WHITTIER >> A tipster helped police arrest three men accused of breaking into a car at the Whittwood Town Center mall Tuesday night, then fleeing in a stolen car, officials said.
David Payan, 31, of El Monte, Jose Pedro Zavala, 26, of El Monte and Jose Luis Hernandez, 25, of Hacienda Heights, were booked on suspicion of auto burglary and auto theft following their 77:20 p.m. arrests, according to Whittier police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
A witness called police to report seeing burglars breaking into a car parked at the Whittwood Town Center, 15466 Whittier Blvd., Whittier police said in a written statement.
The tipster followed the suspects in their car and provided information to police, Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
Officers stopped the suspects and took them into custody in the 15100 block Mulberry Drive in South Whittier, he said.
“Officers were able to detain three suspects and recover property taken in the burglary,” according to the police statement.
Police soon determined that the car the suspects had been using had been reported stolen in Los Angeles, officials said.
All three suspects were being held in lieu of $35,000 bail pending their initial court appearances, records show.
WHITTIER >> The death of a man found fatally shot inside a Whittier apartment Monday has been ruled a suicide, coroner officials said.
Police responded about 1 a.m. Monday to a report of a shooting at an apartment in the 6300 block of Comstock Avenue, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.
Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene. Foul play was not initially suspected, however police deferred to the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner to determined an officials cause of death.
Through a autopsy, coroner’s investigators determined the death of the 33-year-old man was a suicide, coroner’s officials said.
WEST WHITTIER >> A man with horn tattoos on his head and neck used a knife to hold up the clerk Saturday at a market in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, authorities said.
The robber walked into the Pisco Sour Market, 10424 Whittier Blvd., about 11:10 a.m. and asked to buy some cigarettes, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Wilson Wong said.
When the clerk turned back around after retrieving the cigarettes, the customer was pointing a knife at him and demanded money, the sergeant said.
The clerk handed over an unknown amount of cash, he said. The robber also fled with cigarettes and beer.
Deputies described the robber as a Latino man of unknown age, about 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 9 inches tall, of thin build, with horn tattoos on his head and neck. He wore a black jacket and gray shorts.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station are investigating the crime.
WHITTIER >> Police Friday jailed a registered sex offender they say raped two teenage girls he met in the parking lot of a Whittier high school during two separate incidents that Wednesday and Thursday.
Richie Esquivel Corvera, 28, of South Whittier was booked on suspicion of two counts of rape by force or fear, as well as violating his probation, according to Whittier police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Investigators arrested Corvera Friday night, hours after the two victims, ages 14 and 15, reported the crimes to school officials, who then notified Whittier police, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said in a written statement.
Corvera met both victims in the parking lot of Sierra Vista High School, 9401 Painter Ave., police said.
The first attack took place about 9 a.m. Wednesday after Corvera approached a 15-year-old girl in the parking lot of the school, Scoggins said.
“Corvera persuaded the victim to get into his car and eventually drove her to a local motel where a sexual assault took place,” he said.
A nearly identical incident took place the following day, when Corvera persuaded a 14-year-old girl to get into his car before driving her to a motel and sexually assaulting her, officials said.
After learning of the alleged crimes Friday, “Detectives carried out an extensive investigation throughout the day, which resulted in the identification of Corvera as the suspect in this crime,” Scoggins said.
Police found him about 9 p.m. driving along Scott Avenue, north of Lambert Road, and arrested him during a traffic stop.
Following his arrest, detectives served a search warrant at Corvera’s home in the 10300 block of Parise Drive, Scoggins said. The home sits only a few hundred feet from the campus of California High School at 9800 Mills Ave.
Police were looking into whether Corvera was permitted to live so close to a school under the terms of his probation and sex registrant status, Scoggins said.
Corvera is already a registered sex offender due to a previous conviction for annoying or molesting a child, according to the state’s Megan’s Law database.
He was being held without bail pending a scheduled arraignment Tuesday in Bellflower Superior Court.
Corvera drives a white, newer-model, four-door sedan, Scoggins said. But he added that investigators had ruled out the possibility he had access to other vehicles as well.
