Los Angeles Times

Year in Review: Woman drives into Verdugo Wash, a wedding brawl, baths salts, and Glendale Galleria bans man in feather boa

Many times in the news business, truth ends up being stranger than fiction. And in Glendale, 2012 was full of stories that no doubt had people talking around the water cooler. A man dressed in a skintight zebra-print outfit at the Glendale Galleria allegedly harassing a group of girls? A woman mistakenly taking her Mercedes up the Verdugo Wash at 70 mph?

Yes, all of these and more happened in 2012. Here's a reminder of some the more shocking head-scratchers.

Glendale Galleria bans man in feather boa

A 44-year-old Hollywood man was banned from the Glendale Galleria in August for allegedly sexually harassing a group of teenage girls at the mall while dressed in a zebra-print spandex outfit complete with a feather boa and fedora.

Scott Basko had already been temporarily banned from the Americana at Brand for allegedly committing lewd acts in front of teen girls — including “intentionally adjusting his penis while wearing similar skin-tight pants” — at the outdoor mall, according to Glendale police reports.

Basko was arrested after an employee notified police that the girls were hiding inside Cache clothing store to get away from him, according to police.

He allegedly told police that he was browsing fashion items and that the girls may have mistaken his gum chewing for other actions.

The girls alleged that Basko had been following, staring and winking at them inside the mall.

Man allegedly on drugs attacks woman

A 20-year-old Glendale man was apparently high on the synthetic drug known as “bath salts” in June when he allegedly attacked a 77-year-old woman with a shovel.

Robert William White, told officers that he had ingested “bath salts” that were dissolved in a soda he was drinking before he went on a rampage through his Glendale neighborhood on the 1000 block of Spazier Avenue, police said.

White was swinging a shovel at birds when the woman approached and told him to stop, police said. That's when officers said he struck her on the head with the shovel and then chased her into her apartment and threatened to kill her.

White returned to his apartment, where he barricaded himself until police arrived. Officers had to fire a rubber bullet and Taser to subdue him during the standoff.

As White was carried off and handcuffed to a chair, he yelled “God loves all of you” to bystanders.

Woman drives into Verdugo Wash

A 53-year-old Glendale woman drove through the Verdugo Wash in her Mercedes-Benz sedan in January after confusing it for a subterranean church parking lot she was visiting for the first time at Glenoaks Boulevard and Kenilworth Avenue, police said

As she entered the wash, she noticed a maintenance crew also driving down the concrete channel, so she decided to follow them briefly before passing them and reaching speeds of up to 70 mph.

The woman eventually stopped about a mile later, after barreling down a stepped descent just short of an 8-foot drop-off into the L.A. River.

Man accused of recording up skirts

A 49-year-old former assistant volleyball coach was charged this year after police allegedly saw him using his cellphone to secretly record up the skirt of a woman on a Glendale Galleria escalator.

The man, John Puncel, was arrested at the mall in January when police noticed Puncel step onto the escalator, stand a few steps away from an unsuspecting woman wearing a knee-high skirt and hold his phone underneath it.

As officers tried to detain Puncel, who worked as an assistant women's volleyball coach in 2005 at Pasadena City College, he pulled away in an attempt to keep his phone away from them, police said.

Puncel's cellphone camera showed his fingers, then the woman's legs and buttocks, according to police reports.

Police said Puncel was in an area in the mall, where they have previously arrested men using cellphones to secretly record up women's skirts.

Massive wedding brawl leads to arrest

A massive wedding brawl involving more than 100 people at a banquet hall in June led to a Van Nuys man being arrested on suspicion of battery and vandalism, police said.

Police received calls from numerous witnesses about the fight at a wedding celebration at Dream Palace banquet hall in the 500 block of East Broadway.

Soon after, officers arrested the Van Nuys man after he allegedly spit on an officer, attempted to elbow two others, and later kicked in a rear window of a patrol car, Glendale police said.

Details about the brawl remained unclear because partygoers refused to talk to police about the incident.

Man allegedly exposes himself

A 29-year-old Glendale man was arrested earlier this month after he allegedly exposed himself to two women on Brand Boulevard in separate incidents, police said.

Leandro Martins was taken into custody Dec. 6 after a Pasadena woman identified him as the motorist who drove up to her on Brand Boulevard and West Stocker Street as he masturbated in front of her, according to Glendale police.

She was talking to her friend on her cellphone when Martins allegedly drove up in his Volkswagen Golf while masturbating, police said.

The woman got his license plate number and notified police, who arrested Martins in the 200 block of East Fairview Avenue in Glendale, police said.

Another woman reported a similar incident that same week on Brand Boulevard and Dryden Street, police said.

Both women identified him as the motorist who exposed himself to them, police said.

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