South Pasadena police arrest teen on suspicion of San Marino burglary, attempted robbery

Police arrested a Riverside teenager over the weekend after he was confronted by a resident while burglarizing a San Marino home, then tried to rob a man of a cell phone before ultimately being captured in South Pasadena, authorities said.
San Marino police responded about 10:15 a.m. Sunday to a report of a burglary in progress in the 2000 block of Winthrop Road, South Pasadena police Sgt. Brian Solinsky said.
The 17-year-old suspect “used a brick to break a window and gain entry into the home,” Solinsky said.
A woman who lives in the home heard a commotion and found the suspect stealing valuables, police said. He fled when confronted, escaping with an ornamental lock from a Japanese cabinet.
Solinsky said the fleeing burglar ran to a home that was under construction nearby in the 1300 block of Garfield Avenue and asked the caretaker to use a phone, Solinsky said.
When the caretaker refused, the teenage suspect claimed to have a gun and demanded the caretaker’s cell phone, the sergeant said. But the would-be robbery victim refused, and the suspect continued on his way.
South Pasadena police then received a call reporting a suspicious person, who was sweaty and appeared to be trying to change clothes, just across the city border in the 2000 block of Edgewood Drive, Solinsky said. Officers found him in the area and arrested him without a struggle.
No weapon was found in the teenage suspect’s possession, officials said. Due to his age, his name was not released.

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Body found in lake identified as missing San Marino man

62049-Kurt Brimberry, 55-thumb-300x400-62048.jpg
SOLVANG — A body found in a lake in Santa Barbara County has been identified as that of a 55-year-old San Marino man missing since his vehicle struck a tree in the area two weeks ago.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department identified Kurt Brimberry as the man whose body was found early Wednesday in the lake area of the Alisal Guest Ranch near Solvang. An employee made the discovery while walking around the lake and called authorities, who sent a dive team to recover the body.
Brimberry had been missing since the vehicle crash in the Aug. 18 crash in the 2500 block of Alisal Road, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. 
“The vehicle was totaled, and the driver was not found at the scene,” the statement said. “A passerby reported seeing a man matching Kurt Brimberry’s description walking toward the Alisal Guest Ranch, on Alisal Road, a short time after the time of the collision, but responding emergency workers could not find him.”
His cell phone was found inside his SUV, officials said. He was believed to be injured due to the crash, and also in need of medical attention for a medical condition.
After checking the local hospital and hotels and launching a search with the help of a helicopter and dogs, officials came up empty-handed. A public bulletin was issued by local authorities, along with Brimberry’s picture.
After more than a week with no sign of the San Marino man, the ranch employee spotted his body early Wednesday morning, sheriff’s officials said.
Investigators said the exact cause of death remained under investigation and may take several more weeks to determine.
– From staff and wire reports
PHOTO courtesy of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department
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UPDATE: Employees, security guard locked in vault during takeover robbery at San Marino bank

SAN MARINO — Two armed men wearing masks and sunglasses got away with a large amount of cash after a takeover robbery of a local bank Friday.
Police didn’t reveal the exact amount taken from the East West Bank at 805 Huntington Drive. San Marino police Sgt. Jay Wilburn said no one was injured in the heist, which took place just after 10 a.m.
“Both suspects were each brandishing an unknown type of handgun; one described as a black handgun and the second described as a silver and black handgun,” said San Marino police Detective Henry Todd.
“The suspects pointed these handguns at each of the bank employees and security guard and ordered each of them to lie down on the floor,” the detective said. “The suspects then forced three of the employees into a nearby ‘vault room.'”
While in the vault, the robbers helped themselves to a large amount of cash, which they placed into a large “military-style” bag, Todd said.
The gunmen only appeared to be interested in the money from the bank’s vault, police added.
“The suspects did not remove any currency from the individual bank teller stations,” Todd said.
Wilburn said the men fled from the bank in a burgundy Ford Mustang, which officers later found abandoned about a block away from the bank.
“It was stolen April 19 in Inglewood,” Wilburn said.
Police described one of the suspects as a black man, 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 5 inches tall and between 140 to 170 pounds.
He was wearing a black T-shirt, a hooded sweat shirt with the hood pulled over his head, a black knit cap, a pair of sunglasses, gloves and a mask that covered the lower portion of his face.
The other suspect was described as a black man, between 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 160 to 180 pounds. He had a thin mustache and wore a black nylon jacket with security badges or patches on the sleeves and chest, a black knit cap, gold-framed sunglasses and gloves.
Like his companion, police said this suspect also had a mask covering the lower portion of his face.
The FBI is assisting San Marino police in the investigation.
Anyone with information was asked to contact San Marino Police at 626-300-0720.
– Ruby Gonzales and Brian Day
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UPDATE: Fire causes $2 million in damage to San Marino realty office

