April 15, 2014

Registered sex offenders arrested for the murder of 4 Orange County Women

Anaheim, CA -- Although few details have been revealed, Anaheim police announced that they have arrested two registered sex offenders in connection with the murders of four women in Orange County over a period of several months.

The first was Kianna Jackson, a 20-year-old who came to Santa Ana to face prostitution charges in October and disappeared shortly thereafter. Next was Josephine Monique Vargas, 34, who left a family birthday party and did not return. The third was Martha Anaya, 28, who stopped responding to text messages after telling her boyfriend to pick her daughter up from school in November. In mid-march the body of Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, 21, was discovered naked at a recycling facility in Anaheim. Although all four women had a history of prostitution it is unclear if they were targeted for that reason, according to a police spokesman.

The two men accused of killing them, Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, were a pair of sex offenders. Both had been convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, Cano in 2007 and Gordon in 1992. The two have been linked since 2012, when they are known to have disabled their GPS monitoring devices and fled to Las Vegas. At the time they pleaded guilty and have apparently been under close surveillance ever since, complying with requirements that they check in with Anaheim PD every month.

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April 13, 2014

54 Pounds of Cocaine Found at an SUV at San Clemente Checkpoint Passing Border

SAN CLEMENTE - During a routine stop, police at a San Clemente checkpoint allegedly found 54 pounds of cocaine being carried in a 2003 Ford Explorer. The drivers, a pair of siblings from Mexico, claimed that they were in the US in order to go shopping.

Reports say that police dogs detected the presence of contraband under the SUV's floor and in the hatchback. The amount of cocaine was estimated to be worth $702, 130. The police arrested the drivers and put them in DEA custody.

Drug crimes are among the most common crimes committed in the United States. Despite this, possessing even small amounts of hard drugs (such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamines) can lead to long jail terms. Prosecutors are especially hard on those who are found with large quantities of these substances.

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April 11, 2014

Mother who took kids to Europe for 18 months facing abduction charges

Los Angeles, CA -- When you think of kidnapping cases you probably think of a stranger or acquaintance taking a child away from their parents. But a large number of kidnapping and abduction cases involve parents who violate court custody orders. Among the many things that can create acrimony in divorce proceedings, child custody is one of the most significant. So long as both parents are fit there's no reason they shouldn't share legal custody. However, these proceedings can often turn vindictive.

On Thursday Maria Pfeifer was extradited to Los Angeles from France in order to face felony abduction charges. Pfeifer, 33 and a native of Slovakia, was arrested last year in Divonne les Bains near the Swiss border on an international warrant after authorities say that she took her two sons, now ages 10 and 5, to Europe in the summer of 2012 and never returned.

Pfeifer shared custody with the boys' fathers and her ex-husbands Robert Pfeifer and Larry Hummel. The trip began as a vacation with the fathers' approval but as time passed and abduction charges were filed against Maria Pfeifer, Robert Pfeifer and Hummel were granted full custody.

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April 9, 2014

LAPD releases details on Monday night station shooting suspect

Los Angeles, CA -- Often times signs of criminal activity can go unnoticed until it's too late to do anything about it. That seems to be the case with Daniel Yealu, 29, who allegedly walked up to the front desk of an Los Angeles Police Department station on Monday night and opened fire on the officers behind the desk.

According to police, Yealu entered the Venice Boulevard LAPD station on Monday night armed with a Glock pistol and extra magazines and opened fire on the two officers at the desk, striking one of them multiple times before they returned fire. Yealu was taken to the hospital in critical condition, and booked in absentia on suspicion of attempted murder with bail set at $2 million. Police said that a modified AK-47 was found in Yealu's car and a substantial arsenal was discovered at his apartment. His motive in the attack remains unclear.

Records show that Yealu had been issued a license to work as a security guard in 2005 and a firearm permit in 2007, however both expired at the end of 2013 because he failed to pay fees. He applied to the LAPD in 2009, but was rejected as a candidate despite having passed the written test. According to his father, the last time they spoke was in October and at that time Yealu claimed he was applying to the Burbank police academy, though the city of Burbank showed no record of Yealu's application. According to his neighbors Yealu largely kept to himself and wasn't friendly. However, aside from his father mentioning some involvement with gangs as a teenager, no details of previous criminal behavior emerged.

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April 8, 2014

Man accused of Attempted murdering the woman of his children in Hawaiian Gardens

HAWAIIAN GARDENS - A seven-hour confrontation between police and an attempted murder suspect ended with the latter's arrest. The accused, Alfredo Lopez Jr., is alleged to have tried to kill a woman in Riverside County. This woman is the mother of his children, though their exact relationship at the time of the incident has not yet been disclosed. She was shot six times, at which point Lopez Jr. took her to the hospital. She is expected to recover.

