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Serial Murder Cold Case Cracked

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Police Department detectives solved an old serial murder case.

The Robbery-Homicide Division’s (RHD) Detectives, obtained a warrant for the arrest of Michael Hubert Hughes, 51-years-old, charging four counts of murder with additional charges relating to sexual assault of the four female victims. 

The series of crimes occurred between 1986 and 1993.  Three occurred in the City of Los Angeles and one in the City of Inglewood.

RHD detectives investigating the murders determined that Hughes who is serving a life sentence in a California State Prison for similar murder convictions was responsible for the additional four cases charged today.   RHD detectives have assumed the responsibility for the Inglewood Police Department case due to the overwhelming similarities and forensic connections.

Detectives have also received inquiries from additional agencies in Southern California with similar unsolved cases from the era Hughes was not in custody.

Detectives are in the process of locating and notifying family members of the victims and until notification is completed the victims’ identities will not be released.

Anyone with information is asked to call Robbery-Homicide detectives at 213-485-2155.  After hours or on weekends, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).


Hot Prowl Sexual Assault Suspect Apprehended

Los Angeles: On June 23, 2008, at approximately 3:45 a.m., the victim, a 7-year old girl, was asleep in her residence in the 200 block of North Park Paseo Lane, when the suspect, later identified as Alexander Linares, attempted to sexually assault her.  The victim alerted other sleeping family members by screaming.  Linares then attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended by the victim’s parents after a struggle.  Her parents were able to detain Linares until the police arrived.

Linares had managed to cut a hole into the screen of an open downstairs window and entered the residence through the open window.  He then entered the residence, and stole money from a wallet inside one of the bedrooms.  Linares found the girl sleeping in her bedroom where the assault with intent to commit a lewd act with a child occurred.

Linares was arrested and booked for Penal Code Section 288(A)-Lewd Acts with a Child. The case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the US Attorney’s Office, Domestic Security and Immigration Crimes Section.  The District Attorney’s Office filed multiple charges which included assault with the attempt to commit rape and burglary.  The US Attorney’s as well as Immigration Customs Enforcement filed a warrant for federal charges 1326 (a)(b)2-Illegal re-entry following deportation.   If convicted of the state charges Linares faces multiple life sentences. The maximum statue penalty for the federal charges is 20 years.

Linares is Hispanic, brown hair, brown eyes, 5’ 5”, 130 pounds, 32 years of age.  Linares listed his address as transient but might frequent the area of the crime. His photograph is being withheld due to the possibility of other victims or witnesses who might have had prior cases involving Linares. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Teresa Curtis or Lieutenant Felicia Hall, Robbery-Homicide Division, at 213.485.2921. On weekends or during off-hours call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).

The community is reminded to keep their windows and doors secure while sleeping and to notify the police if anyone is seen lurking around their neighbor’s property.


Police Bust Cockfighting Breeding Location

 Los Angeles: Authorities from the Los Angeles Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACTF) has shut down what they say was a breeding ground for suspected cockfighting in South Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, June 24, 2008, a search warrant was executed in the 10300 Block of Croesus Avenue after detectives developed leads that a cockfighting business might be operating there.  Police found 135 roosters on the premises.  They also confiscated spurs, boxing muffs, and stimulants to make the roosters fight longer, along with other cockfighting paraphernalia.

The suspect will face numerous misdemeanor charges related to cockfighting.

According to investigators, the constant noise and smell of the roosters also adversely impacts the neighborhoods where these enterprises operate and provides opportunities for associated crimes. Cockfighting is illegal in all states.  Being cruel to animals are precursors to other violent behaviors and crimes.

The ACTF is made up of Los Angeles police officers and detectives, animal control officers from the Department of Animal Services, attorneys from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s and Deputy District Attorney’s Offices that investigate and prosecute animal cruelty cases.

Anyone with information regarding this incident, any animal blood sport or animal cruelty case should report it to the ACTF at 213-847-1417. On weekends and after hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).


Tagger Confrontation Leads to Attempt Murder Shooting

Los Angeles:  A tagger caught vandalizing a wall, shot and seriously injured a man who tried to intervene.

On Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at around 1:00 p.m., a 51-year-old business owner and his brother confronted two suspects he had just watched spray graffiti on a wall of his business in the 5000 block of Hollywood Boulevard.  When a verbal confrontation began between the men, one of the two suspects pulled out a handgun and shot the victim once in the chest.

