« June 2008 | Main | August 2008 »

Sexual Predator Sought By Detectives

Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police detectives are investigating the sexual assault of a 12-year-old child. 

LAPD Newton Detectives are searching for 21-year-old Juan Carlos Montalvo  (aka Elmer Piedrahita) in connection with the sexual assault of his 12-year-old cousin.  Montalvo, who was living with the victim at the time, had sexual intercourse with the victim on multiple occasions.  When the victim’s parents discovered the relationship, Montalvo left the house but has maintained contact with the victim.

Montalvo is Hispanic, 5 feet tall and weighs 150 pounds.  He is known to hang out in the area of Manchester Boulevard and San Pedro Street. Investigators believe that Montalvo may attempt to kidnap the victim and flee to Mexico with her.             

Investigators are asking the public’s assistance in locating the suspect as they consider him a continued threat to the victim and the community. 

Anyone with information on Montalvo’s whereabouts is urged to contact Newton Detectives Miriam Ramirez or Michael Fukuda at (323) 846-6576 during business hours.  On weekends and off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).


Los Angeles Police Detectives Arrest 13-Year Old Murder Suspect

Los Angeles:  Thanks to the hard work of Los Angeles Police Department Detectives, numerous tips from a caring community and extensive media coverage, the LAPD was able to identify and arrest a 13-year old for the murder of 8-year old Jasmine Sanders

On Wednesday evening, July 25th, 2008, a group of neighbors were gathered in the court yard of an apartment building, located at 249 East 76th Street.  At about 8:40 PM, two male Black suspects walked up to the group, from a nearby alley.  One of the suspects was armed and raised the weapon and fired in the direction of the group.  Jasmine Sanders, an eight year-old resident of the complex, was hit in the chest by a bullet as she sat on an exterior stairwell.  The suspects immediately ran back through the same alley they came from.  Jasmine was rushed to UCLA Harbor General Hospital, but she died shortly after 9:00 PM that evening.

Robbery-Homicide Division, Homicide Special Section, assumed investigative responsibility for the case.  Follow-up investigation, along with information provided by members of the community, led to the identification of the suspected shooter.  In cases like this one, detectives can only hope for assistance from the media and the community to help solve crimes, and that’s what happened in this case.  People were willing to become involved and it led to an arrest.   

The suspect, who will not be identified because of his age, is a thirteen year-old gang associate and a resident of Los Angeles.  Additionally, it was revealed the suspect is actually a cousin of the victim.  The crime appeared to be a gang-motivated retaliation stemming from an assault earlier on the day of the murder. 

The suspect was surrendered to the Probation Department on Friday, July 25th , by his guardian, and he was detained pending a hearing regarding a violation of his probation conditions.  The assigned investigators re-arrested the minor for the murder of Jasmine Sanders on July 28th, 2008, inside Inglewood Juvenile Court.  He was then detained at Eastlake Juvenile Hall. 

On Tuesday, July 29th , 2008, the case was presented to the District Attorney’s Office, Compton Juvenile Division, for filing consideration.  Following their review, one count of murder, and one count of attempt murder relative to the intended victim, was alleged in the felony complaint. 

Even though a suspect has been charged with the murder of this innocent girl, the investigation is still continuing.  Detectives are still attempting to identify and locate a second suspect, as well as additional potential witnesses.

Anyone with any information regarding the incident is asked to call Robbery-Homicide Division, Detectives Mike Oppelt or Al Aldaz, at 213-485-2531, or 1-877- LAWFULL.


Off-Duty LAPD Police Officer Involved in Long Beach Police Shooting

An officer involved shooting occurred in the 200 block of Mira Mar Avenue in the City of Long Beach on July 30, 2008 at 12:30 a.m. 

The suspect involved in this incident has been identified as 26-year old Jason Geggie, an off-duty Los Angeles Police Officer.  Geggie has been with the Department for one and a half years and is currently assigned to Central Traffic Division.

The Long Beach Police Department is handling both the criminal and officer involved shooting investigation and all calls will be referred to the Long Beach Police PIO at 562-570-5273.  The Los Angeles Police Department’s Internal Affairs Group has initiated its own personnel investigation.


LAPD Detectives Investigate Century City Homicide

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Police is investigating a stabbing death of a woman.

On July 28, 2008, at 6:30 p.m., patrol officers assigned to the West Los Angeles Area received a radio call of an assault with a deadly weapon that just occurred at 1875 Century Park East.

