30 jailed during San Gabriel Valley AB 109 compliance sweep

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY >> A task force charged with monitoring convicts released from jail under AB 109 guidelines arrested 30 people during a compliance check throughout the western San Gabriel Valley early Wednesday, officials said.
The task force visited the listed homes of 88 people who are free on Post-Release Community Supervision, under the 2011 state prison alignment plan, Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said in a written statement. The probationers were contacted at 61 of the homes, while the remaining 27 were either not home or not longer living at their listed addresses.
Compliance checks took place in Arcadia, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Monrovia, El Monte and Monterey Park, Sgt. Brett Bourgeous said.
“The zero-tolerance focus of the enforcement campaign was aimed at apprehending AB 109 absconders with outstanding warrants, and conducting compliance checks in accordance with a person’s probation conditions,” Flores said. “Many of the probationers contacted during the course of the operation were known to have previous court violations to include weapons charges, assault charges and property crimes.”
The 30 probationers arrested Wednesday were accused of crimes ranging from violating probation to drug charges, officials said. Officers jailed at least one of the probationers on suspicion of gun possession and seized a firearm.
The West San Gabriel Valley Anti-Crime Task Force is comprised of officers from the Arcadia, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Monrovia, El Monte and Monterey Park police departments, as well as the Los Angeles County Probation Department. Officials from the Long Beach, Burbank, Glendale and San Fernando police department also took part in Wednesday’s campaign, along with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and officials from the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services.

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Pasadena mounted volunteer thrown from horse, injured

SOUTH PASADENA >> A Pasadena Police Department mounted volunteer suffered injuries Sunday when she was thrown from a horse at a South Pasadena stable, officials said.
The volunteer, a woman in her mid-60s, was taken to a hospital with injuries including broken bones, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said. The injuries were not considered life-threatening.
The accident took place about 11:30 a.m. at the San Pascual Stables along the Arroyo Seco Trail, where the Pasadena Police Department’s Mounted Volunteers Unit stables its horses, the lieutenant said.
“She wasn’t sure what spooked the horse, but something did,” Hettema said.
The horse bolted, tossing the rider to the ground, he said.
The animal was recovered unharmed.
Hettema said Pasadena’s mounted police volunteers based out of the South Pasadena stable patrol park areas that are difficult to access by vehicle, such as the Arroyo Seco and the Rose Bowl.

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South Pasadena home destroyed by fire

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SOUTH PASADENA >> Firefighters responded about 4 a.m. to the fire at the single-story house in the 800 block of Kendall Avenue, South Pasadena Fire Department Capt. Chris Szenczi said.
The fire caused an estimated $600,000 worth of damage to the house and it’s contents, however no injuries were reported, the captain said.
Los Angeles firefighters who happened to be nearby arrived first at the scene, and were soon joined by their counterparts in the South Pasadena Fire Department, as well as other nearby fire departments, Scenczi said.
Firefighters extinguished the fire in slightly less than an hour.
The home was vacant following the recent death of resident, Scenczi said. The items inside had been boxed up in preparation to remove them from the home.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, however officials were looking into the possibility the fire was ignited by boxes left on top of a gas floor heater, Szenczi said.

PHOTOS by Rick McClure. GALLERY

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Police: South Pasadena suspicion person report leads to arrest of man with stolen items

SOUTH PASADENA — A report of a suspicious person in South Pasadena Friday led police to a theft suspect who was carrying stolen checks and credit cards, as well as a replica handgun, authorities said.
Officers used a Taser to subdue and arrest Domineke Ferguson, 23, of Alhambra, following the 1:40 p.m. incident that began in the 2000 block of Fletcher Avenue, near the Alhambra border, South Pasadena police Sgt. Matthew Ronnie said.
Officials took Ferguson to a hospital to be examined prior to booking him on suspicion of crimes expected to include receiving stolen property, Ronnie said. Ferguson also has outstanding arrest warrants, and additional charges were possible as well.
Ferguson knocked on the front door of a home, Ronnie said. A woman who lives there answered the door, and Ferguson told her he was looking for a friend named Mike before leaving.
The woman found the encounter suspicious and called police, Ronnie said. Police quickly arrived on scene and spotted a person matching the description given by the woman. The man ran when approached by police.
Officers chased down the man and ultimately used a Taser to take him into custody, the sergeant said.
Police found him in possession of checks and credit cards stolen believed to have been stolen from the area, as well as a replica handgun, Ronnie said. At least some of the items were taken in Alhambra.
The investigation was ongoing.

