Southern California -- this just in

Category: High desert

More than 200 gambling machines seized in San Bernardino County

Investigators seized more than 200 electronic gambling machines after serving search warrants at businesses that billed themselves as Internet cafes, authorities said Wednesday.

The operation was part of a four-month investigation of suspected illegal gambling in which investigators also seized an undisclosed amount of cash Tuesday at four locations in Hesperia, according to authorities.

"Investigators determined that the locations were providing customer access to electronic gaming devices and services similar to those found in Las Vegas and Indian gaming locations," the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Several people were detained and questioned but later released in the ongoing operation.


Backers of dueling medical pot measures tangle in court

10 charged in Southern California marijuana grow house ring

Bell verdict: 'I want to thank God,' acquitted ex-councilman says

— Robert J. Lopez


Hit-and-run driver who injured pedestrian sought in Lancaster

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspected hit-and-run driver they say fled after striking a woman as she crossed a street in Lancaster.

The accident occurred Tuesday about 7:45 p.m. when the driver, who was headed east on Avenue L, ran into a female pedestrian as she crossed the street, according to a statement from the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.

The driver did not stop to help the victim, authorities said. The make of the car is unknown. The victim, whose identity has not been released, was taken to a hospital with “serious injuries,” authorities said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station’s Traffic Enforcement Team at (661) 948-8466. Tips can also be reported anonymously to LA Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.


Body found in Chino identified as missing woman

Tagger falls to death from freeway overpass in Sacramento

Cyclist who lost leg in hit-and-run near Griffith Park speaks out

-- Ann M. Simmons in Santa Clarita

Attorney sentenced for trying to smuggle drugs to client

An attorney who authorities said tried to smuggle heroin and methamphetamine to his client at a jail holding facility in downtown Los Angeles -- and was later caught at another courthouse with rock cocaine -- was sentenced to jail Friday, authorities said.

Kenneth Roger Markman, 49, was sentenced to a year in County Jail and a one-year residential treatment program as part of three years of supervised probation, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Last month, Markman pleaded no contest to conspiracy and drug charges, authorities said.  

Markman was first arrested Oct. 21, 2011, after trying to smuggle 26 balloons containing heroin and methamphetamine into a jail holding facility at the criminal courts building in downtown Los Angeles. The drugs were intended for Markman’s client, Jorge Zaragoza, 36, a suspected gang member scheduled to appear in court that day in connection with an attempted carjacking case, authorities said.

The attorney was arrested a month later at the Antelope Valley Courthouse after a security officer spotted suspicious items as Markman went through security, authorities said. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, who prevented Markman from grabbing his belongings and fleeing the building, discovered “drug paraphernalia and two bindles of rock cocaine” in Markman’s wallet, prosecutors said.

The State Bar of California has suspended Markman. A decision is pending on whether he will be allowed to continue to practice law, authorities said.


Gamer may behind 'Chippy 1337' hack of L.A. Times

Bell trial jurors are read testimony again; still no verdict

LAPD arrests man for alleged assault on actor Tom Sizemore

-- Ann M. Simmons in Santa Clarita

Winter heat wave continues to set record high temperatures

A late-winter heat wave continued Thursday, producing summer-like conditions and breaking additional temperature records across the region.

A record high of 93 degrees was recorded at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, breaking the old record of 89 set in 1994, according to the National Weather Service. Twenty miles east in Woodland Hills, temperatures reached 94 degrees, surpassing the old record of 83  that was also set in 1994.

Other heat records were set in the Los Angeles County foothill community of Sandberg, where temperatures rose to 82 degrees, replacing the old record of 75  set in 1994. In Lancaster, it was 88, versus the old record of 85 in 2007.

Bonnie Bartling, weather specialist at the NWS, said the high-pressure system that's been producing the warm conditions is expected to break down over the next few days, making way for cooler weather. She also said a cold-weather system is approaching the state and will produce showers and colder temperatures -- but perhaps not here.

"Brrr," she said. "But it could be one of those systems that doesn't make it all the way into Los Angeles."

The next system, she added, is likely to affect the northern parts of the state and produce rain, while Los Angeles could see temperatures drop 20 degrees or more to the low to mid-60s.


More warm weather coming to Southern California

Motive still a mystery in slaying of movie executive Gavin Smith

Journalist charged with helping 'Anonymous' hack L.A. Times, TV station

-- Ruben Vives

Twitter.com: LATvives

12-year-old arrested in vandalism of middle school

A 12-year-old boy has been arrested on charges of causing thousands of dollars in damage to a Quartz Hill middle school on New Year’s Day, authorities said.

According to a statement Wednesday from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lancaster station, the boy vandalized Joe Walker Middle School at 5632 West Ave L-8  in Quartz Hill, which borders Lancaster, by spray painting “gang-style graffiti” over the campus. Authorities estimated the destruction at more than $20,000.

Sheriff’s deputies located the boy in Bakersfield. He was arrested March 7 and transported to Lancaster station for booking on felony vandalism charges, authorities said. The boy’s name was withheld because he is a juvenile.