After the shooting the suspects, described as White men, 16-20 years of age, got into a tan 1999 Toyota Camry and sped away from the location. Detectives are following up on several leads, one of which led to the service of a search warrant at a home in the 10100 block of Tujunga Canyon Boulevard in Tujunga.  The detectives continue to actively investigate these leads, as the suspects are still outstanding.

The victim was taken to a local hospital where he remains in critical, but stable condition.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call Robbery Homicide Division Detectives Michael Oppelt or Ismael Aldaz at 213-485-2531.  On weekends and during off hours call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).

UPDATE:

Los Angeles: Follow-up investigation by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) homicide detectives have identified the armed suspect who shot the business owner in the incident described below as 18-year-old Arvin Ghazalian, a resident of Tujunga and gang member.

Suspect_ghazalian The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has filed a felony warrant for Ghazalian, alleging one count of attempted murder. So far, efforts to apprehend the suspect have been unsuccessful, and LAPD detectives are seeking the public’s help in locating him with the release of his photo. Photo of suspect is attached.

The victim is now recuperating at home.

The public is advised that suspect Ghazalian is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with any information regarding his whereabouts is asked to call LAPD Robbery-Homicide Detectives Mike Oppelt or Al Aldaz at 213-485-2531. On weekends and after-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).


COMPSTAT Citywide Profile

Crime Statistics June 21, 2008

VIOLENT CRIMES                2008**            2007**       % Chg

Homicide                             195                 177           +10.2%
Rape                                    362                 401            -9.7%
Robbery                              5890               6377            -7.6%
Agg Assaults **                    5703               5981            -4.6%
Total Violent Crimes       12,150           12,936           -6.1%

PROPERTY CRIMES

Burglary                              8856               9261            -4.4%
BTFV                                 13899             14954            -7.1%
Personal/Other Theft         12167             13011            -6.5%
Auto Theft                         10341             11234           -7.9%
Total Property Crimes    45,263           48,460           -6.6%
Total Part I Crimes         57,413           61,396           -6.5%


