Azusa man denies charges in alleged South Whittier stalking, burglary, arson attempt


SOUTH WHITTIER >> An Azusa man accused of violating a restraining order, breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s South Whittier home and trying to set it on fire pleaded not guilty to a string of charges in connection with the alleged crimes.
Joshua Diaz, 28, appeared in Downey Superior Court to answer to charges of burglary with a person present, attempted arson of inhabited structure, stalking and two counts of violating a restraining order, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Though also initially arrested on suspicion of trying to kidnap the former couple’s child, no kidnapping charge was filed Friday.
Diaz showed up the home of his former girlfriend 10700 block of Inez Street early Wednesday morning, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials said. The couple had been separated for about a year.
The woman fled from the home after Diaz grabbed a knife and threatened to kill himself, Ardalani said. Diaz was already gone when deputies arrived at the home.
But he returned about two hours later, doused the woman’s car and air-conditioning unit with gasoline, and tried, unsuccessfully, to light a fire, officials said. Diaz again fled, but was apprehended and arrested Wednesday afternoon.
Diaz is also accused of violating the restraining order on April 25, less than two weeks to the alleged break-in and arson, Ardalani said. “Diaz reportedly went to the victim’s home in violation of the restraining order, tapped on her window and told the victim he loved her,” she said.
Diaz was scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court May 15 for a hearing, Ardalani said. According to county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

PHOTO of Joshua Diaz: Courtesy

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Whittier man arrested following Santa Fe Springs motel robbery

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Police arrested a man Thursday after he robbed a Firestone Boulevard motel, officials said.
Jason James Santoorjian, 29, of Whittier was jailed on suspicion of robbery, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.
The crime took place about 11:30 a.m. at a motel in the 13400 block of Firestone Boulevard, police officials said.
Shortly after robbing the motel, deputies a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter spotted the suspect near what was ultimately determined to be his car in the parking lot of a business several blocks away, Scoggins said. Officers arrested Santoorjian in connection with the reported robbery.
Inside Santoorjian’s car, police found an “airsoft” BB gun believed to have been used in the heist, along with cash believed to have been stolen during the crime, Scoggins said.
Santoorjian was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

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One arrested, 11 cited at Whittier checkpoint

WHITTIER >> Police made one arrest for intoxicated driving and issued 11 tickets during a checkpoint late Friday into early Saturday, officials said.
Officers conducted the checkpoint along westbound Whittier Boulevard at Mills Avenue, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
Four drivers were given field-sobriety tests, and one ended up being arrested for DUI, Ruiz said.
Police also impounded a car and cited its driver for driving on a suspended license, the lieutenant said. Seven tickets were issued to unlicensed drivers, and three additional “miscellaneous” citations were handed out.

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Whittier police plan checkpoint Friday

WHITTIER >> Police will check drivers for sobriety and valid licenses during a checkpoint late Friday, authorities said.
The checkpoint will take place between 7:30 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within Whittier, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
Over the past three years, DUI-related crashed in Whittier have resulted in three deaths and 188 injuries, Sgt. David Elizarraras said.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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Man shot to death in Santa Fe Springs

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A man died after a confrontation escalated into gunfire late Wednesday, police said.
The fatal shooting took place just before 7 p.m. in the 9900 block of Painter Avenue, near Barton Circle, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
The victim, described as a Whittier man in his 20s, died at the scene, the lieutenant said. His name was not released pending notification of family.
He was walking north along Painter Avenue when a silver compact car came to a stop near him, Ellis said.
A passenger exited the car and began arguing with the victim, he said. The argument turned into a fight.
“The suspect pulled out a handgun and fired numerous times, striking the victim,” Ellis said.
The killer then got back into the car, which sped off, he said.

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Man shot during Whittier robbery attempt; suspect jailed

WHITTIER >> A man shot and wounded another man during a failed robbery in a residential neighborhood Wednesday, police said.
Police arrested James Nicolas Avila, 34, in connection with the shooting, which took place just before 8 p.m. Wendesday in the 10800 block of Monte vista Drive, Whittier police officials said in a written statement. He was booked for attempted murder.
The victim was sitting in a parked car when an attacker, later identified as Avila, approached on foot, police said.
The would-be robber pointed a handgun at the victim and demanded his wallet, according to the police statement.
“The victim immediately exited the driver’s door and began running,” the statement said. “The suspect fired one shot, which struck the victim in the lower back.”
Paramedics took the wounded man to a hospital for treatment, officials said. An update on his condition was not available.
Investigators gathered clues at the scene which led them to identify Avila as a suspect, police said.
Police arrested him about 10 a.m. Thursday, according to county booking records. He was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Monday in Bellflower Superior Court.


