NORWALK >> A trio of women pepper sprayed a Norwalk shoe store employee while stealing footwear on Sunday afternoon, official said.
The crime took place shortly before 5 p.m. at Warehouse Shoe Sale, 11820 Firestone Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Cunningham said.
Three women placed shoes in their purses and went to leave the store without paying for them, the sergeant said.
A store employee confronted the woman at the door and asked to look inside their purses, he said.
One of the women pulled out a canister of pepper spray and sprayed the employee with it, according to Cunningham.
The three women then fled in a gray Toyota Camry, according to sheriff’s radio traffic.
Officials declined to release a detailed suspect description as they continued pursuing leads late Sunday, Cunningham said.
Sunday’s robbery was just the latest in series of recent robberies in which pepper spray or other devices intended for self-defense have been used as weapons.
•A woman was pepper sprayed and robbed of her wallet outside an Arcadia business on March 17.
•A group of teen girls are accused of spraying a man with pepper spray in order to rob him of his iPhone in Covina on May 7.
•Two women pepper sprayed a security guard while stealing purses from a Monrovia store on June 23.
•Three women used a stun gun on security guards who confronted them for stealing at two stores in Temple City and Arcadia on July 13.
Pepper spray, as well as stun guns, can be purchased legally by adults who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing weapons due to prior criminal convictions. They are legal to possess for lawful self-defense purposes, but it’s a crime under California law, punishable as a felony, to misuse such devices.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
MONROVIA >> Police are seeking two women who they say sprayed a security guard with pepper spray in order to steal purses from a Monrovia discount department store late Friday.
The robbery unfolded just after 8 p.m. at Marshall’s, 564 W. Huntington Drive, Monrovia police Lt. Rob Wilken said.
A security guard noticed two women leaving the store with handbags they hadn’t paid for and confronted them about the theft, he said.
One of the women pulled out a can of pepper spray and sprayed the security guard, according to the lieutenant.
The women then fled, with the stolen purses, in a red Dodge Charger, he said. They were last seen headed west on Huntington Drive.
A detailed description of the suspects was not available. The security guard was treated by paramedics for pepper spray exposure, but did not require to be taken to a hospital.
Anyone with information can reach Monrovia police at 626-256-8000. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
COVINA >> Police arrested two of three teenage girls who they say pepper sprayed a man while robbing him of his cell phone in Covina before attempting an ill-fated getaway by boarding a bus on Sunday afternoon, officials said.
The robbery took place about 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant at Azusa Avenue and Cypress Street, Covina police Sgt. Antonio Zavala said.
A 47-year-old Azusa man was sitting in his car when two teenage girls approached his car on the driver side and asked him for a ride, the sergeant said.
While the victim was distracted by the two teens, a third young women reached into his car and snatched his iPhone from the center console of his car, officials said.
The man chased after the three girls. When he caught up with them and confronted him about the theft, one of the young robbers pulled out pepper spray and sprayed the man in the face, Zavala said. The girls managed to get away with the phone.
But the victim spotted the girls about an hour later, getting onto a bus at Citrus Avenue and Cypress Street, Zavala said. Police stopped the bust and detained three girls.
Two of the girls were arrested after the victim identified them as the girl who snatched his phone and the girl who pepper sprayed him, according to Zavala. They were described as a 14-year-old Covina girl and a 17-year-old Pasadena girl.
A third girl who accompanied the two suspects was not arrested, as the victim was not able to confirm she was involved in the incident.
Police recovered the victim’s phone from one of the girls, he added.
NORWALK >> A robber sprayed a liquor store clerk with pepper spray before fleeing with cash from the register early Saturday, authorities said.
The crime unfolded about 8:30 a.m. at a liquor store in the 10000 block of Alondra Boulevard, near Studebaker Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jaime Alvarez said.
A man entered the store, approached the counter and sprayed the employee with pepper spray, according to the sergeant.
“The suspect then reached over the cash register and took approximately $300,” he said. He got into a black, four-door sedan which was last speeding north through a nearby alley.
Officials described the robber as a black man in his 20s, about 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with a “Nike” logo and black pants.
Paramedics treated the clerk at the scene for pepper spray exposure, but he did not need to be taken to a hospital, Alvarez said.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
ARCADIA >> Police are seeking a man and two women who pepper sprayed a woman during an armed robbery at an Arcadia business on Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime took place shortly before 2 p.m. in the 100 block of East St. Joseph Street, according to Arcadia police Sgt. Luis Juarez.
The woman, an employee of a nearby business, was walking down the street when the three attackers approached, he said.
“The victim stated a female suspect pepper sprayed her as a second female suspect stole the victim’s wallet,” Juarez said in a written statement. “The male suspect told the victim he had a gun and she felt what she believed was a gun pressed up against her body.”
After obtaining the woman’s wallet, the robbers were last seen running west along First Avenue, he said.
Police described the robbers as a Latino man and two Latina women between 25 and 30 years old.
The man was heavyset and wore basketball shorts and a dark-colored shirt.
One of the female robbers wore black clothing, a black hat and black sunglasses, police said. The other had acne on her face and wore workout clothes, a black hat and black sunglasses.
