ARCADIA >> A man who showed up at an Arcadia motel to meet an escort ended up getting robbed Wednesday evening, authorities said.
Niyah Brooklyn Milan, 22, of Chicago was booked on suspicion of robbery and false imprisonment shorty after the 7:30 p.m. incident at the Santa Anita Inn, 130 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
The victim reported he went to the motel to meet with a female escort he had met through an online service, the lieutenant said.
But when he arrived, Milan was in the room, dressed in female attire, rather than the escort the victim had conversed with online.
“The victim attempted to leave, but the suspect blocked his path,” Cullen said. Milan then claimed to be armed with a gun, though none was seen, and demanded the victim’s money.
The victim then left the motel and called police, who soon arrested Milan at the motel and recovered the victim’s cash, Cullen said. The victim was unharmed.
It was not clear whether Milan identified as female permanently, or donned female attire for the purpose of the alleged crime.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Milan was being held in lieu of $50,000 pending a scheduled arraignment hearing Friday in Pasadena Superior Court.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police responding to reports of gunfire found a man shot to death inside a Mercedes-Benz sedan parked behind the apartment building where he lived on his 20th birthday early Thursday, authorities said.
Coroner’s official’s were yet to formally identify the victim, however family and friends identified him as Saieed Ivey, who recently moved to Los Angeles from Chicago, where he was reportedly a star basketball player at Simeon Career Academy.
Ivey was listed among the roster of the East Los Angeles College Huskies 2015-2016 basketball team.
Few details were initially released regarding the investigation, which was being spearheaded by detectives from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Monterey park police responded to a report of gunfire about 4:25 a.m. in the 800 block of El Repetto Drive when they discovered the victim suffering from apparent gunshot wounds inside a car, Monterey Park police Sgt. Bob Hung said.
Officials determined the death appeared to be a homicide, and requested assistance from their counterparts in the sheriff’s department, he said.
The victim was found in the back seat of the car, with the doors locked and the headlights on, Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. He had been shot in the “upper torso,” and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The circumstances of the shooting remained a mystery Thursday afternoon.
“Witnesses told detectives the victim was with a group of friends at a gathering,” Rouzan said. “They said the victim walked away from the group, and a short time later shots were heard.”
No further details were available.
Neighbors Wissem Chabchoub and his wife Sandra Simon said they heard no gunfire.
But about an hour before the shooting occurred, Simon said they said they heard “blood-curdling screams.”
The voiced appeared to be an argument between at least two people.
“It didn’t sound like English,” Simon added. She said they shouts may have been in Chinese, “possibly Mandarin.”
It was unclear whether the argument the couple heard was related to the fatal shooting.
Chabchoub said he did not know Ivey, but recalled seeing him in the apartment building’s stairwell on Wednesday.
Everything seemed normal and the young man said hello as he passed by, accompanied by three young women, Chabchoub said.
Ivey’s cousin, Alexandra Ossey of Hollywood, waited for information outside the still-cordoned-off apartment building Thursday afternoon.
She said Ivey moved to the apartment building from Chicago about eight months ago and enrolled in ELAC, where he was doing well. His older brother joined him at the apartment in recent months, while the rest of his family remains in Chicago.
Misinformation spread via social media in the hours following the deadly shooting incorrectly asserted that Ivey had been shot to death by Los Angeles police.
“We’ve been told Saieed Ivey was locked out of his car & was trying to get in. Police thought he was stealing & killed him today on his bday,” Black Lives Matter Chicago posted on Twitter at 12:20 p.m. The tweet was deleted Thursday afternoon.
Popular musician Chance The Rapper repeated the misinformation nine minutes later via the social media network.
“LAPD killed Saieed on his birthday and no one knows why. Haven’t seen an article or police statement yet,” the rapper tweeted to his 1.69 million Twitter followers.
“Initial speculation that the shooting death was officer-involved is false,” Rouzan said. “There were no officers or deputies involved in the incident, and the suspect (or suspects) are still outstanding.”
