Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch
LA Police Protective League


Los Angeles
Police Protective League
the union that represents the
rank and file LAPD officers

  Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch

Daily News Digest
from LA Police Protective League

April 29, 2022
Law Enforcement News

30 Violent Criminals Arrested During Multi-Agency Operation In LA
A multi-agency operation to target violent crimes in Los Angeles resulted in the arrest of 30 people during a 72-hour period. The US Marshals collaborated with the Los Angeles Police Department to form a fugitive task force. Operation FAST was conducted over a 72-hour period from March 28 to March 30. The operation focused on suspects wanted for violent crimes, including murder, attempted murder, robbery, and sexual assault. According to LAPD, the operation resulted in the following: 15 documented gang members arrested, 10 firearms seized, 30 total arrests: 10 for homicide, 9 for attempt homicide, 3 for armed robbery, 1 for assault with a deadly weapon (firearm), 4 for great bodily injury to a child, and 3 for rape of a child under 14. Operation FAST was created to help prepare the agencies for a 30-day operation known as Operation North Star. Operation North Star is part of President Biden's strategy to tackle gun related crime. The purpose of the operation is to reduce crime in the ten cities that showed a large increase in homicide shootings. Los Angeles was identified as one of those ten cities. The operation concentrates on fugitives with arrest warrants, wanted for the most serious, violent, and harmful offenses which include homicide, forcible sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assaults. FOX 11

Texas Man Charged With Killing Man While Walking Dog In Mid-City
A Texas man was arrested and charged in the shooting of a 52-year-old man who was killed while walking his dog in the Mid-City area of LA in March, the LAPD said Thursday. The Los Angeles County District Attorney filed charges against 21-year-old Cliffton Kamal Styles of San Marcos, Texas. The victim, identified as Marco Sandoval, was walking his dog at 5 a.m. March 12, 2022, in the area of Genesee Avenue and Saturn Street. A dark-colored sedan stopped near him and got out of the car. After an "exchange of words" the suspect was accused of firing multiple shots before getting back in the car and taking off. A neighbor's security camera captured the two fatal gunshots, and the man's dog running back home after the incident. Sandoval was found at 6:15 a.m. by someone passing by, and paramedics later declared him dead at the scene. The dog was not injured and returned home on its own. Neighbors, some of whom were woken up by the gunfire, are disturbed by the incident. "I never seen anything around here like that before," said Shirley Dionzon. NBC 4

Reseda Man Charged In Federal Case After Authorities Seize Dozens Of ‘Ghost Guns,' 16 Pounds Of Meth A federal grand jury on Tuesday charged a San Fernando Valley man with selling a total of nearly 16 pounds of methamphetamine and 89 firearms, including dozens of "ghost guns,'' or firearms that lack serial numbers. Julio Ernesto Lopez-Menendez, 26, of Reseda, was charged in a 13-count indictment with four counts of distribution of methamphetamine, one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, four counts of possession of unregistered firearms, and four counts of possession of firearms not identified by serial numbers, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Lopez-Menendez's arraignment is scheduled for May 5 in Los Angeles federal court. He has been in federal custody since his April 14 arrest on a criminal complaint in the case. The indictment alleges a series of transactions involving Lopez-Menendez from Jan. 6 to April 7, 2022. The transactions typically involved large numbers of firearms and, sometimes, pound quantities of methamphetamine, according to prosecutors. Some firearms sold were so-called "ghost guns,'' named because of their lack of a serial number. Such guns are often assembled from parts purchased separately or in a kit. Because the separate parts do not bear serial numbers, the assembled ghost guns do not bear serial numbers, and they cannot be registered or traced. ABC 7

Beverly Center Robbery: Person Robbed Of Watch At Gunpoint, Police Say
A suspect was arrested after robbing someone at gunpoint in broad daylight in front of the Beverly Center Thursday afternoon. LAPD officers responded to the area of La Cienega Blvd. and Beverly Blvd. for reports of a robbery. The victim was trying to get in a friend's car when they were robbed of their watch. Torin Martinez told FOX 11 that he witnessed the entire armed robbery and called 911. "I started going up the escalator and I turn around and he is behind me running towards me. The guy with the gun is running up the escalator towards me and into the Beverly Center... maybe he saw that I was a witness to this," Martinez said. "I saw there was a bunch of woman and kids so I'm yelling gun, turn around and people are coming down and I'm trying to get people to turn around and go up," he added. The suspet ran into a parking structure but was quickly taken into custody. Initially, people near the scene thought the incident was an active shooting at the mall, however that is not true. Robberies have been increasing throughout Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. In March, a man was robbed of his $13,000 Rolex in Culver City. In February, a man was attacked and nearly robbed over a watch in Beverly Hills.  FOX 11

