, officials said.
Police booked Alexander Valenzuela, 31, on suspicion of multiple counts of felony vandalism following the incident, which unfolded about 1 a.m. in the area of Pine and Marshall streets, San Gabriel police Lt. Fabian Valdez said.
Officers first headed to the neighborhood after a motorist reported a glass bottle had been hurled at his car as it passed by, the lieutenant said.
Police interviewed the driver and detained Valenzuela, who was still nearby, Valdez said.
As officers continued investigating, a second caller reported that a brick had smashed the window of a nearby home, Valdez said. Officers ultimately found two other cars in the area with shattered windows.
At least one surveillance camera captured images of Valenzuela in the area at the time of the vandalisms, Valdez added.
Once at the San Gabriel Police Department’s jail, Valenzuela assaulted two officers, inflicting minor injuries to one, Valdez said.
Due to his “erratic” behavior, authorities suspected he was either intoxicated or mentally ill, he said.
Valenzuela was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Thursday in Alhambra Superior Court, records show.
LOS ANGELES >> A judge sentenced a San Gabriel man to two months in federal prison this week for trying to smuggle 46 turtles and tortoises to Hong Kong via the U.S. Postal Service last year, authorities said. Some of the animals died as a result of the failed scheme.
Kwong Wa Cheung, 36, was also sentenced to two years of supervised release following his prison sentence, two months of which will be served in a halfway house, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. U.S. District Judge John F. Walter also ordered Cheung to perform 500 hours of community service at an animal shelter and pay a $12,000 fine.
Cheung pleaded guilty in August to a felony county of mislabeling wildlife intended for foreign commerce, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Mitchell said. Five additional felony counts initially filed against Cheung were dismissed.
On Aug. 13 at the San Gabriel Post Office, Cheung tried to ship three boxes containing 26 Eastern box turtles and 20 African spurred tortoises, officials said. Both species are protected and illegal to transport overseas by international treaty and federal law.
“Cheung used a fake name and address on the packages, and declared that the contents of the packages were ‘toys,’” according to the statement. Because Cheung used a false name, the postal service refused to ship the package, but also could not locate Cheung to return the packages.
Officials found the animals after at least one of them died and began to emit a strong odor, Mitchell said. It was not clear how many reptiles died as a result of the failed shipment.
Investigators ultimately identified Cheung as the person who tried to mail the reptiles, which had an estimated market value in Hong Kong of more than $10,000, Mitchell said.
ALHAMBRA >> A judge sentenced a Chino man to 374 years to life in prison Thursday for a spree of follow-home robberies targeting lone Asian women throughout the San Gabriel Valley in 2011, officials said.
An Alhambra Superior Court convicted Jose Lewis Avila, 33, of nine counts of robbery, one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of dissuading a witness from reporting a crime and one count of child abuse. The 12 charges stem from a eight incidents in March and April of 2011, investigators said.
Three robberies, one of which involved two victims, occurred in Alhambra, officials said. Three of he robberies occurred in San Gabriel, one occurred in Arcadia and one took place in Monterey Park.
“The defendant targeted women driving alone,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “Once the victims arrived at their homes, Avila accosted them and demanded their money and property. During each robbery, the defendant used a BB gun and covered his face with a bandana or mask.
But detectives managed to identify Avila the culprit in the crimes through surveillance video and credit card charges, officials said.
Additionally, Avila’s “unique” and “pretty” eyes helped victims point him out as their attacker, said Deputy District Attorney David Ayvazian, who prosecuted the case with Deputy District Attorney Gabriel Kim.
Avila was convicted of a similar string of crimes in 2005, Ayvazian said.
The assault with a deadly weapon charge was the result of Avila shooting one of his victims in the face with a BB gun during a robbery in Arcadia, officials said. He also threatened a witness not to contact the police, leading to the charge of dissuading a witness. And one of the robbery victims was holding a child in her arms during the crime, resulting in the charge of child abuse.
According to district attorney’s officials, the jury also found true special allegations that Avila used a deadly and dangerous weapon, the BB gun, in his crimes, and that he inflicted great bodily injury.
PHOTO of Jose Avila, 33, of Chino, courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department.
SAN GABRIEL >> A large fire in San Gabriel destroyed a vacant home and a commercial building and sent one person to a hospital with smoke inhalation Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
Firefighters first responded about 1:40 p.m. to a report of a fire in the 500 block of West Norwood Place, San Gabriel Fire Department Division Chief Bryan Frieders said.
“When the first arriving companies got there, the house was fully involved with flames and smoke,” the chief said. The house was vacant.
The fire had also spread into an attached 2,500-square-foot commercial building, which was also believed to be vacant, Frieders said.
Firefighters declared a “second alarm,” bringing about 55 personnel to the scene.
An elderly neighbor was taken to a hospital in good condition after apparently becoming overwhelmed by smoke emanating from the fire, Frieders said.
Officials extinguished the flames in 37 minutes, he said. A portion of the roof of the burning commercial building collapsed during the fire, as well as a wall inside the house.
The house and commercial building were destroyed by the fire, Frieders said, and the value of the damage was estimated to be $600,000.
But firefighters managed to keep the fire from spreading to a second home situated only a few feet away from the first, as well as to a backyard aviary containing more than a dozen birds.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, however investigators noted the structures have had reported issues with squatters in the past.
As firefighters worked to extinguish the Norwood Place fire, a second fire sparked at a nearby liquor store in the 1700 block of New Avenue, Frieders said.
The fire ignited inside the businesses electrical box, and ultimately caused about $30,000 to the store and its contents. It would have been much worse had firefighters not been so close when it started, Frieders said.
The cause of the liquor store fire also remained under investigation Thursday, though officials were looking into the possibility the electrical fire was caused by damage from the first fire, Frieders said. Both businesses are wired to the same electrical pole.