Men sought in armed robberies at West Whittier, Sante Fe Springs donut shops

Police and sheriff’s deputies are seeking robbers in two separate, but possibly related, robbers at Whittier-area donut shops early Tuesday, officials said.
Both crimes involved two robbers and took place during the early-morning hours at businesses along the 605 Freeway. They were reported at 12:40 a.m. outside Cherri’s Donuts, 10017 Orr and Day Road in Santa Fe Springs, and at 2:34 a.m. at Yum Yum Donuts at 10426 Whittier Blvd. in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and Whittier police officials.
During the first crime in Santa Fe Springs, two robbers approached four men as they stood in front of the donut shop, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said. At least one of the men gestures as if he was armed with a handgun, though none was seen.
The robbers demanded property from the four men, who handed over their wallets and cellphones, Ruiz said. They were last seen running north on Orr and Day Road.
Police described both robbers as Latino men in their late-20s. One was about 6 feet tall, of heavyset and wore a fedora-style hat. The second robber was thin, of dark complexion, wearing a gray-and-blue hooded sweatshirt.
The second robbery targeted the business itself, officials said.
Two robbers showed up at the West Whittier Yum Yum Donuts location and one of them pointed a silver-colored handgun at an employee, Sgt. Janine Hanson of the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station said.
The men demanded money, ultimately escaping with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to the sergeant. They were described only as Latino men who fled the scene in a white sedan.
Detectives were looking into the possibility the two similar robberies were linked, Hanson said.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station at 562-949-2421, or the Whittier Police Department at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Whittier man sentenced to 31 years in prison in teen sextortion case

A Whittier man received a 31-year prison sentence Wednesday for obtaining nude photos of teenage girls, then extorting them for sex by threatening to share the photos, as well harm them or their families, officials said.
Josh Manuel Magana, 28, pleaded “no contest” last month to two counts of forcible oral copulation, forcible rape, forcible rape of a an underage victim and extortion, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Magana met his victims online via the social media app “KIK,” Lt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Human Trafficking Bureau said at the time of the arrest. He used the online moniker, “thegiftedmonster.”
The investigation began in October of 2016, after Magana pressured a 15-year-old girl to send him nude photos of herself,” Ardalani said.
“The defendant told the girl that if she refused, then he would hurt her and her family,” she said. “The girl told her mother, who then notified law enforcement.”
As the investigation continued, detectives identified a second teenage girl who reported that Magana had threatened to distribute nude photos of her if she refused to have sex with him, officials said.
Investigators arrested Magana in February.
“Due to media coverage of the case, a third victim came forward and revealed that the defendant also had been forcing her to have sex with him,” according to Ardalani. Her age was not available Wednesday.
Once released from prison, Magana will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

PHOTO: Josh Manuel Magana, 28, of Whittier. (Courtesy, LASD)

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Suicide suspected after man found shot to death in West Whittier


WEST WHITTIER >> Suicide is suspected after a man was found fatally shot inside a car in the parking lot of a West Whittier motel early Sunday, authorities said.
A witness called for help about 6:30 a.m. after noticing a man in his mid-40s sitting unresponsive inside a car parked outside the Travelodge Whittier, 11530 Whittier Blvd. in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
A gun was found at the scene, and a review of video surveillance footage indicated the man had taken his own life, according to the lieutenant. There were no initial signs of foul play.
Coroner’s officials will conduct an autopsy.

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Gunman sought in South Whittier pizza parlor robbery


SOUTH WHITTIER >> Deputies are seeking a man who help up a South Whittier pizza parlor at gunpoint on Thursday night.
The crime unfolded about 8:30 p.m. at Double or Nothing Pizza, 15010 Mulberry Drive in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robin Limon.
A robber entered the business and displayed a handgun he had tucked into his waistband, the lieutenant said. He demanded money from an employee and fled with an undetermined amount of cash.
Deputies described the gunman as a Latino man of about 40 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall, wearing a gray shirt, shorts, and a baseball cap. He was last seen running north along La Mirada Boulevard.
No injuries were reported.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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UPDATED: Bomb squad detonates ‘improvised explosive device’ in South Whittier

