Rescuers take part in massive rescue drill in Angeles National Forest

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ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — About 100 rescuers including firefighters, search and rescue teams and law enforcement officers spent three days this week practicing how to deal with major car crashes involving vehicles over the side of mountain roads.
Foothill officials are no strangers to mountain rescue operations, however the large drill carried out Tuesday through Thursday gave them practice for the the type of massive, multi-injury mountain crashes that would require multiple public safety agencies to work together, according to Lt. Andy Berg of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s San Dimas Station.
“The ultimate goal of these exercises was to provide and open working relationship between county, state and federal resources to provide an efficient, unified response to incidents that occur in our local mountains, in order to provide life-saving services to the community we protect and serve,” Berg said. “By all accounts, this goal was not only met but was exceeded.”
Officials practiced coordinating with one another to perform rescues at simulated multi-vehicle, over the mountainside crashes, including ones involving buses. The simulated crashes were staged along Glendora Mountain Road and Mt. Baldy Road in the Angeles National Forest north of the San Gabriel Valley.
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Deputies and search and rescue team members from San Dimas and Sierra Madre, Los Angeles County and San Bernardino fire officials, California Highway Patrol officers and the Cole Schaefer ambulance company took part in the drill, Berg said.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
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Car scorched inside carport in Sierra Madre

SIERRA MADRE — A car was found in flames inside a carport outside an apartment building early Thursday.
The fire was first reported about 8:50 a.m. in the 00 block of Esperanza Avenue, Sierra Madre police officials said.
Officers arrived to find an unoccupied car fully engulfed in flames, which were spreading to the carport structure, police said.
Firefighters responded and extinguished the fire, police said. The cause was under investigation.
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Resident confronts intruders in Sierra Madre home

SIERRA MADRE — Two burglars fled Thursday after confronting a resident inside a Hermosa Avenue home, police said.
The crime took place between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in the 100 block of South Hermosa Avenue, Sierra Madre police Sgt. Joe Ortiz said.
Two intruders entered a home through an unlocked door, apparently unaware that a resident was inside, the sergeant said.
“They confronted the resident who was still home,” Ortiz said. “When that happened, they ran out the door.”
It was undetermined Friday what, if anything, had been stolen from the home.
Police described the intruders as a Latino man in his mid- to late 20s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 220 pounds, and a Latino man between 18 and 20 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 130 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to call Sierra Madre police at 626-355-1414.
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Senior citizen victim of “distraction-type burglary” in Sierra Madre

SIERRA MADRE — Two men posing as utility workers used a ruse to burglarize a senior citizen’s home Thursday, police said.
The “distraction-type burglary” took place about 3:30 p.m. in the 300 block of East Highland Avenue, Sierra Madre police Sgt. Joe Ortiz said.
Two men knocked on door of the victim, a woman in her 70s, and told her they needed to check her home’s water, Ortiz said.
One of the men kept the woman occupied in her backyard, while the second ransacked her home and helped himself to a significant amount of cash, the sergeant said. The amount of money stolen was not released.
The burglars were both described as heavy-set Latino men, one of about 20 years old and the other about 50, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Sierra Madre police at 626-355-1414.
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Previously deported felon arrested during traffic stop in Sierra Madre

SIERRA MADRE — A previously deported felon is in the custody of federal officials and awaiting deportation again following a routine traffic stop Thursday, authorities said.
An officer pulled over Antonio Camarillo, 35, of Los Angeles about 7:30 a.m. in the 00 block of South Baldwin Avenue, Sierra Madre police Sgt. Joe Ortiz said.
Camarillo initially provided a false name to the officer and was arrested, the sergeant said. Further investigation revealed Camarillo’s true identity as convicted felon who had previously been deported from the U.S., Ortiz said. 
The conviction was related to a narcotics case, officials added.
Camarillo was turned over to officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
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Memorial Park in Sierra Madre targeted by graffiti vandals

