Police Blotter: April 8, 2022

Thursday, March 31

Claremont police are investigating a possible criminal threats case after an approximately 18-year-old man allegedly threatened to harm a 60-year-old Claremont High School proctor as she approached his car. The incident began after witnesses say the man was swerving and “fishtailing” through the student parking lot at CHS, 1601 N. Indian Hill Blvd., at 1:30 p.m. As the proctor approached the blue, four-door sedan, the man allegedly told the woman he would harm her if she took a photo of him or his car, then took off. Police say they do not believe the suspect is a CHS student, but they could not be sure.

Police pulled over the driver of a 2013 Ford Flex at 7:50 a.m. near Mills Ave. and Radcliffe Dr. for speeding in a school zone. The driver, 28-year-old Veronica Garcia, from Pomona, had a suspended license, and a search allegedly turned up a methamphetamine pipe. Officers became suspicious when they ran the plate of the Flex and found Garcia was not its registered owner, so they contacted him. The owner told officers he had loaned the SUV to Garcia the night before, but she had not returned it, and he’d then reported it stolen through the Fontana Police Department. Garcia was then arrested on one count of felony grand theft auto, and two misdemeanors of driving with a suspended license and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was then booked and released with a citation to appear in Pomona Superior Court.

Saturday, April 2

Claremont police are still assembling multiple reports and tangential evidence after the arrest of three Pomona residents for allegedly attempting to steal car tires and wheels from the parking lot of Norm’s restaurant, 807 S. Indian Hill Blvd. Cops were called by a diner who said while she was eating her meal she saw a man attempting to remove a wheel of her car. She called police, apparently spooking the would-be thief, because he then fled in a white four-door sedan with two other people. Then, while officers were on the scene taking the victim’s report, they say the trio returned to Norm’s, at which time they were pulled over for questioning. Police say a search of the trunk revealed a wheel and tire that had earlier been reported stolen from a car near Indian Hill Blvd. and San Jose Ave., as well as a freshly cut catalytic converter. Further, two of the suspects were allegedly found to be in possession of methamphetamine and had multiple active warrants out for their arrest. In a barrage of charges, CPD arrested 25-year-old Hector Martinez for possession of stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, and for multiple warrants; Candido Crespo Valdivia, 26, for possession of stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphrenia (a meth pipe), attempted petty theft, and multiple warrants; and Betzy Torres Astorga, 25, for possession of stolen property. The trio was then transported to CPD headquarters, booked, and released with citations to appear in Pomona Superior Court. Police are still attempting to tie the suspected stolen catalytic converter to the one or more of the suspects.

Monday, April 4

A Rancho Cucamonga man with a history of prior violent crimes was behind bars again after tussling with the wrong senior citizen in an attempted carjacking. The victim said Gene Hunkins, 61, approached him about 4 p.m. as he was standing in the driveway of his home in the 2800 block of Rhodelia Ave. Hunkins appeared to the under the influence of some sort of drug, the victim said, and indeed CPD had received numerous calls alleging same, all describing a man matching his description. Police say Hunkins walked up and began talking to the victim, “wasn’t making sense,” saying his car had broken down and asking  to “borrow” the victim’s car, which was parked in the driveway. Hunkins is then alleged to have begun complaining about his bad back, prompting the apparently empathetic victim to offer him water and Tylenol, which was located in the victim’s golf bag, in the trunk of said car. With the trunk now open, police say Ring camera footage showed Hunkins moving extremely close to the victim, then abruptly snatching the key fob from his front pants pocket. Meanwhile, police said a 45-year-old contractor from Los Angeles who was working on the victim’s property at the time knew something was not right, and had been watching the scene unfold with suspicion. When the contractor saw Hunkins snatch the key fob, he moved toward the confrontation in time to witness the victim shove Hunkins, causing him to tumble through a hedge and land on his backside on his neighbor’s driveway. The contractor then ran around and stood over Hunkins, demanding the key fob back. Presumably defeated, Hunkins complied, then fled on foot. Claremont police were on the scene in two minutes, and located Hunkins in neighboring Pomona, across Towne Ave. on Jason Ct., and arrested him without incident. Hunkins — who was on probation for a previous felony resisting arrest conviction involving an injured police officer — was charged with attempted carjacking and robbery, both felonies. He was booked and jailed in front of his April 6 arraignment.

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