WEST COVINA >> Police reached out to the public Saturday for help in tracking down a pair of mail thieves whose crime was caught on camera.
The caper, which was recorded on surveillance cameras, took place about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of South Hillward Avenue, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said.
A man and woman arrived at the home in a black or blue, newer-model Ford F-150 pickup truck and pulled into the driveway, Lopez said.
“The female suspect exited the passenger side of the truck, walked to the front porch and removed mail and a package from the porch,” he said. The woman returned to the truck and fled, along with the male driver.
Police described the woman was described as Latina, 20 to 30 years old, 230 to 250 pounds, with brown hair. She wore jeans and a mult-colored top. A further description of the male driver was not available.
With the holiday season approaching, and the influx of package deliveries it brings, police throughout the region warn residents to be cautious of mail and package thieves.
Authorities suggest requiring signatures for valuable deliveries, and having them delivered to a place where someone will be available to receive it.
Anyone with information is asked to call West Covina police at 626-939-8557. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to the department’s 24-hour recorded tip line at 626-939-8688.
PASADENA >> A routine traffic stop Friday night ended with the arrest of a convicted felon in possession of a loaded handgun, police said.
Adrian Rodriguez, 22, of Pasadena was arrested following the 8 p.m. encounter at Raymond Avenue and Villa Street, according to Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado.
Gang unit officers patrolling the area pulled over a car for a traffic violation, he said.
“As their conducting their investigation, they found the gun in the passenger compartment,” Mercado said. The weapon was described as a loaded 9mm handgun.
Rodriguez, who was recently discharged from parole for burglary, is barred from possessing firearms.
According to county booking records, Rodriguez was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
PASADENA >> A man with a knife robbed an ice delivery man as he made a delivery to a Pasadena supermarket Friday, authorities said.
The robbery took place about 1:30 p.m. as the delivery driver, a Buena Park man in his 40s, was sitting in the passenger side of his truck in the parking lot of Smart & Final, 3299 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
A robber approached with a knife in hand and demanded money from the delivery man, Mercado said.
“The victim said he didn’t have any money,” the lieutenant said. “The suspect pointed to a (Samsung) Galaxy tablet instead.”
Police said the robber fled with the tablet, described as a Samsung Galaxy 4. The driver was unhurt.
Officers canvassed the area but did not find the robber, described as a black man in his 40s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and 200 pounds. He had a dark complexion, a mustache and short black hair. He wore a plain black T-shirt and blue jeans during the crime, and was armed with a black pocket knife.
PASADENA >> A man firebombed a Pasadena water store with two people inside Friday, less than a month after his arrest for threatening the same victims and vandalizing their property before leading authorities on a three-hour televised pursuit, officials said.
Karnik Kendirian, 48, is accused of attempted murder and arson after using gasoline to set fire to SoCal Water, 1677 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena police and fire officials said.
The suspect showed up at the businesses, which had an attacked residence where two adult residents were inside, about 1:20 a.m., Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
“He breaks their plate glass window, thrown in a gas can and ignites it,” Mercado said.
The residents escaped unharmed, officials said. Kendirian fled the scene.
The fire caused about $25,000 worth of damage to the store and its contents, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
“Luckily, we got there quick. (Firefighters) were able to limit the damage.”
The two residents inside a home attached to the rear of the business got out themselves before firefighters arrived, she said.
At the time of the alleged arson attack, Kendirian was out on bail in connection with his previous alleged crime spree, which unfolded Oct. 25. He faces charges of evading police, making criminal threats and vandalism in connection with that case.
Aware of his penchant to flee, police sent an undercover fugitive apprehension team to his home in Pasadena, where he was taken into custody shortly before noon.
Kendirian complained of shortness of breath following his arrest, so he was taken to a hospital prior to being booked into jail, Mercado said. Officers used no force while arresting him.
The nature of Kendirian’s dispute with his alleged victims was unclear, Mercado said.
Kendirian is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment hearing on the new charges Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court, officials said. He was being held in lieu of $1 million bail, records show.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department
LOS ANGELES >> A judge sentenced a Covina man to prison Friday for fatally stabbing a neighbor in 2012.
Luis Alberto Villaneda, 36, received a sentence of 16 years to life in state prison after a Los Angeles Superior Court jury convicted him in May of last year of the Aug. 29, 2012 slaying of 38-year-old Homeboy Industries employee Gonzalo Robles, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
The jury convicted Villaneda of second-degree murder, along with the special allegation that he used a knife to commit the crime.
Villaneda and Robles had been involved in an argument earlier in the day in the neighborhood where both men lived in the 3600 block of Shadyglen Drive, in an unincorporated county area near Covina, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Robles considered the matter resolved by nightfall, Ardalani said. “However, Villaneda still harbored animosity toward Robles.”
The next day, Villaneda and a friend went to Robles’ home and became involved in a fight with him, authorities said.
“During the fight, the defendant pulled out a knife. Villaneda’s friend told him to leave, but the defendant refused,” Ardalani said.
Robles tried to get Villaneda to drop the knife, she said. “Another tenant threw the victim a smaller knife to protect himself.”
