Authorities release list of 57 guns seized from Pasadena police lieutenant’s home; Weapons cache valued at more than $50K

PASADENA >> Federal authorities on Sunday released a list of 57 guns, value at more than $50,000, seized by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents from the Sierra Madre home of a Pasadena police lieutenant in February.
ATF and Pasadena police have released little information about the ongoing investigation, during which the lieutenant has been placed on administrative leave.
ATF agents were seen seizing numerous gun cases from the lieutenant’s home during the Feb. 16 raid, however no arrests have been made, and no details of the investigation made public.
But the U.S. Department of Justice posted a list Sunday of the weapons seized during the search Sunday as part of a national listing of property targeted by federal officials for forfeiture.
According to the document, the arsenal seized from the home of Lt. Vasken Gourdikian included 34 pistols, valued at about $27,900, 21 rifles or rifle receivers, valued at about $20,450, and two shotguns, valued at about $2,600.
The cache of weapons represented a wide variety of guns, ranging from inexpensive and small-caliber pistols to pricey and powerful tactical rifles.
Gourdikian formerly served as the police chief’s adjutant and department spokesperson.
The lieutenant and the Pasadena Police Department have repeatedly declined to comment on the investigation.
The head of the ATF’s Los Angeles-area field office issued an advisory to Southern California law enforcement agencies in late-March, caution of a growing trend of illegal weapons dealing by police officers.

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Police: Man caught driving through Sierra Madre with replica gun, masks

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SIERRA MADRE >> Police investigating a suspicious person seen loitering outside a Sierra Madre home arrested a man driving around with a replica firearm and two masks in an SUV with its license plate removed late Tuesday, police said.
Anthony Luke Madrid, 20, whose city of residence was unclear, was booked on suspicion of an outstanding warrant from San Bernardino County, as well as possession of an imitation firearm with it’s orange safety tip removed, Sierra Madre police officials said in a written statement.
The arrest took place about 1 p.m. after a resident of the 2000 block of Liliano Drive reported seeing a suspicious person via her “Ring” video doorbell system, according to the statement.
“ When viewing the live stream video, the resident saw a male Hispanic in his 20s walk up to the porch, look to the left, then to the right and flee on foot, eastbound down the driveway of her home and enter the driver-side door of a Range Rover with paper plates,” the statement said.
Responding officers found an SUV matching the description nearby and pulled it over.
After stopping the vehicle for displaying no license plates, police discovered the driver, Madrid, had an outstanding warrant out of San Bernardino County, officials said.
While searching the vehicle, police found an imitation firearm with the orange safety tip removed, along with two masks and the license plates belonging to the SUV, police said.
Police cautioned residents to be cautious of so-called “knock-knock burglaries.”
“While not a new technique, ‘knock-knock burglars’ driving luxury cars are believed to be targeting affluent neighborhoods in the San Gabriel Valley,” according to the statement. “Often times, burglars make phone calls into homes before breaking in and a majority of them travel in luxury cars with paper plates.”
Anyone who spots something suspicious can reach Sierra Madre police at 626-355-1414. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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PHOTOS courtesy of the Sierra Madre Police Department

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Sierra Madre Police Department resumes full-time patrols

SIERRA MADRE >> After spending nine months reinforcing its depleted ranks to full force, the Sierra Madre Police Department resumed full patrol responsibilities for the city Sunday, ending an arrangement in which the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department handled nighttime law enforcement duties in the city, officials said.
In a written statement, Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Giannone said the transition started “another chapter in the history of the Sierra Madre Police Department.”
“After a trying 9 months of rebuilding and restructuring, the police department is back to full force and once again able to police this fine community on a full-time basis,” Giannone said.
Following the sudden departure of nearly half the Sierra Madre Police Department’s force in 2015, and with recruitment challenged by looming concerns over potential slashed revenues looming in the form of a ballot measure to cut utility tax fees on the April, 2016, ballot, Sierra Madre partnered with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to supplement police services.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station have bee providing patrol service to Sierra Madre between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily.
Giannone said he was grateful for the help.
“Our thanks go out to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for their commitment to keep our community safe while they assisted us with coverage,” the chief said. “They treated the community as their own and for that we are appreciative.
The chief also thanked the community for its patience, support and understanding as the department faced its recent challenges.
“Your unwavering support, kind words, cards, letters, and friendly waves have inspired the new personnel to embrace the community and make it their own,” he said.
Sierra Madre had first reached out to its neighbor, Arcadia, to assist with supplementing police services, but city officials there declined the idea, saying the Arcadia officers were needed in Arcadia.
But with utility tax revenues maintained by the voters in the April election, the department was once again able to focus on beefing up its dwindling ranks.
“We are ready to move ahead and look forward to serving you,” Giannone said.
The department will face another significant change later this year, as Chief Giannone is scheduled to retire Dec. 10 after 44 years in law enforcement, 9 of them with the Sierra Madre Police Department.

