UPDATED: Brush fire scorches 2.5 acres in Diamond Bar

DIAMOND BAR >> A brush fire broke out Thursday afternoon along Derringer Lane.
The fire was first reported just before 4 p.m in the 1800 block of Derringer Lane, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Keith Mora said.
It grew to 2.5 acres before firefighters got the flames extinguished in about an hour, fire Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms said. No structures were initially threatened, and no injuries were reported, the captain said.
The fire was burning with a 5- to 10 mph wind at its back ad firefighters poured water on the fire from both hoses and helicopters, Mora said.
The cause was under investigation.

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Altadena man jailed in connection with two Pasadena wireless store robberies

PASADENA >> An Altadena man arrested following a police chase Wednesday is suspect of two robberies at Pasadena wireless stores this week, authorities said.
Police arrested Prince Bridges, 29, following a chase from Pasadena to Sherman Oaks following his latest alleged robbery, reported about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday at Go Wireless in the 3800 block of East Foothill Boulevard, Pasadena police Sgt. Mike Bugh said. More than 70 iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones stolen from the store were recovered, along with the suspect’s handgun, Bugh said.
Bridges is also suspected of a similar heist Friday afternoon at a T-Mobile store in the 100 block of South Lake Avenue, Bugh said.
In Wednesday’s robbery, the suspect first inquired about a job before pulling a gun on the lone employee.
“He displayed a handgun and directed salesperson to the rear of the store, where he ordered the salesperson to open the safe,” Lt. John Luna said. The robber stuffed more than 70 cell phones into a trash bag and fled.
Police spotted a car matching the description just after the robber and tried to pull it over, but the driver led officers on a chase along the 134 and 405 freeways, Luna said. The car exited the freeway in Sherman Oaks and crashed into another car, resulting in no injuries, before the suspect continued fleeing on foot.
Los Angeles police and California Highway Patrol officers helped Pasadena police capture the suspect nearby, Bugh said. Police found a the stolen cell phones and a loaded handgun in the suspect’s car.
In Friday’s robbery along Lake Avenue, Bugh said Bridges ordered four employees and a customer of the store into a rear room before fleeing with more than a dozen cell phones. No injuries were reported in either robbery.
Bridges was being held in lieu of $2 million bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Friday in Pasadena Superior Court, records show.

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Man on bike sought in San Gabriel purse snatchings

SAN GABRIEL >> Police are seeking a man on a bicycle who snatched a woman’s purse Wednesday, and possibly several others in the same area recent days, officials said.
The most recent robbery took place about 7:20 p.m. at Valley Boulevard and Palm Avenue, San Gabriel police Lt. Fabian Valdez said.
A woman in her 60s was walking down the street when a man on a bike rode past, grabbed her Coach purse from her shoulder and continued pedaling, the lieutenant said. The purse itself was valued at about $600. Inside was a cell phone, other personal items and more than $1,200 in cash.
A man on a bicycle also tried, but failed, to grab a purse from a woman’s shoulder about 5:15 p.m. in the area of Valley and San Gabriel Boulevards, just a few blocks east of the 7:20 p.m. crime, Valdez said. A witness reported seeing the robbery attempt, but police did not find the victim herself.
Several other purse snatchings have been reported in the same general area in recent days, he said. Further details were not available late Wednesday.
Valdez said police have increased patrols in the area and urged residents to be aware of their surroundings and avoid walking alone whenever possible.
Anyone with information was asked to call San Gabriel police at 626-308-2828.

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Would-be bank robber flees empty-handed in South Pasadena

SOUTH PASADENA >> A man fled without any money after trying to rob a South Pasadena bank branch Wednesday afternoon, police said.
PSN-L-BANKThe failed robbery took place about 4:30 p.m. at Chase, 1305 Fair Oaks Avenue, South Pasadena police Sgt. Jim Valencia said.
A would-be robber handed a teller a page-long demand note and briefly stood at the teller’s window, but left without receiving any cash, the sergeant said. He was last seen exiting a west-facing door.
Officers searched the area but did not find the suspect, Valencia said.
The FBI, which investigates bank robberies, was notified of the incident, he added.

