SOUTH EL MONTE — Foul play is not initially suspected in the death of a 41-year-old South El Monte woman, which homicide detectives were sent to investigate Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The woman was found unresponsive by family members about 3:50 p.m. at a home in the 3400 block of Merced Avenue, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
An officials cause of death had not been determined Saturday, coroner’s Lt. Larry Dietz said, however the initial investigation indicated a natural death or accidental death such as a drug overdose.
Staff Writer Ruby Gonzales had a busy evening on the night crime desk:
SOUTH EL MONTE — Sheriff’s officials announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects in a July 7 South El Monte robbery and to the recovery of the more than $1 million stolen.
The reward is being offered in conjunction with Lloyds of London. The payment will be in proportion to the amount of money recovered.
Investigators believe the robbers were familiar with the operation and floor plan of Commonwealth International Inc.
The company at 12356 Barringer St. stores cash to be distributed to ATMs throughout the region.
The robbery took place just after 7 p.m. on July 7. Detectives said an unknown number of armed suspects forced their way through the ceiling, slid down a rope and surprised the employees.
Deputies said the employees were blindfolded.
After taking control of the business, the suspects loaded the money into a waiting vehicle, according to Sheriff’s Lt. Chris Brackpool.
He said there is no security video of the robbery because the suspects also stole the video recording device.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau at 562-946-7893.
PASADENA — A woman was wounded when shooting broke out at a neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.
Pasadena police said the woman, who was shot in the knee, may not have been the intended target. The shooter eluded capture.
Lt. Pete Hettema said callers reported shots being fired on Dearborn Street, east of Summit Avenue at 4:45 p.m.
Police were also told that someone may have been injured at the scene.
Hettema said witnesses heard an argument before the incident. But police aren’t sure if the dispute was related to the shooting and haven’t pinned down who were arguing, according to the lieutenant.
Police closed down the block and searched for the suspect. He wasn’t found.
Hettema said the woman was taken to a hospital with an injury that wasn’t life-threatening.
The suspect was only described as a Latino in his 20s wearing a black shirt and black shorts.
PICO RIVERA — A pedestrian was accosted by an armed man Wednesday who took his cellphone and headphones.
Sheriff’s Lt. Brian Yanagi said the victim was walking on Passons Boulevard near Holbrook Street when a man approached and pointed a gun at him.
Yanagi said the robber grabbed the phone and the headphones from the victim and ran.
The suspect was described as a Latino in his 20s, 5 feet 11 inches tall, about 160 pounds with short hair. He was wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt and black pants.
WEST COVINA — A man wearing a surgical mask, sunglasses and a beanie broke into a store display case and stole jewelry on Wednesday.
Police were told the jewelry was worth thousands.
The masked thief showed up at the Kmart at 3:45 p.m., took out a pair of bolt cutters and snipped the cable tying a jewelry display case, according to West Covina police Lt. Alan Henley.
After swiping the jewelry, the suspect walked out of the store at 730 S. Orange Avenue and was seen getting into a gray compact car.
ALHAMBRA — Police arrested two men and a woman plus recovered possible stolen property after pulling over a car seen at a burglary on Wednesday.
The suspects’ names, ages and city of residences weren’t available Wednesday night.
Alhambra police Sgt. Kean Oda said the investigation is ongoing. He added that detectives are also checking if the suspects are tied to other burglaries.
A residential burglary was reported about 1:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of Azalea Drive.
Oda said a witness gave descriptions of a suspect and a vehicle seen leaving the area.
An officer later spotted a vehicle matching the description of the getaway car on the westbound 10 Freeway. He pulled it over.
The vehicle stopped at Westmont Drive and Valley Boulevard and one of the passengers ran.
Police detained the remaining two occupants and later found their quarry near the 710 Freeway and Valley Boulevard.
Oda said officers also discovered what appear to be stolen items in the car.
SOUTH EL MONTE — A man forced his way into a woman’s home late Friday, punched her in the face and stole a ring from her, authorities said.
The home-invasion was reported about 10:40 p.m. in the 1200 block of Lerma Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Stacy Morgan said.
The victim, described by authorities as a 50-year-old woman, answered at her door to find a black man, about 6 feet tall, 200 pounds and wearing a black jacket, the sergeant said.
“When the victim answered, he forced his way in and struck her in the face with his fist,” Morgan said.
He then stole a ring from the woman, she added. The extent of the woman’s injuries wasn’t clear.
The robber fled, Morgan said, and a deputies searched the area but were unable to find him.
SOUTH EL MONTE — The Major Crime Bureau of the sheriff’s department has taken over the investigation into a takeover robbery of more than $1 million at a business late Thursday.
The robbery took place about 7:30 p.m. at Commonwealth International Inc., 12356 Barringer St., sheriff’s Sgt. Harry Drucker said in a written statement.
Three robbers forced their way through the ceiling of the business — a company that stores cash to be distributed to ATMs throughout the region — and slid down a rope, Lt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau said.
“They came on these victims in kind of a blitz fashion, so that they never got a good look at them,” Wegener said.
The robbers immediately blindfolded the employees, all men, and helped themselves to cash, primarily from the business’ vault, officials said.
“They stole an undetermined amount of money which is probably in excess of $1 million,” Wegener said. Because of the high dollar-value of the theft, the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau was assigned to handle the investigation.
Someone managed to call the sheriff’s Temple Station about 8:43 from inside the business to report being tied up and robbed, Sgt. Steve Ruiz said.
Investigators described the robbers only as men, and because the victims were blindfolded, it was not clear if they had any weapons.
Once the theft was complete, the robbers left the bound employees tied up inside the business, officials said. None were injured.
Forensic experts were called to the scene to search for pieces of evidence such as fingerprints and DNA, Wegener said.
Detectives were also in the process of re-interviewing witnesses and examining nearby surveillance cameras to see if they may yield any clues.
– Staff Writer Ruby Gonzales contributed to this story
SOUTH EL MONTE — An man armed with a gun stole cash from the register of a restaurant late Friday, authorities said.
The robbery took place about 8:35 p.m. at a restaurant in the 9300 block of Garvey Avenue, near Rosemead Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Kerry Carter said.
A man brandished a handgun as he entered the store and demanded money from the cash register, the lieutenant said.
He was described only as a male robber with his face covered, wearing a black jacket. He was last seen fleeing the area on foot.
SOUTH EL MONTE — A 41-year-old La Puente man died early Thursday in a four-car freeway crash in South El Monte, authorities said.
Miguel Angel Martinez died at the scene of the crash on the eastbound 60 Freeway at the 605 Freeway, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said.
“(Martinez) was driving (a 200 Honda) at a high rate of speed, losing control of (the Honda) for unknown reasons,” California Highway Patrol Officer H.J. Arroyo said in a written statement.
Martinez’s Honda “began to roll over multiple times, coming to a rest on its wheels,” Arroyo said.
A 2008 Lexus being driven by a 46-year-old Walnut man, a 2000 Toyota being driven by a 29-year-old Rowland Heights man and a 2005 Dodge being driven by a 27-year-old Corona woman all struck the wrecked Honda, the officer said.
All three drivers suffered minor injuries, and two of them were hospitalized for treatment, he added.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the East Los Angeles office of the CHP.