Month in Review Snapshots from last month’s most significant news and developments – August Issue 2017
Fire Permits Are Still Suspended!
The Los Angeles County Fire Department suspended burn permits and open fires because of the several fires the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas has seen within the past few weeks. Since July 1st all burn permits are suspended and no one is allowed to have open fires until further notice. This is a difficult time for the Fire Department and community support and compliance would be a huge help. The department encourages residents to keep safe and have provided some vital information in case of a fire emergency:
• Do not toss cigarettes out your car window.
• Do not pull your vehicle off the road into dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can ignite fires that cannot be seen easily by the driver.
• In wildland areas, spark arresters are required on all portable gasoline-powered equipment (e.g., tractors, chainsaws, weed-whackers, mowers, motorcycles, and all-terrain vehicles).
• Report any suspicious activity.
• Check with local officials for additional fire restrictions.
• Campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property are allowed as long as they are in a designated campfire site that prevents fire from spreading.
Robbery Suspect Still at Large!
The Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes detectives are reaching out to the community for any leads on identifying the robbery suspect that has hit several banks in and along the 101 Interstate. An older Caucasian male, probably in his mid 60s is still at large. The FBI investigation has linked this assailant to several similar robberies in Goleta and Carpinteria. The suspect robbed Chase and Wells Fargo on Lyons Ave in Newhall. The FBI’s Los Angeles office are using sophisticated procedures and technologies to track the suspects method of operation and appearance, comparing it to a national database. Investigators still do not have a moniker for this bandit and will release more information soon.
CHP in a Hot Pursuit
California Highway Patrol received a call about a disoriented woman driving a silver Volkswagen Jetta. The woman allegedly drove into a construction zone closure on the 5 Northbound, south of Highway 2 in Glendale. Eye witness testimony stated that the woman was Caucasian about five feet, five inches tall and 115 pounds. According to the CHP reports a witness attempted to get the attention of the driver but she fled the scene. Responders to the call attempted an enforcement stop but the driver continued to flee and the pursuit began. Officers used the PIT maneuver and disabled the vehicle. This maneuver involves officers making contact with the vehicle and turning it sideways making it stop abruptly. The woman has not been identified as of yet pending her evaluation and release from the hospital.
LASD Seeks Information on a Canyon Country Homicide
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Detectives responded to Abelia Road around the 29200 block where a young Hispanic male adult was found dead at the scene. At this time there is no more information and the investigation is on-going. The male has not yet been Identified and is seeking help from the community. If anyone has any information they are encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. If the person prefers to remain anonymous, please call “Crime Stoppers” at (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or download the “P3 Tips” mobile app. For hearing impaired the “P3 Mobile” app is available.
Stabbing Death at Piru Creek Campground
Detectives are investigating a homicide at Pyramid Lake. A man was found stabbed to death near the campground. Investigators are seeking any information to help identify the victim and details regarding the murder. “We’re looking for anyone who may have been spending the weekend up there and may know something,” said Detective O’Brien of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Division. The victim was found in a car and is said to be Hispanic and in his 30s. Detectives are putting together a sketch of the possible suspect and will release to the public very soon. If you have any information about this incident and would like to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP, or “P3 Mobile” for the hearing impaired, on Google play or the App Store.
Lancaster Man Charged with Starting the Towsley Fire
A 20year-old man from Lancaster was apprehended for causing the Towsley brush fire. The brush fire took place on the 23900 block of the Old Road in Newhall. The sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department Responded evacuating the U.S Post Office, a paintball park facility and a church. The press release from the local Sheriff’s Station reported that eye witnesses stated they saw a young man setting of a smoke canister during a paintball event. The canister started a brush fire that became uncontrollable. Based on eye witness testimony a young man, Zachary Garcia, was arrested for questioning. Garcia was charged with (accidental) recklessly causing a fire.