Still no verdict in Bell corruption trial; jurors on Day 13

Rapist held in mental hospital must be tried or freed, court says

Drunk driver killed brother, faces manslaughter charges, D.A. says

-- Ann M. Simmons

Human remains found in Lancaster

Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of human remains in a nonresidential area of Lancaster.

A passerby found the remains around 6:20 p.m. Thursday at Division Street and East Avenue H in Lancaster, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Los Angeles County Coroner officials will collect the remains and try to determine the cause of death, officials said. The gender of the individual was unknown and no further information was available, they said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500. Tips can also be reported anonymously to L.A. Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.


Woman found dead at beach had recently given birth

Armed standoff in Watts leaves 2 dead, 1 critically wounded

$1 million in marijuana found at Vandenberg base was camouflaged

-- Ann M. Simmons in Santa Clarita

Antelope Valley gang suspects arrested in assault case

Two suspects who authorities believe were among about a dozen gang members who assaulted three victims earlier this year have been arrested, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said Thursday.

The arrests were made after gang units and other teams from the department served five warrants across the Antelope Valley, according to a statement from the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station. The warrants were related to a Jan. 17 incident in which authorities said 10 to 12 gang members attacked two people and beat a third victim “to near unconsciousness” when that person tried to help the first two.

David Holmes, 21, was arrested on suspicion of receiving stolen property following the search of a home in the 3100 block of Tourmaline Lane in Palmdale, authorities said. Investigators found a stolen computer, a rug and a lockbox containing identification of the assault victims, officials said. They suspect Holmes was involved in the January assault.

During the search of another Palmdale residence in the 37600 block of Harvey Street, authorities said they found evidence indicating a second suspect’s ties to a local gang. The person’s name was withheld because the suspect is a minor.  

Lt. Larry Gregg, coordinator for  the Antelope Valley Crime Fighting Initiatives, said most of Thursday’s warrant searches were related to juvenile gang members, who were not only involved in January’s assault but were also “very possibly responsible for a recent rise in burglaries in the Palmdale area.”

Authorities declined to name the gang suspected of the robberies and violence.


Man charged with raping teenage girl at Tustin park

Boat with drugs crashes on beach near Vandenberg AFB

Death of woman found on beach still a mystery, police say

-- Ann M. Simmons

Four men injured by gunfire at Lancaster club, suspects sought

Approximate location of incident shown in red.

Authorities in Lancaster are seeking the public’s help in uncovering any information about a recent firefight at a local nightclub that left four men wounded.

According to a statement from the Lancaster station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department,  the shooting occurred about 3 a.m. on Feb. 23 at the It Club  in the 4300 block of Business Center Drive  in Lancaster.  The shooting occurred after an argument between two parties, authorities said.

They listed four men, ages 18, 22, 27 and 37, as being injured by gunfire but their injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said.

The identity of the victims was not released.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the detective handling the case at (310) 351-7764. Tips can also be reported anonymously to LA Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.


Polling station worker shot at school in Watts

Suspect sought in polling place 'love triangle' shooting

Bell trial: Lengthy jury deliberations favor defense, lawyer says

-- Ann M. Simmons

Map: Approximate location of incident shown in red. Credit: Google Maps

Flu-related deaths total 43 in San Diego County, a near-record

 Flu vaccine inoculation. Credit: San Diego County News

Three more influenza-related deaths in San Diego County have pushed the seasonal total to 43, the second highest on record, county health officials reported Wednesday.

But "on a positive note," new lab-confirmed flu cases declined for the fourth consecutive week, said officials of the county Health and Human Services Agency. The highest mortality for a flu season was 2009-2010 when 58 persons in the county died.

"While we believe the worst of the flu season may have passed, influenza is still making people sick," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County public health officer.

Of the 43, ages ranged from 42 to 99 and all but one had underlying medical conditions, officials said.

Flu vaccine is available throughout the county, at doctor's offices and retail pharmacies, Wooten said.  County public health centers have flu vaccine for children and adults without medical insurance.


Santa Cruz police officers' alleged killer 'a little odd'

Bobby Brown gets 55 days in jail on DUI, other charges

Porn actor felt ‘persecuted’ by fuss over Pasadena college speech

--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Flu vaccine inoculation. Credit: San Diego County News

Car theft up sharply in Antelope Valley; Hondas are top target

Theft of vehicles in Antelope Valley neighborhoods and business districts has surged since the beginning of the year, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said.

The Lancaster and Palmdale sheriff's stations have arrested an undisclosed number of car thieves, resulting in the shutdown of several so-called “chop shops” in the area, the department said in a statement this week. Chop shops are used to dismantle vehicles so that various parts, such as the seats, engine and scrap metal, can be sold individually, authorities said.

Hondas are by far the most commonly pinched cars in the Antelope Valley, accounting for more than a third of all stolen vehicles, sheriff's officials said.

They urged car owners to take precautions, such as not leaving their vehicles to warm up in the driveway, making sure all doors are locked and windows are rolled up when leaving the vehicles, and parking in well-lit areas of business districts.

Anyone with information about a car theft in the area is asked to call the Palmdale sheriff’s station at 661-272-2400. Tips can also be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.



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