SIERRA MADRE — A man with a criminal history dating back decades is behind bars on suspicion of at least one Sierra Madre burglary, and is being investigated in connection with others, authorities said Thursday.
Christopher Martin, 50, of Pasadena was arrested Sunday and faced his initial court appearance Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court, Sierra Madre police Sgt. Keith Abbott said.
The sergeant said he arrested Martin in the early morning hours after determining he was involved in “felony activity.”
Abbott declined to say when, where or how many burglaries Martin is suspected in, saying he believed it could jeopardize the ongoing investigation.
He would say only that Martin is being investigated in connection with, “multiple burglaries and thefts in the greater Sierra Madre area.”
According to sheriff’s booking records, Martin was being held without bail and was due for his next court appearance on Nov. 22.
Los Angeles County Superior Court records indicate Martin has been convicted of 27 criminal offenses since 1987, ranging from minor traffic violations to robbery.
He was convicted of drug-related charges in 2010, 2006, 2005, three times in 2003 and 1992.
He was convicted of theft in 2008, 2007 and twice in 2004, records show. He was convicted of robbery in 1999.
Martin’s criminal record also includes three driving under the influence convictions, forgery, impersonation, giving false information to police, reckless driving and five separate conviction for driving without a valid license.
John Crawford over at Sierra Madre Tattler blogs about a break-in at his home that cost him:
a computer of the more traditional kind, two laptops including the one I usually type this blog on, a faux flat screen TV, a kid’s cello (the maestro seemed strangely unmoved by its loss), the stereo including a turntable, some jewelry and, oddly enough, a stack of my shirts.
At the tail end of the post, Crawford reveals how a similar break-in happened at Chief Marilyn Diaz’s home. You can read the entire post and all the comments here.
One man is dead and two other people are injured following solo-car crashes in unincorporated San Marino and Sierra Madre Thursday morning:
SAN MARINO — A man died at the scene of a crash Thursday after a pickup truck crashed into a pole, authorities said.
The incident was first reported just after 11:30 a.m. on Huntington Drive at Sunnyslope Avenue, just east of San Gabriel Boulevard, in an unincorporated county area near San Marino, California Highway Patrol Officer Krystal Carter said.
The dead man was appeared to be about 40 years old, she said.
Another man in the truck was hospitalized with injuries considered moderate to major, officials said.
The circumstances of the crash, which were being investigated by the Altadena office of the CHP, were not immediately available, Carter said.
SIERRA MADRE — A man crashed his car into a tree Thursday and was hospitalized in critical condition, police said.
The crash occurred about 10:30 a.m. in the 400 block of North Grove Street, Sierra Madre police Capt. Larry Giannone said.
The man, a Downey resident estimated in his late 30s, was badly hurt but was expected to survive Thursday afternoon, the captain said.
It took firefighters about an hour to free the injured man from the mangled Toyota Matrix, Giannone said.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, he added.
SIERRA MADRE — Prompted by the first rain of the season, emergency and city officials met with a small group of Sierra Madre residents Wednesday to take steps to protect their homes and loved ones from mudslides and debris flows that threaten the community in the wake of last year’s Santa Anita Fire.
While the Station Fire is is not affecting the hillsides near Sierra Madre, concerns remain because the hillsides are still unstable from the Santa Anita Fire, which started in April 2008 and scorched a little less than 600 acres above the foothill community, Sierra Madre Director of Public Works Bruce Inman said. The hilldsides are not expected to stablize for another three to five years, he said.
Because of limited resources and staff, he said, residents are encouraged take measures to protect their homes and loved ones in the event of major slides.
“We don’t have the resources and staffing to provide relief to individual residents,” Inman said. “You need to prepare and protect your own property.
Furthermore, he said, because of the Station Fire, county resources will likely be spread thin should the region receive significant rain.
Inman said residents should not be lulled into complacency by the amount of new growth on the hillsides above Sierra Madre, as the ground remains unstable.
The both city and county officials have taken steps since last year to strengthen the community against mudslides and debris flows, Inman said, but added there will undoubtedly be mud during the rainy season.
A system of green, yellow and red flags throughout the city keep residents posted on the current threat level, officials explained. Green flags were posted Wednesday.
A three stage warning system is used by Sierra Madre to warn residents of the threat level posed by mudslides.
A green flag is erected when officials receive word that there’s an 80 percent or greater chance of rain, Inman explained.
A yellow flag indicated mudslides have occurred, but are relatively minor, he added. At this level, residents are asked to move their cars from canyon roads to make room fir emergency vehicles.
The final flag, red, indicated a significant mudslides have occurred, Inman added. Parking is prohibited during a red flag warning on all canyon streets, and mandatory evacuation will be ordered.
Should calls for evacuations come, Sierra Madre Volunteer Dire Department Chief Steve Heydorff encouraged residents to heed them.
“When we do ask you to leave, you need to leave. It could be a while for us as a fire department to get up there.”
Those preparing to evacuate should make plans for pets, as well as make sure to have seven days worth of supplies on hand, Sierra Madre Police Chief Marilyn Diaz said.
She also advised residents to look out for elderly or disabled neighbors who may need help during an emergency.
Officials referred residents to mudslide preparation information available on-line through the county Department of Public Works at www.ladpw.org.
During Wednesday’s rainfall, no issues with mudslides or debris flows in Sierra Madre were reported, Inman said.
The cause of the Santa Anita fire was never officially confirmed, Heydorff said, however investigators suspected a discarded cigarette was to blame.
Robert D. K. White, 56, of Sierra Madre said he he believed the city was doing everything in its power to prepare for the looming threat of mudslides and debris flows.
“We have a fantastic staff here in the city,” he said. “They’re our friends out there watching out for us.”
SIERRA MADRE — Officials rescued an apparently sick or injured bear Thursday that had barricaded itself underneath a Sierra Madre home, authorities said.
The incident began about 5 p.m. at a home on Olive Tree Lane, north of Grandview Avenue, police and search and rescue officials said.
“It’s a first for us,” Sale said. “In my 32 years with the team, I’ve never done a rescue on a bear.”
After being tranquilized by an official from the California Department of Fish and Game, members of the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team improvised a harness and a rope and pulley system to pull the bear out from the home’s crawl space, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team member Dick Sale said.
The female bear of about 175 pounds was taken to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Pasadena, he said.