Police arrested two cousins from San Gabriel on Thursday in connection with a West Covina bank robbery the previous day, and were looking into the possibility the suspects were also responsible for another bank heist in Baldwin Park last week, authorities said.
Ruben Edward Mora, 48, and James Vincent Luevano were booked on suspicion of bank robbery following their arrests on Thursday afternoon, according to West Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The investigation began after a robbery unfolded about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Cathay Bank, 2672 E. Garvey Ave. South, West Covina police Sgt. Tony Cortina said.
A man entered the bank and gestured as if he had a gun, though none was seen, the sergeant said. He threatened to shoot a teller and demanded cash.
He fled the bank after obtaining $1,900, Cortina said. He was last seen getting into a car, which sped away.
“Our patrol officers canvassed the area for witnesses and evidence,” Cortina said. The obtained surveillance camera images depicting both the suspect and the getaway car.
As they continued their investigation, detectives found the car pictured in the surveillance images parked in the driveway of a home in the 5000 block of North Rosemead Boulevard in San Gabriel, police said.
They watched the car until a man exited the home and drove away in it, according to Cortina. Police pulled over the car and soon determined the driver, Luevano, had acted as the getaway driver in Wednesday’s bank robbery, he said.
Police also determined that the second suspect, who carried out the robbery, Mora, was inside the home, Cortina said. Officers ordered him out of the home and took him into custody without a struggle.
Officials recovered the allegedly stolen cash from the home, which is shared by the two cousins.
Investigators also found that Mora strongly matched the description of a robber who carried out a robbery at the HomeStreet Bank, 3119 Baldwin Park Blvd. in Baldwin Park, Cortina said. Authorities were looking into the West Covina robbery suspect’s possible connection to the Baldwin Park crime.
According to booking records, Mora was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail his initial court appearance, while Luevano was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
A jury convicted a A Valinda man of drunken driving and leading West Covina police on a pursuit that ended in a crash that left 10 people hurt, officials said.
The Pomona jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Robert Anthony Lopez, 27, guilty of fleeing police in a motor vehicle resulting in serious bodily injury, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury within 10 years of a previous DUI offense and driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent causing injury within 10 years of a previous DUI offense, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in an email. He pleaded “no contest” earlier to driving on a suspended or revoked license following a previous offense.
Nine innocent bystanders, as well as Lopez himself, suffered injuries in the July 18, 2016, crash at Francisquito and Walnut avenues, in the unincorporated county area of Valinda.
He faces up to 24 years behind bars when he returns to the Pomona Branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, Ardalani said.
The chase started in West Covina, where police tried to pull Lopez over in an Acura for speeding and blowing through a stop sign, Ardalani said in a written statement.
Lopez ultimately crashed into a Nissan Maxima, which spun out of control and struck a Ford Expedition,
A woman inside the Nissan and her to young daughters were hurt, along with a drive and five passengers inside the Ford, California Highway Patrol officials said.
Firefighters had to free freed Lopez from his mangled car, officials said.
According to prosecutors, Lopez was previously convicted of reckless driving and driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent in 2015.
PHOTO courtesy Saul Sanchez
GLENDORA >> A brush fire broke out on the northern edge of Glendora bordering the Angeles National Forest Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The fire was first reported about 1:48 p.m. at the end of the 800 block of North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Joey Napoli said.
“We do have two acres running uphill toward the Angeles National Forest,” he said. He added that county firefighters were working in “unified command” with forest firefighters.
Within two hours, the fire had grown to seven acres in size, Glendora police announced via Twitter. Firefighters had established containment lines around 80 percent of it by 6;20 p.m., police said in a written statement.
A “second-alarm” response was declared, bringing about 200 firefighters and several water-dropping helicopters to bear on the wildfire, LACFD spokesman Brian Beltran said.
“All forward progress has been stopped,” he said about 3:30 p.m.
