March to mark 5th anniversary of fatal shootings of sheriff’s Explorer Scout, friend in South Whittier

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SOUTH WHITTIER >> Hundreds of loved ones, family members and fellow Los Angeles County sheriff’s Explorer scouts on Sunday will mark the 5th anniversary of the slaying of an Explorer and another man with a march and candlelight vigil to honor the victims’ lives and renew their call for justice in the unsolved double-homicide.
The march has been held, and grown, each year since Aug. 28, 2011, when 19-year-old Norwalk sheriff’s Explorer Cesar Rodriguez and friend Larry Villegas, 24, both of Whittier, in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier.
0826_NWS_WDN-L-MARCHmugThe group will gather at 7 p.m. at the corner of Laurel and Beaty avenues, organizers said.
During the annual marches, which passes by the scene of the shooting, marchers hand out fliers seeking information on the killings.
Anyone with information on the case 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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3 DUI suspects jailed during Whittier checkpoint


WHITTIER >> Police in Whittier arrested three suspected drunken drivers during a checkpoint late Friday into early Saturday, officials said.
The checkpoint was held along Colima Road, just south of Whittier Boulevard, according to Whittier police Sgt. David Elizarraras.
“Three motorists were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and one other for outstanding warrants,” he said in a written statement.
Eight other drivers were arrested and released on citations for driving without valid licenses, or driving on suspended or revoked licenses, he added.

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Police to hold checkpoint in Whittier Friday night

WHITTIER >> Police are planning to screen drivers for sobriety and licenses during a checkpoint Friday night, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Friday to 2:30 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within Whittier, Whittier police Sgt. David Elizarraras said in a written statement.
Over the past three years, 327 DUI-related crashes in Whittier have claimed four lives and caused another 148 injuries, the sergeant said.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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Man beaten, stabbed along sidewalk in South Whittier


SOUTH WHITTIER >> A man was beaten and stabbed with an ice pick by a group of three attackers as he walked along a South Whittier sidewalk early Wednesday, officials said.
A 25-year-old Montebello man was walking along Mulberry Drive, at Calmada Avenue, about 12:50 a.m. when a dark sedan approached and three attackers got out, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Robin Limon said.
The victim told investigators he was “jumped” by the trio, she said. One of them stabbed him in the torso with an ice pick during the assault.
Paramedics took the injured man to a hospital with injuries not considered to be life-threatening, Limon said.
No further information, including a detailed description of the suspects, were available.

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UPDATED: Young men robbed in Whittier drive-through; 5 suspects arrested


WHITTIER >> Five young men robbed a group of young men in the drive-through of a Whittier hamburger restaurant Friday before tracked down and arrested via a stolen cell phone, authorities said.
The robbery took place shortly before 6 p.m. at Tam’s Super Burgers, 13448 Lambert Road, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
Five young men were inside of a car in the drive-through when five other young men — one armed with a handgun — approached on foot, Ruiz said.
The robbers demanded property from the victims, who turned over cell phones and other items, the lieutenant said. The robbers fled.
“One of the victims was able to track is cell phone to an address in the 9800 block of Armley (Avenue),” in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, Ruiz said.
Deputies responded to the home and detained five suspects, who were ultimately booked on suspicion of robbery, he said.
Eugene Trejo, Erick Vega and Dennis Gonzalez, all 18 and from Whittier, were arrested along with two 17-year-old boys, whose names were withheld due to their age, Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Trejo, Vega and Gonzalez were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each at the Whittier Police Department’s Jail pending their initial court appearance, Los Angeles County booking records show.
The two juvenile suspects were taken to Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, Ellis said.

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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 robberies, 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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