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.

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X-Men film victim of pirates

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From Deadline Hollywood:

Last night, a stolen, incomplete and early version ofX-Men Origins: Wolverinewas posted illegally on a website. It was without many effects, had missing and unedited scenes and temporary sound and music. We immediately contacted the appropriate legal authorities and had it removed. We forensically mark our content so we can identify sources that make it available or download it. The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law – the courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts in the past. The FBI and the MPAA also are actively investigating this crime. We are encouraged by the support of fansites condemning this illegal posting and pointing out that such theft undermines the enormous efforts of the filmmakers and actors, and above all, hurts the fans of the film.”
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Large stolen emerald recovered

This from the City News Service:

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced
today the recovery of a stolen 850-pound emerald — reportedly worth $370 million –
but released few details about the case.
The so-called “Bahia Emerald” was recovered last Friday in Las Vegas, according to a
sheriff’s department news release.
The gem was stolen from a secured vault in South El Monte in September
and later warehoused in the Nevada gambling town, said Lt. Thomas Grubb of the
sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau.
The unidentified individuals who were in possession of the emerald in Las Vegas
initially agreed to release it once the lawful owner was identified, but deputies
returned to the prearranged location armed with a court order, according to
Grubb.
Grubb said he was precluded from releasing information regarding the owner of the
stone because of pending litigation. He added it was difficult to determine details
about the rightful owner because so many people were involved with the stone.
“A judge is going to have to rule on who the rightful owner is,” Grubb said. “There
is some civil litigation involved, but there will also be criminal proceedings.”
No arrests were made, but the investigation continues, he said.
The stone, which reportedly contains the largest spires of emeralds in the world, is
being stored by the sheriff’s department pending release to the lawful owner. The
emerald is believed to be the second largest stone of its kind in the world,
according to the sheriff’s department.

 

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Tow fee scandal forces reexamination of policy

Sheriff Lee Baca responded to a series of articles that have appeared in this paper over the past week. Here’s the top of our story:

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is reexamining how it collects towing fees in response to allegations a former traffic sergeant took nearly $500,000 from the city of La Puente in impound revenues, officials said.

“We are doing that now,” Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. “We are probably going to go to a cashless system. Using something like an ATM card to make it more difficult for theft to occur.”

Whitmore also said the department is reviewing several other internal policies and will consult with the Board of Supervisors.

Former Sgt. Joe Dyer, who used to work out of the Industry sheriff’s station until he retired in May, has been under investigation since the beginning of the year.

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From the mail box

I just finished reading your article in today’s SGVT in regard to the “Tow fee controversy.”  It is certainly sad that a “model law-enforcement agency” has been tarnished by the act of one individual and or others who failed to oversee the procedure of collecting tow fees. I would like to refer you to the comment made by John Stites, president of the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association who stated in the article published on Friday, October 17th:  “The higher-ups in the department bear responsibility for the missing money” He goes on to say: “We’re not money men, Oftentimes they put us in positions we are not trained to handle and it ends up going bad.  I’ve seen it happen more than once.” 
 
Of course this does not mean that someone is not responsible for his or her own lack of honesty, nor does it mean that all the blame should be given to the current higher-up’s.  If my information is correct, and perhaps you would be interested in looking for the facts regarding the policy of where and how money was collected for city tow fees that was instigated years ago during Sherman Block’s term as Sheriff of L. A. County.   It was and is a poorly thought out policy. 
 
Now, for the main reason I am taking the time to write to you personally.  As I continued to read your article, I was disappointed in you and your comments regarding the “Joe Six-Packs” of the world and the “greasy paws of a tow monkey.”  I don’t think you considered that everyone who gets their vehicle towed does not fall into the category that you so cutely labeled “Joe Six-Packs” .  People get their vehicles towed for many reasons,  Often, it may be because their vehicle was stolen, recovered and impounded.  They are innocent victims of a crime committed against them. I won’t take the time to go into the other various reasons that vehicles are towed, stored or impounded, but I assure you that most of the time it is not for drunken driving as you insinuated.  As for the comment:  “No doubt it would be a helluva lot easier than putting the cash in the hands of a greasy paws of a tow monkey” …..What where you thinking? 
 
First of all, money collected by towing companies are generally collected at a office counter staffed by reputable employees. Secondly, for you to demean the men and women who perform a service for individuals, the community and the police agencies shows me that you are not in touch with reality.  Have you ever noticed a tow truck on the freeway assisting in the removal of a disabled or wrecked vehicle. Would you not agree that the driver is putting him or herself in danger?  If you should ever have the misfortune to be stranded in your vehicle, would you consider the person who is coming to your aid a….”greasy tow monkey?”
 
I don’t know anything about you, other than the fact that according to your column you have the title of Metro Editor.  Therefore, even though I might disagree with your published comments, I would never put a derogatory label on you.  I suggest that in the future you might want to refrain from labeling people with inflammatory character references.
 
Sincerely,
Andria Welch

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Not so “Ea$y Money”

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Cops are looking for a woman who stole almost 800 lottery tickets from a La Crescenta gas station and tried to cash a few of ‘em at a Pasadena store a few hours later.

The tickets were reported stolen on May 30 about 5 a.m., officials said.  Apparently the theft was the result of a smash and grab that netted about 4 Grand in food and the lottery tickets.

A security video making the rounds this morning, shows the same woman in both locations.

Detectives described the suspect as Hispanic, about 25- 30, 5 feet 3 inches tall and 160 pounds, with long dark hair.

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