SOUTH PASADENA >> Police and firefighters are inviting the public to enjoy a day of festivities, demonstrations, classic car show and more as they host the South Pasadena Police and Fire Department Open House this Sunday.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pasadena Police Department, 1422 Mission Street, as well as at the neighboring South Pasadena Fire Department, 817 Mound Ave., city officials said in a written statement.
Police canine demonstrations, fire department demonstrations and helicopter landings and fly-overs are planned, along with child fingerprinting, a classic car show, informational booths and workshops, giveaways and raffles.
For more information, including a schedule of events, visit www.southpasadenaca.gov, or contact Detective Richard Lee at 626-403-7285.
SOUTH PASADENA >> A Highland Park woman is facing federal charges after she was found driving through South Pasadena early Saturday with a treasure drove of identity theft-related items, including hundreds of pieces of stolen mail, stolen driver licenses, mailbox keys, blank credit cards and a credit card embossing machine, police said.
Marisa Rae Delgado, 27, was accused of mail theft, a federal offense, and other crimes, according to South Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
She was speeding along the 110 Freeway when an officer pulled her over, South Pasadena police Cpl. Craig Phillips said in a written statement.
“The female driver was found to have an outstanding felony warrant for grand theft auto,” he said.
Police arrested Delgado and searched the rented BMW she was driving, which she told officers had been rented by her boyfriend.
“An inventory search of the rented BMW found over 200 pieces of U.S. mail not addressed to the driver, which officers believe to be stolen,” Phillips said. “Officers also found dozens of blank credit cards, a credit card embossing machine, multiple mailbox keys for multi-unit housing complexes, several stolen driver’s licenses and other tools commonly used to commit thefts.”
Delgado, who has previous arrests for auto theft and identity theft, was being held without bail pending her initial court appearance, police said.
PHOTOS: [ABOVE] South Pasadena police seized hundreds of documents belonging to other people and other identity-theft-related items during a traffic stop on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. A Highland Park woman was arrested. [CENTER] Marisa Rae Delgado, 27, of Highland Park. [BELOW] South Pasadena police seized this credit card embossing machine, used to create fraudulent credit cards, along with hundreds of documents belonging to other people and other identity-theft-related items during a traffic stop on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. A Highland Park woman was arrested. (Courtesy, South Pasadena Police Department)
SOUTH PASADENA >> Police arrested a Los Angeles man suspect who went on an alleged crime spree Wednesday morning, sexually assaulting two teenage girls and one woman before breaking into five apartment in the south end of South Pasadena, authorities said.
The identity of the 22-year-old suspect, who was already on parole for burglary, was withheld as police continued following up investigative leads Wednesday afternoon, South Pasadena police Capt. Brian Solinski said during a press conference.
The string of crimes took place beginning about 7:30 a.m. in a four- to five-block area near South Pasadena High School, Solinksi said.
The suspect inappropriately touched or exposed himself to a woman and two underage girls out on the street, police said.
Immediately afterward, Solinski said the man began a burglary spree, breaking into five apartments in the same general neighborhood, Solinski said. Detectives determined the same man was responsible for all eight crimes reported in South Pasadena early Wednesday.
With help from the victims, detectives tracked the suspect to the 3000 block of Emery Street in Los Angeles, where they spotted a man matching the description of the South Pasadena suspect.
“The individual got into a car and tried to flee the scene,” Solinski said. Officers quickly pulled over the car and took the driver into custody.
Items inside the car linked the driver to the South Pasadena crime scenes, Solinski said. It was also determined that the car the suspect was driving had also been stolen early Wednesday.
None of the three sexual assault victims were physically unharmed, he said.
“There was some contact made, but nothing that produced any injuries,” Solinski said.
It at least some of the break-ins, the suspect got into the apartments through windows, he added.
Police and school officials placed South Pasadena High School and South Pasadena Middle School on precautionary lockdowns due to their proximity to some of the locations where the crimes occurred, South Pasadena police said in a written statement.
Police said officers found a knife at one of the residences that was burglarized. The lockdowns were lifted after the knife was discovered.
The investigation was ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to call South Pasadena Police at 626-403-7297.
