Teen accused of molesting two young boys at Whittier McDonald’s


WHITTIER >> Police arrested a 17-year-old boy Friday on suspicion of molesting two young boys on the playground of a Whittier McDonald’s restaurant, officials said.
The incident was reported about 3:20 p.m. at the restaurant at 11755 Whittier Blvd., at Sorenson Avenue, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“While inside the play area, the 17-year-old male allegedly engaged in inappropriate physical contact with two male juveniles, ages 4 and 5,” according to the police statement.
The suspect and two victims were strangers to the suspect, and the two young boys were not related to one another, officials said.
“One of the victims immediately told his parent who in turn called the police,” according to the statement.
Officers detained the teenage boy at the scene and ultimately arrested him in connection with the alleged molestations.
“This investigation is ongoing and at this time we are withholding any (further) information in order to protect the victims,” the statement said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Whittier police at 562-567-9270. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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‘We’re Listening Bandit’ serial robbery suspect jailed in Riverside

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RIVERSIDE >> A suspected serial bank robber the FBI is calling the “We’re Listening Bandit,” accused of six bank robberies and attempted bank robberies throughout Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, is behind bars after police in Riverside found and arrested him this week, authorities said.
Jeffery Tuli, 33, of San Bernardino is suspected in six bank robberies and attempted bank robberies throughout the region, as well as two additional robberies in Moreno Valley since late-June, according to Moreno Valley police and FBI officials.
Moreno Valley police tracked him down and arrested him about 3 p.m. Thursday in a parking lot in the 8900 block of Trautwein Road, Moreno Valley police Sgt. Aaron Kent said in a written statement.
“Several items of evidence were located in Tuli’s vehicle,” he said, but did not elaborate.
Tuli began his alleged crime spree in on June 21 with a failed robbery at a Wells Fargo branch in Highland, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
He then robbed a Fontana U.S. Bank on July 9 and a Moreno Valley Chase bank on July 12, Eimiller said.
0723_NWS_WDN-L-BANDIT1The “We’re Listening Bandit” then tried, but failed, to rob a Whittier Wells Fargo branch on July 13 before successfully robbing a Wells Fargo in Moreno Valley on July 14, and a Riverside Union Bank on the same say, she said.
The one-man crime wave continued Wednesday, when Tuli robbed two people at gunpoint as they sat in a car in Moreno Valley, Kent said. Twenty minutes later, he robbed a Moreno Valley business at gunpoint.
Moreno Valley police identified Tuli as a suspect in the crimes in their jurisdiction and learned that the same man was sought in connection with other robberies throughout Southern California, Kent said.
The “We’re Listening Bandit” earned his moniker due to demand notes passed to tellers during the bank robbers, threatening that he or “others” will be watching the victims, Eimiller said.
According to Riverside County booking records, Tuli was being held in lieu of $1 million pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the Riverside Hall of Justice.

PHOTOS: [TOP] Booking mug of Jeffery Tuli, 33, of San Bernardino, courtesy of the Riverside Sheriff’s Department. [BELOW] Bank surveillance photo courtesy of the FBI.

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FBI seeks ‘We’re Listening Bandit’ in three-county bank robbery spree

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The FBI is hunting a new serial bank robber who’s embarked on a spate of six bank robberies and attempted bank robberies throughout Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties in recent weeks.
The “We’re Listening Bandit,” as he’s been christened by the FBI, has showed up at bank Whittier, Fontana, Highland, Moreno Valley and Riverside since late-June, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
0723_NWS_WDN-L-BANDIT2The serial robber generally passes a note to bank tellers demanding money and stating that he and others may be “listening” and following them, Eimiller said.
He claims to be armed with a bomb or a gun, and was seen carrying one in an envelope during at least once of the crimes, officials said.
The robber’s notes also make statements such as, “Dot not move, be quick and quiet,” she said.
Crimes linked to the unidentified suspect include a July 14 robbery at a Union Bank in Riverside; another robbery at a Moreno Valley Wells Fargo the same day; a failed robbery at a Whittier Wells Fargo branch on July 13; a robbery at a Moreno Valley Chase bank on July 12; a robbery at a Fontana U.S. Bank branch on July 9; and a failed heist at a Highland 0723_NWS_WDN-L-BANDIT3Wells Fargo branch on June 21.
Investigators described the bandit as a black or Latino man in his 30s, of average to heavy build, with a scruffy beard. He wore sunglasses and various hats during the crimes.
Anyone with information can reach the FBI’s Los Angeles office at 888-226-8443.

PHOTOS courtesy of the FBI

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Wanted parolee jailed after West Whittier standoff

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WEST WHITTIER >> A SWAT team found an arrested a wanted parolee hiding in the attic of a West Whittier home Saturday, officials said.
Deputies had already been seeking Whittier-area gang member Ismael Alvarez, 37, on two outstanding warrants when he violated a restraining order about 10:30 a.m. at the home of his girlfriend in the 10800 block of Bexley Drive, in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
Alvarez, who had a lengthy criminal history and has run from deputies several times in recent weeks, fled following the disturbance at his girlfriend’s house and ran into the home of a neighboring family, Lt. Noe Garcia said.
Deputies evacuated the family from the home, but Alvarez refused to come out, the lieutenant said.
A SWAT team and sheriff’s K-9 team happened to be conducting training nearby, so they responded to the scene of the standoff, he said.
After nearly two hours, SWAT team members searched the home and found evidence that Alvarez was hiding in the attic, Garcia said. When the suspect continued to refuse to come out, deputies sprayed aerosolized pepper spray into the attic. Alvarez then surrendered without further struggle.
Alvarez was booked on suspicion of burglary and violating a restraining order, and was also being held on two “no bail” warrants pending his initial court appearance, Garcia said.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Enforcement Bureau.

