Suicide suspected in man’s death in Angeles National Forest


ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Foul play is not suspected in the death of a man whose body was found deep in the Angeles National Forest north of the San Gabriel Valley on Friday, officials said Saturday.
Two hikers reported discovering the body of a man, estimated to be in his 30s or 40s, shortly before noon in the parking lot of a trail head along mile marker 63.5 of Angeles Crest Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Thomas Reid said.
After examining the body and the scene, the death was being investigated as a suicide, he said.
The man had suffered a puncture wound to his upper body, and an apparently hand-fashioned stabbing implement was found next to the body, Reid said.
Investigators from the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner will conduct an autopsy.

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Senior citizen robs Pasadena 99 Cents Only Store


PASADENA >> Police are seeking a senior citizen who robbed a Pasadena 99 Cents Only Store on Friday night.
The crime took place just after 8 p.m. at the store, 1720 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
A 20-year-old woman was working at a register when the robber made his move, the lieutenant said.
“The suspect grabbed money from the register while the victim had the drawer open making change for a customer,” he said. “When the victim tried to push the suspect away, he told her he was in possession of a handgun. No gun was seen.”
The robber got into an older-model, beige minivan and drove east away from the store, Goodman said. He was described as a white man between 60 and 70 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 215 pounds, wearing a white baseball cap, a white shirt and green-and-brown shorts.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Man robbed while walking home in Pasadena


PASADENA >> Three men with guns robbed another man as he walked home early Saturday, authorities said.
Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said the robbery unfolded about 2 a.m. as the victim, a 19-year-old man, was walking at Raymond Avenue and Villa Street.
“The victim was walking home when he was approached by the suspects, all of whom were reportedly armed with handguns,” according to Goodman. “The suspects demanded he victim’s money and he complied.” The victim was not hurt.
All three robbers got into a four-door sedan, which was last seen heading north.
They were described as a black man of about 19 years old, 6 feet 6 inches tall, 200 pounds, with a black shirt and dark blue pants; a black man of about 20, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 170 pounds, wearing a black shirt and dark blue pants; and a Latino man of about 27, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 165 pounds, wearing a black shirt and dark blue pants.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Robber pepper sprays liquor store clerk in Norwalk


NORWALK >> A robber sprayed a liquor store clerk with pepper spray before fleeing with cash from the register early Saturday, authorities said.
The crime unfolded about 8:30 a.m. at a liquor store in the 10000 block of Alondra Boulevard, near Studebaker Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jaime Alvarez said.
A man entered the store, approached the counter and sprayed the employee with pepper spray, according to the sergeant.
“The suspect then reached over the cash register and took approximately $300,” he said. He got into a black, four-door sedan which was last speeding north through a nearby alley.
Officials described the robber as a black man in his 20s, about 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with a “Nike” logo and black pants.
Paramedics treated the clerk at the scene for pepper spray exposure, but he did not need to be taken to a hospital, Alvarez said.
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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St. Patrick’s Day checkpoint in La Habra nets three DUI arrests


LA HABRA >> Police arrested three suspected intoxicated drivers during a late-night checkpoint on St. Patrick’s Day in La Habra, officials said.
The checkpoint was held from about 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. in the 700 block of East Lambert Road, just west of Harbor Boulevard, La Habra police Sgt. Robert Diehl said.
A total of 666 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, he said.
Officers administered field sobriety tests to seven drivers and ultimately arrested three of them on suspicion of DUI, according to the sergeant.
Another seven motorists were cited for driving without licenses, and three more were cited for driving on suspended licenses, La Habra police said in a written statement.
Police impounded three cars, and released eight at the scene to licensed drivers.

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West Covina man faces federal charges after large-scale drug raid

LOS ANGELES >> Prosecutors filed federal charges this week against an alleged drug runner from West Covina after police found 1.25 pounds of methamphetamine and 28 guns in his house earlier this month, authorities said.
A federal complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles charges Edwin Francisco Reyes, 44, with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute,
Chino police investigators showed up with a search warrant on March 2 at home Reyes shares with his wife and four children on East Grovecenter Drive in West Covina, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. It was not clear Friday why the investigation was spearheaded by the Chino Police Department.
“During the search, officers with the Chino Police Department seized 532 grams — or nearly 19 ounces — of methamphetamine,” according to Mrozek.
Investigators also recovered a total of 28 guns, including six handguns and two AR-15-style rifles, were also seized from Reyes’ home. As a previously convicted felon, Reyes is barred from possession guns or ammunition.
According to the complaint, police also found a pistol silencer and a large amount of ammunition in the home.
“The affidavit alleges that Reyes admitted being involved in a drug trafficking ring as a runner who delivered drugs to buyers in exchange for cash,” Mrozek said. “On the day the search warrant was executed, according to the affidavit, Reyes admitted picking up five pounds of methamphetamine to deliver to Ontario.”
Reyes was being held in state custody Friday, but was expected to be turned over to federal custody next week.
If convicted as charged, Reyes faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, and a maximum penalty of life behind bars.
Reyes, who is currently in state custody, is expected to be handed over to federal authorities next week.
If he is convicted of the charge of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, Reyes would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison.

