Brothers accused of trying to extort Alhambra auto dealerships

ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested two brothers Tuesday on suspicion of trying to extort an Alhambra-based chain of auto dealerships, officials said.
Mustafah Karriem Singletary and Malik Hakeem Singletary,both 23 and from Canyon Country, were arrested for attempted extortion, identity theft and possession of stolen property, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said. Mustafah Singletary was also found to have an outstanding drug-related warrant.
Representatives of the Wondries chain of car dealerships notified police Tuesday morning that they had received an email, followed by a phone call, attempting to extort the business, Johnson said.
The suspects claimed to have damaging information about the company and said they would release it publicly if not provided a large payment, the sergeant said.
The company notified police of the contacts, Johnson said. Detectives identified, found and arrested the two suspects Tuesday afternoon. Police found the brothers had credit cards and checkbooks belonging to other people.
The investigation continued Wednesday, Johnson said.
Police asked that anyone who may have been the target of a similar extortion attempt to report it to police.

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Woman killed in Whittier crash


WHITTIER >> A woman died in a crash along Workman Mill Road in Whittier Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The collision was first reported at 3:22 p.m. as a head-on crash between a car and an SUV at Workman Mill Road and Pioneer Boulevard, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
Paramedics pronounced a woman dead at the scene, CHP Officer Jennifer Bond said.
No further details were immediately available.
The crash was being investigated by the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office.

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Woman robbed at gunpoint in front of her East Pasadena home


EAST PASADENA >> A woman arrived home this week in East Pasadena to find to be confronted by two gunman who demanded her valuables, officials said.
The crime took place about 12:25 a.m. Tuesday in front of a home in the 100 block of Madre Street in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tom McNeal said.
A woman in her 30s pulled in to her driveway, the lieutenant said. Before she got out of her car, two men approached her from both the driver-side and passenger-side of her car.
Both men brandished handguns and demanded her valuables, McNeal said. The woman handed her wallet and cell phone through a partially opened car window and the suspect fled.
The robbers wore hooded sweat shirts and dark clothing, he said. A detailed description was not available.
They got into a small, green, four-door compact car, which sped north on Madre Street, then got onto the eastbound 210 Freeway, McNeal said. Deputies searched the area, but did not find the robbers.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-448-9861. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Gunman robs Pico Rivera 7-Eleven store


PICO RIVERA >> A man with a handgun robbed a Rosemead Boulevard convenience store early Saturday morning, officials said.
The crime took place about 3:30 a.m. at 7-Eleven, at Rosemead Boulevard and Telegraph Road, Sgt. B. Creta of the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station said.
A man entered the store and demanded money from the clerk, she said. The employee hesitated at first, but complied when the robber displayed a handgun tucked into his waistband.
The robber fled with about $400, Creta said. The clerk was not injured.
Officials described the robber as a Latino man between 25 and 30, wearing a black jacket, a hooded sweatshirt and black pants. He fled the areas in a gray sedan fitted with paper license plates.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station at 562-949-2421. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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UPDATED: Montebello woman killed in crash on 10 Freeway offramp in West Covina


WEST COVINA >> A Montebello woman died early Sunday after the car in which she was riding as a passenger crashed on a 10 Freeway offramp in West Covina early Sunday, officials said.
Melissa Ann Villanueva, 33, died following the solo-car crash, Officer T. Brazier of the California Highway Patrol’s Baldwin Park area office said in a written statement.
The driver of the 2013 Kia Forte, 34-year-old Jeanet Cuadra, was arrested, Brazier said. CHP officials declined to say Sunday what crime Cuadra was suspected of.
The fatal crash occurred just before 6 a.m. on the Barranca Street offramp of the westbound 10 Freeway, California Highway Patrol Officer Stephan Brandt said.
Cuadra was driving at 65 to 70 mph and had just crossed into the right-hand lane in advance of exiting the freeway, Brazier said.
“Cuadra fell asleep and traveled onto the fore point of the offramp and collided into the multiple attenuators,” he said.
“Cuadra was seat belted and sustained moderate, non-life-threatening injuries,” Brazier said.
“The right, front passenger of the Kia, Melissa Ann Villanueva, was asleep at the time of the collision and was not wearing her seat belt,” the officer said. “The impact into the attenuators caused Villanueva to be propelled forward and into the Kia’s windshield.”
Cuadra and good Samaritans got Villanueva out of the mangled car. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene at 6:08 a.m.
Authorities issues a Sig Alert for the offramp that lasted through noon as they investigated the scene and repaired the damaged roadway.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Brazier at the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office at 626-338-1164.