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UPDATED: Body of missing hiker from La Puente discovered near Hermit Falls in Angeles National Forest

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> The search for a La Puente man who disappeared during a hiking trip in the Angeles National Forest north of Sierra Madre came to a tragic end Saturday when officials discovered the man’s body near the base of Hermit Falls, authorities said.
Avid outdoorsman John Richard King, 63, left his home in La Puente on Thursday morning and never returned, according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
His family reported him missing after he failed to return home Thursday night, as planned, officials said.
King’s car was found in the parking area of Chantry Flat, and sheriff’s search and rescue team members launched a search of the area that continued all day Friday.
The searchers discovered King’s body near the base of Hermit Falls about noon, Sgt. Alan Lie of the sheriff’s Temple Station said.
Homicide detectives and coroner’s officials were summoned to the scene to continue the investigation.
“Detectives report his body was found in the water below Hermit Falls by the Antelope Valley Search and Rescue Team,” according to Deputy Ruan Rouzan of the sheriff’s information Bureau. “It appears Mr. King, while hiking, slipped and fell approximately 40 feet into the water.”
“There appears to be no foul play, and the fall was accidental,” Rouzan said. “Mr. King’s family arrived on scene to positively identify his body.”
No further details were available.

PHOTO of John King, 63, of La Puente (courtesy)

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La Puente man vanishes during hiking trip in Angeles National Forest north of Sierra Madre

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Rescuers continued searching the Angeles National Forest north of Sierra Madre on Friday for a 63-year-old La Puente man who went hiking Thursday and never returned, authorities said.
John Richard King was last seen about 10:30 a.m. on Thursday as he left his home in La Puente to go hiking in the Chantry Flat area of the forest, Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
King was expected to return home by 10:30 p.m. but never arrived, Deputy Oscar Cantu of the sheriff’s Temple Station said. A worried relative reported him missing.
“The missing person’s vehicle was located in the parking area of Chantry Flat,” Saldana said. “He is an avid hiker and his family is very concerned for his wellbeing.”
Sheriff’s search and rescue teams from Sierra Madre, Malibu, Montrose and San Dimas, assisted by a helicopter, went in search of the missing hiker Thursday night. The search was halted overnight and resumed Friday morning.
King is described as white, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 220 pounds, with short gray hair, brown eyes and a gray beard.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau’s Missing Persons Detail at 323-890-5500.

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Sierra Madre man accused of possessing child pornography

SIERRA MADRE >> Police on Thursday announced the arrest of a Sierra Madre man accused of possessing child pornography.
Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Juvenile Division, Internet Crimes Against Children Unit arrested Victor Alexander Randall, 38, about 8 a.m. Tuesday, according to Sierra Madre police and Los Angeles County booking records.
“Investigators initiated the investigation after receiving reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” Sierra Madre police Sgt. Joe Ortiz said in a written statement.
After being booked at the LAPS’s 77th Street Station jail, Randal was released from custody the same day he was arrested after posting $20,000 bail, records show.
Further details regarding the allegations against Randall were not available Thursday.
He’s scheduled to appear for an arraignment hearing on Oct. 14 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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Officials seek teen who went missing in Temple City

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TEMPLE CITY >> Sheriff’s officials asked the public’s help Thursday in finding a 17-year-old boy who went missing in Temple City.
Sterling Williamson was last seen about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on Birchland Place in Temple City, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The missing juvenile takes anxiety and antidepressant medication,” according the statement. “Possible areas of travel are Claremont where Williamson used to live, or Sierra Madre where his grandparents reside.”
He’s described a white, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 155 pounds, with green eyes and black hair.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171.

