Author: Cindy Von Quednow

2 arrested after guns, drugs and replica law enforcement badges found in Hesperia motel room

Two men were arrested this week after guns, drugs and replica law enforcement badges were found in a Hesperia motel room, San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials said Thursday.

Items discovered during a search of a Hesperia motel room are shown in a photo released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on Sept. 16, 2021.
Items discovered during a search of a Hesperia motel room are shown in a photo released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on Sept. 16, 2021.

A search warrant was served at the motel along the 14300 block of Main Street Tuesday, and investigators found multiple police-style vests, various replica law enforcement badges, a 9 mm pistol, an AR-15-style rifle, methamphetamine and marijuana, officials said in a news release.

The occupants, identified as 34-year-old Bobby Bohannon and 19-year-old Kayden Cotter, both of Hesperia, were contacted during a traffic stop.

Authorities said Bohannon's truck was equipped with an audible siren and law enforcement-style, forward-facing lights.

The men were arrested and booked on suspicion of possession of controlled substances while armed, felon in possession of firearm, manufacturing large-capacity magazine and possession of marijuana for sale.

Authorities did not release any additional information about the investigation or what led them to the suspects.

The suspect's truck, equipped with law enforcement-style, forward-facing lights, is shown in a photo released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on Sept. 16, 2021.
The suspect's truck, equipped with law enforcement-style, forward-facing lights, is shown in a photo released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on Sept. 16, 2021.

The case was turned over to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office for review and consideration for additional charges, officials said.

“Investigators believe Bohannon and Cotter could be involved in recent home invasion robberies and may have been impersonating a deputy,” the news release stated.

Anyone who may have been stopped by Bohannon or Cotter, or has additional information on the case, can call Deputy J. Zeman with the Sheriff’s Department gangs/narcotics division at 909-380-8400. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call the We-Tip hotline at 1-800-782-7463, or leave the information on the We-Tip website at www.wetip.com.

Man fatally stabbed while trying to intervene in dispute at Brentwood-area homeless encampment; 1 detained

A man who tried to intervene in a dispute at a homeless encampment in the Brentwood area Wednesday morning was fatally stabbed, and a suspect has been detained, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said.

The incident was reported about 6:40 a.m. in the 11600 block of San Vicente Boulevard. The area is right at the border of Sawtelle and Santa Monica.

Responding deputies found the victim with a stab wound to the torso. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said. He has not been identified.

A preliminary investigation indicated the assailant was involved in a dispute with his girlfriend when the victim intervened and was stabbed, officials said in an updated news release.

The unidentified suspect was detained at the scene and taken to a hospital for a medical clearance for booking.

No weapon has been recovered from the scene and the woman involved in the initial dispute was not injured, authorities said.

"The incident solely involves the transient population surrounding the location," the Sheriff's Department said in the news release.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said the stabbing took place at the Veteran's Row homeless encampment.

During a news conference near the scene Wednesday, the mayoral candidate called for the closure of the homeless encampment.

“It is time for there to be action, it is time for this encampment to end, for its residents to be housed, for the sidewalk to be cleared,” Feuer said. "No one should live this way particularly when just on the other side of the fence there is shelter."

He indicated there had been another stabbing at the encampment six months ago and he called the area "dangerous."

No further details about the incident have been released, and anyone with additional information can call the Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

Man arrested in fatal stabbing of woman found dead in Sylmar home by her family

A 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing of a woman found in her Sylmar home last week, officials said Tuesday.

Virginia Cantero, 36, was found dead in the home along the 14500 block of Lyle Street about 11:30 p.m. Sept. 7, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The victim’s husband and daughters had been in Mexico and found her when they returned, family members previously told KTLA.

Detectives determined the she was “the victim of a violent homicide,” and Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner records indicate Cantero, who also went by the last name Luna, was stabbed in the neck.

Investigators believed Cantero had been dead for “at least several days,” an LAPD official said.

On Saturday, Alejandro Balsells was arrested by Santa Monica police. He was booked on suspiciopn of homicide and his bail was set at $2 million, police said.