After the alleged shooting, Lopez tried to flee the area. Police found him in Hawaiian Gardens, where he refused to stop. The police laid spike strips that destroyed his tires, at which point Lopez holed up in his vehicle, initiating the standoff. This lasted until the police used a flashbang grenade and sent a K9 unit after Lopez, who then surrendered.

Lopez is believed to have committed the crime of attempted murder. As the name suggests, this is any action that is done with the intent of ending another person's life. Legally, for a crime to quality as attempted murder, the accused must have actually taken action towards killing someone. Planning a murder, but never acting on it, does not fall under this category.

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April 7, 2014

Riots erupt in Isla Vista during "Deltopia" street party

Los Angeles, CA -- Spring break can act as a kind of pressure valve. Restless students cooped up after months of study in the winter are given a week or so to decompress. Some indulge an impulse towards idleness, others take long road trips with new friends, others stay near campus and party down. This weekend in Isla Vista, chaos broke out in confrontation between spring break partiers and law enforcement leading to over 100 arrests and sending over 40 to local hospitals.

Isla Vista is an unincorporated neighborhood in Santa Barbara County and counts thousands of students at nearby UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College among its small population. Every year Isla Vista finds itself host to a large scale spring break party called "Deltopia" (originally "Floatopia") which now attracts students from neighboring states as well as local schools. Previous Deltopia events have been marred by arrests and even the discovery of a dead body, and unfortunately this year's event was also host to violence.

This year the party attracted a reported 15,000 participants and lead to over 100 arrests. On Saturday a UC Santa Barbara police officer was injured when a party-goer struck him in the head with a backpack filled with liquor bottles on Saturday night. While officers arrested the perpetrator, more people in the crowd became violent, allegedly hurling bottles, rocks and bricks at law enforcement. It took the help of law enforcement agencies from Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties to disperse the crowd and restore order.

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April 6, 2014

Yorba Linda Man Assaulted and Kidnapped

YORBA LINDA - The community of Placentia was shocked when a 49-year-old man was apparently kidnapped on Wednesday, April 2. A witness claimed that the individual was beaten and taken into a car that then driven away at high speeds.

On the evening of Friday, April 4, authorities found the man at a home in Yorba Linda. This was the culmination of a tri-county search involving multiple law enforcement agencies. The man was suffering from numerous injuries, including contusions and fractures. He is expected to recover.

The police also arrested several individuals who are suspected of being connected with the kidnapping. The arrests took place on Thursday. Authorities are still looking for information on the case.

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April 4, 2014

Hollywood SuperClub Shooting Left a Man Killed

HOLLYWOOD - A shooting that occurred early on Sunday morning has left a man dead. The incident took place at supperclub, an establishment in Hollywood. Beginning as an altercation within the club, several of the participants left the building to continue it outside.

At this point, an unidentified sedan drove up to the crowd. One or more people inside the car opened fire, killing one 38-year-old man. The car then drove away. The police have not made any arrests, and are asking locals for information. It is believed that 3-4 individuals were inside the sedan.

Murder is a crime that sends shockwaves throughout society. Because its occurrence indicates a clear danger to people in the area, law enforcement authorities will spare no resource in trying to apprehend the killer.

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April 3, 2014

Santa Ana man arrested for Felony Evasion after police pursuit ends in deadly crash

Santa Ana, CA -- From an evolutionary standpoint the so-called fight or flight response is an advantage, it allows you to escape or overcome danger in order to pass on your genes to the next generation. However, in the modern world it can create problems, especially when it comes to dealing with the police. If you flee or attempt to fight the police you can be charged with resisting arrest or be held responsible for other damage that occurs while you attempt to escape, for example if your car strikes another.

That's exactly what happened in a police pursuit on Thursday night in Westminster. According to the Westminster Police Department, Aleksander Apostoloic, 26, purposefully struck a patrol car with his vehicle after police tried to stop him in connection with an outstanding warrant. Officers say that they pursued Apostoloic's SUV for a few blocks before it rolled while making a left turn at Olive and Trask, broadsiding a minivan before crashing into another car.

Apostoloic fled on foot and was apprehended just before midnight. Although the pursuit was brief, the three people, a mother and her two children, in the minivan struck by Apostoloic's vehicle struck were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. The mother and her 13-year-old son are alive in critical condition, but her 12-year-old daughter, identified as Vivian Nguyen, died in the hospital.

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April 2, 2014

ICE warns Los Angeles residents against marriage fraud

Los Angeles, CA -- Even before the Declaration of Independence, Britain's American colonies were seen as a place where a person could start over. Even in times of financial crisis, the United States continues to drawn immigrants from around the world. People who want to live or work in the US have a number of legal avenues they can pursue. But even a legal means of obtaining citizenship or permanent residency can be abused.

Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have started a campaign aimed at educating Los Angeles residence about the dangers of marriage fraud. Simply put, marriage fraud is when a U.S. citizen marries a noncitizen so that they can obtain permanent residence. It is a federal felony that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, $250,000 in fines, and loss of benefits.