NOTES FOR THE JUNE 24, 2008 POLICE COMMISSION WEEKLY MEETING

  • Police Commission President Anthony Pacheco met with Deputy Mayor Jeff Carr regarding the City’s anti-gang initiatives.
  • Police Commissioner Andrea Ordin attended the promotional ceremony for Deputy Chief Sand Jo MacArthur at the Los Angeles Police Academy.  She noted the historical significance in that Deputy Chief MacArthur is the third woman to obtain the rank.
  • Police Commissioner John Mack, along with Commissioners Skobin, Saltzman and Pacheco, attended the Chief of Police’s Forum Summit.  Commissioner Mack found the discussions to be quite engaging and noted the issues raised by gang intervention workers regarding the possible use of Anger Management classes in the sentencing phase of criminal convictions.
  • Police Commissioner Alan Skobin attended the recent recruit graduation and visited the Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum where he was able to see the new Commissioner’s Room.  He also took part in the Force Option Simulator training.  Commissioner Skobin was impressed with the combination of technology with the use of the OC Spray and tasers and received an extensive debriefing.  He called it the finest training he has ever received.  He also visited the injured Valley Traffic Division motor officer in the hospital after his on-duty traffic collision.
  • Police Chief Bratton announced the Department’s budget allows for the continuance of recruit classes of 60 members a month.  He also announced the upcoming dedication of the new Valley Bureau facility and the scheduling of three meetings of clergy, put together by Assistant Chief Paysinger, to discuss gang violence. 
  • The verbal presentation and update from the Commanding Officer and Community Police Advisory Board (C-PAB) representative regarding community initiated problem solving, crime strategies, and other programs and goals within the Pacific Area was given by Captain Joseph Hiltner.  He spoke on the demographics of Pacific Community Police Station as well as the 10% reduction in Part I crime.  He mentioned Venice Beach, which lies in the parameters of the division, is the second biggest tourist attraction in Southern California next to Disneyland.  Captain Hiltner also announced the new Venice Beach ordinances are in place which will help improve the overall beach going experience.
  • The Department’s report, dated June 17, 2008, relative to Department Community Relations Efforts, was updated by Commander Kirk Albanese.  He said spoke on some of the various aspects that entail community relations including the diversity of the department reflecting that of the city, the meetings with the area Senior Lead Officers, the crime prevention pamphlets in 5 different languages and possibly more if needed, and the goal of built in training for officers. Executive Director Richard Tefank, at the request of Commission President Pacheco, asked for a Department wide report detailing the specifics of each of the 21 geographical area’s Community Relations programs and strategies.
  • The Department’s report, dated June 11, 2008, relative to the Request for Approval of Selected Vendor for Professional Moving and Relocation Services, was approved.
  • The Department’s report, dated June 11, 2008, relative to the Department and Office of the Inspector General Confidential Informant Control Package Audits, Fourth Quarter, Fiscal Year 2004/2005, Recommendation Nos. 2c, IG 04a, c,d,e AND h, AND IG 05, was received.
  • The Department’s report, dated June 12, 2008, relative to the Training Content Audit (AD No. 07-020), was approved.
  • The Department’s report, dated June 5, 2008, relative to the Department’s Response to the Complaint Investigations Audit, Fiscal Year 2007/2008, was approved.
  • The Department’s report, dated June 10, 2008, relative to the Transmittal of the Grant Application for the 2008-2009 Forensic Casework DNA Backlog Reduction Program, was approved.
  • The Department’s report, dated June 13, 2008, relative to the Audit Recommendation Status Report, Fourth Quarter, 2007/2008, was received.
  • The Department’s report, dated May 30, 2008, relative to the Gang Enforcement Detail Selection Criteria Audit, dated June 29, 2006, Recommendation Nos. 2 and 4, was received.
  • The Department’s report, dated June 13, 2008, relative to the Rampart Area Gang Enforcement Detail Command Accountability Performance Audit (AD No. 07-097), was approved.
  • The Department’s report, dated June 17, 2008, relative to the Southwest Area Gang Enforcement Detail Command Accountability Performance Audit (AD No. 07-098), was approved.
  • The Department’s report, dated June 13, 2008, relative to the Wilshire Area Gang Enforcement Detail Command Accountability Performance Audit (AD No. 07-099), was approved.

Dog Attacks Man

Los Angeles: A vicious dog attacked and injured a citizen.

On Friday, June 13, 2008 at around 6:30 p.m., 77th Division officers responded to a radio call of citizens being attacked by a dog. Once at the scene, the officers saw a dog attacking a man. The dog was wildly charging at the man. In an attempt to stop the dog’s attack, Officer Jeffrey Pelczar, 7 years with the Department, shot at the dog.

The victim received injuries to the face, both arms and his left leg and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The dog died at scene.

77th Division is handling the investigation.


Takeover Robbery in Fashion District, Caught on Tape

Los Angeles. Los Angeles detectives are asking the public’s help in identifying three armed robbers who took over an apparel store in the Fashion District on June 12, 2008. Store surveillance cameras captured the crime on tape.

Click here to view

“We think anyone who’s familiar with any of these suspects will recognize them from the video,” said Lieutenant Paul Vernon, head of detectives for the Central Police Station. “We only need one person to identify one suspect, even anonymously, and the detectives can do the rest.”

The robbery occurred at 4:50 in the afternoon at the T-Town shirt store, which sells sweat shirts in the Fashion District. Three Black men came into the shop and cased it for several minutes before the robbery. One suspect leaves momentarily then returns and shuts the door to the store as the robbery goes down. His heavy-set partner brandishes a revolver at one woman while another suspect grabs a second woman, scaring her so badly she collapses. The suspect may have used his cell phone to feign a stun gun.

“The suspects used the duct tape from the store to bind the victims while they searched for cash,” Vernon said. “Thankfully, such takeover robberies are infrequent, but brazen crooks like these need to be captured quickly before they hurt someone. We’ve issued a crime alert to warn other businesses.”

The heavy-set suspect was between 30 and 35 years old. He weighed nearly 300 pounds. The suspect in the black shirt was about the same age, and he had several distinctive moles on the left side of his neck. The suspect seen on the cell phone was younger, between 17 and 25 years old, and he wore distinctive shorts with broad white stripes. This suspect had also cased the store earlier, around 12:00 PM.

The victims, two Korean women and a Hispanic man, were not seriously injured during the robbery. The store is located at 1349 South Main Street. The suspects made off with several thousand dollars in cash and a case of shirts.