Loved ones of Ivey also took to social media to mourn his loss and honor his memory.
“My eyes are teary, Saieed was a leader. He had a good head on his shoulders, he was very respectful and hard working. He inspired us all,” Twitter user Kayla Eubanks posted.
“Saieed loved his mother as much as anyone I know. The way he lived his life was an inspiration. A really special kid,” user Daniel Poneman posted on Twitter.
Anyone with information was 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.
PHOTO (Above) by Leo Jarzomb (Below) Saieed Ivey, courtesy, ELAC Huskies Athletics.
PASADENA >> A Pasadena man shot at a market clerk and a group of customers who chased him from the store during a robbery attempt Wednesday afternoon, police said.
A SWAT team ultimately apprehended Justin Shawn Bryson, 21, of Pasadena about five hours after the failed 12:50 p.m. heist at Chan’s Market, 1237 Lincoln Avenue, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He walked into the store with armed with a handgun and wearing a bandana over his face, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said. He demanded money from the cash register.
“(The clerk) walked away from the register area and began throwing items at the suspect,” Luna said. \
“The suspect fired a single shot from his handgun at the victim.” The bullet missed.
Luna said the would-be robber pointed his gun at a woman shopping at the store as he fled the market and ran north along Lincoln Avenue.
The clerk, a 57-year-old La Crescenta man, got into his car and chased after his attacker.
Three customers from the store got into their car as well and followed after the clerk, police said.
“(Bryson) turned around at one point and possibly fired at least one gunshot at the victims,” Luna said. He was last seen running down MacDonald Street, between Mentone and Glen avenues.
Neither the clerk nor the customers — described as a 70-year-old woman, a 50-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl — were injured.
Police cordoned off the neighborhood and searched for the suspect with the aid bloodhounds and a helicopter, Luna said. He was ultimated tracked to a home in the 200 block of MacDonald Street. “where he voluntarily surrendered,” Luna said.
“Detectives executed a search warrant at the location and evidence was recovered,” he added.
Bryson was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, Luna said.
He was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.
WEST COVINA >> Police arrested three alleged burglars, as well as the resident, following an attempted break-in Wednesday at a house containing an indoor marijuana farm, officials said.
Police first responded to the home in the 1800 block of David Court about 1 p.m. when a neighbor reported a possible burglary in progress, West Covina police Lt. Jerry Pearman said. The witnesses reported seeing several people, one of them armed with a handgun, smashing windows and trying to get into the home.
Officers found and detained three alleged suspects in the area, Pearman said. They were arrested on suspicion of burglary, and detectives continued investigating the trio late Wednesday for possible additional charges.
The ultimate intentions of the suspects, had the crime not been interrupted by police, remained unclear.
Officers also arrested the home’s resident after finding about 30 marijuana plants growing inside the home, Pearman said.
It appeared many more plants had been recently harvested at the home, he added.
The suspects names were not immediately available.
SAN GABRIEL >> Coroner’s officials have identified a 38-year-old Rosemead man who was fatally shot in the back during a gang-related dispute in South San Gabriel last week.
John Daniel Pollerana died at a hospital about 45 minutes after Thursday’s 11:47 p.m. shooting in the 1600 block of Del Mar Avenue, in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said.
He was among three men who became involved in an altercation with fourth other men in the parking lot of a motel, Lt. Jose Mendoza of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. The dispute was believed to be gang-related.
One of the four men pulled a handgun and shot the victim in the back, according to sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
One of the attackers drove away from the shooting scene in a white, four-door sedan, Mendoza said. The other three suspects fled the area on foot.
Deputies quickly found one suspect — later identified as 31-year-old Juan Luis Colin of Bell Gardens — on foot in the area and detained him, officials said.
Juan Luis Colin, 31, of Bell Gardens, was treated for cuts to his arms he suffered while fleeing from deputies through backyards before being booked on suspicion of murder, Mendoza said.
Investigators determined Pollerana was staying at the motel along with two friends, Mendoza said. The group had ties to a local street gang.