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UPDATED: La Puente woman killed in Glendora solo-car crash


GLENDORA >> A La Puente woman died and a West Covina man suffered injuries in a solo-car crash in Glendora Saturday night, officials said.
The fatal crash took place at 9:19 p.m. on Grand Avenue, near of Juanita Avenue, Glendora police Sgt. Shelly Gold said.
A northbound Toyota Corolla veered from the roadway and struck a tree just south of the intersection, Lt. Matt Williams said.
Paramedics pronounced the driver, described as a 30-year-old La Puente woman, dead at the scene, police said.
The passenger, a 30-year-old West Covina man, was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment, the lieutenant said. An update on his condition was not available.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation by the Glendora Police Department’s Traffic Bureau.
Any witnesses to the crash can reach Glendora police at 626-914-8250.

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UPDATED: Man killed in El Monte car-to-car shooting


EL MONTE >> A man died Thursday night after he was shot in a residential neighborhood in El Monte, authorities said.
The victim died at a hospital shortly after the shooting at Cogswell Road and Klingerman Street, according to Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
The identity of the man, described as 23 years old, was not released Sunday.
“Detectives learned that at approximately 7:08 p.m., the victim, who was a passenger in a truck, was involved in an argument with the suspect (or suspects) in another vehicle,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “The argument escalated and a suspect shot the victim in the upper torso, then fled the scene.”
The driver of the truck was not wounded.
Officials described the attackers as at least two men inside a dark-colored SUV, possible a Dodge. No further details were available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is assisting El Monte police in the investigation, at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Police disarm, arrest knife-wielding man in Pasadena


PASADENA >> Police used a Taser to disarm and arrest a homeless burglary suspect believed to be high on drugs who confronted officers with a knife in each hand early Saturday, officials said.
Charles Romero, 50, was ultimately booked on suspicion of burglary and assault on police officers, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
The incident began about 2:30 a.m. after officers received a report of a man in the street armed with a knife in the 100 block of West Dayton Street, the lieutenant said.
Officers encountered Romero, a homeless man known to frequent Pasadena, “with a kitchen knife in each hand.”
Romero appeared “agitated” and was “yelling incoherently,” but initially complied with police command to drop the knives and back away from the weapons, Goodman said.
The suddenly, Romero sprints back to the knives, picked them up and began advancing on officers, Goodman said.
“The suspect walked parallel to the officers while holding both knives over his head in a threatening manner,” he said.
Police used a Taser on the man, causing him to again drop the knives. Officer then took Romero into custody without a further struggle.
Officials soon learned that Romero had stolen the two kitchen knives during a break-in at a nearby apartment, Goodman said. Based on his behavior, police suspected Romero was under the influence of a stimulant, such as methamphetamine.
Goodman commended the judgement and restraint of the officers.
“Officers involved used exceptional decision making skills, combined with sound tactics, which clearly prevented as lethal encounter,” he said.

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Routine traffic stop leads to bust of alleged ID thief in San Marino


SAN MARINO >> What began as a routine stop for traffic violation in San Marino early Saturday led police to discover a trove of stolen goods and identity theft-related materials and arrest two suspects, officials said.
Police on patrol about 12:50 a.m. pulled over a car for a traffic infraction at Huntington Drive and Virginia Road, according to San Marino police Sgt. Tim Tebbetts.
Officers soon determined that the driver, 29-year-old Jonathan Villanueva, had no driver license, the sergeant said.
His passenger, Charlene Gomez, 35, of Pasadena, was found to have “stolen mail, a stolen credit card, a forged check made out to her and burglary tools,” Tebbetts said in a written statement.
Villanueva was booked at the Alhambra Police Department jail on a misdemeanor allegation, according to Los Angeles County booking records, Bail was set at $100.
Gomez, who was booked on suspicion of theft of an access card, forgery, identity theft, possession of burglary tools and possession of stolen property, was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood pending her initial court appearance, records show.
Anyone with information, or who believes they may have been a victim of mail or ID theft, is encouraged to contact Detective Brian Wong at 626-300-0719. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Police plan *Saturday night checkpoint in San Gabriel

SAN GABRIEL >> Police in San Gabriel are planning a checkpoint Saturday night to screen drivers for sobriety and valid licenses, officials said.
The checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday at an undisclosed location within the city, San Gabriel police officials said in a written statement.
San Gabriel officers have investigated 69 DUI-related collisions, claiming one life and resulting in another 38 injuries, over the past three years, officials said.
Funding fro the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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