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Whittier chiropractor accused of molesting patients


WHITTIER >> A Whittier chiropractor is accused of sexually assaulting two female patients who he treated at his home in recent months, police said.
Investigators arrested Steven Patrick Lowry, 31, of Whittier about 9:40 a.m.Wednesday at the Whittwood Town Center on suspicion of sexual battery, according to Whittier police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Police arrested Lowry as he was on his way to work, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.
Police declined to identify what business Lowry works at, however his online resume lists him as an employee of The Joint, a chiropractic practice within the mall.
But both of the alleged incidents of inappropriate contact took place at Lowry’s home, “where he conducted some of his business,” Whittier police said in a written statement.
The alleged crimes occurred within “recent months,” Scoggins said. The alleged victims were in their mid-20s and early-30s.
Further details regarding the allegations against Lowry were not available Wednesday.
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact Whittier police Detective Brenna Dineen at 562-567-9283.
According to officials and county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $40,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment hearing Friday.

PHOTO of Steven Lowry courtesy of the Whittier Police Department.

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Man repeatedly stabbed in Whittier alley

WHITTIER >> A man suffered stab wounds to his head, neck and chest in an attack in a Whittier alley Sunday afternoon, police said.
Few details were available regarding the stabbing, reported just after 2 p.m. in the 7200 block of Whittier Avenue, just south of Wardman Street, Whittier police Lt. Kent Miller said.
The victim, a 27-year-old Whittier man, did not appear to be cooperating with investigators, Miller said. He only told police he was attacked by about five people armed with a knife and possible broken bottles.
A neighbor found the victim bleeding in the alleyway and called for help, Miller said.
The circumstances and motive in the stabbing were not clear.
Paramedics took the injured man to a hospital where he was listed in stable condition, Miller said. The investigation remained in its early stages.

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UPDATED: Suspects flee from Whittier DUI checkpoint, ditch sawed-off shotgun

WHITTIER >> Police jailed one man and sought several more late after they fled from a DUI checkpoint, ditching a sawed-off shotgun late Friday, authorities said.
The incident began about 10 p.m. when the suspects pulled through a checkpoint on Lambert Road at Scott Avenue, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
The 1992 Toyota 4Runner initially stopped at the checkpoint, police said. But once officers asked the car to pull over for further screening, the driver sped off, with three to four passengers in the SUV.
Police briefly chased the car north on Scott Avenue, Ellis said. A saw-off shotgun was thrown from the car.
The suspects ditched their car near Scott Avenue and Whittier Boulevard and ran, the lieutenant said.
A witness reported seeing at least one of the fleeing men run into the nearby 99 Cents Only Store, prompting officers to evacuate it and search the building. No suspects were found inside.
But police found one of the suspects hiding under a parked car in a nearby residential area and took him into custody. The other suspects eluded capture
Jessy Robledo, 18, of Whittier was booked for carrying a loaded firearm in public and resisting or obstructing police, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Robledo was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

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Two injured in Whittier head-on crash

WHITTIER >> Two suffered serious injuries when a car drifted into opposing traffic on Lambert Road, triggering a head-on crash, police said.
A 22-year-old Whittier man was driving a 2003 Acura Sedan west on Lambert Road just before the 2 a.m. crash, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
As he approached the intersection of Santa Fe Springs road, “he drifted into the eastbound left turn lane of Lambert Road, Ruiz said.
The Acura struck a 2001 Chevrolet pickup truck head-on, the lieutenant said.
Paramedics took the driver of the Acura to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition, he said.
The driver of the pickup truck, a 47-year-old Whittier man, suffered less-severe injuries believed to include a broken leg, Ruiz said. The injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
The investigation was ongoing, he said, and it was too early to tell whether intoxicated driving played a role in the crash.

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