SOUTH PASADENA — Police jailed two women and a man after they were found driving around with stolen property and burglary tools early Wednesday, officials said. Among the suspects were a woman on parole for carjacking, as well as a documented member of the Mongols motorcycle gang.
Andrew Duarte, 32, Michelle Armenta, 37, and Rachelle Galarze, 35, all of Los Angeles, were booked on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools and identity theft in connection with the early-morning incident, South Pasadena police Sgt. Brian Solinski said in a written statement.
Armenta was already on parole for carjacking, and Duarte is on probation and a known member of the Mongols, Officer Spencer Louie said.
An officer was on patrol about 1:55 a.m. at Huntington Drive and Maple Street when he spotted a black Honda Civic stopped in the middle of the road with it’s headlights off, Solinski said.
“As the officer went to investigate, the Honda drove off, refusing to stop for the officer,” the sergeant said. “The Honda eventually stopped a half-mile away in the 55000 block of Berkshire Avenue in Los Angeles.”
The three suspects were detained without a struggle, he said.
Inside their car police found stolen credit cards and identification, handheld radios and tools used for burglary, Solinski said.
According to booking records, Duarte and Galarze were being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending their initial court appearances, while Armenta was being held without bail.
The investigation was ongoing, and anyone with information was asked to contact South Pasadena police detectives at 626-403-7270.
SOUTH PASADENA — Two men tied up and robbed a woman who arrived home Friday afternoon, interrupting a burglary, police said.
The victim, a woman estimated to be in her late-40s, arrived home about 6:20 p.m. in the 1500 block of Camino Lindo, near Flores De Oro, South Pasadena police Cpl. Matthew Ronnie said. Unbeknownst to her, two intruders had forced their way into her home by smashing a rear sliding glass door.
One of the men was armed with a knife, and they made mention of a gun, though the victim did not see it, he said.
The men ordered the woman to open a floor safe inside the home, the corporal said. “She couldn’t remember the combination due to stress. They tied her up and shoved her in the bathroom.”
The woman’s hands were bound with a pillowcase, Ronnie said. The men also stole the woman’s wedding ring from her finger.
“They told her since she was cooperating, they wouldn’t kill her,” he added.
While the woman was bound in the bathroom, the intruders forced the safe out of the floor and left, Ronnie said. The safe contained an unknown amount of jewelry.
Once the robbers had fled, the woman freed herself and called police.
The terrified woman was not injured in the incident, Ronnie said.
The robbers were initially described only as two black men of average height, both wearing dark clothing and black leather gloves.
Anyone with information can reach South Pasadena police at 626-403-7270.
SOUTH PASADENA — Police arrested a man and recovered lawn mowers and other equipment stolen from a gardening truck early Wednesday, authorities said.
The alleged theft took place just after 8:20 a.m. in the 2000 block of Milan Avenue, South Pasadena police Sgt. Brian Solinsky said. A neighbor called police to report seeing to men stealing garden equipment from a truck parked along the street.
“As she was on the phone with police, the two suspect got into black Toyota pickup and fled the scene,’ Solinsky said. “Officers responded and checked the area. They located two suspects driving in their vehicle at West Huntington (Drive) and Van Horne (Avenue) in the City of L.A.”
The passenger of the pickup truck ran to a nearby alley and escaped, the sergeant said. The driver was taken into custody without a fight.
The gardening equipment that had been stolen from Milan Avenue was recovered inside the suspects’ truck, he added.
The name of the arrested suspect was not immediately available pending the booking process.
SOUTH PASADENA — Coroner’s officials Friday released the name of a Los Angeles man fatally wounded by an off-duty California State University, Los Angeles police officer last weekend after allegedly shooting at the officer, authorities said.
Justo Quintero, 30, died at a hospital shortly after Sunday’s 1 a.m. shooting in the 1000 block of Arroyo Verde Road, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
Los Angeles County homicide detectives released little information regarding the encounter between the two men, citing the ongoing investigation and concerns for the safety of the officer, whose name has not been released, Lt. Holly Francisco of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
She declined to say why the officer was in the area, and said it was unclear why Quintero was there. The men did not know each other before the encounter early Sunday.
There was no argument, however the officer and suspect did exchange words, Francisco said. She declined to discuss the nature of the conversation, but said the officer did not identify himself as an off-duty law enforcement officer during the exchange.
“The suspect ended up pointing a firearm at him,” Francisco said. “The suspect did fire at the officer.”
The officer was not struck by multiple gunshots fired by Quintero, Francisco said. The officer returned fire, striking Quintero several times in the upper body.
Quintero got into a nearby car and began driving away before crashing into a parked car nearby, sheriff’s officials said. He was detained by South Pasadena police and taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena where he died from his wounds.
The officer was treated for abrasions to his face, though it was not clear exactly how he sustained them, Francisco added.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
SOUTH PASADENA — An off-duty California State University, Los Angeles police officer shot and killed an armed man who confronted him early Sunday, authorities said.
The wounded suspect, whose name was not available, died at a hospital shortly after the 1:01 a.m. incident in the 1000 block of Arroyo Verde Road, just south of Pasadena Avenue in South Pasadena, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“An off-duty officer employed by the California State University, Los Angeles – Department of Public Safety, was confronted by man with a gun when an officer-involved shooting occurred,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
“The suspect then fled the location in a vehicle before colliding with a parked vehicle a short distance away,” the statement said.
South Pasadena police officers detained the wounded suspect at the scene, officials said.
The wounded suspect, who sheriff’s officials said suffered “gunshot wounds to the upper torso,” was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The off-duty officer was treated by paramedics for minor injuries, officials said. The nature of the injuries was unclear.
