TEMPLE CITY >> Deputies seized about 400 marijuana plants and 15 pounds of harvested pot while carrying out a search warrant at a Temple City home early Thursday, officials said.
The bust took place Thursday morning at a home in the 5400 block of McCulloch Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“(Deputies) recovered approximately 400 plants in various stages of growth and approximately 15 pounds of harvested marijuana,” the statement said.
The grow operation was complete with lighting, watering and ventilation systems, and the home was rewired to bypass the electrical meter, allowing the farmers to steal their power from Southern California Edison, according to the statement.
Officials reported no arrests in connection with the raid.
The operation took place one day after police in San Gabriel uprooted nearly 7,000 pot plants from a commercial building in their jurisdiction and arrested two suspects.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
TEMPLE CITY >> Prosecutors filed murder and other charges against a Temple City man accused of killing a woman with a Samurai sword and stabbing two other people amid a violent crime spree on Wednesday.
John Ralph Perales, 44, is accused of murder, three counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the series of alleged attacks, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement. He’s also accused of the special allegation of personal use of weapons during the crimes.
He showed up at the home of 44-year-old neighbor Diane Christine Alarcon in the 6000 block of Temple City Boulevard about noon, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Corina said. A 42-year-old San Gabriel man, described as a friend of Alarcon’s, was also visiting.
“While spending some time there with Alarcon and another male guest, an argument ensued and Perales allegedly struck both Alarcon and the male with a wrench,” according to Ardalani.
Perales then grabbed an ornamental samurai-style sword hanging on the wall at the victim’s home and stabbed both Alarcon and her visitor with it, Corina said. Alarcon died at the scene. The wounded man was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Alarcon’s 10-year-old son was home at the time of the attack, but was unhurt, Corina said.
Perales surrendered to deputies as deputies were searching the neighborhood for him, officials said.
Hours earlier, detectives and prosecutors allege Perales stabbed his ex-girlfriend and her adult son at their home in the 3400 block of Whistler Avenue in El Monte.
He arrived there about 2 a.m., El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said.
“After spending some time there, Perales allegedly crawled on top of his ex-girlfriend as she was sleeping, woke her up and then stabbed her,” Ardalani said. The woman’s 22-year-old son tried to intervene and was also stabbed and injured. An update on the conditions of the mother and son was not available Friday.
Detectives were also investigating Perales in connection with a Rosemead carjacking that occurred in between the two stabbing incidents, however charges had not been filed for that alleged crime.
Perales has a lengthy criminal record including convictions for false imprisonment by violence in 2014; carrying a concealed dirk or dagger in 2011; being a prisoner in possession of a weapon and auto theft in 2001; attempted burglary in 1996; burglary in 1992; and acting as an accessory to a crime after the fact in 1991.
He entered no plea in court on Friday. His arraignment hearing was postponed to Feb. 2 in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, Ardalani said. In the meantime, bail has been set at $6.21 million.
If convicted as charged, Perales could face a sentence of life in prison.
PHOTO by Walt Mancini
TEMPLE CITY >> An intruder attacked a woman with a wrench and fatally stabbed with a Samurai sword, also injuring a friend of the victim’s who tried to intervene, before turning himself in to deputies on Wednesday, authorities said.
The deadly attack was first reported about 12:05 p.m. at a duplex in the 6000 block of Temple City Boulevard, between Garibaldi and Woodruff avenues, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire officials.
Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said the woman, 40, was at home with a friend, described as a 42-year-old San Gabriel man, when the attacker barged in through the unlocked front door.
He attacked the woman with a wrench detectives believed he had brought with him to the home, the lieutenant said.
The killer then grabbed an ornamental Samurai-style sword that was hanging on the wall and used it to continue the attack, Corina said.
“(The friend) sees what’s going on. He tries to stop him,” Corina said. The friend ended up receiving non-life-threatening wounds of his own before the attacker fled from the home. The injured friend was expected to be released from the hospital later Wednesday.
The woman’s 10-year-old son was also inside the home at the time of the attack, but was unhurt, Corina said.
As deputies conducted a search of the neighborhood, the suspect approached deputies and surrendered himself, according to the lieutenant.
The 44-year-old man, who lived nearby, was taken into custody without a struggle. His identity was not available pending booking.