Police Seek Driver Who Struck, Killed Bicyclist In Koreatown
Authorities Thursday sought the public's help to identify a driver who killed one two bicyclist and injured another in a hit-and-run crash in Koreatown. The driver was seated in a white Jeep Cherokee was parked on the north curb of Olympic Boulevard, near Mariposa Avenue, about 3:20 a.m. Tuesday and was pulling away from the curb when a victim of an unrelated vehicle theft jumped onto the hood of the Jeep “believing the driver was related to the theft of his vehicle,” according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The driver fled toward Mariposa Avenue with the man still holding onto the hood of the car. The man eventually fell off the hood into the street before the Jeep collided with the two bicyclists at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Mariposa Avenue. The Jeep fled the scene following the collision. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics were called to the scene and pronounced one of the bicyclists dead, while the other was treated for only minor injuries. It was not immediately known if the man who clung to the hood of the Jeep was injured when he fell.

Hollywood Apartment Complex Struck By Serial Burglar
A series of break-ins at the Modera Hollywood apartment complex has residents worried. The first known burglary of the complex at Highland and Selma avenues was April 3, when a suspect wearing a blue hoodie could be seen walking up and down a hallway. Police say he busted into a unit in the middle of the night while residents were asleep. “[He] then took the victim's property and began using the victim's credit cards,” said Annie Hernandez of the Los Angeles Police Department. It wasn't until the next day that the victims realized their cards had been stolen, and by then, the thief had charged more than $1,000 to them. A $2,000 purse and AirPods were also snatched. That same suspect was seen at least two more times on the property this week. Police say he burglarized another apartment on Monday, and on Wednesday, he unsuccessfully attempted to break into another unit. The victim from the first break-in recognized the intruder, confronted him and ran him off the property while calling police. One resident, who asked not to be identified to protect her safety, said the situation is “definitely frightening.” KTLA 5

Three Men Arrested In Connection With Assault And Robbery In Beverly Hills
Three men were arrested Thursday in connection with an assault and robbery that left a man with minor injuries in Beverly Hills. Three suspects attacked the man about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday as he was walking in the 9600 block of Wilshire Boulevard, near Bedford Drive, according to Lt. Giovanni Trejo of the Beverly Hills Police Department. The suspects fled the scene in a vehicle with a wallet and a watch stolen from the victim. BHPD detectives identified the suspect vehicle in the crime, and it was later discovered by police in Los Angeles, Trejo said. Three men were found occupying the vehicle and were arrested, and authorities were working to confirm if they were the same three suspects responsible for the assault and robbery, Trejo said. It was not immediately known if the stolen property was retrieved.

Boy Found In Homeless Encampment Along L.A. River; Search On For Parents
Detectives are looking for the parents of a young boy found in a homeless encampment along the Los River Thursday. The child was located in a riverbed near the 710 and 105 freeways around 10 a.m., according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The boy possibly goes by the name of “Anthony,” according to the release. Anthony was with a Hispanic man when he was found. No details about the man were released. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Department at 562-623-3500. Those who prefer to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477. KTLA 5

Beverly Hills Developer Agrees To Plead Guilty In Bribery Scheme
A Beverly Hills real estate developer has agreed to plead guilty to bribing a former Los Angeles County real estate official in connection with a lucrative lease scheme, a charge that could bring a 10-year federal prison term. The developer, Arman Gabaee, 61, also known as Arman Gabay, paid the county employee, Thomas M. Shepos, bribes and kickbacks of about $1,000 a month from around 2011 to 2017, according to the plea agreement signed Tuesday. In exchange, the plea agreement states, Shepos gave non-public information to Gabaee and got him favorable terms on county deals. Shepos cooperated with the FBI and secretly recorded meetings at which Gabaee paid $6,000 in cash bribes, the document states. Central to the case was the Hawthorne Mall, a property Gabaee owned and was redeveloping. His bribes were meant to induce the county to rent office space for the Department of Public Social Services on the site, a 10-year deal worth more than $45 million, prosecutors said. Shepos was a senior official in the county's real estate division whose job was to negotiate leases between property owners and the county. He had the power to green light deals, subject to final approval by the Board of Supervisors. Under Gabaee's influence, Shepos pressured a subordinate to make sure the Hawthorne Mall deal “looked good on paper,” the plea deal states. Los Angeles Times

