UPDATED: Women robbed in West Covina home invasion

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WEST COVINA — Police are seeking two gunmen who forced their way into the home of a West Covina woman and her elderly mother Sunday, assaulting one of the women before fleeing with valuables, authorities said.
The home-invasion robbery took place just after 10 a.m. today at a house in the 3000 block of Larkwood Street, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
A woman estimated to be in her 50s and her mother, estimated to be in her 70s, were inside the home when the two armed robbers entered through the open door of an attached garage, police said.
“(The women) were confronted by the suspects, who were armed with handguns,” Patton said. The robbers ordered the women into a bedroom.
The daughter was bleeding from a head injury when officers arrived, he said. She had been struck by one of the robbers with a blunt object, though it was not clear if she had been pistol-whipped or struck with some other unknown object.
Both women were examined at the scene by paramedics, but not hospitalized, police said.
Police said the robbers fled with cash, jewelry and electronics. A safe was stolen during the crime.
The value of the items stolen in the robbery was not available.
Patton said the robbers were described as two black men, both wearing jeans and dark-colored T-shirts and armed with semi-automatic handguns. One of the robbers appeared 20 25 years old, while the other was described as appearing to be about 30.
They were last seen fleeing the area in a light-colored vehicle similar to a 2010 or newer-model model Chevrolet Camaro, Patton said.
A woman who answered the door at the home did not wish to comment, though she confirmed everyone was OK.
A neighbor who was home at the time of the crime said he did not hear or see anything unusual.
Patton said police were checking with other law enforcement agencies in the region to see if any similar crimes have been reported lately.
Anyone with information was asked to contact West Covina police at 626-939-8500.

Fireworks keep officials busy, but cause no major incidents in the San Gabriel Valley

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Police officers and sheriff’s deputies throughout the San Gabriel Valley kept busy handling fireworks complaints late Friday and early Saturday, though no major mishaps directly blamed on fireworks had been reported once the celebratory smoke had cleared, authorities said.
The Whittier Police Department, which patrols both Whittier and Santa Fe Springs, responded to 102 fireworks compliants between noon Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said. Eighty-seven of the calls came from Whittier, while 15 came from Santa Fe Springs.
An attic fire was reported about 1:30 a.m. at a home in the 12000 block of South Circle Avenue, though the cause had not yet been determined, Whittier Police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Investigators had not ruled out fireworks as a possible cause of the fire, which scorched the home’s attic but did not displace the residents living there, police and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
Several tree fires in the Whittier area were also blamed on fireworks, but no additional structure fires were blamed on Independence Day celebration, fire officials added.
Deputies at the nearby sheriff’s Norwalk Station, which patrols Norwalk, La Mirada and nearby unincorporated county areas, responded to 112 fireworks calls, Lt. Jason Skeen said. Between 1 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Saturday, deputies issued 121 fireworks citations, and seized 85 pounds of illegal fireworks.
Specific statistics regarding the number of fireworks calls received by police was not available Saturday in Montebello, however Lt. Andy Vuncanon said the department responded to more than 150 calls overnight, which were primarily complaints about fireworks and loud parties.
Montebello firefighters assisted neighboring agencies with trash can fires throughout the region, however no significant fires were reported within the city, fire department officials said.
Deputies at the sheriff’s San Dimas Station responded to a total of 96 fireworks-related calls between noon Friday and 2:10 a.m. Saturday, sheriff’s officials said.
Lt. Andy Berg said the figure falls in line with previous Independence Days, with about 20 percent of the fireworks complaints coming from San Dimas, and 80 percent coming from the nearby unincorporated county areas also patrolled by
And while no major problems were directly attributed to fireworks, officials suspected the arson fire of a parked car in an unincorporated county area near Azusa may have been related to an argument between a resident and a group of people setting off illegal fireworks.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station, which patrols Industry, La Puente, Hacienda Heights, La Habra Heights, and nearby unincorporated areas, handled 82 fireworks-related calls between 9 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Saturday, Sgt. Robert Boese said. No major incidents were reported.
La Puente hosted a massive Independence Day celebration at La Puente Park July 3, which drew an estimated 20,000 spectators.
Covina police received 47 complaints regarding fireworks Friday, primarily at night, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
Toward the western end of the San Gabriel Valley, a fire reported about 7 p.m. at a detached residential garage in the 600 block of West Lime Avenue in Monrovia was determined not to have been ignited by fireworks, but rather a malfunctions egg incubator machine, Monrovia police lt. Jaime Alfaro said. No injuries were reported, though officials were worried about the structural integrity of the building.
A fire reported just before 4 a.m. inside a detached garage along Winnie Way, just west of Santa Anita Avenue, in Arcadia caused minor damage and no injuries, Arcadia Fire Department Battalion Chief Barry Spriggs said. The cause had not been determined Saturday.
Statistics regarding fireworks-related calls were not available in Pasadena Saturday, however Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said officials saw a “relatively low number” of fireworks-related incidents at the Rose Bowl during the Americafest Independence Day celebration.
Police made only one arrest during the massive event at the Rose Bowl, which attracted tens of thousands of spectators, both inside the stadium and around the outside, Pasadena police Lt. Art Chute said. The arrest was for drunken driving in the stadium parking lot.