The four suspects, who are tied to an East Los Angeles street gang, had been staying in another room at the motel, he said.
The groups encountered one another in the parking lot and an argument ensued before “at least one” of the suspects pulled a handgun and opened fire.
Pollerana was mortally wounded. Another man who was with him suffered a grazing wound, it was later determined.
The three additional suspects remained at large Wednesday.
According to county booking records, Colin was scheduled to appear in the El Monte branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday for an arraignment hearing. He was being held in lieu of $2 million bail.
Anyone with information was 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.
GLENDORA >> A U.S. Army solder from Glendora man has been returned to L.A. County from an Iraq deployment to face charges of child molestation and forcible rape, authorities said Wednesday.
Prosecutors charged Fadi Haddad, 39, on April 20 with three counts of committing lewd acts on a child and two counts of forcible rape of an adult, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
He is an army reservist with the rank of specialist who works in military intelligence and translation, Glendora police Detective Chris Farino said.
After prosecutors filed charges against Haddad in April, the Army arranged for him to be returned to his deploying base in Fort Hood, Texas, in mid-May to await legal proceedings, officials said.
Haddad waives his right to fight extradition and was returned to Los Angeles County to be booked into jail early May 28, Farino said.
The alleged child molestations involved an underage girl who Haddad had access to, and occurred between October of 2009 and October of 2010, and also between October of 2013 and October of 2014, Ardalani said.
The investigation began after, “a child revealed that he’d been sexually abusing her,” she said.
The child victim was 13 years old when the abuse began, Farino said.
During the course of investigation the alleged crimes against the child, detectives also encountered a woman who alleged that Haddad had raped her twice, in August of 2014 and in July of 2015, Ardalani said.
Haddad was also previously acquainted with the alleged adult victim, Farino said.
Haddad is scheduled to appear for arraignment June 17 in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, records show.
In the meantime, he was being held in lieu of $5 million bail.
Anyone with information can reach Glendora police at 626-914-9250. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LOS ANGELES >> A Hacienda Heights man began serving a two-and-a-half-year prison term after he was sentenced for his role in a scheme that netted more than $2.6 million in bogus tax returns using stolen identities, authorities said.
Heber Cotton, 40, pleaded guilty late last year to a count of conspiracy to defraud the federal government by obtaining the payment of fraudulent tax refunds, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. U.S. District Judge Michael W. Firzgerald handed down the 30-month prison term Monday in federal court in Los Angeles.
Cotton was additionally ordered to pay $725,000 in restitution.
His father and co-conspirator, 64-year-old Adel Cotton, pleaded guilty to the same charge in 2012 and has since been sentenced to 4 years and three months in federal prison, officials said.
“This father and son pair prolifically defrauded the government and hundreds of taxpayers, earning them the significant sentences imposed by the court,” according to United States Attorney for the Central District of California Eileen M. Decker.
From December of 2008 to March of 2010, “the Cottons caused at least 275 fraudulent income tax returns to be filed with the IRS,” Mrozek said. “Those fraudulent returns sought income tax refunds totaling more than $2.6 million.”
The father and son used the names and social security numbers of victims without their knowledge to fill out fraudulent tax returns, officials said. They instructed the refund checks to be sent to addressed they controlled.
Heber Cotton admitted in court documents that he gave stolen identity information to a co-conspirator, who worked as a bank manager, who opened bank accounts with the fraudulently obtained funds, in exchange for a 20 percent cut of each refund check.
The bank manager, identified in court documents as Michael Rodriguez, managed a U.S. Bank branch inside a Tustin supermarket, Mrozek said.
He has since pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the scheme and is awaiting sentencing.
“These unscrupulous defendants, a father and son team, thought they had figured out a clever scheme to thwart the IRS and steal from American taxpayers,” IRS Criminal Investigation’s Acting Special Agent in Charge Anthony J. Orlando added. “IRS CI has made investigating refund fraud and identity theft a top priority and we will vigorously pursue those who undermine the integrity of the U.S. tax system.”