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Body found inside car in La Habra identified as that of Sierra Madre woman

La Habra Police and Orange County Coroner's Investigators examine the car where the body of a woman in her mid-30's was found in the parking lot on the West 1200-block of Imperial Highway in La Habra on Friday August 5, 2016. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

La Habra Police and Orange County Coroner’s Investigators examine the car where the body of a woman in her mid-30’s was found in the parking lot on the West 1200-block of Imperial Highway in La Habra on Friday August 5, 2016. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

LA HABRA >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a 34-year-old Sierra Madre woman who was found dead inside a parked car at a La Habra shopping center Friday morning.
Megan Sterling was pronounced dead at the scene after a man walking his dog discovered her unresponsive inside the front seat of a car parked outside a shopping center in the 1200 block of West Imperial Highway, near Idaho Street, Orange County coroner’s officials said in a written statement.
Her cause of death was yet to be determined through an autopsy.
It was not clear how long the woman may have been dead before her body was discovered. Police declined to comment on whether there were signs of trauma on the body.
Anyone with information can reach La Habra police at 562-383-4300.

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Pasadena woman taken for psychiatric evaluation following window smash spree in Sierra Madre, Arcadia

Police took a woman for psychiatric evaluation after a rock-throwing vandalism spree that caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to cars and buildings in Sierra Madre and Arcadia early Saturday.
The woman, a 35-year-old Pasadena resident, was expected to face vandalism charges once released from the hospital, Sierra Madre police officials said in a written statement.
The alleged rock rampage unfolded between about 7 and a.m., officials said.
Sierra Madre police received reports that the windows of three buildings and one car in their city had been smashed with rocks.
“While officers from the Sierra Madre Police Department were investigating the incidents, they soon learned that numerous locations were also vandalized with rocks in the City of Arcadia,” according to the statement.
Several cars at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, another car at the north end of Arcadia and a glass door at the Arboretum had also had their windows smashed with rocks, Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
Crowther spotted a car matching the description of the Sierra Madre vandal driving in Arcadia about 8 a.m., he said. He pulled over the car and detained the woman driving without incident.
“(A) witness positively identified the vehicle and the female driver as the one seen leaving the scene of one of the vandalisms that occurred in Sierra Madre,” the Sierra Madre police statement said. “During an inventory search of the suspect’s vehicle, numerous rocks — similar to the rocks found at the above crime scenes — were located inside the cab of the car.”
Police in Arcadia were still seeking witnesses Sunday to link the woman to the vandalisms in their city, Crowther said.
The woman appeared to be suffering from psychiatric issues and was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, officials said.
She faces potential charges of felony vandalism once released from treatment, police added.
The value of the damage in Sierra Madre was estimated at more than $3,000. An estimate of the damage in Arcadia was not available.

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La Puente named on of state’s 50 safest cities for third year in a row

LA PUENTE >> For the third year running, La Puente has been named one of the 50 safest cities in California by security organization Safe Wise.
The city earned the 48th spot on the SafeWise Report’s 50 Safest Cities in California list for 2016.
“Besides its enviably low crime rate, what caught our attention about La Puente is the way it cares for its children,” SafeWise said in a written statement.
“ La Puente’s Self-Esteem Through Activities Recreation and Sports program provides elementary school children with a diverse assortment of after-school activities. La Puente’s Teen V.O.I.C.E. program is a volunteer-based program for teens ages 13 to 18, and its Tiny Tot program helps build the self-esteem of children ages three to five.”
City Manager David Carmany said the designation “validated we are on the right track,” but said the majority of credit belongs to the city’s partners at the Los Angels County Sheriff’s Department, as well as city staff.
Six other San Gabriel Valley cities made the list of California’s top 50 safest cities.
Sierra Madre ranked 9th safest city in California, Walnut ranked 20th, Temple City ranked 38th, Diamond Bar ranked 42nd, Chino Hills ranked 47th and La Mirada ranked 49th.

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