SIERRA MADRE — Visitors to Memorial Park Saturday morning found extensive graffiti damage, police said.
Benches, walls and the playground area of the park, 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., were found to be vandalized, Sierra Madre police Sgt. Joe Ortiz said.
Officials estimated that the park sustained $800-$1,000 worth of damage.
Anyone with information is asked to call Sierra Madre police at 626-355-1414.
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Burglar tries to force way into occupied Sierra Madre home

SIERRA MADRE — A burglar smashed the window of a family’s house early Saturday, but apparently ran off before getting inside, police said.
The incident was reported about 8 a.m. in the 600 block of Holly Trail Path, Sierra Madre police Sgt. Joe Ortiz said.
“Residents were home. They heard the sound of breaking glass,” Ortiz said.
The would-be intruder apparently fled after realizing the home was occupied, the sergeant said. A description of the burglar was not available.
Police found that a window screen at the home had been pried off and a window smashed, he added.
Anyone with information is asked to call Sierra Madre police at 626-355-1414.
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Sierra Madre man returns home after serving sentence for Canadian child porn conviction

SIERRA MADRE — A man convicted last year in Canada of possessing and smuggling child pornography has returned to his hometown of Sierra Madre after serving his sentence, police said.
Robert Matheson was convicted of possessing and smuggling 2,820 images and 285 video — many of them depicting underage boys engaged in sex acts with adult men, officials said.
He is also under investigation by U.S. officials, though investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been tight-lipped about their probe.
Because his conviction was outside the United States, Matheson is not required by California law to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law, Sierra Madre Interim Police Chief Larry Giannone said.
After being sentenced to 120 days in jail for the Canadian child pornography conviction, Matheson was released Wednesday, officials said.
On Thursday, “Mr. Matheson voluntarily came into the police station to advise us that he was back at his residence and simply stated; ‘There are two sides to every story,” Giannone said.
Prior to Wednesday’s release, ICE officials had been informed to expect Matheson’s release in February, however an exact date was not available, police said.
“I.C.E. is still actively working on the Matheson case, however it is a lengthy process and I am not at liberty to discuss details of the investigation,” Giannone said. “Mr. Matheson is aware of the continuing investigation.”
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Suspects arrested in connection with Arcadia break-in

ARCADIA — Police arrested three burglary suspects in Sierra Madre Thursday following an attempted break-in in Arcadia, authorities said.
Kenneth Battle, 25, of Los Angeles, Justin Tyson, 29, of Fontana, and Dewayne Tyars, 25, of Redlands were booked on suspicion of attempted burglary and receiving stolen property, Arcadia police Sgt. Tom Le Veque said in a written statement.
A woman heard a “loud and continuous” knock at her front door in the 400 block of Arbolada Drive about 8:45 a.m. and looked through the peep hole to see a man she’d never seen before standing on her porch, Le Veque said.
She watched as the man walked to the side of her house, then returned to the front door and began knocking again, police said.
The woman woke her husband, and the couple heard people on their rear deck and inside their bathroom, the sergeant said.
The couple dialed 9-1-1 to report the burglary, he said, and while on the phone with authorities, the residents saw two men walk out of their back yard.
 Arcadia police officers confirmed that an attempted break-in had occurred, Le Veque said.
“The suspects had removed the bathroom screen and tried to open the window,” he said. “It appears that the suspects either saw or heard the residents inside the home and abandoned their attempts to gain entry, choosing to flee.”
A short time later, a Sierra Madre police officer stopped a car on Baldwin Avenue near the 210 Freeway and noticed the description of the occupants and vehicle matched that of the Arcadia burglary attempt, officials said.
“After positive identification of two of the suspects, the trio was taken into custody,” Le Veque said. “Additional evidence was found inside the vehicle and the investigation is continuing.”
According to police and sheriff’s booking records, Battle and Tyson, who are parolees, are being held without bail. Tyars was released from jail the same day of his arrest after posting $50,000 bail.
All three were due for arraignment Monday in Pasadena Superior Court.
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