PHOTO by Sarah Reingewirtz

Suspect jailed following Alhambra sandwich shop robbery

ALHAMBRA — Police arrested a man Saturday after he robbed a sandwich shop at gunpoint, authorities said.
Jacob Adan Perez, 19, of Alhambra was arrested in connection with the robbery, which took place just before 1 a.m. at Subway, 2131 South Fremont Avenue, according to Alhambra police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Perez entered the restaurant with a handgun and demanded money, Alhambra police Sgt. Esther Rodriguez said. After obtaining cash, he ran off.
A responding police officer spotted the suspect — later identified as Perez — in the area, Rodriguez said. Police set up a search perimeter, in which Perez was found and arrested without a struggle a short time later.
Police recovered the handgun believed to have been used in the robbery, as well as other items possibly linking Perez to additional crimes, Rodriguez said.
Officials declined to described the items seized from Perez Saturday as they continued their investigation, she added.
Perez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court.

Arcadia man killed in Diamond Bar motorcycle crash identified

DIAMOND BAR — Coroner’s officials have released the name of a 29-year-old Arcadia man who was killed in a freeway motorcycle crash in Diamond Bar Wednesday.
Justen Dillon Wrench died at the scene of the crash, which was reported about 8:35 a.m. Wednesday on the southbound 57 Freeway transition road to the westbound 60 Freeway, according to Los Angeles County Department of Coroner and California Highway Patrol officials.
Wrench was riding south at an unknown speed when he collided with a Honda Civic, CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez.
The crash caused Wrench to fall into the roadway, where he was run over by a big rig, the officer said.
An autopsy determined Wrench died from traumatic injuries, and the death was ruled accidental, coroner’s officials said.
The drivers of both the Honda and the big rig remained at the scene, officials said. No arrests were made as the investigation into the cause of the crash continued.

Teenage stabbing victim arrives at Pasadena hospital

PASADENA — A teenage boy showed up at a Pasadena hospital with a stab wound to the back of his neck late Friday, police said.
The victim, a 17-year-old Pasadena boy, arrived at Huntington Hospital shortly before midnight, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
“We received a call from a local hospital, who notified us that an intoxicated man had walked in with a laceration to back of his neck,” Luna said.
The wound was described as, “moderately serious, but not life-threatening,” the lieutenant said.
Little was known about how the teen ended up injured.
The exact location of the stabbing had no been determined, however it was believed to have taken place in the vicinity of Orange Grove Boulevard and Garfield Avenue, Luna said.

Man seriously wounded in Pasadena shooting; attacker sought

PASADENA — An 18-year-old Pasadena man was seriously injured, but expected survive, after being shot in the chest late Friday in a residential neighborhood, police said.
The attack took place just before midnight in the 600 block of North Marengo Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
“The suspect confronted the victim on the sidewalk,” Luna said. “Following the confrontation, the suspect fired several rounds, striking the victim once.”
The wounded man was taken to an area hospital, where he was listed in “serious but stable” condition, the lieutenant said.
Details of the confrontation that preceded the shooting were not available Saturday, and a motive in the crime was unclear.
“The suspect fled the area on foot. The area was checked for the suspect and any additional victims, but none were located,” Luna said.
Police described the shooter as a black man in his late-teens or early-20s, wearing black clothing.

