WEST WHITTIER >> A 22-year-old Pico Rivera woman died after the car she was riding in as a passenger collided head-on with another car on Mines Boulevard in West Whittier early Saturday, authorities said.
Cassandra Marie Arango died in the 4:40 a.m. crash at Mines Boulevard and Duchess Drive in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
The driver of the 1995 Honda Civic in which Arango was riding suffered “major” injuries in the crash, CHP Officer Tim Zaspal said in a written statement. He was described as a 24-year-old Whittier man.
A young man and woman riding in the other involved vehicle, a 2015 Dodge Charger, were treated for minor injuries, Zaspal said.
The Honda was westbound on Mines Boulevard and the Dodge was eastbound just prior to the crash.
“The Honda and the Dodge were involved in a head-on collision and came to rest blocking lanes at the intersection of Mines Boulevard and Duchess Drive,” Zaspal said.
It was not yet clear which vehicle crossed over into opposing traffic lanes.
Paramedics pronounced Arango Honda dead at the scene, Zaspal said.
Neither she nor the driver of the Honda were wearing seat belts, he said.
No arrests were made as the investigation continued.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Officer Renteria of the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs-area office at 562-868-0503.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY >> Police throughout the region will be cracking down on drunken and drugged drivers with checkpoints and extra enforcement this Labor Day weekend, with one inviting the public to tag along virtually online.
Whittier, Montebello, Arcadia and Azusa police are each planning checkpoints in their respective cities Friday night into early Saturday, according to the departments.
In Azusa, police will be broadcasting their anti-DUI efforts and answering questions from the public online via Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, Officer Mike Bires said.
Azusa’s “Tweet from the Beat” will take place from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, he said. Follow along at www.facebook.com/AzusaPD, www.twitter.com/azusapd or www.snapchat.com/add/azusapd.
“(Officers will) explain what happens during a traffic stop, share accident investigation information and highlight traffic safety concerns for the city of Azusa,” Azusa police said in a written statement. “In addition to this, the community will be able to ask questions live, while the officers are in the field.
The checkpoints are being funded by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The “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.
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.
The 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 Wells 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