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Woman pepper sprayed during Arcadia robbery


ARCADIA >> Police are seeking a man and two women who pepper sprayed a woman during an armed robbery at an Arcadia business on Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime took place shortly before 2 p.m. in the 100 block of East St. Joseph Street, according to Arcadia police Sgt. Luis Juarez.
The woman, an employee of a nearby business, was walking down the street when the three attackers approached, he said.
“The victim stated a female suspect pepper sprayed her as a second female suspect stole the victim’s wallet,” Juarez said in a written statement. “The male suspect told the victim he had a gun and she felt what she believed was a gun pressed up against her body.”
After obtaining the woman’s wallet, the robbers were last seen running west along First Avenue, he said.
Police described the robbers as a Latino man and two Latina women between 25 and 30 years old.
The man was heavyset and wore basketball shorts and a dark-colored shirt.
One of the female robbers wore black clothing, a black hat and black sunglasses, police said. The other had acne on her face and wore workout clothes, a black hat and black sunglasses.
The victim suffered irritation from the pepper spray but did not require to be taken to a hospital, Juarez said.
Anyone with information can reach Arcadia police at 626-574-5151. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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West Covina woman gets 2 years in prison for embezzling from PTA, little league, Girl Scouts

WEST COVINA >> A judge sentenced a West Covina woman to two years in state prison Friday for embezzling more than $92,000 from local Girl Scouts, Little League and PTA organizations for which she volunteered, authorities said.
Veronica Monique Paderez, 38, pleaded “no contest” to three felony counts of embezzlement in November.
Between 2013 and 2015, she embezzled more than $52,000 from the Vine Elementary School PTA, $26,000 from the West Covina American Little League and $11,000 from Girl Scout Troop #4754, for a total theft of more than 92,000, according to investigators and prosecutors.
“Paderez was a volunteer with each of the organizations and had access to their accounts and money collections,” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Upon sentencing Paderez, Judge Victor Martinez also ordered her to repay $92.048.81 to the three organizations she stole from, Ardalani said.
She could have received a lesser sentence had she been able to produce a lump sum restitution payment of $15,000 at Friday’s hearing, officials said.
But she did not have the money at the hearing, according to Ardalani.
Paderez was initially charged with nine counts of theft by embezzlement and could have faced up to four years behind bars if convicted at trial as charged.
Paderez served as treasurer of the Vine Elementary PTA for the 2014-2015 school year. She also served as treasurer and auxiliary vice president for the Little League, and police said she was in charge of the local Girl Scout troop and controlled its accounts.
West Covina Police Officer David Sifling, who took part in the investigation, said Paderez showed no signs of remorse in court.
He commended police investigators, as well as Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Goodrich, for their hard work in unravelling the complicated case.

PHOTO of Veronica Paderez courtesy of the West Covina Police Department

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Body found deep in Angeles National Forest north of Azusa


ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Homicide detectives were summoned to investigate after a hiker discovered a body deep in the Angeles National Forest north of Azusa late Friday morning, authorities said.
The remains were found shortly before noon in the vicinity of San Gabriel Canyon Road and Angeles Crest Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Thomas Reid said.
No further details were available as the investigation remained in its early stages.

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San Marino burglary suspects arrested with help from remote home surveillance camera


SAN MARINO >> Police arrested two would-be burglars on Thursday night after a San Marino resident saw them trying to break into his home via a remote surveillance camera, officials said.
Police first received a report of the attempted break-in in the 1200 block of Adair Street about 9 p.m., San Marino police officials said in a written statement. A resident called to report two unknown men were trying to get in his home through the back door.
“The resident was not home at the time, but was looking at his surveillance camera online,” according to the statement.
Officers arrived on scene in about two minutes. They spotted a silver Jeep parked across the street from the involved house.
South Pasadena, Pasadena, Alhambra, and Monterey Park police helped their counterparts in San Marino cordon off a search area.
Officers found the two suspects hiding inside the Jeep and took them into custody.
“Pry marks were located at the back door,” according to the statement. Police searched the home but found no additional suspects.
Milton Sandoval Prada, 47, of Los Angeles and Julio Rojas, 46, of Los Angeles were booked on suspicion of attempted burglary and possession of burglary tools.
According to officials and county booking records, both men were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail pending their arraignment hearings, scheduled Tuesday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, officials said.

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