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Gunman sought in failed heist at Whittier bank branch


WHITTIER >> An armed man tried to rob a bank branch inside a Whittier supermarket Wednesday, but ultimately fled empty-handed, authorities said.
The failed crime took place about 6:15 p.m. at a Wells Fargo branch inside of a Ralphs at Whittier Boulevard and Colima Road, Whittier police Lt. Jay Tatman said.
“The suspect came up posing as a customer, waited his turn, then passed a note demanding money,” the lieutenant said.
The would-be robber also brandished a handgun, which he carried inside a manila envelope.
But the gunman apparently became nervous and fled the bank without receiving any money, Tatman said. A bullet-proof barrier separates the bank tellers from the customer area at the bank branch.
Police described the gunman as about 35 years old, with a dark complexion, wearing a white canvas fisherman’s hat, sunglasses, a royal blue long-sleeve shirt and dark pants.
Detectives were looking into whether a getaway car was involved in the failed heist.
Anyone with information can reach Whittier police at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Woman killed in Whittier crash


WHITTIER >> A woman died in a crash along Workman Mill Road in Whittier Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The collision was first reported at 3:22 p.m. as a head-on crash between a car and an SUV at Workman Mill Road and Pioneer Boulevard, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
Paramedics pronounced a woman dead at the scene, CHP Officer Jennifer Bond said.
No further details were immediately available.
The crash was being investigated by the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office.

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Police in Whittier, elsewhere, to seek out DUI drivers over holiday weekend

WHITTIER >> Police in Whittier have joined a chorus of their colleagues in law enforcement throughout the region, and the nation, in cautioning residents not to drive under the influence while celebrating Independence Day this weekend.
“Unfortunately for many, the celebration frequently includes drinking alcohol, which toon often leads to drunk driving on one of the most heavily travelled holidays of the year,” Whittier police Sgt. David Elizarraras said in a written statement.
An average of six people are killed and another 110 are seriously injured in crashes each year in California over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the sergeant said.
Whittier police, and other law enforcement agencies, are planning extra patrols to hunt out intoxicated drivers over the weekend.
Anyone who sees a drunken driver on the road is encouraged to report it by calling 911.
Funding for the Whittier police enforcement campaign is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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Woman found dead in West Whittier motel identified; cause of death still unclear


WEST WHITTIER >> Authorities have released the name of a 38-year-old woman found dead inside a West Whittier motel room Thursday afternoon.
Arelys Marina Matus was pronounced dead shortly after 12:20 p.m. at a motel in the 11100 block of Whittier Boulevard, in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Her city of residence was unknown, however public records indicated she had previous addresses in Whittier, Pico Rivera, Downey, Maywood, Montebello and Arizona.
An employee of the motel found her unresponsive inside her room, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
Matus’ cause of death was yet to be determined Friday, Winter said.
Detectives found “no obvious signs of foul play” at the scene, Schrader said.
Anyone with information is asked 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.

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UPDATED: Detectives investigate woman’s death at West Whittier motel


WEST WHITTIER >> Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a woman whose body as discovered at a West Whittier motel Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The death was first reported just after 12:20 p.m. at a motel in the 11100 block of Whittier Boulevard, in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The person, described only as a woman, was pronounced dead at the scene, deputies from the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“The female adult was found unresponsive in her motel room by an employee and pronounce dead at the scene,” according to Deputy Trina Schrader.
“There were no obvious signs of foul play,” Schrader said. “The cause of death and identification will be determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.”
Anyone with information is asked 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.

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Deputy, elderly woman hurt in South Whittier crash

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SOUTH WHITTIER >> Firefighters freed a sheriff’s deputy from a wrecked patrol car following a collision that left her and elderly civilian injured in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, authorities said.
The crash took place about 10:50 a.m. at Telegraph Road and Valley View Avenue, Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. Both the deputy and the other driver were hospitalized in stable condition.
The deputy, a 6-year department veteran, was responding to a report of an alarm activation when the crash occurred, officials said. She was not using the patrol car’s emergency lights or sirens.
“The deputy was traveling west on Telegraph Road in the No. 3 lane when her patrol vehicle was struck by a Lexus sedan that was making a left turn from eastbound Telegraph Road onto northbound Valley View Boulevard,” Alexander said. “The force of the collision then caused the patrol vehicle to strike a signal pole and wrap itself around it.”
Firefighters cut the deputy free of the mangled patrol car before taking both her and an elderly woman who was driving the Lexus to hospitals for treatment, sheriff’s officials said.
The crash is being investigated by officers from the California Highway Patrol’s Santa Fe Springs area office. Any witnesses, or anyone with information, can reach the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office at 562-868-0503.

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PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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