Man injured, home destroyed in Temple City fire


TEMPLE CITY >> A man suffered burns in a fire that destroyed his Temple City home early Thursday, authorities said.
The lone resident suffered first- and second-degree burns over about half of his body in the fire, which ignited about 9:40 a.m. at a single-story house in the 4800 block of Birchland Place , Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Donald Rivas said. He was conscious when rescuers took him to a hospital, and the injuries were not believed to be life threatening.
Firefighters found the injured resident already out of the home when they arrived, Rivas said.
They knocked down the flames by 10:02 a.m., fire Inspector Randall Wright said.
The house, which was densely packed with items, was a “total loss,” Rivas said. The detached garage was also damaged in the fire.
Officials estimated to value of the damage to be about $500,000.
Rivas said the fire started in a family room before spreading throughout the home. The cause remained under investigation.

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Deputies hold 24-hour honor guard in memory of slain fellow deputy in Irwindale


IRWINDALE >> Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies stood in 24-hour guard Wednesday over the site where fellow deputy David March was fatally shot during a traffic stop 13 years ago.
Afternoon temperatures climbed into the mid-90s as deputies have continued the stoic tradition each year since March was gunned down along Live Oak Avenue, just east of Peck Road, on April 29, 2002.
0430_NWS_SGT-L-MARCH-MEMORIAL1Sheriff’ Jim McDonnell visited the memorial site to pay his respects.
“These deputies from Temple have taken the time to pay tribute to the life of Deputy David March,” McDonnell said. “This tribute exemplified the belief that’s shared throughout the law enforcement community that we will never forget, and that we want to respect the memory and the sacrifice through the year.”
March, 33, who was assigned to the sheriff’s Temple Station, was fatally shot after pulling over Jorge Arroyo Garcia, also known as Armando Garcia. After being captured in Mexico 0430_NWS_SGT-L-MARCH-MEMORIAL2and extradited back to the U.S., Garcia pleaded guilty to the deputy’s murder in 2007 and received a life sentence in prison.
Two by two, deputies, primarily from the sheriff’s Temple Station, took turns standing half-hour shifts over the spot where March was fatally shot, which is marked with a permanent memorial plaque. After standing frozen in place for 30 minutes, deputies changed guards with a brief ceremony.

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UPDATED: Missing 13-year-old Arcadia boy found safe in Temple City

ARCADIA >> Detectives seeking a missing 13-year-old Arcadia boy who disappeared after school Friday afternoon found him safe Saturday in Temple City, authorities said.
The grandmother of the boy dropped him off about 8 a.m. at Dana Middle School, 1401 S. First Avenue, Arcadia police Sgt. James Trabbie said.
“We have a record of him attending school,” the sergeant said. But he was not seen after.
“Just before midnight, the reporting party notified the Arcadia Police Department that his son had not returned home from school and has not been heard from,” Trabbie said. He did not have a cell phone or any money with him.
Detectives found the boy about 11:30 a.m. at the home of a friend in Temple City, Trabbie said. Police brought him back to the Arcadia Police Department to reunite him with his parents.
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Car struck by bullets while sitting at red light in Temple City; driver unhurt

TEMPLE CITY >> A gunman shot up a man’s car as he was stopped at a red light along Baldwin Avenue in Temple City early Thursday, officials said.
The shooting took place about midnight along Baldwin Avenue as the victim was heading north, approaching Bogue Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Abi Ben-Sahile said. But the crime was not reported until six or seven hours later.
Ben-Sahile said the victim, a man in his early-20s, told deputies he did not see the shooter, and initially thought someone was throwing rocks at his car.
But the man later realized bullets had struck both the front and rear of his car, the sergeant said.
The motive in the shooting was unclear.

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Temple City house fire blamed on ‘honey oil’ lab

TEMPLE CITY >> A house fire that ignited Tuesday, blew out windows and caused about $152,500 in damages is believed to have been caused by the manufacture of concentrated cannabis, also known as “honey oil,” authorities said.
The blaze was first reported shortly after 8 p.m. at a home in the 9800 block of Garibaldi Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire officials said.
Firefighters found butane bottles and turned over the case to the sheriff’s Temple station, fire Inspector Rick Flores said.
Butane is commonly used in process of concentrating marijuana into a more potent forms.
Investigators labeled the incident a “reckless fire,” believed caused by, “the manufacture of a controlled substance,” sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
Flores said nobody was home when firefighters arrived. Windows were blown out and the fire spread throughout the house, he said.
Firefighters put out the blaze at 8:21 p.m.
Flores estimated damages to the structure at $150,000 and the $2,500 to the contents.
No suspects were in custody in connection with the incident Wednesday, Chavez said.

– Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

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Officials, worried family members seek missing 71-year-old Temple City man with dementia

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TEMPLE CITY >> Officials sought the public’s help Thursday in finding a 71-year-old Temple City man who suffers from dementia and went missing from his home Wednesday.
Sarwat Zaki Gad was last seen at his home in the 5300 block of El Monte Avenue about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“Mr. Gad suffers from dementia and becomes easily confused,” the statement said.
He left his home in a silver, 2003 Toyota 4Runner with a California vanity license plate reading “AMARG,” officials said. He was last seen wearing a blue and green shirt and blue pants.
“His family is very concerned and is asking for the public’s assistance,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau’s Missing Person Unit at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously though L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-8477.

PHOTO of Sarwat Gad courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Temple City man shot during Pasadena home-invasion robbery

PASADENA >> Five home-invasion robbers shot a Temple City man inside a Pasadena apartment before fleeing with watches late Saturday, authorities said.
The wounded man was shot in the arm and grazed in the torso during the crime, which took place shortly after 10 p.m. at an apartment in the 600 block of East Union Street, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said. He was taken to a hospital where he was listed in stable condition.
A second victim of the robbery, described as a 17-year-old Pasadena boy, suffered abrasions to his arm during the home invasion, Luna said.
Police described the armed intruders as an Asian woman in her 20s, and four men of unknown race between 25 and 30 years old.
“The suspects entered the apartment and demanded jewelry at gunpoint,” Luna said. “A physical struggle ensued, and one of the suspects fired at the victim.”
The robbers fled with watches, he said, though the number or value of the watches was not clear.
Officers discovered the crime scene after responding to a report of gunfire, Luna added.
No further details were available Sunday.

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San Gabriel Valley men sentenced for running ‘black market peso exchange’

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge sentenced two San Gabriel Valley man to prison and fined their South El Monte-based import-export company $75,000 for illegally moving millions of dollars from the U.S. to Mexico as part of a “black market peso exchange,” officials said.
Chaur Hwan “Kenny” Lin, 67, of Temple City and Antonio Pareja, 54, of San Gabriel were each sentenced to a year in federal prison by Judge John A. Kronstadt, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. Lin was also ordered to pay a $6,000 fine, and their company, Peace & Rich Import, Inc. — a wholesale distribute of goods including silk flowers — was fined $75,000 and placed on probation for four years.
“Judge Kronstadt also ordered Peace & Rich and Lin to forfeit more than $2 million of funds related to the crime,” Mrozek said.
Lin is the president and co-owner of Peace & Rich, while Pareja serves as manager, authorities said.
They worked with Mexican businesses and “peso brokers” to help send millions of dollars south of the border while circumventing conventional financial institutions, officials said.
“An investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Los Angeles determined that Lin and Pareja used Peace & Rich to receive large amounts of cash derived from illegal activity,” according to the DOJ statement. “The cash – as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars – was typically delivered by couriers working in conjunction with a peso broker in Mexico.”
The cash was often hidden in duffel bags when transferred.
Under a black market peso scheme, peso brokers worth with people such as drug traffickers who have dollars in the United States which they want to send to Mexico and convert to pesos, Mrozek explained.
“The peso 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,” according to the statement. “The peso broker arranges for the illegally obtained dollars in the United States to be delivered to the United States-based vendors, such as Peace & Rich, where they are used to pay for the goods purchased by the Mexico based customers. Once the goods are shipped to Mexico and sold by the Mexico based business owner for pesos, the pesos are turned over to the peso broker, who then pays the drug trafficker in Mexico.”
Additionally, prosecutors said Lin circumvented cash reporting requirements when depositing large amounts of money into banks.

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Deputies plan noisy training Monday at Temple City High School

TEMPLE CITY >> Residents are forewarned to expect sounds such as gunfire, explosions and other noises Monday as sheriff’s deputies conduct a training operation at Temple City High School, officials said.
The training will take place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the campus, 9501 Lemon Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The training will simulate gunfire, explosions, persons screaming and persons injured,” according to the statement. “Please plan for potential disruptions and avoid traveling the area surrounding the high school.”
For more information, the sheriff’s Temple Station can be reached at 626-285-7171.

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Temple City man fatally shot in Baldwin Park identified

BALDWIN PARK — Coroner’s officials have identified a 43-year-old Temple City man found fatally shot on a Baldwin Park sidewalk over the weekend.
Steven Contreras was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after he was found wounded by a passer-by about 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Whitesell Street and Virginia Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz said.
He had been shot several times in the upper torso, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
No information regarding a motive or a suspect was available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Hernandez at the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

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