Relatives said the victim and her husband were separated and her death could be connected to a domestic incident, possibly involving the victim's boyfriend.

Police, however, did not comment on the relationship between the victim and the suspect, nor did they provide any information about a motive.

No further details about the homicide or the arrest have been released.

Oceanside man who was ‘on patrol’ arrested near DNC headquarters in D.C. after machete, bayonet found in truck: Capitol Police

An Oceanside man who had machete and a bayonet in his vehicle near the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. was arrested early Monday, officials said.

The incident occurred just after midnight when a U.S. Capitol police officer was patrolling in the area and spotted a Dodge Dakota pickup with a “swastika and other white supremacist symbols painted on it,” according to a news release.

The truck did not have a license plate, but instead had a picture of an American flag where the plate should have been.

The officer then pulled over the truck along the 500 block of South Capitol Street, SW.

That’s when the officer noticed a bayonet and machete, which are illegal in D.C., inside the truck, police said.

Photos released by Capitol police showed the front of the truck’s grill was adorned with antlers and “confederate” was written inside. 

The driver, 44-year-old Donald Craighead, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of possessing prohibited weapons.

“Craighead said he was ‘on patrol’ and began talking about white supremacist ideology and other rhetoric pertaining to white supremacy,” the news release stated.

Officials indicated that it was unclear whether Craighead was planning to attend any demonstrations, or if he has ties to any previous protests in the area. However, the arrest came days before a planned rally at the Capitol scheduled for Saturday.

The anticipated crowd size and the intensity of the Saturday rally are unclear, but law enforcement appears to be taking no chances. Security fencing has been requested around the Capitol and reinforcements are being summoned to back up the Capitol Police, whose leadership was criticized and summarily dismissed for its handling of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Congressional leaders were being briefed on the preparations Monday morning.

While authorities have been bracing for a repeat appearance by right-wing extremist groups and other Trump loyalists who mobbed the Capitol, it’s unclear if those actors will participate in the new event. The extremist groups are concerning because, while members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers made up a small portion of the Jan. 6 rioters, they are accused of some of the more serious crimes in the attack.

Whether those groups participate or not, the rally could bring lone actors to Washington.

No other details were released about Monday's incident and the matter remains under investigation, police said.

Man arrested in series of sexual assaults in San Jacinto

A Hemet man who was wanted in a series of sexual assaults on women who were out for morning walks has been arrested, Riverside County Sheriffs Department officials said Friday.

Luis Perales, 23, was identified as the suspect in the crimes and was arrested at his place of employment.

He allegedly is responsible for a series of sexual assaults dating back to March. In each of the incidents, the victim was walking on a path that travels east and west on Esplanade Avenue between Villines and Arroyo Viejo, police said.

The assailant sexually assaulted the victims while they were on their morning walks. After each of the assaults, the man would run into a neighborhood south of Esplanade Avenue, police said.

Images of the suspect were released on Sept. 2 amid the ongoing investigation.

Perales was booked on suspicion of several counts of sexual assault.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department officials on Sept. 2, 2021 released these images of a man wanted in a series of sex assaults in San Jacinto.
Riverside County Sheriff's Department officials on Sept. 2, 2021 released these images of a man wanted in a series of sex assaults in San Jacinto.

Man convicted of 2nd-degree murder in DUI crash that killed Costa Mesa fire captain

A man has been convicted of second-degree murder in a 2018 DUI crash that killed a Costa Mesa fire captain in Mission Viejo.

Costa Mesa Fire and Rescue Capt. Mike Kreza was riding a bicycle along Alicia Parkway near Via Burgos in November 2018 when he was struck by the driver of a van, later identified as Stephen Taylor Scarpa.
Kreza, who was training for an Ironman triathlon, suffered head and body trauma and died days later.

Costa Mesa Fire and Rescue Capt. Mike Kreza is seen with his family in an image posted to GoFundMe on Nov. 3, 2018.
Costa Mesa Fire and Rescue Capt. Mike Kreza is seen with his family in an image posted to GoFundMe on Nov. 3, 2018.

