Tag Archives: North Hollywood

Pasadena Man Sentenced for Bank Robberies, Including Burbank US Bank

On March 26, Shownee Shon Smith, 41 of Pasadena, was sentenced for committing six bank robberies throughout summer 2017.

Shownee Shon Smith during May of 2017 bank robbery in Burbank (Photo supplied by the Burbank Police Department)

Smith’s first bank robbery occurred on May 15 at branches of US Bank in Burbank. On the same day, he continued his spree and robbed Wells Fargo in South Pasadena. Smith also robbed Chase Bank in East Pasadena on May 20, as well as Chase Bank in North Hollywood and Citibank in Tarzana, both on May 27.

Smith was arrested after committing his final robbery at Wells Fargo on June 10 when he held a shotgun at a bank teller’s head while demanding money. Police responded to a 911 call and apprehended Smith after he left the building. Prior to this incident, Smith had allegedly written notes to demand money from bank tellers.

Smith was sentenced to over 10 years in prison by United States District Judge Percy Anderson. Additionally, Smith was sentenced to five years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $20,285 in restitution to the banks where his crimes took place.

The case is a part of an investigation conducted by the FBI, which partnered with the Burbank Police Department, the Pasadena Police Department, the South Pasadena Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Santa Monica Police Department.

Smith is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn Small of the General Crimes Section.

16 Year-Old Teenager Dies After Sparring At Burbank Boxing Gym

Police investigating unusual death, awaiting coroner’s report.

 By Stan Lynch, Managing Editor

A teenaged boy is dead, and Burbank Police are investigating the unusual circumstances surrounding the young man’s death.  He has been identified as Raul Alvarez, Jr., 16, of North Hollywood.

Forensic Specialist Nancy Robles removes evidence under the watchful eye of Police Officer Blaine Shifley. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Verdugo Fire Dispatch received a call for medical assistance, and dispatched Engine 12 and Rescue Ambulance 15 to Pullman’s Gym, 4320 W. Magnolia Blvd. at 5:55 p.m.  Paramedics treated the 16 year-old boy at the scene and transported him to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center at 6:08 p.m.

Police officers were dispatched to the hospital and the gym at 6:45 p.m., when emergency room personnel alerted an officer at the hospital on an unrelated matter about the teen’s grave condition.  Initial reports were that the boy had been sparring with someone at the gym, and had received a blow to the face.   He died about an hour later at the hospital.

Forensic Specialist Nancy Robles removes evidence as Burbank Police Officer Blaine Shifley protects the scene. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

An investigation into Alvarez’s death is being conducted by the Burbank Police Department.   They determined that he was wear head and body protective gear while sparring.  He complained of pain after the sparring session, which prompted the call for paramedics.  The cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

A sign on the front door of the gym

The gym, which is located in a store front in the Magnolia Park section of town, specializes in boxing.  Sparring, which is commonly used in boxing training as well as other martial arts, is a type of practice fighting in which blows are held back or not delivered with full force.

On Pullman Gym’s website, pictures show it is primarily used for boxing with a ring, numerous body and speed bags mounted for use.

Pullman’s Gym was contacted, but has not yet returned our call for comments.

Burbank Police Officer Blaine Shifley watches as Forensic Specialist Nancy Robles collects evidence. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Laser Pointed At Jet Plane And Police Helicopter

An 18 year-old man from North Hollywood was arrested Thursday night, after a private jet making a landing at Bob Hope Airport, and a police helicopter looking for the suspect, were hit with a laser.

The incident began when a Cessna Citation twin-engine private jet was landing on the East/West runway at Bob Hope Airport.  The pilots were hit with a laser as they were on close final approach, about a half-mile from the runway.  When the plane arrived at Million Air, 2800 N. Clybourn Ave., they flagged down an Airport Police officer and reported the incident.

The Airport police contacted the Burbank Police Department.   The Burbank Police helicopter was not in service, but the Pasadena Police Department’s PD-One helicopter was on patrol and responded, as did an airship from the Los Angeles Police Department.    While in the area west of the airport in North Hollywood, the Pasadena helicopter was also hit by a laser being pointed at them from the ground.  Using their high-tech radar system, the officers on board the helicopter were able to lock onto the location and pinpoint a house where the laser was coming from.    The pilot and observer apparently escaped injury.  Lasers pointed at aircraft can temporarily blind a pilot, and can cause serious eye injury.

Ground units from the Airport, Burbank, and Los Angeles Police Departments converged on the 6400 block of Bakman Ave.  The suspect’s location is just north of Victory Blvd., and one block east of Tujunga Ave. in North Hollywood.  The area is just south of the landing pattern for the airport.   Airport Police officers contacted the residents of the home that the helicopter had pinpointed.   The 18 year-old son of the home’s owners admitted to officers that he was the one pointing the laser.   Officers confiscated a laser and booked it into evidence.

The unidentified teen was placed under arrest, and taken to the LAPD’s North Hollywood Station for booking.  Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a felony, and as of January 1, of this year, it is also a federal crime.

On March 20 a drill was held at Bob Hope Airport with the cause of the faked crash being a laser which blinded the pilots during the landing (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

This incident bears a chillingly eerie similarity to the scenario used in the Emergency Exercise that was held at Bob Hope Airport on March 20.  In the drill, a passenger jet is on close final approach to the runway, when someone on the ground shines a laser at the plane, blinding the pilots.  The plane makes a hard landing, partially collapsing the nose gear, and causing the plane to veer off the runway and crashing into a construction site before exploding and bursting into flames.  In the drill, 15 people are killed and 50 injured.   In the real thing Thursday night, Airport Police report that no one was injured


Note: Ross A. Benson contributed to the writing of this story.

North Hollywood Fire Lights Up The Night Near Burbank

Photo By Ross A. Benson

Los Angeles City Firefighters made an extremely quick knock down on this arson caused fire at the Studio Place Inn Motel at 10740 Ventura Blvd early Thursday morning. Arson Investigators were called to the scene after a suspect was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center for questioning, The fire left several residents outside in their pajamas and bathrobes as the fire destroyed the top floor of the two story motel. The fire’s cause was unknown but being investigated, the dollars loss of damage was still being tabulated.  The Humane Society was called for a deceased  dog.

Photo By Ross A. Benson

Glow In Nighttime Sky Belongs To Fire In North Hollywood

Photo By Ross A. Benson

Burbank residents on the hill last night saw the glow of a major fire light up the sky Tuesday morning. Los Angeles City Firefighters were called to a small market fire in the 6500 block of Lankershim Blvd in the early hours morning to find fire showing in what appeared to be an Armenian Market Place. Additional firefighters were called in when the fire appeared in the attic, but once the firefighters on the ground made entry into the small market they made quick extinguishment. The cause is being handled by LAFD Arson Investigators. There were no injuries to any of the firefighters involved and the damage amount was still being tabulated.