When the officers arrived they were directed to the third level of the parking structure.   They discovered a woman, 45-years old, suffering from several stab wounds.  The victim was transported by rescue ambulance to a local hospital where she failed to respond to treatment and was pronounced dead.

The victim has been identified as Pamela Goudie Fayed.  Fayed is a resident of Ventura County and was not employed at any local establishments in the area.

Witnesses reported seeing a slender male, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, leaving the scene in a red Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).

West Los Angeles Area Homicide Detectives are investigating this case.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD’s West Los Angeles Homicide, Detective M. Pelletier, at 310-444-1520.  Persons can also call the 24-hour hotline number, 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).


Anita Ortega's drive at UCLA pays off for LAPD

Anita Ortega, who led UCLA in scoring in its 1978 national women’s basketball championship victory, is a captain in the LAPD. She says her experiences in athletics helped smooth her transition to police work.
Ortega, who led UCLA's scoring in the 1978 women's basketball national championship game, is now an LAPD captain. She says sports helped prepare her for police work.

Invaluable lessons can be learned on a basketball court.

40535337So says LAPD Capt. Anita Ortega, a national championship-winning former UCLA point guard who believes that it was through basketball that she developed the leadership skills and self-assuredness needed to command the largest division in the nation's third-largest city police force.

"Athletics in general prepared me for this," Ortega, 50, says during an interview in her downtown office, an inviting space decorated with framed jerseys and trophies. "I didn't have many problems getting acclimated to law enforcement."

Women from backgrounds other than sports, the trailblazing Ortega says, sometimes struggle with the job's corporeal and emotional demands.

"What athletics did for me, it prepared me physically, because where I grew up, I played a lot of basketball with guys," she says. "It taught me about teamwork, confidence and all those things you need to be a police officer. All those things you see in athletics are very closely related to law enforcement."

Ortega oversees nearly 600 sworn and civilian employees as commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's communications division, a lofty position that surely must have seemed well beyond the reach of a young girl from South Los Angeles.

The oldest of three children born to a Puerto Rican father and African American mother, Ortega says she grew up in trying circumstances near USC. Her family, including a brother and sister, lived in a two-bedroom apartment, Ortega says, and never owned a car, went out to dinner or took a vacation.

Sports provided an outlet -- though, as Ortega notes, "Where I grew up, we didn't have tennis courts, swimming pools or golf courses."

Instead, she found basketball at Toberman Park, playing with a group of guys that gave her a chance and, she says, still holds a special place in her heart. "Why I gave it a shot," she says of the game that changed her life, "I don't know."

Whatever the reason, she excelled at it, helping Los Angeles High reach the City final in 1975 before walking on at UCLA, where a year earlier Ann Meyers had become the first Bruins woman awarded a basketball scholarship.

Ortega was a four-year starter for the Bruins, who won a national title in her junior year and also reached the Final Four when she was a senior. In the 1978 victory over Maryland at Pauley Pavilion that gave UCLA the Assn. for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women championship, Ortega was the Bruins' leading scorer.

"She played a big role in the success of that team, and she embraced it," says former coach Billie Moore, whose arrival at UCLA in 1977 set the stage for the championship season. "When the pressure's highest, she's at her best."

Ortega's boss, Tim Riley, echoes Moore's comments.

Says Riley, the LAPD's information technology director, "She's got a low-key approach to things, and in communications, where it's 9-1-1 calls and radio calls and one call could be about a barking dog and the next about a person whose life is in jeopardy, her approach has a very calming effect."

Give credit, Ortega says, to her playground roots.

"Even when things appear to be chaotic," she says, "I stay calm and collected. That's the best way to de-escalate most situations."

Though her 17-year-old daughter, Mia, is a sprinter and aspiring singer, Ortega has never strayed far from basketball. She was an all-star in a fledgling women's professional league for a short time after leaving UCLA, later returning to assist Moore for two seasons and played in adult leagues for years.

Moore says her former point guard had the potential to be a great coach, but Ortega left coaching to join the LAPD in 1984, realizing a long-standing dream of a career in law enforcement and believing that police work would provide the same sense of fulfillment she'd experienced in basketball.

"It was very comparable," she says. "You were challenged, it was exciting. I didn't know what was going to happen from day to day."

She rose though the ranks, making captain in 2002.

Along the way, at the suggestion of a detective friend, she also took up officiating and, not surprisingly, quickly climbed the ladder there too.

"I thought it would be a hobby and I'd work with high school kids," Ortega says, "but before I knew it, I was working college games."