The victim suffered irritation from the pepper spray but did not require to be taken to a hospital, Juarez said.
Anyone with information can reach Arcadia police at 626-574-5151. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> Postal inspectors arrested a Monrovia woman Wednesday on suspicion of chasing down and pepper-spraying a mail carrier while screaming racial slurs in an incident of road rage in Pasadena two weeks ago, officials said.
Ruby Guerrero Valenzuela, 64, was arrested on suspicion of assault on a U.S. Postal Service employee in connection with the bizarre attack, reported about 10:40 a.m. on April 20 in the 1000 block of North Lake Avenue, according to Pasadena police and U.S. Department of Justice officials.
Valenzuela became enraged after the 55-year-old postal worker, who was driving a mail truck, accidentally cut her off in traffic in the area of Claremont Street and Mar Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said at the time.
“Valenzuela shouted obscenities and followed the victim to her next stop (on Lake Avenue),” U.S. DOJ spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
“Valenzuela ran up the victim, who had walked the entrance of building on Lake Avenue,” Mrozek continued. “According to witnesses, Valenzuela screamed additional obscenities and racial epithets at the victim before spraying the victim in the face with pepper spray, which caused the victim to suffer severe pain and blurred vision.”
The postal carrier declined to be taken to a hospital, Luna said.
Despite the racial slurs allegedly uttered by Valenzuela, both the suspect and victim are Latina, police said.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service joined Pasadena police in the investigation, as did Monrovia police, once the suspect was identified as a Monrovia resident.
Federal officials arrested Valenzuela on Wednesday morning, and she made her initial appearance in federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon, Mrozek said.
She entered no plea and was released after posting a $10,000 bond, Mrozek said. She was scheduled to return to court for an arraignment hearing on May 31.“The evidence in this case indicates that a postal carrier carrying out her duties was the victim of an unwarranted attack,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of California’s Central District said. “All federal employees should be able to carry out their duties without fear of attacks based on the performance of those duties.”
If convicted as charged, Valenzuela faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
PASADENA >> A woman pepper-sprayed a postal carrier Wednesday in an attack prompted by road rage, police said.
The incident unfolded shortly after 10:40 a.m. as the postal carrier, a 55-year-old woman, was driving a mail truck in the area of Claremont Street and Mar Vista Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
“The postal carrier inadvertently cut off another vehicle,” Luna said.
The suspect, also a woman, became angry and followed the postal carrier to an apartment complex in the 1000 block of North Lake Avenue, between Claremont and Mountain streets, the lieutenant said.
Luna said the attacker then confronted the victim, yelled at her about the prior incident on the road and sprayed her in the face with pepper spray.
The attacker got into a late-model, light-colored pickup truck and fled south on Lake Avenue, he said. She was described as a Latina woman in her 50s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, 160 pounds, of medium complexion, with dark hair. She wore a dark-colored shirt.
Paramedics provided first aid to the postal worker, who suffered irritation due to the pepper spray but was otherwise unhurt, Luna said. She declined to be taken to a hospital.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> A Pasadena man used pepper spray to defend himself after a family member attacked him with a knife amid a psychotic episode Sunday, police said.
The incident took place about 10 a.m. at a home in the 1800 block of El Sereno Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
A 23-year-old Pasadena man attacked a 34-year-old family member, the lieutenant said.
“He was having a psychotic episode when he threatened to kill the victim with a knife he was holding in his hand,” Luna said. “He advanced toward the victim, at which point the victim pepper-sprayed the suspect in the face, thwarting the attack.”
The victim was unharmed, Luna said. The suspect was treated by paramedics for exposure to pepper spray and taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. Criminal charges were likely to follow.
SAN DIMAS >> A man armed with both a knife and pepper spray robbed a San Dimas gas station Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
The hold-up took place about 3:40 p.m. at a Shell Station, 630 W. Bonita Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Vicki Gregory said.
The robber entered the store and approached the cler, “with a knife in one hand and pepper spray in the other,” the sergeant said. The robber demanded the money from the register, and the cashier handed over between $150 and $200 before running off. He was last seen heading east on Bonita Avenue.
No injuries were reported.
Officials described the robber as a Latino man between 23 and 25 years old, of medium build, with a shaved head. He wore a light-colored, possible gray, T-shirt and black pants.
PASADENA >> A robber pepper-sprayed a cashier during a late-night heist Friday along Foothill Boulevard in Pasadena, police said.
The crime took place about 11:20 p.m. at a business in the 2800 block of East Foothill Boulevard, just east of Daisy Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
The robber entered the store and demanded money from the cash business’ cash register, he said.
“The clerk initially refused. “The suspect sprayed him with pepper spray,” the lieutenant said.
Police said the victim then opened the register, and the robber fled with an undetermined amount of cash. He was last seen running north along Daisy Avenue.
Officials described the suspect as a Latino man in his 20s, with a light complexion, of about 5 feet 9 inches tall. He wore a black baseball cap with white lettering on the front, a black short-sleeve shirt, gray shorts and gray gloves.
Mercado said the victim, an El Monte man in his 20s, suffered irritation from the pepper spray but declined to be taken to a hospital.