The identity of the woman killed in the attack was also unavailable pending positive identification by coroner’s officials and notification of family members.
The relationship between the suspect and victims was unclear, and the motive in the double-stabbing was yet to be determined, Corina said.
Both the wrench and the sword believed to have been used in the attack were recovered at the scene.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO by Walt Mancini
LA PUENTE >> For the third year running, La Puente has been named one of the 50 safest cities in California by security organization Safe Wise.
The city earned the 48th spot on the SafeWise Report’s 50 Safest Cities in California list for 2016.
“Besides its enviably low crime rate, what caught our attention about La Puente is the way it cares for its children,” SafeWise said in a written statement.
“ La Puente’s Self-Esteem Through Activities Recreation and Sports program provides elementary school children with a diverse assortment of after-school activities. La Puente’s Teen V.O.I.C.E. program is a volunteer-based program for teens ages 13 to 18, and its Tiny Tot program helps build the self-esteem of children ages three to five.”
City Manager David Carmany said the designation “validated we are on the right track,” but said the majority of credit belongs to the city’s partners at the Los Angels County Sheriff’s Department, as well as city staff.
Six other San Gabriel Valley cities made the list of California’s top 50 safest cities.
Sierra Madre ranked 9th safest city in California, Walnut ranked 20th, Temple City ranked 38th, Diamond Bar ranked 42nd, Chino Hills ranked 47th and La Mirada ranked 49th.
IRWINDALE >> As they have done each year for more than a decade, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on Friday spent 24 hours standing in silent, stoic tribute to fellow deputy David March at the site where he was murdered 14 years ago.
March, a 33-year-old deputy assigned to the sheriff’s Temple City Station, was shot to death in the line of duty on April 29, 2002, along Live Oak Avenue, just east of Peck Road. A permanent memorial to March stands at the roadside.
Deputies stood motionless in pairs in half-hour increments before ceremoniously switching positions with two other deputies. The process continued from midnight Friday morning to midnight Saturday morning.
Sheriff’s Temple Station Capt. Coronne Jacob and her husband, sheriff’s Sgt. Andy Jacob, took the first shift, Sgt. Jim Dexter said.
Visitors ranging from family members of the slain deputy to high-ranking officials from the sheriff’s department and other law enforcement agencies stopped by to pay their respects.
March’s killer, previously convicted felon and four-time deportee Jorge Arroyo Garcia, also known as Armando Garcia, fled to Mexico within 24 hours of the fatal shooting and remained a fugitive until he was arrested in 2006. Garcia was returned to the U.S. to face trial, and pleaded guilty in 2007 to murder, with the special allegations of intentionally killing a peace officer in the line of duty and using a gun in the crime. He is now serving life without parole in state prison.
When Garcia was returned to the U.S. to face justice, deputies cuffed him with March’s handcuffs.
Los Angeles County firefighters extinguish a garage fire on the 5200-block of Halifax Road in Temple City on Wednesday April 20, 2016. There were no injuries reported. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Pasadena Star-News)
TEMPLE CITY >> Firefighters made quick work of a fire in a residential garage that may have been sparked by the spontaneous combustion of varnish-soaked rags, authorities said.
The fire was reported just before 12:15 p.m. in a detached residential garage in the 5200 block of Halifax Road, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Nick Yslas said.
Firefighters arrived within minutes, and declared the flames “knocked down” about 10 minutes after that, he said.
No one was home at the time, he said.
One firefighter was hospitalized with heat exhaustion, the captain said. The injury was considered minor.
The officials cause of the fire remained under investigation, Yslas said.
But firefighters suspected that varnish-soaked rags, left behind after the residence varnished furniture in the garage, he said.
Rags soaked with oil or other chemicals can spontaneously ignite via chemical reaction in a phenomenon known as “pyrolysis,” the captain explained.
Officials estimated the fire caused $65,000 worth of damage to the garage and its contents, Yslas said.
EL MONTE >> Authorities have released the name of a man found dead in some bushes along a freeway offramp in El Monte on Friday.
Samuel Arteche Jr., 45, was pronounced dead about 12:15 p.m. Friday after he was found unresponsive near the Santa Anita offramp of the eastbound 10 Freeway, Lt. David Smith of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said. He was listed as a Temple City resident.
A transient approached a Freeway Services Patrol worker and said he believed his friend had died, CHP Sgt. Mike Maehr said.