WEST COVINA >> Coroner’s officials have identified a Lakewood man who died in a fiery multi-car freeway wreck in West Covina last week along with a South Pasadena man described as one of Taiwan’s most wanted fugitives, authorities said.
Gregory Donald Smith, 69, died at the scene of the crash, which took place about 1 a.m. on May 27 on the westbound 10 Freeway, just east of Citrus Avenue, said Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
He was unable to get out of his pickup truck following the crash. The truck became engulfed in flames.
An autopsy determined Smith died of “thermal burns,” and the death was ruled accidental, Winter said.
Also killed in the crash while driving another vehicle was 89-year-old You T. Wang, also identified by authorities as Wang You-theng, of South Pasadena.
Wang was in the middle of a decade-long court battle to avoid extradition to Taiwan, where he’s accused of embezzling more than $9 billion from a steel company called Rebar, which Wang founded in 1959. He allegedly drained the company’s assets and fled to the U.S. after the company when business took a sour turn in 2006.
Wang was ordered removed from the U.S. in late-2014 after years of litigation.
His appeal of that order was dismissed in December, but he then filed a petition for a review of his case by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice.
That review was yet to be heard when Wang was killed in last week’s crash.
The cause of the fiery five-car chain reaction, which resulted in two separate crash scenes, remained under investigation by the CHP.
It was initially believed to have been triggered when a Toyota Tacoma driven by Smith sideswiped a Lexus in the left-hand lane, initiating a series of collisions, CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said.
Anyone with information can reach the Baldwin Park area office of the CHP at 626-338-1164.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
SOUTH PASADENA >> A South Pasadena police corporal and an officer on his first patrol rescued a suicidal woman who was threatening to jump from a freeway overpass Sunday afternoon, officials said.
The incident unfolded shortly after 6:10 p.m., when police received a report of a woman threatening to jump from the Prospect Avenue overpass of the 110 Freeway, South Pasadena police Sgt. Spencer Louie said in a written statement.
Nine-year department veteran Cpl. Juan Salcido and Officer Brian Wiley, who graduated Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Academy 412 on Friday and was out for his first day of patrol, found the woman sitting on the ledge, facing the freeway, he said.
“She was hysterical and yelling while she was talking on her cell phone, threatening to jump,” Louie said. “Seeing that she was distracted while talking on the phone, Cpl. Salcido approached the female subject and grabbed her around the waist to pull her off the ledge.
“She struggled momentarily with Cpl. Salcido and with the assistance of Officer Wiley, they were able to safely get her onto the sidewalk,” he said.
The woman, 20, was taken for psychiatric evaluation, police said.
SOUTH PASADENA >> A jury convicted a parolee Wednesday of kidnapping and other charges in connection with a home-invasion robbery and attack targeting an elderly South Pasadena woman in 2012, officials said.
An Los Angeles County Superior Court Jury in Alhambra deliberated for less than a day before finding Alonzo Bernard Johnson, 53, of Los Angeles guilty of robbery, kidnapping to commit robbery and burglary in connection with the Aug. 6, 2012, crime at the victim’s home in the 1000 block of Indiana Avenue, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement. The jury also found true the special allegations that Johnson used a knife in the crime, and that he inflicted great bodily injury on his 79-year-old victim.
Johnson entered the victim’s home and asked if he could charge his cell phone, South Pasadena police Cpl. Matthew Ronnie said.
When the woman told Johnson to leave, he attacked the woman, breaking her nose, and pulled out a knife, according to police and district attorney’s officials.
“Johnson demanded money from the victim in her kitchen and then pulled her to the bedroom while using a knife, where he forced her to lay face down on her bed and attempted to tie her up with an electrical cord,” Ardalani said in the statement.
“Johnson repeatedly demanded that the victim give him jewelry as he continuously punched her in the head and face while threatening to kill her,” the statement continued The victim suffered brain bleed and a ruptured ear drum from the assault.”
As the victim continued struggling with Johnson, her 8- and 12-year-old grandchildren entered the house, and she called out for them to get help, Ardalani said. Johnson grabbed some jewelry and fled, but was soon apprehended across the city border in Los Angeles in the 5100 block of Huntington Drive, police said.