WEST WHITTIER >> A bomb squad responded to a residential neighborhood in South Whittier and “rendered safe” a makeshift bomb found inside a home on Thursday, authorities said.
The incident began just after 2:40 p.m. when a resident of the 7800 block of Broadway in the unincorporated county area called deputies to report finding an “improvised explosive device” inside a home, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Noe Garcia said.
A woman found the device as she was cleaning out the belongings of her ex-boyfriend following his arrest the previous day on alleged weapons violations, the lieutenant said.
She called authorities upon discovering the bomb upon her ex-boyfriends possessions, Garcia said. It was made from a soda can packed with explosive powder and was fitted with a fuse.
A sheriff’s Bomb Squad was summoned to scene and ultimately detonated the device under controlled circumstances in the front yard of the home, officials said.
Only the home where the device was found was evacuated during the process, according to Garcia.
The alleged owner of the explosive device, 34-year-old Daniel Saucedo, is expected to face charges of possession of a destructive device in addition to the original weapons violations, Garcia said.
According to county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $130,000 bail.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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21-year-old man accused of attack on 93-year-old man at South Whittier park


SOUTH WHITTIER >> A 21-year-old Whittier man is accused of attacking a 93-year-old man and threatening him with a knife after the elderly victim tried to intervene in an argument between the suspect and another man, officials said.
Deputies jailed Mario Luiz Sanchez on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and criminal threats about 2:30 p.m., shortly after the confrontation at Amelia Mayberry Park, 13201 Meyer Road in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
The nonagenarian was at the park when he noticed to men arguing and tried to defuse the situation, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“(Sanchez) became aggressive and repeatedly pushed the victim, causing him to fall to the ground,” according to the statement. “The suspect stood over the victim while holding a knife, threatening to harm him if he did not stop interfering. The suspect fled the scene, promising to return with friends.”
Deputies from the sheriff’s Parks Bureau quickly found and arrested the suspect, officials said.
The elderly victim was treated for injuries at a hospital and had since been released, authorities said Thursday.
According to county booking records, Sanchez was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail his initial court appearance, scheduled Friday in the Downey branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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Montebello jail administrator charged with fatal shooting of ex-wife, wounding of man in South Whittier


SOUTH WHITTIER >> A Montebello jail administrator accused of fatally shooting his ex-wife and wounding her boyfriend during a child custody exchange at her South Whittier home is due to appear in court this afternoon to face charges that could send him to prison for more than 75 years, officials said.
Prosecutors charged Efrem Ruben Lozoya, 38, of Pico Rivera with murder and attempted murder in connection with Saturday’s 11:15 a.m. shooting at an apartment in the 13900 block of Coteau Drive, in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
He entered no plea, she said. His arraignment was continued to July 18 in the Downey branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Lozoya is also accused of the special allegation that he personally used a gun in the crimes, causing great bodily injury.
Killed was 33-year-old Nereida Villanueva, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials. Her boyfriend was wounded.
“Lozoya and his ex-wife, Nereida Villanueva, have two children together and had been divorced for several years,” Ardalani said in a written statement.
The suspect showed at his ex-wife’s apartment to drop off one of their children, officials said.
“Shortly after entering Villanueva’s residence, Lozoya allegedly shot his ex-wife and her boyfriend, who also was in the apartment,” Ardalani said. Lozoya then fled the scene.
Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau described the children as 7 and 9 years old. They were not injured in the shooting.
Lozoya, who works as a contracted jail administrator at the Montebello Police Department’s jail, turned himself in to authorities several hours later.
“If convicted as charged, Lozoya faces a possible maximum sentence of 75 years to life in state prison,” Ardalani said.
Lozoya was initially held in lieu of $2 million bail following his arrest. During Wednesday arraignment hearing, the judge granted a prosecution request that bail be increased to $5 million, Ardalani said.

