Teen arrested in connection with theft of computers from Covina elementary school

COVINA >> Police Wednesday recovered two laptop computers stolen in an elementary school break-in in September and arrested a local teenage boy in connection with the theft, officials said.
Someone stole the computers the weekend of Sept. 19 to Sept. 22 while breaking into two separate classrooms at Glen Oak Elementary School, 1000 N. Sunflower Ave., Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said in a written statement.
The computers, owned by the Charter Oak Unified School District, were equipped with GPS tracking devices, police said.
“During the investigation, information was obtained from the company monitoring the GPS tracking devices that both computers were being used in a residence in located in the 1300 block of N. Sunflower in the city of Covina,” Peterson said. “Based on this information, a search warrant was obtained for the residence.”
Officers served the warrant early Wednesday and found both computers, Peterson said. Investigators arrested a 17-year-old boy who lives at the home on suspicion of possessing or receiving stolen property. The boy was booked and released to his parents with a court date.
“Both laptop computers were still in working order and will be returned to the Charter Oak Unified School District in the near future,” Peterson said.

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Senior citizen beaten, carjacked at knifepoint outside Whittier 99 Cents Only Store, suspect jailed

WHITTIER >> A man beat a senior citizen unconscious and stole the victim’s car at knifepoint early Wednesday in the parking lot of a Whittier 99 Cents Only Store before being captured, police said.
Michael Echavarria, 27, of Whittier is accused of carjacking in connection with the 7:55 a.m. crime outside the store, 15345 Whittier Boulevard, Whittier police Officer Bradley White said.
A 67-year-old Whittier man arrived in the parking lot of the store and was exiting his car when Echavarria approached, White said.
“The victim said the suspect brandished a knife and then began to strike him in his head with his fist until he lost consciousness,” police said in a written statement. “When the victim came to, he noticed his vehicle — 2011 Toyota Yaris, red in color — was missing.”
Paramedics took the victim to a hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released by medical staff, White said.
The suspect and the victim’s car were gone when police responded to what was initially reported as fight, White said.
But an officers spotted the stolen Toyota about two hours later at Whittier Boulevard and Painter Avenue, he said.
Officers cautiously pulled over the car and took the driver, later identified as Echavarria, into custody, police said.
Police recovered a pocket knife from the suspect and were trying to confirm it was the same blade brandished at the carjacking victim, White said.
Echavarria was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, officials said.

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Man accused of punching, knocking out woman in Old Pasadena

PASADENA >> A drunken man punched and knocked out a woman during a dispute in Old Pasadena early Sunday, police said.
Jose Alfredo Castellanos, 27, of Los Angeles is accused of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the alleged 1:40 a.m. attack on a sidewalk at Colorado Boulevard and Raymond Avenue, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said Castellanos approached the victim, a 21-year-old Los Angeles woman, and her friend and “tried to engage them in conversation.”
The victim became uncomfortable when Castellanos touched her friend on the hip, Luna said.
“The victim asked the suspect to leave, at which time the suspect pushed the victim,” the lieutenant said.
“The victim pushed the suspect back,” Luna said. (Castellanos) punched her in the head, rendering her unconscious.”
Responding police officers captured Luna following a short foot chase, Luna said.
After regaining consciousness, the woman complained of pain to her head and chest, but declined to be taken to a hospital, Luna said.
According to booking records, Castellanos was being held in lieu of $30,00 bail at the Pasadena Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance.

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Fire scorches two Rosemead homes

ROSEMEAD — A fire damaged two Rosemead homes early Sunday, displacing two families, authorities said.
Officials first received reports of the fire in the 2600 block of Gladys Avenue at 9:57 a.m., Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Melanie Flores said.
Firefighters encountered heavy smoke on arrival and found the fire was burning its way through two homes sitting next door to each other.
Officials declared the fire extinguished at 10:33 a.m., Flores said.
No injuries were reported, however both families occupying the scorched homes were displaces, she said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation. The extent of the damage was not immediately clear.

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Whittier shooting leaves man dead and teenage girl wounded


WHITTIER >> A man died and a teenage girl was wounded after an argument led to a drive-by shooting early Sunday, police said.
Jose Duarte, 26, of Whittier, died at a hospital following the shooting, which took shortly after midnight along Lambert Road, just east of Sante Fe Springs Road, Whittier police Officer Bradley White said.
A 17-year-old Whittier girl also wounded in the shooting was expected to survive, he said.
Police said the two victims were walking east along a sidewalk when Duarte became involved in an argument with several other people who were across the street at a liquor store. The victims then continued walking east through a residential neighborhood.
“As the male and female victims continued to walk away from the location, the suspects drove past them and fired several shots at the victims,” police said in a written statement.
The gunfire struck Duarte in the chest, officials said. The teenage girl was shot in the back.
Paramedics took Duarte to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
“The suspect vehicle is believed to be a silver or gray sedan,” according to the police statement.
No description of the suspects themselves was available.
It was unclear what the argument that preceded the shooting was about, White said. Police were looking into the possibility the shooting was gang-related.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Whittier police at 562-567-9241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously via L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Home struck by gunfire near Azusa

AZUSA >> A man discovered a bullet hole in his garage door Friday after hearing the sound of gunshots, officials said.
The shooting took place about 10:20 a.m. in the 17800 block of Laxford Street in an unincorporated county area just outside of Azusa, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Vega said.
The resident heard the sound of three gunshots and went outside to look around, the lieutenant said.
The didn’t see anyone, but noticed a small-caliber bullet hole in the door of his garage, Vega said.
No further details were available.