DNA evidence also led investigators to link Johnson to another home burglary that occurred in Pasadena on June 22, 2012, in which another elderly woman found Johnson rifling through her jewelry before he ran from her home, district attorney’s officials said..
Johnson had absconded from parole supervision for a previous robbery conviction at the time of the South Pasadena home invasion, and also had a prior burglary conviction, South Pasadena police Detective Bill Earley said.
Johnson faces the possibility of life in prison when he returns to court for sentencing June 17, officials said.
SOUTH PASADENA >> Police are seeking a 75-year-old woman visiting South Pasadena from Nepal who went missing Wednesday afternoon.
Ruk Bhandari was last seen about noon, walking away from her family’s home in the 1400 block of Grevalia Street, South Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
“Ms. Bhandari is visiting from Nepal and only speaks Nepalese,” according to the statement.
She is 5 feet tall, 150 pounds, with brown eyes and gray shoulder-length hair. She was last seen wearing a skirt, with pants, and gold earrings.
Anyone with information is asked to contact South Pasadena police at 626-403-7297.
PHOTO of Ruk Bhandari courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department.
SOUTH PASADENA >> A man who kicked and violently swung his Chihuahua in the lobby of the South Pasadena Police Department two months ago while department cameras recorded pleaded “no contest” to an animal cruelty charge, authorities said.
Christian Andrew Najera, 48, of Los Angeles pleaded “no contest” to a misdemeanor count of cruelty to an animal in the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Alhambra branch, Los Angeles County district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Judge Rupa Goswami immediately sentenced Najera to 120 days in jail and three years of summary probation, officials said. He was also ordered to attend 24 animal cruelty classes and take part in a six-month residential treatment program through Assessment Intervention Resources.
“Furthermore, Najera cannot own, possess, maintain, reside with or care for an animal for five years,” according ti district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
The case stems from a bizarre incident that unfolded about 10 a.m. on Feb. 6 at the Pasadena Police Department, 1422 Mission Street, Pasadena police and district attorney’s officials said.
Police department surveillance camera video shows Najera walking into the lobby of the department with his 2-year-old Chihuahua, Daisy, on a leash.
Station personnel watched on a live video feed as Najera kicked the tiny dog, and swung it violently by its leash, police said.
A police clerk and a dispatcher followed the abuser — later identified as Najera — until officers took him into custody, according to South Pasadena police Capt. Mike Neff.
It was unclear why Najera, who is believed to suffer from psychological problems and has a criminal history including previous violent crimes, went to the police station in the first place, police said.
The dog was placed in the care of the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, police said. The injuries were not significant.
PHOTOS — Surveillance video, Christian Najera [top], “Daisy” the Chihuahua [below] and courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department.
SOUTH PASADENA >> Police and fire officials from throughout the region will converge at South Pasadena Middle School Friday for an active shooter response training exercise, officials said.
Lifelike practice scenarios will take place from 8 a.m. to noon at the campus, 1500 Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena police Capt. Michael Neff said in a written statement.
“Active shooter events are some of the most challenging incidents that first responders face,” Neff said.
“This exercise represents over a year’s worth of planning, coordinating and training in Tactical Emergency Casualty Care by the seven agencies in preparation for the event and will focus on the quick and effective medical treatment of casualties within the area of operations.”
More than 75 first-responders from South Pasadena, Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, San Marino and the FBI will take part, Neff said.
Staff and students will not be at school Friday, as it is a scheduled staff development day, officials said.
SOUTH PASADENA >> Two quick-thinking roommates captured an alleged burglar by locking him inside their home until police arrived Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The incident unfolded about 3:15 p.m. as two men were outside their apartment in the 800 block of Meridian Avenue, South Pasadena police Cpl. Tom Jacobs said.
One of them spotted a man enter their home and recognized him as the same person who had broken in two weeks before, making off with a jacket and backpack, the corporal said.
“They closed the front door and held it shut, keeping the suspect inside,” he said.
The suspect remained trapped in the apartment until police arrived and took him into custody without a struggle, Jacobs said.
Elias Rodriguez, a 31-year-old transient known to frequent Los Angeles, was booked on suspicion of burglary, Jacobs said. He also had outstanding warrants for drug-related cases.