Caught On Video: French Bulldog Stolen From Front Yard Of Wilmington Home
A woman whose French bulldog was snatched from the front yard while she was at home just wants her dog back. "Just seeing his kennel, his bed...and even waking up this morning and he wasn't there," Jody Martinez said, getting emotional as she thought about her 1-year-old French bulldog named King. Martinez's security camera captured the moment when King was dognapped. "It was just a brief moment, that's all it takes." On the video, a man in a blue shirt skateboards to her fence and in an instant, he picks up the dog and skates away. "He was trying to bite because you can see him pulling away and he grabs him by his arms and all I can think is that it hurts." The incident took place Wednesday, at around 3 p.m. Martinez said she and her husband were inside their Wilmington home with the front door slightly cracked open. She believes her dog heard the skateboard and got out without them realizing. "It's possible it was planned. Who just jumps off a skateboard and jumps off and takes a puppy?" In the last year, CBSLA has reported on nearly a half dozen stolen French bulldogs, including Lady Gaga's pup.  CBS 2

Gun Thefts Are Rising And Leading To More Crime, Including Sacramento Mass Shooting
Gun thefts are on the rise in major cities across the U.S., a factor police and criminologists say is helping fuel the growing homicide rate. The number of stolen guns reported to police rose by 29% in 10 major U.S. cities over the past two years, according to data compiled by The Wall Street Journal. In Atlanta last year, 2,758 guns were stolen—or about seven a day—up from 1,859 in 2019. In Houston, guns stolen from vehicles alone rose to 3,695—about 10 a day—from 2,820 the year before. Earlier this month, a stolen handgun that had been fired 28 times was found at the scene of a gang shooting in Sacramento, Calif., where six people died and 12 were injured, police said. Police officials tie the climb in thefts to the rise in first-time gun owners. Guns are frequently being stolen from cars after their owners left them there, something more-experienced owners know not to do. A record number of Americans bought guns over the past couple of years, driven by concerns related to the pandemic, protests and rising crime. The number of federal background checks for gun purchases hit 21 million in 2020, a record, and 18 million last year, the second-highest on record, according to an analysis of federal data by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade group. WallStreet Journal

FBI: Teenage Boys Increasingly The Victims Of “Sextortion" By Predators Posing As Young Girls
The FBI says they are seeing an increase of sextortion involving young boys who are being tricked into sending sexual images and video to adults they believe are young girls. The warning issued Thursday says the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office has received dozens of complaints involving boys who were reported victims of sextortion, mostly for money but some for additional images. "With the ubiquitous nature of modern technology, our children are increasingly vulnerable targets for online predators," said Kristi Johnson, the assistant director in charge of the FBI Los Angeles Division, said in a statement. The sextortion typically begins with an adult contacting a minor over any online platform, including games, apps, and social media. The scheme that has become more prevalent involves a predator posing as a young girl to convince a boy, usually between 14 and 17 years old, to engage in explicit activity over video, which is secretly recorded, according to the FBI. The predator then reveals they have made the recordings and threatens to post the video online if they don't send money. Many of the predators are overseas and often demand money in increasing amounts if any is sent in the initial request, FBI officials said. Sextortion is a crime, and the FBI says coercion of a child by an adult to create what is considered Child Sexual Abuse Material can mean a life sentence for the offender. Children who have been the target of sextortion may be embarrassed by such a traumatic experience, but the FBI says they should be encouraged to come forward to a trusted adult to help law enforcement catch such predators. CBS News

Shootings And Theft Are A Lingering U.S. Plague
“O black Jesus, please kill all the whiteys,” was one post. Posted by Black nationalist/terrorist Frank James, dubbed as the “Subway Shooter” by much of the media. CNN, for instance, repeatedly made references to James' “racist rants” or his “racist social media.” And left it at that. Which begs the question when hearing the racial reporting: “What the hell did the fool say?” Perhaps Miranda Devine, columnist for the New York Post, is right with her assertion that the media downplayed the racial angle. This guy fired 33 bullets, shot 10 people, with blood spattered in a wide swath on a subway train and platform in Brooklyn. All before his gun jammed. And he was a Black guy who railed against Supreme Court justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson for having a White husband. So, James isn't just anti-Black, as some media would have you believe. Wow. The conservatives should have a field day with these nuggets. Especially when you add the latest news coming out of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times inserted this attention-grabber in its digital news summary: “Today's Headlines: 17 L.A. gangs have sent out crews to rob the city's wealthiest.” Yahoo! News

