Witness: Pico Rivera mayor abused free movie passses

From reporter Ruby Gonzales who notes that a judge could determine Pico Rivera’s Weinerschnitzel king Ron Beilke’s fate today:

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LOS ANGELES – A Krikorian Premiere Theatres executive testified at Ron Beilke’s corruption trial Wednesday that the theater monitored the former Pico Rivera mayor and several other council members over their alleged misuse of free movie passes.

Michael Cummings, vice president of operations with Krikorian, said at one point the company sent a letter with the passes “to help curb what we deemed was misuse of the passes.” It listed their rules and restrictions.

Council members and city staff members were given the passes starting in 2005 while the Pico Rivera theater project was under way, Cummings said.

“The passes were issued so they could check out what they will have in Pico Rivera,” he said, but they were never intended for unlimited use.

Beilke has been charged with one felony count of perjury, one felony count of conflict of interest and three misdemeanor counts of conflict of interest. He has pleaded not guilty to all.

Prosecutors accuse Beilke of lying when he reported on his 2008 economic-interest form that he received $240 worth of movie passes from Krikorian Premiere Theatres. The real value was $3,464, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also allege Beilke had a conflict of interest when he approved contracts related to the theater and to a street-improvement project on Rosemead Boulevard. His Wienerschnitzel restaurant is near the projects.

If convicted of all charges and sentenced consecutively, Beilke faces six years and two months in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Sandi Roth.

Councilman’s son charged with campaign sign theft in Pico Rivera

This from reporter Bethania Palma:

The District Attorney’s Office charged the son of a city councilman with petty theft Thursday for allegedly offering to pay three others to steal campaign signs belonging to his father’s political opponent.

James Beilke, 18, and Paul Puente, 20, of Pico Rivera, were charged with one count each of petty theft, officials from the District Attorney’s Office said. James Beilke is the son of City Councilman Ron Beilke.

If convicted, Puente and James Beilke each could face up to six months in county jail or a fine of up $1,000, said D.A. spokeswoman Jane Robisoncq.
Ron Beilke was not implicated. He did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday but previously said his son is innocent.

Crime’s down … just not around here

Call this a round-up of sorts…

Sheriff Lee Baca says crime is down county-wide, except near Industry where homicides are up. 
Here’s a snippet:
Despite the mostly good news, there remain problems in some areas patrolled by the Sheriff’s Department. Most notably in the communities serviced by the Industry Station, violent crime is on the rise.

Moving on… Women have been targeted by robbers in Azusa and Baldwin Park.


Authorities said the same car was used in a robbery of an ice cream vendor in West Valinda and a 16-year-old boy in Rosemead on Monday.

The notorious Avenues gang gets hit again in a federal raid.

Pico Rivera’s fifth homicide is a whodunnit …just like the other four this year.

And, finally DNA catches a man suspected of raping a blind Norwalk woman in May. Here’s how he was caught:


DNA led to the arrest of a suspect in the May 1 rape of an 82-year-old legally blind woman, authorities said Monday.

Antonio Durell Freeman, 31, of Norwalk was booked Friday on suspicion of rape, kidnapping and burglary. He is being held at the sheriff’s Century Station in lieu of $1 million bail. He has a court appearance today at Bellflower Superior Court.

Freeman appeared in the DNA database after Long Beach Police arrested him July 11 on suspicion of spousal assault and took a DNA sample from him, according to Maxwell.



Former Pico Rivera mayor had felony conviction

The past caught up with Gracie Gallegos, the former mayor of Pico Rivera. On her rap sheet, a felony conviction for Insurance fraud. Here’s the story:

Former Mayor Gracie Gallegos pleaded no contest to felony insurance fraud while serving on the City Council, but other city officials said Monday they didn’t know about it.

Gallegos entered her plea in August 2007 and was sentenced to five years’ probation and 120 hours of community service, according to court documents. She was elected to the Pico Rivera City Council in March of 2007.

Gallegos resigned from the council less than three weeks ago. She was serving as mayor at the time.

She said she left the council to take care of other priorities, including an ill father with late-stage cancer, the family business and supporting her daughter who studies abroad.

Motorcycle club mistaken for Mongols in Pico Rivera triple homicide?

PICO RIVERA – Pico Rivera gang members may have targeted the Mongols Motorcycle Club when they shot and killed three people and wounded seven others at a pizza parlor in June.

Officials acknowledged Thursday that a dispute exists between gangsters affiliated with the Mexican Mafia and the Mongols.

“There is an ongoing feud between the Pico Rivera street gangs and the Mongols,” said sheriff’s homicide Sgt. Martin Rodriguez.

Members and associates of the outlaw motorcycle gang attended a fundraiser hosted by Old School Riders at Falcone’s Pizza on June 27, Rodriguez said. The fundraiser came to an abrupt end when two men entered the parking lot and began shooting. As many as 50 people were in attendance.

“There’s people involved in the investigation who had some reported ties to the Mongols motorcycle gangs,” Rodriguez said. “But the vast majority of people there had no association.”

Earlier this week, three men with Pico Rivera gang ties were arrested in connection with the slayings. When the District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges, two were released. The third man remains in custody on unrelated charges, district attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robison said.

Arrests but no charges in Pico Rivera triple homicide — suspects released

This from reporter Tracy Garcia:

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against three Whittier-area men in connection with a fatal shooting at a Pico Rivera pizza parlor, asking sheriff’s investigators instead to go back and do more work on the case.

As such, two of the three suspects — Rudy Ruiz, 30, of unincorporated Whittier, and Christopher Johnson, 18, of Montebello — have been released, according to sheriff’s Capt. Mike Rothans of the Pico Rivera station.

The third suspect, John Perez, 43, of Pico Rivera, remains in custody on a prior arrest, Rothans said.

The trio had been booked Friday on suspicion of murder in the June 27 shooting at Falcone’s Pizza, where a fundraiser was being hosted in the parking lot by the Old School Riders motorcycle club.

DA opens probe of Pico Rivera Councilman (and Weinerschnitzel dude) Beilke

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Ron Beilke, Pico Rivera Councilman and local Weinerschnitzel proprietor might have some ‘splaining to do to the DA and a possible grand jury looking into allegations he engaged in some shady conduct while on the council over the past few years.

Beilke is accused of voting for improvements on Rosemead Boulevard that helped traffic get to his restaurant. He is also accused of vague election code violations from about two years ago. Whatever the case, the accusations probably won’t help his reelection bid this November.
A fellow councilmember, David Armenta, apparently was pleased by the searches Thursday.
“I know that Ron Beilke has had some corruption and that’s what they’re looking at,” Armenta said.

Mongols under close watch in Azusa when Pico Rivera shooting occurred

This from the “Aging Rebel” blog, which adds some context to several of the stories we’ve reported about the triple homicide in Pico Rivera Saturday night:

Last week the Azusa, California Police Department issued a “tactical alert” that the Mongols were planning a party at a restaurant on Foothill Boulevard, old Route 66, in Azusa. When the partiers arrived they were greeted by a command center and officers from the Montebello, Azusa, Glendora, Arcadia and Monrovia Police departments. The Mongols and friends were also surveilled by a Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department helicopter.


A source has alleged that ATF Case Agent John Ciccone and another well known “outlaw motorcycle gang investigator” named Chris Cervantes both attended the event with their special spy cameras. Cervantes works for the Montebello police and his hobbies include the Mongols.