According to ICE, these types of marriages can be used to bring a potential national security threat into the country or simply as a way of making money off of desperate illegal immigrants.

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April 1, 2014

Whittier E-convict Aused of Drug Crime and ID Theft

WHITTIER - The arrest of Ulices Roman Soto, a former convict, has led police to what may be an extensive identity theft ring. Authorities are reporting that they have found a wealth of evidence in Soto's mobile home.

A SWAT team raided the home in the early morning. After stunning Soto with a flash-bang grenade, the police arrested him; he did not put up any struggle. Searching the home, the officers say they uncovered credit card skimmers and other tools associated with fraud.

The report also mentions that firearms, methamphetamines, and a large number of credit profiles were in Soto's residence. Soto was allegedly using personal information from the profiles in order to create fake credit cards.

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March 31, 2014

$1 million shipping container heist at Port of Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA -- Large scale theft in broad daylight requires more than just cunning and guile. And while those traits seem to be possessed by two men being sought in the investigation of the theft of two shipping containers from the Port of Los Angeles, what's more striking is their audacity.

Police are currently searching for two latino men in their twenties who drove off with over $1 million of Nike merchandise. On Friday, March 21, the two men drove up to a San Pedro logistics company with counterfeit documents, fake licenses, and stolen plates. Two shipping containers were approved for release and they drove off with no one any the wiser until the real truckers arrived to pick up the containers the next day.

According to a spokesman with the LAPD's Commercial Crimes Division's Cargo-Hijack Unit, the two men returned on Sunday morning to make another pickup, but fled the scene when security personnel called for back-up. The two shipping containers, now empty, have been recovered, but so far, police say, there has been no sign of the stolen merchandise.

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March 28, 2014

State Senator arrested in California corruption case

San Francisco, CA -- In the latest of several scandals involving state legislators, State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), 65, was arrested as part of a massive sting operation by the FBI. The federal investigation cast a wide net targeting corruption and included charges against dozens of Yee's alleged associates, including Raymond Chow, 54, also known as "Shrimp Boy," a bay area business man with a criminal record.

The FBI has filed court documents alleging that Yee was involved in wire fraud and illegal arms trafficking along with other corruption charges. Included are accusations that Yee solicited and accepted campaign contributions from undercover FBI agents in exchange for political favors. Yee has had an impressive political career, starting out almost 30 years ago on San Francisco's school board and Board of Supervisors, going onto the state capital where he became the first Asian American to be the speaker pro tem of the Assembly.

The 26 people named in the FBI's statement include Keith Jackson, 49, a political consultant who has worked with Yee's campaigns in the past, and Raymond Chow, who has served prison time for gun charges and since his release has disavowed any criminal activity. However, law enforcement alleges that Chow holds a leadership position in organized crime.

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March 26, 2014

74-year-old woman freed after serving 32 years

Los Angeles, CA -- Mary Virginia Jones, 74, who had been serving a sentence of life without parole for a 1981 murder, was released Tuesday after 32 years behind bars. Her release was secured after lawyers and law students from USC Post-Conviction Justice Project worked with prosecutors to reopen Jones' case, allowing her to plead no contest to manslaughter charges with no further sentence or probation.

According to her attorneys, Jones became involved in the crime when her abusive boyfriend, Mose Willis, deceased, demanded that they use her tax refund to purchase cocaine for resale. He allegedly invited over two drug dealers and forced everyone into his car at gunpoint and drove to an alley. At this point, Jones says that she heard a shot when her back was turned and began running, after which she heard a second shot. She was arrested while staying with a friend.

Jones was tried three times on charges of murder, robbery, and kidnapping. Her initial conviction was overturned on appeal, the second trial ended with a hung jury, and at the third she was found guilty only on the charge of robbery and sentenced to fifteen years. However, in 1987, she was tried again for first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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March 25, 2014

DMV investigates possible credit card security breach

California -- One of the biggest news stories this winter has been the major security breaches at retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus. Millions of credit and debit card numbers were stolen by malicious software installed into point of sale systems. Now there are reports that the Department of Motor Vehicles' online payment system may have been similarly compromised.

It is still unknown how much, if any, information was stolen. However, a spokesman for the DMV has announced that they have been in contact with law enforcement and financial institutions regarding the possible breach and that they have "heightened monitoring" of their online transaction system. They say that although they haven't found evidence of a "direct breach" they are acting out of "an abundance of caution and in the interest of protecting the sensitive information of California drivers."

Beyond that little information is available besides a posting by security blogger Brian Krebs which pointed out security alerts on cards with a common factor of charges at the DMV. Though credit card numbers, expiration dates, and security codes are believed to have been compromised, it is unknown if other personal information, like social security numbers or driver's license numbers were also stolen.

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