The 18-year veteran with the fire department was off duty at the time. He was survived by his wife and three daughters.

Scarpa remained at the scene after the crash and was evaluated for DUI.

He appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance, and officials also found multiple prescription medications inside his vehicle, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Scarpa was arrested and eventually pleaded not guilty to murder in the case.

A jury found Scarpa guilty of second-degree murder on Wednesday, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

“The victim in this case mattered. He mattered to his loved ones, his co-workers at the Costa Mesa Fire Department, the community he served, and he mattered to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office,” DA Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “No child should have to be told that their daddy isn’t coming home because of the selfish decision of someone to get behind the wheel while under the influence. This defendant was admonished about the dangers of driving under the influence and that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence. He ignored those warnings, he killed a human being, and now he’s a convicted murderer.“

LAPD arrest sex assault suspect; more victims and info sought

Los Angeles police officials are looking for additional victims of a man who was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault after learning he had traveled to other states last year.

Deontae Williams, 30, was arrested Sunday, according to the LAPD.

Williams is known to frequent several gyms, parks, beaches and malls in and around Los Angeles County. He allegedly approaches lone women, hands them business cards which portray him as a personal trainer, then engages in “inappropriate sexual conduct,” police said without elaborating.

Additionally he worked as a masseuse and security guard and traveled to several other states during the California’s COVID-19 lockdown last year, police said.

It is also unclear where Williams was arrested and how many women he allegedly victimized.

Williams is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and has black hair and brown eyes, police said.

Anyone who believes they may have been victimized by Williams or has any additional information about him is asked to call LAPD’s Topanga Division detectives at 818-756-4820.

Man sought in series of sexual assaults in San Jacinto

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department officials have released images of a man being sought in a series of sexual assaults that occurred in San Jacinto.

The man is wanted in connection to crimes that began in March along public walking paths east of Esplanade Avenue, according to a flyer released by the Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities did not elaborate on the alleged crimes or any victims involved.

He is described as being in his 30s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 250 pounds.

Anyone with information that can lead to the man’s identity can contact Investigator Martinez at 951-791-3400.

3 arrested in Ventura after stolen catalytic converters found in vehicle

Three men have been arrested in Ventura after authorities found stolen catalytic converters and tools used in the thefts during a traffic stop.

The incident occurred after detectives from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office gang unit stopped a vehicle in the city of Ventura sometime last week, according to an Instagram post from the department.

The three occupants, all residents of Los Angeles, were subsequently arrested on suspicion of narcotics possession.

During a search of the vehicle, detectives found stolen catalytic converters and tools they believe were used to commit the thefts, authorities said.

The Sheriff’s Office is working with the Ventura Police Department to find the victims and return the stolen property.

Authorities provided photos of the stolen items and the suspects, but did not release any additional information about the men or their alleged crimes.

The exhaust emission control devices are increasingly being cut from vehicles and stolen because they contain precious metals and can be scrapped for profit.

Sketch released in search of man who randomly attacked woman on Ventura bike trail

Ventura police on Friday released a composite sketch of a man believed to have randomly attacked a woman on a bike trail earlier this week.

The incident occurred about 12:20 p.m. Wednesday along a bike path near the 126 Freeway west of Kimball Park.

The woman was walking east on the path when when a man riding a bicycle passed her going in the opposite direction.

“Once he passed the victim he turned around and randomly attacked the victim,” Ventura police said in a news release.

She was pushed from behind and grabbed around the neck, Cmdr. Rick Murray told KTLA. The woman fell to the ground but was able to fend off the attack by kicking, and the man got away. The victim was not seriously injured.

The man is described as being in his 20s, with a medium build, short dark hair and a thin mustache.

Aside from the the sketch, police also released surveillance images of a man on a bike who they believe witnessed the crime. Murray said police want to talk to that man, who is being described as a person of interest.

Anyone with information about the assailant or the man in the surveillance images is asked to call Detective Nunez at 805-339-4328.