Firefighters expected full containment by Thursday night, though firefighters planned to remain on scene well afterward conducting “mop up” to ensure no further flare-ups, Beltran said.
No structures were reported threatened as firefighters worked to keep the blaze from taking a foothold in the forest.
Police asked drivers to avoid Sierra Madre Avenue between Grand and Barranca avenues. No evacuations were ordered.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police are seeking two attackers in connection with the early-morning stabbing of a man outside a Monterey Park motel on Wednesday, officials said.
The incident was first reported at 6:36 a.m. in the 300 block of South Garfield Avenue, Monterey Park police Lt. Scot Wiese said.
The victim, a man in his 20s, suffered several lacerations to his head, the lieutenant said. He was hospitalized with injuries not considered to be life-threatening.
Few details were available regarding the incident, as the victim did not appear to be cooperating fully with investigator, Wiese said.
The initial investigation revealed the victim was involved in a confrontation with two men in the parking lot area of the motel, he said. A detailed description of the attackers was not available.
Investigators suspected the stabbing was gang-related, he added.
Anyone with information can reach Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
A car-to-car shooting on the border between Hacienda Heights and Industry left one man dead and another wounded on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The deadly gunfire was first reported about 2:20 p.m. at Clark and Ridley avenues in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Bullets were fired from one white car into another, and possibly in both directions, Lt. Joe Mendoza of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
The other car continued traveling just over three-quarters of a mile before it collided with another, uninvolved car at Turnbull Canyon Road and Don Julian Road in Industry, according to the lieutenant. The second car sped away and was yet to be found.
“When deputies arrived there, that’s when they saw there was a victim inside one of the vehicles,” Mendoza said. “That victim was suffering from at least one gunshot wound to the body. That person was pronounced dead at the scene.”
The identity of the victim, who had been driving the crashed white sedan, was not available pending positive identification and notification of family. He was initially described only as a man.
A second man inside the car was also found to be suffering from gunshot wounds, Mendoza said. He was taken to a hospital for treatment. An update on his condition was not available.
A third person inside that vehicle fled from the scene and was detained a short distance away from where that vehicle collided,” Mendoza said.
Detectives detained the third man for questioning.
No description of the shooter or shooters was available. The vehicle being sought in connection with the shooting was described only as a white sedan.
It was not clear Wednesday whether the shooting was an attack or a two-way gun battle, Mendoza said.
Investigators said they could not confirm initial reports from the scene that casings from at least two different bullet calibers were found.
Deputies continued scouring the multiple crime scenes into Wednesday evening, bringing in a search dog to look for any discarded weapons.
Investigators determined the shooting was preceded by a “disturbance” reported just before the shooting on a residential cul-de-sac in the 15500 block of Ladysmith Street in Hacienda Heights, Mendoza said.
Further details regarding the circumstances of the incident believed to have led to the shooting were not available.
Mendoza said the shooting was believed to be gang-related.
It was not yet clear if the incident was an attack or a two-way gun battle.
A man and three young children who were riding in the car struck by the wounded driver were treated at the scene for minor injuries, Mendoza said.
Anyone with information is urged 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 by Leo Jarzomb
IRWINDALE >> The community is invited to get to know Irwindale’s new police chief at a meet-and-greet this Saturday.
The “Chat with the Chief” with Irwindale Police Chief Ty Henshaw, who took command of the department last month, meeting will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Little Park of Irwindale on Alice Rodriguez Circle, police said in a written statement.
“Join us to get to know your new police chief in a relaxed and informal atmosphere,” the statement said. Residents are encouraged to ask questions, bring up concerns, “or just say ‘hello.’”
For more information, contact the Irwindale Police Department at 626-430-2244.
LA VERNE >> A brush fire ignited in La Verne and scorched 40 acres before firefighters got it under control, officials said.
La Verne Fire Department officials requested help from their counterparts in the Los Angeles County Fire Department just before 3 p.m. after the fire ignited in the area of Briley Point Road and Williams Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms said. The fire was burning near homes.