SAN MARINO — A massive fire caused an estimated $2 million worth of damage to a real estate office early Friday, authorities said.
No one was injured in the four-alarm blaze, which was first reported at 1:11 a.m. at Masters Realty, 2476 Huntington Drive, San Marino Fire Department officials said in a written statement.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation Friday, San Marino Fire Department Division Chief Rick Mayhew said.
“They’re actually still trying to dig through all of the rubble to get to the actual point of origin,” Mayhew said.
Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke pouring out of the windows of the business, officials said. They immediately called for additional firefighters and began attacking the flames.
“The extreme fire conditions inside the occupancy kept firefighters from advancing any further into the structure,” the statement said.
Firefighters then called for additional backup and used large, truck-mounted hoses to control the fire before sending personnel in with handheld hoses, officials said.
Authorities continued battling the blaze for more than two and a half hours, fire officials said.
“Due to the effective actions all firefighters on scene, the fire was contained to the occupancy of origin, thus preventing any losses to the adjacent business,” according to the written statement.
The neighboring business attached to Masters Realty sustained only minor damage, Mayhew said.
In addition to the San Marino Fire Department, officials from the Los Angeles County, San Gabriel, Alhambra, Arcadia, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Monterey Park and Glendale assisted with the fire.
The fire departments make up a cooperative team of agencies that often works and trains with each other, Mayhew explained.
“They did an outstanding job, Mayhew said. “They work really well together.”
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Former San Marino High School football coach pleads not guilty to embezzlement

LOS ANGELES — A former San Marino football coach accused of embezzling $21,000 from school booster clubs pleaded not guilty Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Mike Mooney, 41, is charged with grand theft, according to a Nov. 22 felony complaint against him.
Mooney became head coach in 2010, but resigned later in the year after being placed on administrative leave.
School officials also suspended from his his position as assistant principal in charge of discipline and attendance.
The alleged theft took place between October of 2008 and October of 2010.
Mooney is due back in Los Angeles Superior Court for a hearing Jan. 17, court officials said.

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Police looking into San Marino break-in find inert grenades

SAN MARINO — Police investigating a break-in at a Mesa Road home discovered three grenades Thursday, which were ultimately found to be inert training grenades.
A gardener called police around 3 p.m. to report a window had been smashed at a home in the 1200 block of Mesa Road sometime since his last visit to the home on Tuesday, San Marino police Sgt. Robert Cervantes said. The residents were out of town.
Investigating officers found that the home had been ransacked and noticed three grenades sitting on a bed in the master bedroom.
“We cleared out of there, just to be on the safe side,” the sergeant said. A bomb squad was summoned, but cancelled before arriving after a police officers recognized the grenades as harmless training devices.
Officials left the devices, which are note illegal, at the home but dismantled them to avoid further misunderstanding, Cervantes said.
It was not immediately clear what, if anything, was taken from the home.
The investigation into the burglary was ongoing.

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San Marino police jail burglary suspect

SAN MARINO — Police arrested an 18-year-old Altadena man Friday on suspicion of burglarizing a San Marino house, authorities said.
Adrian Rodriguez was booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property and was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail, according to San Marino police officials and sheriff’s booking records.
A resident of Avondale Road called police about 10:50 a.m. to report to report a neighbor’s house had been broken into and two men were driving off in a black Chevrolet HHR, San Marino police Sgt. Aaron Blonde said in a written statement.
A witness provided police with a license plate number for the car, which was determined to have been rented by a Pasadena man, the sergeant said.
“This individual told officers that he had lent the vehicle to Mr. Adrian Rodriguez,” Blonde said.
After contacting Rodriguez by telephone, officers found him walking in the area of Lincoln Avenue and Woodbury Road in Altadena.
A police helicopter found the rented Chevrolet driving on Lincoln Avenue, Blonde said. “The vehicle was stopped, however, available information did not link the (female) driver to the crime.”
San Marino police received additional information that someone had hidden computer equipment in some bushes in the 3000 block of Lincoln Avenue in Altadena, officials said.
Officers recovered equipment allegedly stolen from the Avondale Road home, and a witness identified Rodriguez as the person who hid it.
The second burglary suspect was not found.
Rodriguez was due for arraignment Tuesday in Alhambra Superior Court.
Anyone with information is asked to call San Marino police at 626-300-0720.
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San Marino burglars take man’s ashes