California Highway Patrol Officer Shot On Interstate; Suspect Arrested
A California Highway Patrol officer was taken to a hospital after being shot on Interstate 8 at Interstate 805 in Mission Valley early Wednesday evening, according to San Diego police. A suspect was arrested at the scene, said Officer Darius Jamsetjee. The injured officer's condition was not immediately available. According to multiple media reports, the CHP officer was shot in the leg and taken by ambulance to Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego. I-8 was closed in both directions in the area beneath the I-8 to I-805 interchange and remained closed at 8:10 p.m. CHP Officer Jake Sanchez said about 8:30 p.m. he was on the way to the hospital to speak with the officer, and that he would have more information later in the evening. This is the second shooting incident in four days involving CHP officers on local freeways. In what appeared to be an unrelated incident Sunday, someone in a passing vehicle fired shots as CHP officers and firefighters worked a fatal collision on I-805 near state Route 94. No one was hit by the gunfire Sunday, and officers were looking for a white pickup that drove away from the scene. San Diego Union Tribune

3 CHP Officers Injured In Fiery Crash; DUI Suspect Arrested
Three California Highway Patrol officers are recovering Thursday after a dramatic overnight crash, ABC 7 reported. Police say a DUI suspect slammed into the officers' squad car, creating a fireball that engulfed the cruiser. Two officers inside the squad car managed to get out before the vehicle caught fire and sustained non-life-threatening injuries, according to the report. A third officer standing outside the vehicle sustained more serious injuries, police said. The officers were protecting the site of an earlier crash when the SUV slammed into them. The driver of the SUV was arrested on suspicion of DUI, according to the report. Robert Martinez, a witness to the crash, said the SUV was speeding in the HOV lane. "The person who actually hit the CHP car was in the diamond lane, going 90, 95, definitely faster than I was,” Martinez told ABC 7. “They flew right past me. CHP had the lane closed with flares out, the driver applied no brakes and went straight into the CHP car, all four wheels off the ground.” Video from the scene shows a police vehicle fully engulfed in flames.  PoliceOne

Suspect Who Pointed Gun At Cop In Viral Video Is Arrested After High-Speed Pursuit
Police in Cleveland have arrested a man they believe is connected to a viral video that showed two men pointing guns at a cop sitting in his patrol car. In the video, the men are pulled alongside a squad car while waving guns at the officer in broad daylight, Fox 8 reported earlier this month. The officer doesn't appear to notice, perhaps due to tinted windows. The video made its rounds on social media and prompted a police investigation. Now, police say they have arrested one of the men in the video. According to FOX 8, Anthony Bonner, 23, was arrested Friday after Euclid Police tried to pull him over for a traffic stop. Bonner took off, leading officers on a pursuit that reached speeds up to 120 mph, police said. At one point, Bonner pulled over and barricaded himself inside a home before surrendering to police, helicopter video shows. Bonner has been charged with aggravated burglary, improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence, according to the report. He is held on a $75,000 bond.  PoliceOne

Public Safety News

Coronavirus: L.A. County Reported 2,335 New Cases And Eight More Deaths, April 28
Los Angeles County public health officials reported 2,335 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 2,869,785 as of Thursday, April 28. Officials reported 10 more deaths linked to the coronavirus, for a total of 31,959 deaths since tracking began. There were 14 more hospitalizations reported since Wednesday, bringing the total count of people hospitalized with coronavirus to 249. According to the California Department of Public Health's vaccines dashboard, 75% of Los Angeles County is fully vaccinated.  Los Angeles Daily News

LA County COVID-19 Cases Still High, With Yet Another Variant Growing
It's not a "surge" by any means, but COVID-19 transmission continues to be widespread across Los Angeles County, the public health director said Thursday, noting increases in key metrics used to track the virus and warning of the suddenly increased presence of yet another even more communicable variant. In pure numbers, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer reported another 2,335 COVID infections in the county on Thursday. The daily average number of new cases logged by the county over the past seven days rose to 1,764, up from 1,261 the previous week, she said. The daily average case number is roughly triple the number it was a month ago, Ferrer said. She also noted small but steady increases over the past week in the number of COVID-positive people in county hospitals. The number increased to 249 on Thursday, up from 235 on Wednesday. The number of those patients being treated in intensive care was 30, up from 28 a day earlier. ABC 7

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