Man Accused for Child Porn, Pleads Not Guilty
Austen Timothy Calams, 35 year-old, Valencia Resident plead not guilty at his arraignment. Calams was charged with using online social media platforms to receive and distribute child pornography, including sexually explicit images with children and animals. “This is a next-level case, it’s about as sick as it gets,” said Lt. Kent Wegener, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The suspect surrendered himself to authorities after a warrant was placed for his arrest at his Valencia Home which is one block from Rio Norte High School. At Calams’ home detectives found over 500 sexually explicit photos and videos. The Sheriff’s Department received a tip from Skype stating that suspected child porn had been uploaded to the site. “The tip was sent from Skype to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” said Lt. Wegener. “Based off the IP location, the National Center passed the tip onto us.” At this time Calams has been released on a $80,000 bail and is to appear in court soon.
State Transportation Receives Multi $Million Funds
The California Transportation Commission is pushing to rebuild and maintain California’s Infrastructure. $593 million has been allocated to help this cause. The funds will be distributed to 124 transportation projects to include: traffic delays, repair aging roads and bridges while encouraging bicycling and walking. “These projects will help us maintain and modernize California’s transportation system,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.
Two Arrested for Starting a Fire with Illegal Fireworks
Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Santa Clarita Valley’s Sheriff’s Department responded to a brush fire. The incident occurred off Halsey Canyon and De Valle Road in Val Verde at 12:10 am on Sunday July 9. Two 19 year-old men used illegal fireworks that sparked a blaze. Firefighters reported that upon arrival an entire hill was ablaze and a gas line had exploded as well. The fire is reported to only have consumed a couple of acres before being extinguished. Sheriff Deputies reported that the two young men arrested were the ones who called 911. The two young men were booked at the sheriff’s station and will face felony arson charges. They may recive from one to twenty years in prison and fines up to $50,000 and depending on the damage the fines could exceed the $50k.
Two Killed in a Car Crash off McBean Parkway
Two men were killed in a head-on collision on July Fourth. Family, close friends and classmates gathered together to mourn over the deceased. During early morning hours at around 12:10 am, a male driver traveled northbound on McBean Pkwy at a high speed. When he reached close to Decoro Drive his BMW hit a tree and careened into oncoming traffic where he hit head-on into a Honda Accord driven by the 18 year-old male. When first responders came on scene the two men were pronounced dead. At this time it is unknown if alcohol was involved. The Los Angeles County Coroner identified driver of the BMW as 34-year-old as Joel Thomas Godfrey and driver of the Honda 18-year-old as Collin Charles Gore. Gore was a recent high school graduate from Hart High School.
Newhall Shooting said to be Gang-Related.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station is investigating a shooting that took place in the 24000 block of Railroad Avenue. Witness stated that a confrontation erupted and one of the individuals pulled out a handgun and shot the victim one time. The two involved are both suspected gang members. The incident took place around 12:04 am and deputies responded and were at the scene by 12:06 am. Sheriffs’ reported the bullet grazed the victim’s chest and arm. The suspect fled the scene going south on Newhall Avenue. Per sheriff’s station, at this time no additional information can be released. Investigators are gathering evidence and have not released the identity of either the victim or the suspect. Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121. The incident is being investigated by the station’s COBRA, or Career Offenders, Burglaries, Robberies, Assaults Team, which investigates gang-related activity in addition to other crimes.
I-5 Repaving Causes Nightly Lane Closures
The Roadway Rehabilitation project is underway and will bring nightly lane closures. The $171 million project for the Interstate Highway will have lane closures from 9 pm- 5 am most nights until the completion of the project. Workers painted temporary lanes with lower speed limits. This project will repair and replace almost 16 miles of the Interstate 5 from State Route 14. This rehabilitation is projected to be completed in summer 2019. Workers will work on short sections of one to two mile increments at a time. At this time there will be temporary speed limits that are lower than usual about 50-55 mph. Caltrans advises drivers to be alert and drive defensively, especially in work zones. Traffic fines are doubled in construction areas, and the California Highway Patrol will be on duty.
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