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Man robs Hacienda Heights bank branch

HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A man fled with an undisclosed amount of cash after robbing a Hacienda Heights bank Saturday, officials said.
The robber showed up about 1:45 p.m. at Chase bank, 17160 Colima Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Boese said.
He handed a female teller a note demanding money, the sergeant said. No weapon was seen.
The robber obtained some cash and fled, Boese said. No getaway car was seen in connection with the crime.
Deputies described the robber as a black man between 25 and 40, about 6 feet 2 inches tall and 160 pounds. He wore white sunglasses, a navy blue jumpsuit with writing on it and a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt.

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Four stabbed during brawl outside Covina bar

COVINA >> Police arrested one man and sought at least one more after four people were stabbed during a brawl outside a Covina bar early Saturday, officials said.
None of the wounds were considered to be life-threatening, however one of the four stabbing victims was taken to a trauma center with significant injuries, Covina police Sgt. Ray Marquez said. The victims were men in their 20s and 30s.
The incident began about 1:20 a.m. with an argument between two groups of men inside Rude Dog Bar & Grill, 114 N. Citrus Avenue, the sergeant said.
Police said the argument escalated into a fight and spilled out into the street.
“It started inside the bar and worked its way outside,” Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
It was unclear how many people in all were involved in the melee.
One of the combatants pulled a pocket knife and stabbed four of the men he was fighting with, police said.
Officers responding to reports of a fight encountered a wounded man at the scene, Peterson said. Paramedics took the man to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Police received word a short time later that two more stabbing victims had shown up at a West Covina emergency room, police said.
A fourth stabbing victim with minor injuries was later found near the scene of the stabbing, Peterson said. He declined to be taken to a hospital.
Police also found Justin Powers, 25, of Alhambra at the scene of the melee, Peterson said. He was believed to have been fighting with the victims and was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. His exact role in the stabbing remained under investigation.
Investigators continued seeking at least one additional suspect, Marquez said. Police described the suspect as a Latino man between 25 and 35 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, of thin build, with a bald head. He wore a blue flannel shirt and blue jeans.
A pocket knife was recovered at the scene, police added.
According to county booking records, Powers was released from jail Saturday afternoon pending his initial court appearance after posting $30,000 bail.

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El Monte man accused of Arcadia package thefts

ARCADIA >> Police jailed an El Monte man Friday they say has been pilfering packages from porches in Arcadia in recent days.
David John Dunn, 31, was booked on suspicion of theft, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said. He was also being held on a “no bail” warrant related to a narcotics case.
Officers responded to the 1700 block of Highland Oaks Drive shortly before 4 p.m. after a someone reported a suspicious person loitering near a porch, police said.
Officers stopped Dunn as he was leaving the neighborhood in a vehicle, the lieutenant said. Police determined Dunn had opened a package on the porch, but left the box and its contents behind.
But other items found inside Dunn’s car had been stolen in package thefts in the same neighborhood Thursday and Friday, police said. And Dunn matched the description of a man seen snagging a package from the same neighborhood Thursday.
The investigation was ongoing, and police were looking into whether Dunn was connected to additional thefts.

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UPDATED: Three-time convicted felon accused of stabbing man in Alhambra

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ALHAMBRA >> A three-time convicted felon from Los Angeles pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges stemming from the stabbing of an Alhambra man during an argument over a woman earlier this month, officials said.
Isaias Casillas, 41, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon in for the alleged Dec. 4 attack at the victim’s home in the 2900 block of Montezuma Avenue, according to Alhambra police and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
Casillas went to the victim’s home about 3 p.m. and the two men became involved in a fight, officials said.
“At this time motive appears to be disrespect of a girlfriend,” Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
“While victim is in his front yard washing his car, suspect Casillas approaches victim with a gun in his hand pointing it at victim,” according to the police statement.
Casillas then began punching the victim in the head and face.
Casillas did not fire the gun, but pulled out a pocket knife and started stabbing the victim, police said.
The knife wounds , described as lacerations to the head area, were not considered to be life-threatening, Sgt. Jim Hammond said. The victim declined to be taken to a hospital by paramedics.
Police arrested Casillas in connection with the incident the following day.
Casillas and his alleged victim were acquainted with one another, Hammond said.
“ At this time motive appears to be disrespect of a girlfriend,” according to the police statement.
District attorney’s officials said Casillas was previously convicted of grand theft in 1996, possession of methamphetamine in 2000 and vehicular manslaughter in 2004.
Police also described Casillas as a gang member.
The vehicular manslaughter conviction stems from a crash in which Casillas struck a car in La Puente containing four teenagers heading home from Knott’s Berry Farm on Oct. 4, 2003. Nathaly Baustista, a 14-year-old West Covina High School freshman, died in the crash. A teenage boy suffered brain damage.
Casillas fled the scene and was arrested a short time later, prosecutors said.
Casillas pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, as well as felony hit-and-run, in January of 2004. He received a 7-year prison sentence.
If convicted as charged in the stabbing case, Casillas faces up to 16 years in state prison, district attorney’s officials said. He is scheduled to appear in Alhambra Superior Jan. 5 for a preliminary hearing setting. He was released from jail early Saturday after posting $110,000 bail, records show.
BOOKING photo of Isaias Casillas, 41, of Los Angeles courtesy of the Alhambra Police Department.

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