“Detectives are concerned that additional victims may be out there,” Scoggins said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Whittier police at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SOUTH WHITTIER >> A jury convicted a woman Thursday for the fatal stabbing of the fatal stabbing of another woman during a an argument along a residential street last year.
A Norwalk Superior Court jury deliberated for one day before finding Vanessa Rebecca Celaya, also known as Vanessa Cella, 30, of Rubidoux, guilty of second-degree murder for the Sept. 5 stabbing in the 11500 block of Obert Avenue, in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
The jury also convicted Cella of robbery, and found true the special allegation that she personally used a knife in the slaying.
Killed in the stabbing was Michelle Alexis Young, 31, of Los Angeles, coroner officials said.
The two women did not know one another before they met by chance on the street, Ardalani said.
“The defendant thought the victim was talking about her,” Ardalani said. It was later determined the victim had not been talking about Celaya.
“Celaya walked up to victim Michelle Young and the two women had a verbal exchange. At some point, the defendant stabbed Young several times,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Paramedics pronounced Young dead at the scene.
“Following the assault, Celaya broke into a tire shop, threatened a security guard inside and demanded a change of clothing before leaving the store,” according to the statement.
Deputies quickly apprehended Celaya nearby, officials said.
Celaya faces up to 18 years in state prison when she returns to court for sentencing March 8.
WHITTIER >> Police arrested a 50-year-old woman on suspicion of selling methamphetamine out of her Whittier apartment during an early-morning raid Thursday, officials said.
Sylvia Diane Garcia was arrested about 6 a.m. when Whittier police Special Enforcement Team members served a search warrant at her apartment in the 7700 block of Bright Avenue, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officers recovered methamphetamine and “items consistent with narcotics sales” at the home, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said. It was unclear how much of the drug was seized.
Garcia was being held in lieu of $60,000 bail pending her initial court appearance, records show.
PHOTO courtesy of the Whittier Police Department
WHITTIER >> A Whittier police car crashed with another vehicle in a Whittier intersection Saturday afternoon, officials said.
The two-vehicle crash, first reported at 12:58 p.m. at Whittier and Norwalk boulevards, resulted in minor injuries, California Highway Patrol Officer Alex Rubio said.
The police car was headed west on Whittier Boulevard, with emergency lights and sirens activated, in response to a report of a “man down,” Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
The police car collided with a Toyota Camry making a left turn in the intersection, according to police and CHP officials.
A civilian police employee riding along with the officer was taken to a hospital for examination, but did not appear seriously injured, Ellis said. The officer himself and the driver of the Camry were unhurt.
The CHP is investigating the collision, officials said.
SOUTH WHITTIER >> A gunman on a bicycle robbed a South Whittier liquor store Thursday night, authorities said.
The crime took place just before 8:50 p.m. at Jug Liquor, on Telegraph Road, just east of Colima Road in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Shawn Kehoe said.
The robber brandished a handgun as he demanded cash, the lieutenant said. He fled with an unknown amount.
He robber was last seen riding his bicycle east on Telegraph Road, officials said. A detailed description was not available.
WHITTIER >> Police are planning a sobriety and driver license checkpoint in Whittier Friday.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Friday to 2:30 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“Over the course of the past three years, officers have investigated 327 DUI collisions which have claimed 4 lives and resulted in another 148 injuries,” according to the statement.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Anyone who spots an intoxicated driver on the road is encouraged to report it by calling 911.
WHITTIER >> Police jailed an alleged car thief Saturday after he led police on a chase and crashed into a tree, authorities said.
Leonard Marin, 26, of Monterey Park is accused of auto theft and evading police in connection with the incident, which unfolded about noon, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
An officer spotted a 1998 Honda Civic with no license plates driving along Pickering Avenue near Beverly Boulevard, the lieutenant said. Police tried to pull over the car, which sped away instead.
Police chased the car south on Pickering Avenue until it made a left turn onto Philadelphia Street and lost control of the car, which struck a tree, Ruiz said.
Officers arrested Marin at the crash scene and took him to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries before booking him into jail, Ruiz said.
The car had been reported stolen in early-December in Los Angeles, he said.