This comes from reporter Beige Luciano-Adams:

SAN MARINO – Mary Jean and Charles Lynberg had long talked about spreading their ashes together after their deaths.

“He’d say Laguna, I’d say La Jolla – and he’d joke and say, `I’ll never find you there.’ I wouldn’t really care where they’re spread, just as long as they’re together,” Mary Jean said.

But burglars who broke into her home last Wednesday spoiled her plans.

Lynberg said she returned home from a short afternoon outing and found her home ransaked and the box containing her husband’s ashes gone.

Charles A. Lynberg died of cancer three years ago, leaving his wife alone in their San Marino home of 25 years.

Apparently there’s a rash of these instances. Then there’s the urn found Sunday in Covina. Don’t know if there’s any relationship between the two stories.

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San Marino man allegedly stabs police dog during standoff

SAN MARINO — Officials released the name Saturday of a San Marino man who allegedly stabbed a police dog and set his house on fire during a standoff with authorities.
David Pohung Liu, 45, lived at the home where the standoff occurred Friday in the 500 block of Los Arboles Lane, San Marino police said in a written statement.
Police responded to a burglar alarm shortly before 5 p.m. at the home when they encountered Liu in the doorway, San Marino police Lt. Steve Johnson said.
“(Liu) was in possession of a large knife and a gun,” the police statement said. “He told the officers to shoot him.”
Liu then went into his house where he remained for about five hours, police said.
SWAT officers from the Foothill Special Enforcement Team, which is made up of officers from police agencies throughout the area, surrounded the home while a crisis negotiator tried to talk to Liu via telephone, Johnson said. Liu refused repeated orders to surrender.
When police sent an Irwindale Police Department dog into the house, Liu allegedly slashed it across the head and muzzle, Irwindale police Sgt. Richard Breceda said. Officers were able to call the injured dog back out of the home.
A short time later, Liu set fire to his home, the San Marino police statement said.
“(Officers) used pepper ball guns and foam projectiles against Liu, who finally surrendered to the officers,” according to the statement.
Liu remained hospitalized Saturday for treatment of burns to his face and hands and smoke inhalation, police added.
A motive for Liu’s alleged behavior was not released.
The dog, a Belgian Malinois named “Rik,” was expected to be okay Saturday after receiving medical treatment, Breceda said.
“There’s apparently no permanent injuries,” he said, and the dog was resting at home with his handler.
Rik has been the Irwindale Police Department’s K-9 for about four years, Breceda added.
Johnson said Liu is expected to be booked on suspicion of charges including assaulting a police dog, obstructing police and brandishing weapons.

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Who is Clark Rockefeller?

Lifetime unveiled their heavily advertised made-for-TV movie this week. In case you missed it, here’s my review: (Snippet below)

Every now and again we in the newspaper business get packages containing DVDs of upcoming television programs.

It’s never anything good like “The Sopranos” or “Man v. Food.” So usually the DVDs end up in the round file with the all the other junk that entertainment publicists send here.

Needless to say that basket has been filled up with its share of Artemis Pyle CDs and “Dora the Explorer” lunchboxes.

About two weeks ago I got a DVD from Lifetime Network as part of a package touting an upcoming movie titled “Who is Clark Rockefeller?”

Honestly I had no desire to watch it.

Besides re-runs of “The Simpsons,” my box set of “The Wire,” “Poorman’s Bikini Beach” “Kelly’s Heroes” “Dirty Harry” or just about any Jackie Chan movie, my boob tube diet is limited – and it doesn’t include Lifetime.

But instead of tossing it, I stuffed it in a box in my garage and forgot about it.

I understand why they sent it my way.

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