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South Pasadena police and fire open houses, car show, planned Sunday

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SOUTH PASADENA >> The South Pasadena police and fire departments are hosting an open house Sunday, alongside the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses car show , organizers said.
The open houses will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the South Pasadena Police Department, 1422 Mission Street, and the nearby South Pasadena Fire Department, 817 Mound Ave., city officials said in a written statement.
In addition to demonstrations and station tours, fire and police equipment will be on display and children’s fingerprinting will be offered.
“There will be a special area dedicated to emergency preparedness as the rear of the fire station,” according to the statement. Representatives from agencies ranging from the city level to the federal level will be on-hand providing information, along with officials from the Caltech Office of Seismology, who will be discussing earthquakes.
The open houses will coincide with the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Car Show, which will feature more than 300 classic cars.
For more information, contact the South Pasadena Police Department at 626-403-7270.

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Burglary suspects jailed after neighborhood search in South Pasadena

SOUTH PASADENA >> Police jailed two residential burglary suspects Thursday following an extensive search of a South Pasadena neighborhood, authorities said.
Kenny Franklin, 22, of Lakewood and Michael Ward, 26, of Los Angeles were ultimately arrested following the failed break-in about 1 p.m. at a home in the 800 block of Rollins Street, South Pasadena police Sgt. Matt Petersen said.
A witness called police after hearing a neighbor’s security alarm sounding, then seeing two men running away from the home, the sergeant said.
The two suspects fled down a nearby pathway known as the Snake Trail before emerging on Flores De Oro, Petersen said. Franklin was immediately captured, but Ward continued to run.
With help from other nearby police agencies, South Pasadena police set up a search perimeter to seek the outstanding burglary suspect, Petersen said.
A police dog found and bit Ward about two hours later as he was hiding in a backyard shed in the 1300 block of Meridian Avenue, Petersen said. He was booked into jail after being treated for dog bite injuries.

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South Pasadena serial arsonist sentenced

A man began serving a six-year prison sentenced this week after he was convicted of 12 counts of arson for torching cars and brush near his South Pasadena home.
The five-month arson spree of Javier Adolfo Viera, 36, began in November of 2012 and ended with his arrest in April of 2013, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Frances Young of the DA’s Arson-Explosives Section said.
An Alhambra Superior Court jury convicted him Tuesday of one count of arson and was continuing to deliberate on the other 11 counts when Viera announced he would plead “no contest” to the remaining charges, Young said.
He was immediately sentenced to six years in state prison and ordered to register on a state database of arsonists.
The arson fires targeted six cars and six spots of brush in the general vicinity of the Arroyo Seco, Young said. He began lighting brush fires before graduating to vehicles.
Viera told investigators he lit the fires out of jealousy and frustration.
“He was not happy with the way his life turned out. He begrudged people their good fortunes,” the prosecutor said.
The cars scorched by the arsonist included a Mercedes-Benz, an Audi, a new Volkswagen, a Honda Hybrid, a Toyota Prius and a 1972 International Harvester Scout, Young said.
“They were all really nice cars,” she added.
The fires appeared to be growing increasingly more dangerous, with one lit only inches away from a 10-unit apartment building. The cars were torched while parked in residential neighborhoods.
Following his arrest after his final car fire in Los Angeles, Viera confessed to other arsons, South Pasadena police Sgt. Robert Bartl said at the time. He told police he never meant to hurt anyone and needed help.
The brush fires all remained small, largely due to vigilant neighbors who spotted and doused the fires with water bottles and garden hoses while they remained small, Young said.
The brush fires were lit with toilet paper and cotton balls, Bartl said.
When he switched to lighting car fires, he began using trash bags full of pine needles with he left beneath the cars’ gas tanks and set afire, police said.
Viera was initially charged with 18 counts of arson, though six of the counts were dismissed prior to trial, Young said.
Additionally, investigators were looking into him in connection with at least eight additional fires in South Pasadena, Pasadena and Los Angeles, though no charges have been filed in those cases.
Viera was ordered back to court for a restitution hearing Aug. 22, Young said. He was disputing the $109,000 in alleged damages the prosecutor said he owed the victim for the damage he caused.