17-year-old Pasadena boy accused of raping 14-year-old girl he met online

PASADENA — Detectives arrested a 17-year-old Pasadena boy Friday on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old girl he met online, authorities said.
The teenage suspect was taken into custody about 1:30 p.m. at a home in the 700 block of Cypress Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said. He was arrested on suspicion of rape and taken to a juvenile hall. His name was not released due to his age.
Investigators had identified him as a suspect in the alleged rape, which took place in Pasadena in recent weeks.
“The suspect met the victim via a social media site,” Luna said. “He lured her to a secluded site in Pasadena where he forcibly raped her.”
The date and location of the alleged crime were not available Saturday.
“Detectives conducted an investigation, and through their investigation, they identified the suspect,” Luna said.
No further details were available.

Arson suspected in Azusa car fire; may be linked to argument over illegal fireworks

AZUSA — Investigators suspect arson after a car was torched in a senior citizen’s driveway about 45 minutes after she told a group of people to stop lighting illegal fireworks near her home in an unincorporated county area near Azusa, authorities said.
Officials stopped short of calling the woman and two men who argued with the 66-year-old woman suspects in the apparent arson, however detectives were investigating their possible involvement and wanted to speak with them, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Andy Berg said.
“We find it an interesting coincidence,” the lieutenant said.
Deputies responded to reports of a car in flames just after 1 a.m. at the woman’s home in the 18600 block of Mauna Loa Avenue, sheriff’s officials said.
By the time firefighters extinguished the burning vehicle, a 1999 Chevrolet Camaro belonging to the woman’s son, it had been completely destroyed, Berg said. The car was valued at about $3,000.
A 1997 Saturn parked nearby was also damaged by the flames, officials said. The car sustained about $2,000 worth of heat damage to its hood and driver side.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail were looking into exactly how the fire ignited.
“Based on the fact the Camaro had not been driven for 2 days, and because of evidence at the scene, fire department officials suspect that the fire was intentionally started,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
About 45 minutes prior to the fire, the woman had confronted a woman and two men lighting illegal “mortar”-style fireworks near her home.
“She asked them not to light any more fireworks, and told the group she would be calling the police,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “A woman in the group engaged in a brief argument with the resident.”
The resident did not recognize the woman or the men she was with, Berg said. The woman was described as white or Latina, about 40 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 150 pounds. A description of the men was not available.
Dispatch records show the resident did not call deputies to report the fireworks or the argument, officials said.
But another resident about a block and a half away had called the sheriff’s department to report illegal fireworks at 12:53 a.m., after the argument but before the fire ignited.
Deputies arrived four minutes later, but did not locate any suspicious persons or illegal activity,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “The fire was first reported at 1:12 a.m.”
Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s San Dimas Station.
Deputies at the sheriff’s San Dimas Station responded to a total of 96 fireworks-related calls between noon Friday and 2:10 a.m. Saturday, officials said.
Berg said the figure falls in line with previous Independence Days, with about 20 percent of the fireworks complaints coming from San Dimas, and 80 percent coming from the nearby unincorporated county areas also patrolled by the station.

CHP to hold sobriety checkpoint near Industry

California Highway Patrol officials are planning a sobriety checkpoint Saturday night in an unincorporated county area near Industry, officials have announced.
The checkpoint will begin about 9 p.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location in the unincorporated county area near Industry, CHP officials said in a written statement.
Traffic volume permitting, all drivers that pass through the checkpoint will be checked by officers for sobriety, the statement said. If traffic volume becomes too heavy, officers will screen vehicle based on a pre-selected standard — such as every third vehicle or every 5th vehicle — to ensure objectivity.
Funding for Saturday’s checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Whittier police launch motorcycle safety enforcement campaign

The Whittier Police Department had begun a month-long extra enforcement campaign aimed at improving motorcycle safety and reducing the number of injuries and deaths caused motorcycle crashes, officials said.
Throughout July, extra officers will be on patrol, focusing their efforts on areas frequented by motorcycles and where motorcycle crashes are known to occur, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“Officers will be looking for violations made by drivers and riders alike that can lead to motorcycle crashes,” according to the statement. “ They will be cracking down on both those operating regular vehicles and motorcycles that are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, making illegal turns or any other dangerous violation.”
In Whittier and Santa Fe Springs, five fatal motorcycle crashes and 87 injury motorcycle crashes have occurred withint the past three years, officials said.
Funding for the campaign is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.