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


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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Altadena garage, home scorched by fire

ALTADENA >> A fire caused major damage to an Altadena garage and home Friday afternoon, authorities said.
No one was hurt in the fire, which was first reported about 2:30 p.m. in the 2600 block of Lincoln Avenue, Sgt. T. Crosswhite of the sheriff’s Altadena Station said.
The fire started in the garage and spread to the house, officials said.
“It was severe damage,” Crosswhite said. A dollar-value estimate of the damage was not available.
Neighbor Cheryl Branum said she spotted the fire and called 9-1-1.
“I came home for lunch time and smelled smoke in my backyard. It didn’t smell like a chimney smoke or cigarette smoke, and within seconds, a big, huge, black ball of smoke and high flames were shooting over my yard,” Branum said.
“I frantically ran outside and I yelled at the neighbors. And the next think I know, I started hearing popping, exploding, and I called 9-1-1.
“Before you know it, the whole back part of their house was completely engulfed in flames.”
Sheriff’s deputies who arrived on-scene before firefighters grabbed hoses and started trying to put water on the burning home, she said. “My stupid nozzle wouldn’t turn on”.”
A family living in the home managed to get out safely before firefighters arrived, Crosswhite said. They were expected to be displaced from their home for at least one night.
After extinguishing the flames, firefighters teamed with the Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail to investigate the cause of the fire, Crosswhite said. The investigation was ongoing late Friday.
Officials also worked to clean the scene and check for any possible hazardous chemicals, as officials recieved intiial reports that there were containers of some type of chemicals stored in the garage, officials said. Further details were not available.
Branum said she was glad no one was injured in the fire.

VIDEO by Walt Mancini

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Woman’s body found inside car of missing Montebello family


MONTEBELLO, Calif. >> Police Sunday discovered a woman’s body inside the trunk of the car of a Montebello family that’s been missing for five days, authorities said.
The Perez family was last seen Friday, Montebello police officials said. The missing family includes Daniel Perez, 43, his wife Erica Perez, 39, and their sons Alex, 6, Tristan, 8, Jaiden, 9, and Jordan, 11.
Police launched an investigation Tuesday after a relative reported the Perez family missing, Montebello police officials said in a written statement. The family has not been seen or heard from since.
But the case turned from a missing persons investigation into a homicide investigation Wednesday afternoon when police made a grisly discovery.
Based on a tip received while canvassing the family’s neighborhood, investigators found a black 2010 Honda Accord belonging to the family about 5 p.m., parked along the curb at 2nd Street and Harding Avenue, next to Beverly Hospital, Montebello police Capt. Luis Lopez said. The car was found less than a mile to the north of the family’s 1st Street home.
Police then discovered the body of a woman inside the trunk of the car, Lopez said. It was not clear late Wednesday whether the body found was that of Erica Perez, Lopez said, however the basic description of the body was consistent with the missing woman’s description.
Police released no information regarding how the woman may have died, or how long ago. The Perez family remained unaccounted for.
“The biggest concern we have is for the children,” Lopez said.
The captain described Daniel Perez a a “person of interest” in the investigation.
Family members told police the parents’ marriage was “unstable” and that the couple had a history of domestic violence, police officials said in a written statement,
Police continued seeking the family Wednesday night, Lopez said. Their investigation included a review of vehicles that have recently crossed the Southern border into Mexico, in case the family had left the country.
Police sought a second car registered to the family, which Lopez described as a black 2014 Toyota Camry with California license plate No. 7FDS891.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police at 323-887-1313.

PHOTOS of Perez family courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.

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Used car dealing brothers convicted of tax evasion

LOS ANGELES >> Two used car dealing brothers from Rosemead and Los Angeles have begun serving three-year jail sentences after pleading “no contest” last week to evaded more than $1.5 million in sales tax, authorities announced Wednesday.
Dagoberto Duenas, 59, of Rosemead and Mario Ernesto Gonzalez, 53, of Los Angeles entered their pleas Dec. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court, California Board of Equalization officials said in a written statement.
Each brother was sentenced to three years in prison, to be served in county jail, for failing to report income from auto sales between 2007 and 2009 at Los Angeles Used Car dealerships they owned, officials said.
“Duenas and Gonzalez owned and operated Space Auto Sales and Spin Auto Sales, respectively,” according to the BOE statement.
BOE officials began investigating the brothers in 2008, “…when it was discovered that they had failed to report a large amount of sales,” the statement said.
“Tax evasion is a serious crime and it is gratifying that these men will be held to account for depriving our state’s honest taxpayers of more than $1.5 million in services,” BOE Chairman Jerome E. Horton said.
Investigators determined Duenas had failed to report at least $12.3 million in taxable sales, resulting in more than $1 million in unreported sales tax, BOE officials said. Gonzalez failed to report almost $500,000 of sales tax.

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Man shot to death in Santa Fe Springs

SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A man died at the scene of a shooting in a residential neighborhood in Santa Fe Springs Sunday night, officials said.
Police discovered the victim lying on the ground near a bicycle about 9:15 p.m. while responding to a report of gunshots in the 9300 block of Millergrove Drive, Whittier police Officer Brad White said.
The man, who was estimated to be in his mid-40s to early-50s, died at the scene, White said.
He was believed to be either riding or walking the bicycle north on Millergrove Drive when he was shot, the officer said.
No suspect description or further details were available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Whittier Police Department at 562-567-9200.

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Rape of teenage girl reported in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Police are investigating a report of the rape of a 14-year-old girl in a Pasadena alley earlier this week, officials said.
The alleged attack took place about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, but was not reported to police until Saturday afternoon, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
The teen told investigators she was walking down McGrew Alley, which runs just west of Los Robles Avenue, between Orange Grove Boulevard and Parke Street, on her way to a market when she was approached by a young man she did not recognize, the lieutenant said. He was initially described only as a Latino man between 17 and 19 years old and riding a BMX-style bicycle
“This young man came up to her and started a conversation,” Hettema said.
The man ultimately forced himself on the teenage girl, police said. No weapons were reported to have been involved in the attack.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4501.

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Bicyclist critically injured in fall in Altadena

ALTADENA >> Rescuers rushed a mountain biker to a hospital in critical condition after he took a bad fall and struck his head on a mountain road in Altadena, fire officials said.
The crash was reported about 12:15 p.m. the Brown Mountain Truck Trail, atop Rising Hill Road at Altadena’s northern boundary, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Ed Pickett said.
The victim, initially described only as male, took a fall as he was riding with a group of bicyclists, Pickett said. He suffered major head trauma.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter happened to be nearby, Pickett said. The airship arrived at the scene within four minutes and took the badly injured cyclist to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena for treatment, Pickett said.
No further details were available.

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