“After Villaneda began swinging at the victim, Robles stabbed the defendant in the shoulder,” Ardalani said. “Then Villaneda fatally stabbed the victim in the heart.”
Investigators found and arrested Villaneda hours later at a nearby convenience store.
Robles was pronounced dead in his own backyard. His roommate described him a father with another child on the way at the time of his death.
He worked at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, which provides employment opportunities and support to reformed gang members and others trying to improve their lives following incarceration.
PICO RIVERA >> Deputies rescued suicidal man who tried to hang himself from a telephone pole in Pico Rivera Friday morning, officials said.
Deputies were summoned about 9:20 a.m. to the 9300 block of Wampler Street by a family member of the man, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“A male adult became despondent and attempted to hang himself from a telephone pole on the south side of Wampler Street,” according to the statement. A family member tried to intervene and called 911.
“(Deputies) found the man hanging from an electrical cord tied to the pole,” the statement said. “They quickly climbed the telephone pole and lifted the man up, preventing his death. Deputies cut the noose from his neck and carried him down from the pole.”
Paramedics took the man to a hospital, where he was listed in serious but stable condition, officials said.
Sheriff’s officials urged anyone thinking of hurting themselves to reach out and take advantages of resources designed to help, such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hotline at 800-273-8255. For more information, visit www.afsp.org.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
MONTEBELLO >> Police asked the public’s help Friday in finding a woman with psychiatric problems who’s been missing since last weekend.
Melissa Lyne Rodarte, 25, left her home in Montebello about 8 a.m. Nov. 14 to go for a jog, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
She sent her father a text message in the afternoon, from an unknown phone, stating that she was at a friend’s house in Bell Gardens, police said. She texted her father later that night, and again Sunday morning, telling him her friend’s car was still not working. She hasn’t been heard from since.
“It’s not unusual for Melissa to leave home and return days later. However, she always texts her father to let him know where she is,” according to the police statement. “Melissa has been diagnosed with (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and psychosis. She hasn’t taken her medication for over a month.”
Rodarte was last seen wearing gray shorts and dark-colored top. She is Latina, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 160 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police at 323-887-1313.
PHOTO of Melissa Lyne Rodarte courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.
NORWALK >> A man shot another man multiple times during an argument between the two men in a Norwalk neighborhood Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The shooter remained at large following the 1 p.m. shooting along Liggett Street, just east of Studebaker Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Eric Smitson said.
Few details were available as the victim, a 21-year-old man, refused to cooperate with investigators, the lieutenant said.
He got into an argument with another man before the suspect pulled a gun and shot the victim in the chest, abdomen and legs, Smitson said. Paramedics took the wounded man to a hospital where he was listed in stable condition.
A detailed suspect description was not available, officials said. A dark-colored sedan seen driving away from the area may have been involved.
WHITTIER >> Police are seeking a Whittier woman they say fled with her 1-year-old son as child services workers tried to serve an order to remove the child from her custody Thursday morning, officials said.
The boy was found safe at a relatives home Thursday night, however the mother remained at large, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Martha Martinez, 26, fled from the 12800 block of Foxley Drive with her 1-year-old son about 9:45 a.m. as officials from the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services arrived to serve a removal order, police officials said in a written statement.
“During the contact, the mother fled the location on foot with the child,” according to the police statement.
Officers searched the area for hours, with help from a bloodhound, but did not find the mother and child.
After reaching out to the public for help, the boy was found safe at a relative’s home Thursday night, Ellis said.
Martha Martinez is Latina, 5 feet 4 inches tall and 120 pounds, police said. She was last seen wearing a tank top, blue jeans and yellow boots.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Whittier police at 562-567-9240.
PASADENA >> A fire erupted in a Pasadena garage Friday, burning two people and spreading to a second nearby garage, authorities said.
The fire broke out about 2:50 p.m. in a residential garage in the 1200 block of North Hill Avenue, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Firefighters declared a “second alarm” as the flames quickly grew, spreading to an adjacent garage on Wesley Avenue just to the east, spewing thick smoke into the air.
A man and woman in their 50s were treated for burn injuries, Derderian said.
Paramedics hospitalized the man in serious condition,while the woman suffered apparently minor injuries, Derderian said.
Joshua Manson was driving home from work down Hill and happened to glance towards the house on his left and saw smoke. He backed up and saw fire from the structure of the back of a house.
He said he saw an elderly man walking away from the burning garage with burns on his hands and his hair. The elderly man wanted to go back in the structure.
“We were trying to get him to come out because he was trying to go back,” Manson said. “After that we searched (the house) and there was on elderly lady in there.”
Manson said he and other good Samaritans made sure there was no one else in the structure.
A neighbor, described as a man in his 60s, suffered a shoulder injury while trying to help, Derderian said.
The cause of the initial garage fire remained under investigation, she said. It appeared the first fire may have caused power lines to fall, sparking the second garage to catch fire.
The Hill Avenue garage appeared destroyed by the fire, while the garage on Wesley Avenue sustained “significant” damage, Derderian said
- Brian Day and Claudia Palma
PHOTOS courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department.