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South Pasadena police to join in Click It or Ticket campaign this month

SOUTH PASADENA >> South Pasadena police will be joining with law enforcement agencies throughout the nation this month in a crackdown on seat belt safety known as the Click It or Ticket campaign.
Officers will be on the lookout for those who fail to use their seat belts Monday through June 1, South Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
“In a crash, they stand a 50 percent greater chance of being killed than those who have taken the two seconds to buckle in,” according to the police statement.
“Memorial Day weekend kicks off summer vacation season, and we want to ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safe and sound,” South Pasadena Police Officer Jeff Holland said. “If you are not wearing your seat belt, you will be ticketed.”
“Wearing a seat belt is one of the easiest and best things you can do to protect yourself in the event of a car crash,” the officer added. “Taking a few moments to properly secure yourself and all your passengers before going on your way could mean the difference between life and death.”
Funding for the campaign is provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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9-year-old boy, good Samaritan honored for helping to save choking 3-year-old in South Pasadena

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SOUTH PASADENA>> The South Pasadena Police Department Thursday recognized a 9-year-old boy who called 9-1-1 to help save his choking 3-year-old sister, as well as a good Samaritan and the first responders who also rushed to the aid of the choking child.
The frightening incident unfolded Sunday afternoon at the family’s home in the 1100 block of Pine Street, after the mother of 3-year-old Yalaena Santos noticed she was choking on a grape, South Pasadena police Sgt. Mike Neff said.
The panicked mother, Jennifer Santos, scooped up the child and rushed outside to find help, Neff said. She handed her 9-year-old son, Jaequon Santos, the phone and told him to call 9-1-1.
The boy told the dispatcher what was happening and provided the address, Neff said. “He did a great job.”
Meanwhile, Max Storer, a local man on his way to work at Starbucks noticed the mother and daughter in distress and stopped to help, Neff said. He performed CPR on the choking girl prior to the arrival of police and fire officials.
Police arrived at the scene in about one minute, but were unable to dislodge the grape lodged in the child’s throat, police officials said in a written statement. Firefighters arrived about two minutes later, but were also unable to extract the grape.
So firefighters blocked intersections as firefighters rushed the girl, still struggling to breathe, about three miles to Huntington Hospital in Arcadia, police said.
“In the emergency room, (Huntington Hospital) doctors and staff were able to successfully remove the obstruction and the victim was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit,” according to the police statement. “The victim has since fully recovered with no adverse outcome.”
South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller hosted a ceremony Thursday at South Pasadena City Hall to recognize those involved in saving the girl’s life, as well as give the family a chance to meet with the police and firefighters involved in the rescue.
Jaequon Santos and Storer were presented with certificates of appreciation, Neff said. The boy was also given a remote control police car, and his sister received a pink blanket.
“The good Samaritan trying to help, what a good guy,” Neff said.
As a result of the experience, Neff added that the mother had signed up to participate in a first-aid class at the South Pasadena Police Department, and encouraged other parents to do the same in case of a medical emergency.
First responders honored for their parts in the incident included South Pasadena police officers Darren Wong, Tom Jacobs and Louie Cetro, as well as South Pasadena police dispatchers Stephanie Barrientos and Catalina Valdez and South Pasadena Fire Department Capt. Eric Zanteson, paramedics Dan Dunn and Matt Robertson and engineers Mike Larkin and Rocky Bergstrom.

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21 drivers cited during South Pasadena crosswalk safety sting

SOUTH PASADENA — Police ticketed 21 drivers Friday during a pedestrian safety sting along Mission Street, officials said.
The operation was held from 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. at a crosswalk spanning Mission Street at Fairview Avenue, South Pasadena police Sgt. Tony Abdalla said.
A detective dressed in street clothes strolled across the street as fellow officers watched for driver’s who failed to stop and yield to the pedestrian, the sergeant said.
Police issues 18 citations for failing to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, as well as three tickets for illegal cell phone use, Abdalla said. Another three drivers were warned but not cited.

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