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South Whittier woman shot to death during child custody exchange identified, Montebello police jail administrator jailed


SOUTH WHITTIER >> The Montebello Police Department’s jail administrator is accused of fatally shooting the mother of his children and another man during a child custody exchange at the woman’s South Whittier home on over the weekend, authorities confirmed Sunday.
Nereida Villanueva died at the scene of Saturday’s 11:15 a.m. shooting in the 13900 block of Coteau Drive in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said. A man was also wounded in the shooting, sheriff’s officials said.
Efrem Ruben Lozoya, 38, turned himself in at an area police station shortly after the shooting, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
He was arrested at 5 p.m. on Saturday and booked into jail just before 6 p.m. on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, according to records and sheriff’s officials.
The suspect and Villanueva, who had previously been involved in a relationship, were meeting for a child custody exchange when the shooting took place, Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said Saturday. Villanueva and a man she was with were wounded.
Paramedics pronounced Villanueva dead at the scene, Rouzan said. The wounded man was taken to a hospital “in an unknown condition.”
The two children, ages 7 and 9, were not injured, officials said. It was not clear if they witnessed the shooting.
After turning himself in, Lozoya was arrested about 5 p.m. Saturday and
Lozoya works as the jail administrator at the Montebello Police Department.
Sheriff’s department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida described Lozoya as an employee of a contracted company that provides custody services for the Montebello Police Department. He is not employed directly by the police department or the city.
Montebello police defrayed comment to the sheriff’s department. City officials could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
Lozoya was being held in lieu of $2 million pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Monday in the Downey branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, records show.
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.

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Officials: Man fatally shoots mother of his children, wounds man during child custody exchange in South Whittier


SOUTH WHITTIER >> A man fatally shot the mother of his children and wounded another man during a child custody exchange at a South Whittier apartment on Saturday, authorities said.
The deadly gunfire was first reported about 11:15 a.m. in the 13900 block of Coteau Drive in the unincorporated county area, according to Deputy Grace Medrano of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The couples’ two children, ages 7 and 9, were present at the time of the shooting but were not injured, according to Deputy Ryan Rouzan.
Deputies first responded to a report of a shooting when they encountered a woman and man, “who had both sustained at least one gunshot wound to the upper torso,” Rouzan said in a written statement.
Paramedics pronounced the woman dead at the scene, officials said. The wounded man was taken to a hospital. An update on his condition was not available.
The alleged shooter turned himself in to an area police station later in the day, Rouzan said. “He is being detained pending interviews with detectives.”
the suspect’s identity was not available.
Homicide detectives learned that the woman and the shooter had previously been involved in a relationship and had two children together, Rouzan said.
“The female victim and suspect were involved in a child exchange, at which time the suspect shot the male victim and female victim for unknown reasons,” the deputy said. The relationship between the wounded man and the slain woman was unclear.
“It is unclear if the children witnessed any portions of this crime, however they were not injured,’ Rouzan said.
No further details were released Saturday afternoon.
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.

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SWAT team arrests South Gate carjacking suspect following chase from West Whittier to South El Monte

A man led deputies on a chase from West Whittier to South El Monte in a carjacked car before being captured by a sheriff’s SWAT team on Sunday morning, officials said.
Robert Larry Gutierrez, 34, was jailed following the pursuit, which began about 7:30 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva said. His hometown was not available.
Deputies patrolling over the unincorporated county area of West Whittier in a helicopter detected a signal from a LoJack vehicle tracker in the area of Washington and Norwalk boulevards, the lieutenant said. The vehicle had been reported carjacked in South Gate earlier in the morning.
“It looked like he was going to pull over initially, but then he took off,” Villanueva said.
Gutierrez led deputies on a 6-mile chase that ended when he abandoned his car along Peck Road at the 60 Freeway in South El Monte and fled into a nearby brush area, according to Villanueva.
Deputies summoned a sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau SWAT Team to track down the suspect in the dense vegetation. A sheriff’s helicopter landed on the freeway in order to rush deputies to the scene.
The SWAT deputies, aided by a K-9, soon found Gutierrez hiding in the brush and took him into custody.
He was being booked on suspicion of driving a car without the owner’s consent, felony evading and possession of cocaine, Villanueva said. The earlier carjacking was being investigated by the South Gate Police Department.
The westbound lanes of the 60 Freeway were closed down for nearly half-an-hour as deputies searched for and apprehended the suspect.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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