PHOTO courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department

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Traweek Middle School chaperone accused of molesting girl during Catalina trip

WEST COVINA>>A Traweek Middle School chaperone, who is the son of a local teachers’ union employee, has been arrested on suspicion of molesting a 14-year-old girl on a trip to Catalina Island over the weekend, sheriff’s officials said Wednesday .
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on the island arrested Brendan Richard Ramos, 21, early Sunday morning on suspicion of sexual battery, false imprisonment, annoying or molesting a child and child endangerment, according to officials and booking records.
He posted $500,000 bond later the same day and was released from custody pending his initial court appearance, sheriff’s Detective John Hatfield
Few details regarding the allegations were available.
Deputies arrested Ramos at a Toyon Bay campground where students from Traweek Middle School were taking part in a weekend excursion to learn about marine biology, Hatfield said.
Ramos is the son of Michelle Ramos, who serves as contract specialist for the Covina Valley Education Association. She declined to comment Wednesday.
Covina Valley Unified School District officials could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
Sunday’s arrest is the latest incident in an alleged string of alleged wrongdoing in the District, ranging from accusations of financial mismanagement to other alleged incidents of inappropriate contact between school staff and students.
Former district employee Michelle Ghirelli, 30, and South Hills High School teacher Melody Lippert, 38, are awaiting trial on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor following a beach party in which students were allegedly provided with cocaine, and Ghirelli allegedly slept with a 17-year-old student, authorities said.
Former part-time South Hills High School girls’ wrestling coach Anthony Vidales, 30, is also awaiting trial on allegations of unlawful sex with a 17-year-old girl he coached, as well as possession of child pornography.

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Five ‘Courageous Citizens’ honored by D.A. for acts of heroism is Montebello, Alhambra, Burbank


Video by Walt Mancini
PASADENA >> Five “Courageous Citizens” who put themselves in danger to stop three different violent attacks in Montebello, Alhambra, and Burbank received awards Wednesday form the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
A man who intervened in the beating of an elderly man by an assailant half his age; two women who stopped a registered sex offender and lifelong felon from kidnapping a young woman; and two men who helped stop and capture a man who as he stabbed his ex-wife were the five “ordinary citizens” who District Attorney Jackie Lacey said showed uncommon courage in the face of violent crimes against strangers.
“We hope these stories will inspire others to do the right thing when the time calls,” Lacey told the Pasadena Rotary Club audience.
Telesforo Arellano Diaz, 58, of Montebello, received the Courageous Citizens Award for defending a 78-year-old man who was being severely beaten by an unprovoked attacker half his age, Deputy District Attorney Tony Cho said.
Richard Paul Garcia, then-39, attacked the victim as he collected recyclables from a Montebello dumpster near Washington Boulevard and Greenwood Avenue, Cho said. Garcia punched, kicked and struck the victim with a broomstick.
Diaz rushed to help, Cho said. Garcia attacked Diaz, biting him on the hand during the scuffle. But Diaz, with the help of two other good Samaritans, held Garcia until police arrived.
The victim suffered a broken hand, but no permanent injuries, Cho said. Without Diaz, “It could have been much worse.”
Diaz said he never thought twice about getting involved. “An old person like that, it could have been by father. It’s not right,” he said through a Spanish interpreter.
Jennifer Clark, 43, of Redondo Beach and Connie Tejada, 58, of Downey stopped by a Fremont Avenue Starbucks in Alhambra for coffee on Sept. 12, 2013, when they noticed a man yelling at a woman in her 20s as she sat in a car.
The man — later identified as Frank Hernandez, now-66, of Rosemead — had met the victim at his church and lured her to the coffee shop by telling her he had a gift for her, Deputy District Attorney David Ayvazian said. He cut off his GPS tracking device before meeting the woman.
Hernandez brandished what appeared to be a revolver, forced his way into the woman’s car, threatened to kill her and pistol-whipped her, Ayvazian said.
As the terrified victim made eye contact with Clark, “She mouthed, ‘help me,’” Clark said. Clark then told the man, “She doesn’t want you here. You need to go away now.”
As the attacker fled, Tejada used her cell phone to take video footage of Hernandez and his license plate, which she promptly handed over to police, helping them promptly arrest Hernandez, officials said.
“We believe that she was going to be kidnapped, possibly worse, and these two women got involved and stopped that from happening,” Ayvazian said. If not for Clark and Tejada, “who knows what harm this innocent woman would have had to suffer? And another violent predator would be continuing to roam our streets.”
Francisco Godinez, 40, of South Gate and Zinobi Gerbs, 44, of Burbank were honored for intervening when they saw Trino Godinez, 47, attacking his ex-wife with a knife following a planned custody exchange at a Burbank gas station.
The woman ran from her car at a red light after the suspect hopped into the car, brandished a handgun and threatened the woman, Deputy District Attorney Melanie Buccat said. The attacker chased after her, stabbing her three times.
Frank Godinez leapt from his work truck to help and struck the knife-wielding attacker in the head with a wrench before he, Gerbs and an off-duty sheriff’s deputy subdued the man.