That led to NCAA tournament assignments, but as Ortega kept advancing within the LAPD hierarchy, her free time grew more limited. It's too bad, she says, because she enjoys keeping a hand in the game. Officiating, Ortega says, is a lot like police work.

"You have to be able to control an environment," she says. "You have to be able to maintain a demeanor and confidence about yourself. If officials aren't skilled in those areas, the game could really be a disaster, so this job does translate."

Jerry Crowei /Los Angeles Times jerome.crowe@latimes.com


LAPD Sergeant Returns from Two Tours in Iraq Chief Bratton Welcomes Sergeant Back to Resume Police Duties

Los Angeles: Today, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief William Bratton held a special "meet and greet" to welcome back Sergeant Jose Melendez to the Department after serving two military active-duty tours in Iraq.

Before joining the LAPD in 2002, Melendez joined the California National Guard in 1999. His first tour of duty in Iraq was from November 2004 to December 2005. It was during this period that he had his most gratifying experiences. "My most rewarding experience was training younger American and Iraqi soldiers to be the best leaders," he said, "so that when I left, they would be the experienced ones…and the cycle would continue."

Melendez' second tour of duty in Iraq lasted from March 2007 through May of this year, and he has no regrets about his time in military service. "I serve because I have pride in my country, confidence in my government and faith in my fellow soldiers to bring me home safely," he said. He also believes in the importance of helping the Iraqi people to ensure their safety and promote economic growth by creating a stable, democratic society.

Melendez is a native Californian from Burbank who now resides in Riverside County. Coming back to the Department, he looks forward to resuming his duties at the Van Nuys Division. "Most of all, I'm glad to be back home with the family and friends who endured the hardship of my absence," he said. "And it's really great to come back to the LAPD."


LAPD Detectives Investigate South LA Murder/Suicide

Los Angeles:   Los Angeles Police Department detectives are investigating a murder/suicide that occurred in South Los Angeles.

On Sunday, July 27, 2008, at about 10:25 a.m., a man called 9-1-1 to report that he had killed his girlfriend  in the 300 block of East Century Boulevard. 

Officers from Southeast Area responded to a converted garage in the back of the location where they found Jacqueline Contreras, 20, on a bed with several stab wounds.  The suspect, a 29-year-old male Hispanic was found hanging in the same room. The victim’s 4-year-old, and 18-month-old, were also found inside the converted garage and taken into protective custody.

Homicide detectives are investigating the incident, but have not determined the motive.  The name of the suspect is being withheld until his family has been notified. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident can contact South Bureau Homicide Detectives Kerri Potter or Mike Owens at 213-485-1383. After hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).  For more information, please call Media Relations Section at 213-485-3586.


Large seizure of counterfeit sunglasses recovered

July 25, 2008 – The Los Angeles Police Department’s Anti-Piracy unit handles investigations involving the enforcement of middle to high level organized manufacturing and distribution rings of counterfeit DVD and CD’s.  Their responsibilities also include the enforcement of intellectual property crimes at retail/wholesale locations that are involved in the sale of counterfeit items including jewelry, purses, clothing, sunglasses and shoes.  The Anti-Piracy Unit is one of the few units in law enforcement that investigates illegal piracy on a full time basis.

The Anti-Piracy unit consists of five detectives and one police officer and is tasked with investigating Piracy/Intellectual property crimes throughout the City of Los Angeles.  The Department’s Area vice units focus on street level vendors and distributors.  Moreover, the Piracy Unit generates, develops and actively investigates their individual cases.  The unit works hand and hand with members and consultants (private investigators) from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). 

Personnel from each organization are actively involved in the enforcement and seizure of counterfeit materials related to their respective companies.  Each has their own hotline/set-up on their respective web sites that will pay for information on counterfeit suspects and/or locations.  On most occasions, the MPAA or RIAA (whether DVDs or CDs) will hire private investigators to examine the work product from these locations or suspects.  Their inspection will normally include surveillance and the purchasing of counterfeit goods from the intended suspect(s).   Once they have developed the preliminary case, they will present the case to the Anti-Piracy Unit.  Portions of the case will be corroborated and a search warrant if acceptable will be written.