SOUTH WHITTIER >> Firefighters freed a sheriff’s deputy from a wrecked patrol car following a collision that left her and elderly civilian injured in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, authorities said.
The crash took place about 10:50 a.m. at Telegraph Road and Valley View Avenue, Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. Both the deputy and the other driver were hospitalized in stable condition.
The deputy, a 6-year department veteran, was responding to a report of an alarm activation when the crash occurred, officials said. She was not using the patrol car’s emergency lights or sirens.
“The deputy was traveling west on Telegraph Road in the No. 3 lane when her patrol vehicle was struck by a Lexus sedan that was making a left turn from eastbound Telegraph Road onto northbound Valley View Boulevard,” Alexander said. “The force of the collision then caused the patrol vehicle to strike a signal pole and wrap itself around it.”
Firefighters cut the deputy free of the mangled patrol car before taking both her and an elderly woman who was driving the Lexus to hospitals for treatment, sheriff’s officials said.
The crash is being investigated by officers from the California Highway Patrol’s Santa Fe Springs area office. Any witnesses, or anyone with information, can reach the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office at 562-868-0503.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
BALDWIN PARK >> Three young men suffered gunshot wounds in a car-to-car attack in Baldwin Park early Sunday morning, authorities said.
Two suspects were arrested following a pursuit that originated in Baldwin Park about the same time as the shooting took place, and detectives were investigating the possibility the two incident were related.
The shooting occurred about 2 a.m. in the area of Ramona Boulevard and Badillo Street, Baldwin Park police Sgt. Shawn Blackburn said.
The three young men, along with a teen who was not struck by the gunfire, were riding in a car when gunshots rang out from another vehicle, officials said.
Blackburn said the car continued driving east for about three miles before coming to a stop at Badillo Street and Phillips Avenue, across the city border in West Covina.
One of the victims was hospitalized in critical condition after undergoing emergency surgery, he said. The other two victims were in stable condition.
All three wounded men were in their late teens or 20s, West Covina Fire Department Capt. Esteban Rodriguez said.
Just before authorities received word of the shooting, Baldwin Park officers were involved with a pursuit of a pickup truck, police said.
Officers chased the fleeing truck to Rosemead, but cancelled the pursuit due to safety concerns, Blackburn said.
But a helicopter continued following the truck as it headed back east toward West Covina, where West Covina police resumed the chase.
The pursuit led back to Baldwin Park, where the driver and passenger ultimately stopped and surrendered, police said. Their identities were not available Sunday morning.
“The investigations regarding both incidents are ongoing, and it has not been confirmed that they are related at this time,” Baldwin Park police said in a written statement.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Baldwin Park police Capt. Joe Bartolotti at 626-960-1955. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Arcadia’s own Bonnie & Clyde:
ARCADIA >> A liquor-loving man and woman carried out a beer run in Arcadia Saturday before crashing their car nearby and continuing to flee on foot, police said.
The incident began about 5:30 with a report of an alcohol theft from Royal Oaks Liquors, 511 N. 1st Ave., Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
A man and woman took various alcoholic beverages from the store without paying, then fled in a silver Nissan Altima, the lieutenant said.
Within minutes, police received word of a hit-and-run collision a block to the west at Colorado Boulevard and Santa Anita Avenue, he said.
A silver Nissan believed to be the same one involved in the liquor store theft struck another vehicle, Cullen said. No injuries were reported.
“While attempting to flee the scene of the initial collision, the suspects were involved in a second collision just north of the intersection,” he said. Their car struck a chain that was hung across a private parking lot.
“The suspects abandoned the vehicle and fled the area,” Cullen said. Officers searched the area, but did not find them.
Police described one of the thieves as a Latino man in his 20s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, of medium build, with a shaved head. He wore shorts.
He was accompanies by a Latina woman between 18 and 20, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, 130 pounds, with hair dyed red and pulled back. She wore painted-on red eyelashes, a black T-shirt and burgundy pants.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5150. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.