As part of a sting, deputies from the sheriff’s Region III Community Oriented Policing Services Bureau, the Norwalk special assignment team and Whittier police went to 12 stores in Whittier, Santa Fe Springs and La Mirada on Friday to check if businesses were keeping cans of spray paint inaccessible to the public and to make sure they were not selling to minors. Two Explorers, ages 15 and 17, acted as customers in need of spray paint. The two teams also also passed out fliers that listed the pertinent county codes, as well as what other things are considered graffiti implements. The latter includes felt-tip markers, gum labels, paint sticks, etching tools and any other device that leaves a mark. By the end of the operation, Deputy Robert Alexander said Automotive Colors in Santa Fe Springs and Castle Automotive in La Mirada were ticketed for selling to minors while the Home Depot in La Mirada was cited for having spray paint accessible to the public. The offenses are considered misdemeanors. Automotive Colors and Castle Automotive could be fined $1,000 or one year in jail. Home Depot could face a $500 fine or six months in jail. SANTA FE SPRINGS – A 17-year-old boy walked out of Automotive Colors on Friday holding a can of black spray paint and a receipt for $2.75. He met up with a young woman and they drove off. Within minutes, two patrol cars pulled into the parking lot of the Florence Avenue business. While two deputies took pictures of the Brite Touch spray paint and the receipt, two Whittier officers cited the store manager for selling a graffiti implement (the spray paint) to a minor. The manager apologized and said it won’t happen again. He declined to talk to a reporter. The team moved on to the next location. Alexander said it’s what they figured in the beginning, that the majority will be in compliance. “This is not to penalize people but to inform people about the other implements,” he said. The sting was another take on how to deal with graffiti, he added. Alexander said they’re responding to the community’s needs, and graffiti is one of the concerns. The stores in compliance included Wal-Mart on Telegraph Road in Santa Fe Springs and the Auto Zone on Carmenita Road in Santa Fe Springs. At both places, the employees asked the decoy for an ID. “Everything went well. You guys passed. You asked for ID,” Whittier Officer Lenin Ceja told Angel Levario, manager of the Auto Zone. “Great, I passed,” she said. Levario said it’s their store policy to ask for an ID when buying spray paint. “And it’s the law. You have to be 18,” she added. She lauded Friday’s operation because it is checking if everybody is in compliance. [email protected] (562)698-0955, Ext.3026160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
PICO RIVERA – At a Mass at St. Hilary Catholic Church, graying war veterans and friends and relatives knelt and prayed Friday for U.S. Army Sgt. Arthur A. Mora Jr. and the two soldiers who died with him in Iraq. “They are our brothers who went through baptism by fire. It is important for us to be here today,” said Richard Briones, a Korean War veteran from Pico Rivera. Mora, 23, was killed Oct. 19 when his patrol vehicle was hit by enemy fire in Balad, Iraq. Two fellow soldiers, Army Spc. Russell Nahvi, 24, of Texas, and Army Pfc. Jose E. Rosario, 20, of St. Croix, died with him. Mora had been in Iraq since July and hoped to be home in December to celebrate the holidays with his wife and three children, including a son who was born Oct. 11. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week During Friday’s solemn Mass, attended by close to 200 people, Mora’s family led the congregation in prayer. The Rev. George Madella provided words of comfort to Mora’s mother, Sylvia Mora, and his two sisters and brother. “This is my first Mass for soldiers who were in Iraq,” Madella said. “When I saw the age of the soldiers and realized they were only in their 20s and had sacrificed so much, I thought they had sacrified their lives for a greater cause. “They are people with a lot of courage who gave their lives, and we must remember it is not important how many years we have lived. What is important is how we live our lives.” Mora was based at Fort Stewart, Ga., and was a member of the Army’s 5th Squadron, 7th Calvary Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. He was buried Oct. 29 at Fort Meigs Cemetery in Perrysburg, Ohio, where his wife and three children live. Family members said it was gratifying to have so many tributes paid to Mora, a 2000 El Rancho High School graduate, who joined the Army with his mother’s permission in his senior year. “In Perrysburg, it was so nice, so beautiful,” Sylvia Mora said Friday. “There was an honor guard, people on the sidewalks waving flags, and policemen, firemen and veterans saluting him. “Now here, with a lot of family and friends, we are honoring him again so everyone can see what kind of person he was.” Valerie Hernandez, Mora’s cousin, said she would have preferred that the young man who was always happy and hugging people had come home to his family. But the pride she felt made her loss easier, she said. “He used to like cleaning up at the American Legion on Durfee and being around veterans,” she said. “He had a passion for this and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.” Mora is the third soldier from the Whittier area to die in Afghanistan or Iraq. Pfc. Joseph Cruz, 22, of Whittier was killed Oct. 15 in Bagram, Afghanistan, from non-combat injuries. U.S. Army Medic Paul Nakamura, 21, of Santa Fe Springs was killed in June 2003 when his ambulance was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. According to the U.S Department of Defense Web site, as of Friday 2,035 U.S. soldiers had died in Iraq. [email protected] (562)698-0955, Ext. 3028160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!