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Police: Duarte man carjacks ex-girlfriend in Irwindale


IRWINDALE >> An AB 109 probationer is accused of violating a restraining order and carjacking his ex-girlfriend early Sunday, officials said.
Officers arrested Manuel Martinez, 21, of Duarte on suspicion of carjacking and violating a criminal protective order following the incident, which took place shortly after midnight at an ARCO gas station at 110 E. Longden Ave., according to Irwindale police Sgt. Rudy Gatto.
Martinez, who was on post-release community supervision under AB 109 guidelines following a domestic violence conviction and was barred by court order from contacting the woman, approached the woman at the gas pumps, Gatto said.
Martinez demanded a ride, but the woman refused, the sergeant said. He then pulled the woman from the driver seat of the car, wrestled her keys away from her and drove away in her vehicle. The woman suffered minor injuries but declined medical treatment.
Police found the car abandoned near Pamela Park in Duarte about 30 minutes later, Gatto said. Officers found Martinez in the 400 block of Shrode Avenue in Duarte and took him into custody without a struggle.
Martinez was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court, records show.

PHOTO of suspect Manuel Martinez, 21, of Duarte courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department

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UPDATED: Security guard fires shots during Rowland Heights jewelry store theft

ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> A security shot at a man who stole a Rolex watch from a Rowland Heights jewelry store Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
Few details were initially available regarding the incident, which unfolded about 3:15 p.m. at Hing Wa Lee Jewelers, on Fairway Drive just north of Colima Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Buckner said.
It was not clear if the suspect had been wounded, the lieutenant said.
A man tried on an item and fled the store with it, he said. An armed security guard chased after him.
“At some point there was an altercation in the parking lot, which resulted in the security guard shooting,” Buckner said.
The guard fired several rounds, though it was not clear if the suspect had been wounded. He was last seen getting into a silver car with a driver waiting at the wheel.
The stolen item was described as a Rolex watch worth up to $25,000.

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Man tries to rob senior citizens walking near Rose Bowl in Pasadena

PASADENA >> A man tried, but failed, to wrestle a fanny pack away from a woman in her 70s Saturday as she walked with her husband around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, police said.
The woman suffered minor cuts to her arms during the crime but did not require hospitalization, Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said
She and her husband, both Glendale residents, were walking around the Rose Bowl about 9:45 p.m. when a robber approached them at Rosemont Avenue and Arroyo Boulevard.
“He demanded the fanny pack and tugged at it,” the lieutenant said. The woman fell to the ground in the scuffle, but the would-be robber was unable to remove the fanny pack.
As the couple yelled for help, the failed robber ran away along Arroyo Boulevard and got into a car, Carrillo said.
Police described the suspect as a black man between 20 and 30, of thin build, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a dark complexion, wearing a black baseball cap, a black jacket and dark jeans. He was seen getting into a bronze, four-door older-model car similar to a Mercury Sable.
The attempted robbery of the senior citizen took place just over a month after another man, 87, was seriously injured during a robbery while walking near the Rose Bowl in the early-morning hours.
Three 19-year-old San Gabriel Valley men have been arrested in connection with the robbery and attack and are awaiting trial. A fourth suspect, a 19-year-old Rowland Heights woman, remains at large.

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Man arrested for attempted sexual assault of woman waiting in car in Pasadena

PASADENA >> A man tried to force himself on a young woman by threatening to falsely report her for drunken driving Saturday before the woman flagged down a passing police officer, who arrested the suspect, authorities said.
Dishaun Alboulatifoy, 37, of Pasadena is accused of attempted sexual assault in connection with the failed crime, which took place about 3:10 a.m. in the 200 block of East Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
The victim, a woman in her late-teens, was sitting in the driver seat of a car as she waited for her boyfriend, Carrillo said.
Alboulatifoy, who was believed to be drunk, reached through a partially opened passenger-side window to unlock and open the door, the lieutenant said. The suspect got into the passenger seat and told the woman if she did not provide him with a sexual favor, he would call the police and report she was a drunken driver.
Fortunately, Carrillo said, a police car happened by and the woman flagged the officer down and explained what had happened. Police arrested Alboulatifoy. The woman was not intoxicated.

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