SOUTH EL MONTE — A man made off with an iPhone 5 after brandishing a pair or wire cutters at a cell phone store employee Saturday, officials said.
The robbery took place about 5 p.m. at a T-Mobile store in the 1800 block of Durfee Avenue, Sgt. Bensahile of the sheriff’s Temple Station said. He declined to give his first name.
A store employee noticed a man using wire cutters to open up a case containing cell phones, the sergeant said.
When confronted by a store employee, “He raised the wire cutters in a threatening manner,” Bensahile said. The thief then ran off with an iPhone 5 valued at $650.
He was described as a Latino man between 20 and 25 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 140 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, Bensahile added. He wore a red shirt and blue pants.
SOUTH EL MONTE — Authorities and concerned family members are asking the public’s help in tracking down two 16-year-old girls believed to have run away from home more than a week ago.
Cynthia Gaytan and Dacia Ramos were last seen June 12 at South El Monte High School, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Loy McBride said.
The girls were believed to have run away of their own accord, and foul play was not suspected, McBride said. At least one sighting of the girls has been reported at a Long Beach restaurant where Gaytan and Ramos were eating, and they did not appear to be an any distrss.
Nonetheless, after more than a week passed since the girls vanished, family members are growing increasingly concerned and asked anyone who spots the girls to contact deputies immediately.
The girls’ online communications indicated they planned to first go to Long Beach to work and save up some money before heading to Northern California to meet someone they’d met over the Internet.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171.
SOUTH EL MONTE — A gunman dressed in black and wearing a blue baseball cap got away with cash after robbing a liquor store Tuesday night.
Deputies didn’t say how much money the culprit took.
Mike’s Liquor at 2003 Rosemead Boulevard was robbed around 8:45 p.m.
Lt. Ignacio Somoano of the sheriff’s Temple station said the suspect approached a store employee, displayed a gun and demanded money.
He left with the money and was last seen in a white vehicle, Somoano said.
The suspect was described as a Latino. 25 to 30, and 5 feet 6 inches tall.
- Ruby Gonzales
SOUTH EL MONTE – A man was shot and killed Tuesday morning and his body found in the driveway of a silk-screen company, officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
Coroner’s officials identified the man as 27-year-old William Gilbert Ruesga of El Monte. The autopsy is pending.
He was found with gunshot wounds to his upper torso in the 10700 block of Weaver Avenue, Lt. Dave Coleman said.
Coleman said the shooting is believed to have occurred around 7:45 a.m. near residences a few doors down from where the man’s body was found.
Witnesses reported hearing an argument nearby then numerous gunshots, Coleman said.
Deputies didn’t know the motive behind the shooting. Detectives didn’t say if it was gang-related…
FULL STORY by Staff Writer Venusse Navid
SOUTH EL MONTE — Two men with a shotgun robbed a Durfee Avenue bakery early Sunday, authorities said.
The robbers entered Daisy’s Bakery, 1611 Durfee Ave., about 5:30 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jorge Marchena said.
One of the men brandished a shotgun as they demanded cash from a female worker, according to the sergeant.
The woman handed over about $250, and the robbers were last seen fleeing west from the bakery on foot, he said. The employee was not hurt.
A detailed description of the robbers was not available.
SOUTH EL MONTE — A man was wounded in a shooting along the Rio Hondo Bike Path Sunday, officials said.The attack was reported just before 4 p.m. on the bike path near San Gabriel Boulevard and the Rio Hondo, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Loy McBride said.The man hearing gunshots, but not seeing where they came from, before realizing he had been struck twice, the lieutenant said.He was treated for injuries not believed to be life-threatening, McBride added.Further details were not immediately available. The shooting was being investigated by deputies from the Sheriff’s Parks Bureau.
The owner of a South El Monte import-export company and the company’s manager were charged with using the business to move millions linked to illegal activity from the United States to Mexico.
Authorities didn’t say if the money came from drug traffickers.
Peace & Rich Import, Inc. on Weaver Avenue in South El Monte, the company’s co-owner and president Chaur Hwan “Kenny” Lin, 66, of San Marino and company manager Antonio Pareja, 53, of San Gabriel were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that include conspiracy, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, 63 counts of failure to file currency transaction reports and 28 counts of structuring financial transactions.
The indictment was filed in federal court on Feb. 13. It wasn’t clear if the defendants were arraigned Tuesday in a Los Angeles federal court.
The defendants received large sums and worked with peso brokers in Mexico to illegally convert the dollars to pesos, according to Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Peace & Rich Import, Inc. was described by federal officials as a wholesale distributor of silk flowers and other goods. But authorities allege Lin and Pareja ran the business as an informal money transfer system.