“The suspect’s handgun was recovered at the scene,” the sheriff’s statement said.
South Pasadena police deferred comment to the sheriff’s department.
Further details regarding the circumstances of the fatal officer-involved shooting were not available early Sunday. Officials did not say why the armed suspect confronted the off-duty officer.
Nearby resident Carole Chaingan said she was in her apartment when she heard what sounded like about five gunshots coming from the direction of the street.
She said she heard no further commotion and could not see the shooting scene from her apartment window. She did not go outside.
The Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is assisting South Pasadena police with the investigation. Anyone with information was asked to contact the bureau at 323-890-5500.
SOUTH PASADENA — A lightning early Friday knocked out power to several hundred South Pasadena residents but injured no one, authorities said.
The bolt struck an electrical transformer in the 1600 block of Fletcher Avenue about 2:45 a.m., South Pasadena police Officer Randy Wise said.
The damaged equipment initially left 355 Southern California Edison customers in the dark, SCE spokeswoman Susan Cox said.
By Friday afternoon, all but 46 customers had their power back on, she said. Those homes were expected to have their power restored early Friday evening.
SOUTH PASADENA — Police are seeking two men in a white Mazda following a suspicious encounter with a teenage girl Wednesday afternoon.
The 15-year-old girl was walking to South Pasadena High School for basketball practice about 2:35 p.m. when a white, 4-door Mazda sedan pulled up alongside her and stopped at Diamond Avenue and Spruce Street, South Pasadena police Sgt. Robert Bartl said.
There were two men inside, he said. Both were described as heavy-set Latino men in their 20s.
The driver pulled up the collar of his white button down shirt to conceal his face, while the passenger wore a white T-shirt and sat in the reclined front passenger seat with his arm covering his face, the sergeant said.
Bartl said the driver shouted out to the girl, “Chica, Chica, come over here. You don’t have to be scared.”
The statement had the opposite effect, and the girl ran to South Pasadena High School without responding to or making eye contact with the men in the car, Bartl said.
When she reached Oak Street, the same white car passed by and honked before continuing east toward Fremont Avenue, he said.
The girl called her mother once she reached the school, he said. The mother, in turn, notified police.
Anyone with information is asked to contact South Pasadena police at 626-403-7270.
SOUTH PASADENA — A 16-year-old boy is accused of ramming police cars during a pursuit in his parents’ car Thursday, officials said.
The teen, whose name was not released due to his age, was ultimately arrested on suspicion felony evading of police and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, South Pasadena police Cpl. Shannon Robledo said.
The incident began shortly after 11 a.m. when police responded to a report of a family disturbance in the 1600 block of Amberwood Drive, the corporal said.
“Immediately upon arrival, one of the parties involved entered the family vehicle and drove away,” Robledo said. “An officer attempted to stop the vehicle and the driver sped away.”
As the car sped off, the driver — later identified as the teenage suspect — attempted to ram to motorcycle officers who were arriving at the scene, Robledo said.
Additional officers were called to assist as the teen led them on a chase that circled through the same neighborhood at “excesive speeds,” the corporal said.
“The driver rammed two police units before the pursuit was terminated,” he said. The collisions resulted in no injuries and only minor damage to the patrol cars.
Officers brought an end to the chase when they were able to use their patrol cars to box in the fleeing vehicle, Robledo said. The teenage driver was then taken into custody without a struggle.
“The juvenile stated that he had had a verbal argument with his mother and took the car because he was mad at the world,” Robledo said.
He was taken to the Eastlake Juvenile Detention Center in Downey pending his initial court appearance.
SOUTH PASADENA — Police Friday released a composite sketch of a man sought after a suspicious encounter with a 17-year-old girl earlier this week.
The incident, which police were investigating as a case of “child annoyance,” took place just before 4 p.m. Tuesday in the 1700 block of Via Del Rey, near Camino Del Sol, South Pasadena police officials said in a written statement.
The man passed by the teen in his car and made a U-turn, police said. He pulled up alongside the victim and asked where she was going, what her name was and where she lived, police said. He drove away after the girl told him to leave her alone.
Police described the man as Latino, 20 to 22 years old, of slender build, with brown hair. He wore a gray T-shirt and possible had a Dodgers baseball cap in his possession.
His car was a gray, 4-door, 2010 Toyota Corolla with tinted windows and chrome rims.
Anyone with information was asked to contact South Pasadena police detectives at 626-403-7280.
PHOTOS: TOP: South Pasadena police are seeking the man pictured in this sketch after a suspicious encounter with a teenage girl in the 1700 block of Via Del Rey on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.BELOW: South Pasadena police are seeking a man who drove a grey, 4-door, 2010 Toyota Camry similar to the one pictured here after a suspicious encounter with a teenage girl in the 1700 block of Via Del Rey on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. (Courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department)
SOUTH PASADENA — Police Friday released surveillance camera images of a man who broke into a Huntington Drive liquor store earlier this week, but fled empty-handed after he was unable to pry open a cash register.
The burglary occurred about 3:35 a.m. Wednesday at Ocean Liquor, 2005 Huntington Drive, Pasadena police Detective Richard Lee said in a written statement.
Lee said the burglar parking a white pickup truck with a ladder rack on top in front of the store before knocking down exterior surveillance cameras. He then cut through a security gate and smashed a glass door to get into the store, triggering a burglary alarm.
The burglar tried to pry open a cash register, but ultimately failed and left the store without any money or property, Lee said.
He was described as white, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds. He wore a light-colored tank top, a black beanie, dark colored shorts, white sacks, tan gloves and black sneakers.
Anyone with information was asked to contact South Pasadena police detectives at 626-403-7280.