Authorities are seeking two teenage boys who escaped from a juvenile probation fire camp in the forest north of La Verne on Saturday morning.
The two 16-year-old boys went missing shortly before noon from Camp Afflerbaugh, 6631 Stephens Ranch Road, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Thomas Reid. They were believed to have walked away from the lockdown facility, which houses juvenile offenders and teaches them wildland firefighting skills.
Sheriff’s deputies joined county probation officers to search the numerous nearby trails for the escaped boys, but they had not been found Saturday afternoon, Smith said.
DUARTE >> An 81-year-old good Samaritan helped a deputy wrestle a combative wanted felon into custody in Duarte earlier this week, officials said.
Officials from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Temple Station thanked the citizen, a local man who wished to remain anonymous, for his help in Tuesday’s arrest in a written statement.
Michael Rodriguez, 24, was booked on suspicion of battery on a deputy, vandalism and resisting arrest, and was also being held on a pre-existing warrant, Sgt. Jose Carbajal said. An additional charge of escape may also be sought by prosecutors.
Deputy Joshua Lambert stopped Rodriguez about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday after spotting him riding a bike with an open container of alcohol at Huntington Drive and Highland Avenue, Sgt. Jose Carbajal said.
The deputy then placed Rodriguez, un-handcuffed, in the back seat of his patrol car, officials said.
“A warrant check revealed the suspect had a no-bail felony warrant for a weapons violation,” according to the statement. “When the suspect realized he was being arrested, he became enraged, kicked out the rear passenger side window and climbed out of the patrol vehicle.”
The deputy began fighting with the suspect in an attempt to prevent is escape. The 81-year-old good Samaritan was driving by when he saw the struggle, stopped his car and got out to help.
“The citizen grabbed the suspect around the neck and told him, ‘Relax and let him handcuff you. Just relax,’” according to the statement. “The suspect continued to struggle. The three of them fell to the ground where the deputy and the citizen held the suspect in place until assisting deputies arrived a short time later.”
Fellow deputies then arrived and helped take the suspect into custody. The deputy suffered only bumps and bruises, Carbajal said. The good Samaritan was unhurt.
In addition to being thanked by the station as a whole, Deputy Lambert personally expressed hi gratitude to the good Samaritan.
“If it hadn’t been for (the citizen) stopping to help me, it could have got real ugly. That guy did not want to go to jail,” Lambert said.
ALHAMBRA >> An automated license plate reader helped Alhambra police capture an escaped fugitive from Pennsylvania and a second man found riding in a stolen SUV with phony credit cards, $13,000 in cash and a loaded .45-caliber handgun Friday, authorities said.
A police officer was patrolling about 11 a.m. along Garfield Avenue, just south of Valley Boulevard, when an automated license plate reader mounted on his patrol car notified him it had detected a stolen car, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said.
The officer called for backup in preparation to pull the 2016 Ford Flex over, but before he could do so, the SUV rounded a corner and pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant and Valley Boulevard and 2nd Street, the sergeant said.
Police detained the driver, 46-year-old Ronald Bang of Pasadena, and passenger, 64-year-old Robert Richard Zgurzec, without a struggle, Johnson said.
“We searched the car. We found a loaded .45-caliber semi-auto handgun,”Johnson said.
Police also recovered a back containing more than $13,000 in cash, he said.
“As they keep searching, they’re finding different IDs, different debit and credit cards,” Johnson said. The documents were in the names of other people.
The SUV itself had been reported stolen last month in the Victorville area, Sgt. Joseph Mallette said.
Police soon learned that authorities in Pennsylvania had been seeking Zgurzec since “on or about Feb. 3,” when he escaped from a halfway house while serving a sentence for wire fraud, Johnson said.
Zgurzec was booked on suspicion of auto theft, possession of fraudulent credit and debit cards and being a felon in possession of a gun, officials said. Authorities in Pennsylvania have issued a “no bail” warrant for Zgurzec’s arrest.
Bang was booked on suspicion of auto theft and possession of fraudulent credit and debit cards, officials said.
Alhambra police were working with the U.S. Marshal’s service to determine whether Zgurzec would be returned to Pennsylvania before or after facing charges in California, Johnson said.
Bang was being held at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail in lieu of $25,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, while Zgurzec was transferred to a Los Angeles jail facility due to a pre-existing medical problem, he said. Zgurzec was being held without bail.
IRWINDALE >> Police helped a teenager wrangle his pet, 3-foot-long lizard after it escaped from its yard Saturday afternoon for the second time in recent weeks.
A neighbor first called police about 11 a.m. to report what they described as a Komodo dragon loose in the neighborhood along Nora Avenue, just north of Cypress Street, Irwindale police Sgt. Armando Lopez said.
While officers did not find a Komodo dragon, which is the largest lizard species on Earth and known for highly toxic saliva, they encountered an very “well-fed, 3-foot-long iguana,” Lopez said.
And the officers recognized the runaway reptile as the same one they had helped capture after a previous escape July 24, the sergeant added.
The officers contacted the teenage boy who owns “Peppy” the iguana, who came and picked him up.
Lopez said the large lizard did not cause any problem during Saturday’s foray.
“He just hisses a little when you get close,” he said.
PHOTO of “Peppy” the iguana, taken July 24, 2015, courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department.