Other witnesses described a brown Honda Accord or Civic leaving the area with three Black men shortly after the robbery. The car may be related to the robbery.

This is the second takeover robbery in the Fashion District this year. The prior one occurred on
April 17, 2008, on Los Angeles Street. The suspects in that case were Hispanic men, and detectives do not think the crimes are related.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD’s Central Robbery Unit at 213-972-1246. Persons can also call the 24-hour hotline number, 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855)


Murder on Skid Row

 Los Angeles. Los Angeles detectives are asking the public’s help in providing any information about an argument that led to the death of 60-year-old Samuel Beckner. The Skid Row resident died at the USC Los Angeles County Medical Center June 19, 2008, after three days of unconsciousness.

According to witnesses, Beckner argued with a younger Black man outside a homeless shelter in the 500 block of San Julian Street. That unidentified man punched Beckner in the face. When Beckner fell, his head struck the pavement causing a massive concussion.

“Mr. Beckner’s family was at his bedside when life support ended,” said Lieutenant Paul Vernon, head of the Central Detective Division. “Understandably, they are very upset and they want the person who assaulted their father arrested.”

The argument and assault occurred in full view of dozens of people outside the homeless shelter around 11 a.m. on June 16. The suspect’s actions and Beckner’s death make the crime a homicide. Part of the argument was caught on surveillance tape, but the suspect’s face was out of the frame.

“We clear a lot of crimes downtown thanks to local residents stepping up with information,” Vernon said. “We hope someone will come forward in this case. We just need a small lead to point us to a suspect.”

Beckner’s death is the fourth homicide to occur within Skid Row since the Safer Cities Initiative began, September 2006. The last Skid Row murder occurred September 4, 2007, when a passerby found Michael Bell, 47, stabbed on a sidewalk. Detectives eventually arrested a local woman for the crime. Of the prior three murders, two were stabbings and one was related to child neglect. All three occurred between August and September 2007.

Since the Safer Cities Initiative began violent crime in Skid Row is down over 40 percent.

Anyone with information is asked to call Central Area Detectives at 213-972-1203 during normal business hours. After hours and on weekends, phone the 24-hour toll-free Detective Information
Desk at 1-877-ASK-LAPD (529-3855).



LAPD Commanding Officer Sandy Jo MacArthur Promotes to Deputy Chief

Los Angeles: City officials joined family, friends and coworkers in a promotional ceremony today for Sandy Jo MacArthur of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) as she was officially promoted from Commander, Commanding Officer of Training Group to Deputy Chief of Incident Management and Training. Guests at the Elysian Park ceremony included Third District Los Angeles City Councilmember Dennis Zine, Los Angeles Police Commissioners Andrea Ordin and Robert M. Saltzman, and LAPD Chief William Bratton.

MacArthur was appointed to the Department in February 1980. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in behavioral science, negotiations and conflict management. She spent ten years in patrol assignments before promoting to sergeant in 1990. During her patrol tours she worked a variety of LAPD divisions, including Van Nuys, 77th, Foothill and Southwest. Her assignments included patrol, vice and narcotics. In 1993 she left patrol to become the Officer in Charge of the Human Relations Unit at Training Division and in  1998 was assigned to the Ombuds Office as an Assistant Ombuds Officer and Mediator. She promoted to lieutenant in 2001 and worked several assignments, including watch commander and as the adjutant to the Chief of Police. She also worked in the Public Information Office and Training Division.

MacArthur was promoted to captain in April 2005. After briefly working directly for Chief William Bratton, she was assigned as the Commanding Officer of Civil Rights Integrity Division. In December 2006 she was promoted to the rank of Commander and assigned as the Commanding Officer of Training Group.

In the Department’s Training Division, MacArthur developed expertise in the areas of domestic violence, discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, diversity, hate crimes, use of force and conflict management. She is also a recognized professional in training development and delivery, having served on many California Peace Officer Standards and Training committees to develop statewide standards for training law enforcement personnel. In addition, she conducts workshops for the Department and in the community on the topics of leadership, domestic violence, discrimination, and retaliation.

MacArthur has been married to LAPD Lieutenant Nick MacArthur for 23 years, and they have two adult children, Cody and Hayley Jo.