Couriers working in conjunction with a peso broker in Mexico delivered tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, to the business, according to the indictment.
The indictment alleged that the South El Monte company took in cash and did transactions without being registered as a money transmitting business and without filing reports which are required when a business accepts cash payments of more than $10,000.
Lin and Pareja allegedly disbursed the money as directed by a broker in Mexico to couriers for delivery to other businesses in America on behalf of their Mexico-based customers.
Lin also allegedly made a series of deposits that were less than $10,000 to avoid the filing of reports by the financial institutions where the deposits were made.
The scam is called a black market peso exchange scheme and is used to illegally bypass paying the fees banks charge for transferring money from one country to another, according to the indictment.
The court documents outline how such a scheme works.
A peso broker works with someone engaged in illegal activity, such as a drug trafficker, who has dollars that he needs to bring to Mexico and convert to pesos.
The broker finds business owners in Mexico who buy goods from vendors in the United States, such as Peace & Rich, and need dollars to pay for those goods.
The broker then arranges for the illegally obtained dollars to be delivered to the American vendors where they are used to pay for the goods bought by the customers from Mexico.
Once the merchandise is shipped to Mexico and sold by the business owners there for pesos, the money is turned over to the broker.
The broker then pays the drug trafficker in Mexico.
- Ruby Gonzales
Deputies are looking for three men who allegedly tried to kidnap a woman on her way to a restaurant Tuesday night.
The attempted kidnapping happened around 8:30 p.m. but was reported to deputies at about 11 p.m.
SOUTH EL MONTE — A 44-year-old woman from Los Angeles was walking to a restaurant in the 2300 block of Rosemead Boulevard when an older model Pontiac with three men pulled up next to her, according to Sgt. Lynette O’Brien of the sheriff’s Temple Station.
“They’re saying things to her in Spanish,” O’Brien said.
She said one of the passengers got out and tried to pull the woman into the car. The woman fought back.
A second man stepped out of the Pontiac and also tried to grab her. O’Brien said the woman bit one of suspects.
The suspects left.
The driver was only described as a Latino. One of his passengers was described as a Latino, 30 to 35, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 180 pounds.
The second passenger was described as a Latino, 30 to 35, stands 5 feet 10 inches and weighs 190 pounds.
They used a 2-door white older model Pontiac.
- Ruby Gonzales
SOUTH EL MONTE — Officials Wednesday identified a 75-year-old South El Monte woman who was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing a street.
Ofelia Herrera died at a hospital about two hours after being struck by a Chevrolet Tahoe about 9 a.m. Tuesday on Klingerman at Santa Anita Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
No crime was initially suspected in connection with the collision, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Jim Dexter said. The man who was driving the Chevrolet SUV, “immediately stopped and reported the collision,” he added.
Herrera was crossing north across Klingerman, within a crosswalk, when she was hit by the the SUV as it made a left turn onto eastbound Klingerman, according to Sgt. Michael Martinez.
The SUV driver made his turn after waiting for traffic to clear, Dexter said, but apparently failed to see the pedestrian.
The driver was not cited or arrested at the scene, Dexter said. The incident remained under investigation by deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station.
SOUTH EL MONTE — Two South El Monte High School seniors who lost fingers in a tug-of-war mishap during a pep rally continued recovering from surgery Wednesday, officials said.
The students, football player Pablo Ocegueda and soccer player Edith Rodriguez, each had several fingers ripped off when the rope snapped during a game of tug-of-war. The accident took place during the lunch period Monday.
“The last I heard, surgeries went into the early evening (Monday),” El Monte Union High School District Superintendent Nick Salerno said.
“The report we got is that the surgeries went well,” Salerno said. But it was unclear if surgeons were able to reattach some or all of the severed digits.
Due to medical privacy laws, information on the conditions of the students was limited, Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center spokeswoman Rosa Saca said Wednesday.
“They’re stable right now,” she said. “They’re awake, alert; they’re recovering from the operation.”
The exact circumstances of the accident remained unclear Wednesday, as well as the type of rope that was being used in the tug-of-war.
There were conflicting reports regarding exactly how many fingers each student lost in the mishap, or from which hands, though officials reported both students had at least four fingers severed in the incident.
The tug-of-war was done as part of the school’s Spirit Week, which traditionally pits the campus’ junior and senior classes against each other in competition, Salerno said.
Meanwhile, school psychologists and counselors, along with outside counselors, were on-hand at South El Monte High School this week to address the concerns of other students.
“We’ve had a lot of kids coming in for counseling and support and wanting to talk,” Salerno said.
In addition to the injured senior, students affected by the incident included those who witnessed it and friends of the injured students, he said.