On July 16, 2008, Detectives from the Anti-Piracy unit served a search warrant at a retail store in the Garment district in downtown Los Angeles (Central Area).  Undercover investigations and surveillance operations determined that the retail business was heavily involved in the sales of counterfeit sunglasses (Coach, Louis Vuitton).  During the service of the warrant, an employee of the wholesale distributer of the sunglasses was dropping off an order to the retail business.  Further investigation revealed that the employee of the wholesale distributor had several boxes of counterfeit sunglasses in his company vehicle.  Those items were seized.  A follow-up investigation to the wholesale distributor’s warehouse revealed several more thousands of counterfeit sunglasses.  A total of nearly 43,000 counterfeit sunglasses were recovered for a fair market value of $8.5 million dollars.   


Now that I am a Los Angeles Police Officer...

 Now that I am a Los Angeles Police Officer, I feel I have a huge responsibility to the community. I want to work with the public to help educate them against crime so that they will not become victims. Going to neighborhood watch meetings is a good way for me to do that. I’ll tell people to be aware of what is going on in their neighborhood and to try to get to know their neighbors so they’ll know when the wrong kind of people are hanging around that could cause a crime, and to watch for any suspicious activity.

When I am out on patrol and I see some young kids hanging around doing nothing, I will stop and talk to them. I’ll try to find out why they’re not involved in some after school program or some sort of sport. I will let them know that there are a lot of programs available for them at local parks also where are their parents. Maybe I could talk to them and let them know about these programs. I’ll tell them that when they’re just hanging out they will be easy prey for gang members that try to get young kids involved with them. They might offer money or just a close friendship so they get the feeling of belonging. They might try to convince them to draw on private property (tagging) because it’s cool. This is how gang members get kids involved. I will tell them that when they do something wrong and break the law that they will get caught, maybe not today or tomorrow but eventually they will and then they will go to jail for a long time.

I will also put some hidden cameras in places to try to catch drug dealers and taggers. I feel that if we can keep kids from getting involved in gangs that it would be a start at eliminating the gangs altogether.

I will be a positive role model for youth and the public.


2008 LAPD Essay Contest Winners

In its fifth year, the LAPD Essay Contest was a huge success with hundreds of middle school students participating from the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles schools. Each of the 10 winning essays will be featured on the Department’s web site, one each week for the next ten weeks. Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks to our sponsors.

In 350 words or less, students were asked to answer, “If you were a Los Angeles Police Department officer for a day, what would you do that would have the greatest impact on the community?”

If you are interested in participating in the 2009 LAPD Essay Contest, please refer to our website, www.LAPDOnline.org in January 2009 for further information. The 2009 LAPD Essay Contest will open in February for four weeks.

The men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department salute the ten LAPD Essay Contest winners and congratulate the parents, family, and teachers of each winner who share in their joy. The Department extends a sincere thank you to our partners and sponsors, without whom this essay contest would not be possible.

2008 LAPD Essay Contest Partner: Univision KMEX 34 Los Angeles

Sponsors:
Safe Moves
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Polaroid Corporation
Universal Studios Hollywood
Aquarium of the Pacific
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Speedzone
Boomers Park
Los Angeles Dodgers


LAPD Hollenbeck Community Police Advisory Board Donates Money to Fire Victims

Los Angeles: On July 25, 2008, at 7:30 in the morning, the Rodriguez family was sleeping on the second floor in their apartment located at 636 North Cumming Street.  A fire broke out in the laundry and kitchen area but with an alert from a friend, all family members were able to evacuate from their apartment. 

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel responded and extinguished the fire. 

Although no family members were injured, the family suffered the loss of their personal items and food.  In addition, Father Juan Rodriguez had paid the rent and did not have money to help recover any losses or support the family during this tragedy.  In the apartment at the time, there were father Juan Rodriguez and his three sons, ages 23, 21 and 6 years old.   

Captain Blake Chow, Commanding Officer of the Hollenbeck Area, was notified.  Captain Chow responded to the fire ravaged home along with Mr. Sal Martinez from the Hollenbeck Area Community Police Advisory Board.  Mr. Martinez stated that he would like to support the family and made a donation of $300 toward food, clothes, etc.  The Hollenbeck Area personnel will be following up with the Rodriguez family to ensure that they will be assisted with housing and assist recovering their losses.

The Hollenbeck Community Police Advisory Board is a group made up of community members from Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Lincoln Heights that operates under the direction of LAPD Hollenbeck Area.  This group is an important and vital link between the police and the community. This gift shows how much LAPD Hollenbeck Area and the Hollenbeck Community Police Advisory Board care about the residents. 

For more information contact Captain Blake Chow’s office at 323-266-1318.  Anyone who wishes to help the Rodriguez family is asked to contact Hollenbeck Area Community Police Station at 213-972-2971.