El Monte police took over the investigation and noted no overt signs of foul play, El Monte police Lt. Ben Lowry said.
An autopsy had not yet been performed Sunday.
TEMPLE CITY >> A man escaped kidnappers posing as police officers after they broke into an apartment, pistol-whipped him and placed him in handcuffs Thursday afternoon, officials said.
Two kidnappers showed up shortly after 3 p.m. at the home where the 32-year-old victim had been staying in the 9000 block of Emperor Avenue, near Rosemead Boulevard along the border between Temple City and the unincorporated county area of East San Gabriel, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
The men forced their way into the apartment, he said. One of them brandished a black handgun and flashed some type of badge.
Chavez said the intruders told the victim they were police officers and had warrants for his arrest.
When the phony cops tried to handcuff the man, he resisted and one of them struck him in the head with the gun, the lieutenant said.
The attackers then managed to get the man into the handcuffs and lead him outside, Chavez said. As they led him toward a car, he managed to break free from their grasp, slip one of his hands from the handcuffs and run.
Witnesses called 9-1-1 to report seeing a man with handcuffs hanging from his wrist running down the street and yelling for help, Chavez said. The kidnappers fled.
The man was taken to a hospital with minor injuries and released within hours, officials said.
Deputies described the two police impersonators as white men. One stood about 6 feet tall and weighed about 300 pounds. He wore a dark hat. No further description of the second kidnapper was available.
Chavez said the kidnappers used a white, newer-model, BMW 7 Series sedan. A driver was believed to be waiting at the wheel, but no description was available.
The motive in the foiled kidnapping remained under investigation late Thursday, Chavez said. Nothing was stolen during the incident.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
TEMPLE CITY >> A man received a sentence of more than 15 years in prison Friday for a car crash following a police pursuit in Temple City that killed his passenger, officials said.
Richard John Villareal Jr., 28, pleaded “no contest” in Pasadena Superior Court to one count of gross vehicular manslaughter and one count of evading a police officer, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
Under a negotiated plea arrangement in Pasadena Superior Court, charges of murder, fleeing a police officer causing death, possession of methamphetamine, and driving without a valid license were dismissed, Santiago said.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dorothy Shubin immediately sentenced Villareal to 15 years and 8 months in state prison.
Killed in the June 2 crash at Lower Azusa Road and Arden Drive in Temple City was Villareal’s 38-year-old friend, Michael Sandoval Jr.
“The defendant led Arcadia police officers on a high-speed pursuit after they attempted to pull him over for driving a stolen car near Workman and Baldwin avenues,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Arcadia police called off the chase, but Villareal continued speeding away in the 2001 Honda Accord.
“Following the pursuit, Villareal sped through a red light at the intersection of Lower Azusa Road and Arden Drive and was struck by another vehicle,” according to the statement. Following the initial impact with a Toyota Avalon, the Honda subsequently struck two minivans, officials said.
Sandoval died at the scene of the crash, while Villareal suffered moderate injuries and one driver of one of the other involved vehicles suffered minor injuries, officials said.
The car the two men were fleeing from police in had been reported stolen two days earlier in Monterey Park.
PHOTO by Walt Mancini
SAN DIMAS >> A Temple City woman died early Saturday in a three-vehicle crash on the 210 Freeway in San Dimas, authorities said.
Linda Marie Vasquez, 35, died at the scene of the 5:15 a.m. crash in the westbound lanes of the 210 Freeway, just west of San Dimas Avenue, according to Los Angeles County coroner and California Highway Patrol officials.
The collision involved Vasquez’s 2005 Scion xA, a 2004 Ford F-550 pickup truck towing a trailer and a 2002 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, Officer S. Stoos of the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office said in a written statement.
Vasquez was driving in the fast lane when she made an “unsafe lane change” to the No. 3 lane, the officer said. The front of the Scion struck the trailer of the Ford pickup, sending the Scion spinning out of control.
The Scion ended up “directly in front of” the Toyota Tacoma in the No. 4 lane, Stoos said. The Toyota driver was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision, and the Toyota struck the Scion on its passenger side.
A 38-year-old San Bernardino man driving the Ford truck and a 53-year-old Fontana man driving the Toyota truck were not injured, officials said.
Officials shut down the four right-hand lanes of the freeway for about four hours following the crash.