The fire was initially reported as 4-5 acres in size and was spreading quickly through medium to heavy brush, she said.
By 3:40 p.m., Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said the fire had grown to about 10 acres in size and was continuing to burn uphill, threatening homes at the top. Two air tankers were initially summoned to the scene to aid water-dropping helicopters, but cancelled shortly after 4 p.m. as firefighters gained the upper hand on the fire.
“It sounds like it’s dying down a little,” fire Capt. Ron Singleton said. “They’re getting a handle on it.”
But officials again called for reinforcements about 4:30 p.m. as the fire began to flare up once more, drawing a total of 200 firefighters to the incident.
The brush fire grew to 40 acres by Sunday evening, but was 50 percent contained, fire officials announced via Twitter.
Voluntary evacuations were issued for homes along Rodeo Lane, as well as in unincorporated county neighborhoods of Webb Canyon and Live Oak Canyon just to the east, La Verne police Sgt. Justin Newman said.
The voluntary evacuations were lifted shortly before 7 p.m. as firefighters continued dousing remaining hot spots to ensure the fire didn’t re-ignite, officials said. Firefighters were expected to remain on scene through the night.
A near miss between a fire-fighting aircraft and a Cessna airplane was reported during the fire.
Baseline Road remained closed Sunday evening between Fruit Street in La Verne and Lynoak Avenue in Claremont.
No injuries or property damage were reported.PHOTO courtesy of the La Verne Police Department
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Rescuers flew two motorcyclist to a hospital on Sunday after they collided with deer in two separate incidents along Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest, officials said.
The collision were reported about 7:50 a.m. near mile marker 48, and at 12:38 p.m. at mile marker 44.37, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Michelle Bond. Both crash scenes are just north of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road.
Both men were flown to hospitals by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Air Rescue 5, officials said. Updated on their conditions were not available.
The two similar incidents within five hours on the same stretch of forest road prompted the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau to urge caution via Twitter.
“Slow down & watch for wildlife on Angeles Crest,” read the social media post. “#LASD Air Rescue 5 airlifting rider from motorcycle vs deer crash for the 2nd time today.”
A nonstop series of motorcycle crashes Along Angeles Crest Highway has kept rescuers busy this weekend.
Officials handled at least five injury motorcycle crashes along the road on Saturday, including one that left a 26-year-old Palmdale man dead.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
PASADENA >> A Pasadena woman awoke to find a burglar asleep on the floor of her home after breaking in, rummaging through the house and making himself a sandwich early Saturday, police said.
The burglary was reported just after 6:30 a.m. in the 300 block of South Grand Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe said.
An intruder made his way into the home through an unsecured door and rummaged through several rooms, he said.
But the man apparently developed an appetite while in the midst of the break-in.
“He decided to make himself a sandwich,” according to the lieutenant.
A woman who lives at the home awoke to find the burglar asleep on the floor, Grisafe said.
She called police, who took responded and took him into custody without a struggle.
Marvin Donnerson, 51, was booked on suspicion of burglary, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Donnerson, who has an extensive arrest record in Los Angeles County dating back at least three decades, was being held without bail due to a hold placed on him by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, records show.
He was scheduled to make an appearance Tuesday in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
SAN DIMAS >> A gunman held up a San Dimas dry cleaner shop on Saturday afternoon, officials said.
The heist unfolded just before 3:45 p.m. at Bonded Cleaners, 409 W. Bonita Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Thomas Reid said.
A man entered the store brandishing a semi-automatic handgun and demanded cash before fleeing on foot with an undetermined amount of money, the lieutenant said.
He was described as a Latino man in his 40s, wearing a long-sleeve gray shirt, jeans, white shoes, a blue hat and sunglasses, Reid said.
Deputies at the scene additionally reported that the man was about 6 feet tall, 200 pounds and covered his face with a black shirt.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2709. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.