Valley News: Stranger Rape Reported; Man Shot in Face

Here are some of the top stories around the San Fernando Valley.

San Fernando

Police sought a suspect Tuesday in a rape in San Fernando.

A female walking and lost near San Fernando Road and Desmond Street in Pacoima at 4:35 a.m. Friday flagged down a motorist and asked for help, said San Fernando Detective Irwin Rosenberg.

He invited her into his car and drove her to the 500 block of First Street near San Fernando Recreation Park in San Fernando.

He threatened her with a knife if she didn't cooperate, raped her and then left her, Rosenberg said.

The suspect was described as in his mid-20s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with dark brown hair and no facial hair.

He was driving a newer vehicle, possibly a Honda of unknown color.

Anyone with information about the rape was asked to call Rosenberg at (818) 898-1261 or (818) 898-1267. Police have video related to the crime.



A 38-year-old San Gabriel man who got into a scuffle with Burbank police and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia, trying to grab an officer's weapon and resisting arrest remained in custody Monday in lieu of $85,000 bail.

The suspect, identified as Erik Alan Krug, also was wanted on a burglary warrant, according to police who arrested him about 11 p.m. Friday near Clybourn Avenue and Hatteras Street.

An officer saw Krug standing in the middle of the road holding two bags. He did not move from the middle of the street as the officer approached, said Lt. Eddie Ruiz of the Burbank Police Department.

The officer parked his patrol car and asked Krug to step onto the sidewalk. Instead, as the officer approached, the suspect put the two bags he was carrying onto the ground and reached into his left pants pocket, Ruiz said.

The officer saw Krug pull out a dark object and, fearing it was a weapon, grabbed Krug's left wrist and ordered him to drop the item but he refused, according to Ruiz. When the was able to pry the item out of the suspect's hand, he saw it was a smoking pipe used for smoking narcotics, according to the lieutenant.

The officer ordered Krug to put his hands behind his back, which he refused to do, and a struggle ensued, during which Krug was able to get the officer's gun out of its holster before being taken into custody, Ruiz said.

The officer and the suspect were both treated at a hospital for minor injuries suffered as a result of the confrontation. The officer suffered a bruised shoulder and the suspect had abrasions to his elbows and knees.


Van Nuys

A man shot in the face while sitting in a parked car in Van Nuys Sunday was hospitalized.

The shooting at Keswick Street and Van Nuys Boulevard occurred about 2:25 a.m., Los Angeles police Sgt. John Cuenca of the Van Nuys Station said.

A gunman walked up and opened fire, firing three shots and wounding the victim once, then fled, Cuenca said.

The victim was taken to a hospital. His name and condition were unavailable early today, but Cuenca said he had stable vital signs.

No description of the shooter was made available. It was unclear if police found any witnesses.



Three men who lived for about a year in a small and crude home they illegally built in a remote area of the Tujunga Ponds Wildlife Sanctuary and cultivated marijuana there were taken into custody today, authorities said.

Parks Bureau deputies were patrolling the sanctuary near the Foothill (210) Freeway and Wentworth Street today when they found the home, sheriff's Deputy Johnie K. Jones of the Parks Bureau said.

The home had four bunk beds built into the walls, tables, shelves and fire extinguishers on the walls, Jones said.

There was also a rock patio in front of the building with a barbecue and tables. The home was built with materials procured from a nearby Home Depot, and the entire home was camouflaged by cutting down trees and using camouflage tarp and paint, Jones said.

Eight marijuana plants were found growing near the home, Jones said.

It is illegal to spend overnight in a county park, let alone live in one, Jones said.

Arrested was Robert Downs, 51, of Sun Valley, who was held on $30,000 bail. He was arrested for suspicion of cultivating marijuana and removing plants and trees from a county park.

Aysen Gailer, 30, and Jorge Perez, 45, both of Sun Valley, were issued citations for code violations and released.

The structure will be removed in the next two weeks, Jones said.


Granada Hills

A San Fernando Valley man was sentenced today to 57 months in federal prison for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme in which bogus loan applications and bribery were used to con lenders out of more than $4 million.

Anthony Lewis, 39, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez to pay restitution of about $4.1 million, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Goorvitch said.

Lewis was among six Southland financial services workers charged in the case, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. All but one pleaded guilty.

Lewis, Maria Arriaza, a former escrow officer from Palmdale, and Deon Jackson, a mortgage broker from Gardena, were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy.

Jennifer Le, an ex-loan processor from the South Bay, was charged with conspiracy.

Matthew Balsz, a former U.S. Bank employee from the South Bay, was charged, along with former Bank of America employee Freddy Lentz, with accepting bribes to facilitate the scheme, federal prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, Lewis and co-conspirators illegally obtained funds from various financial institutions by lying on loan applications used to purchase homes in the names of straw buyers.

Lewis found houses for sale, and gave bogus loan applications to Jackson and Le for processing, prosecutors said.

As a mortgage broker, Jackson reviewed the documents and told Lewis what further information was necessary to qualify straw borrowers for loans. Lewis then obtained fake bank statements and other forms, while Jackson and Le submitted the phony loan applications to lenders, according to federal prosecutors.

Once the loans were approved and the funds wired to Arriaza's Diamond Clear Escrow in Granada Hills, she disbursed money intended for the purported buyers to co-conspirators at Lewis' orders.

In order to conceal the true nature of the disbursements, Arriaza -- who was convicted at trial -- prepared false settlement statements, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.


Editor's note: These are Police/Fire stories from areas of the San Fernando Valley not covered by Patch. Check Encino-Tarzana Patch, Northridge-Chatsworth Patch, North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch, Sherman Oaks Patch, Studio City Patch, and Woodland Hills Patch for news in those areas.

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