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12 of the most read Glendale News-Press stories this year

When it comes to news our readers were interested in this year, crime stories came out on top. But that’s not the only genre Jewel City residents and readers were interested in — below is the top News-Press story of each month in terms of pageviews, and they also include stories about water consumption goals and what they meant for Glendale, a visit from the Armenian minister of culture and a fight at Hoover High that led to consequences.


A federal court sentenced a La Crescenta man to nine years in prison for running a pair of fraudulent schemes that bilked victims out of over $1 million.

The sentence came after 55-year-old David William Bell pleaded guilty during the summer to one count each of wire fraud and mail fraud. Bell admitted he started a company called UST Development Inc. to run the fraud schemes.

Bell ran the company out of Ontario and Pomona. Authorities said he used multiple company names besides UST while running the schemes.


Douglas Rivera
In February, Douglas Rivera was identified by police as a man they say sexually assaulted a minor in a Covina hotel room. Courtesy of the Covina Police Department

Authorities were searching for a Glendale pastor they suspected sexually assaulted a minor at a Covina hotel room.

Douglas Rivera was suspected of driving to the Vanllee Hotel and Suites, where he reportedly spotted a lit room with its drapes open and spied on two minors who were inside. Rivera, a 40-year-old resident of Baldwin Park, then proceeded to masturbate in his vehicle as he watched the minors, according to the Covina Police Department.

He then got out of his car and stood outside of the hotel room window, where he pretended to be on his phone. After 30 minutes, police said Rivera went inside the hotel and forced his way into the room where the minors were staying.

He assaulted one of the minors and then fled from the area in his car, authorities said.


Shoppers at the Glendale Galleria were evacuated from the mall after shots were fired during an attempted robbery.

The gunfire came from a security guard after three people attempted to rob the Bhindi jewelry store on the mall’s second floor.

Brent Gardner, the mall’s general manager, said the suspects tried to smash through a Rolex display case with hammers.

Soon after the gunfire, shoppers and mall employees began to rush for the exits as the building was placed on lockdown.


A pair of men
A pair of men were suspected of pickpocketing a woman while she dined at the Cheesecake Factory in Glendale in late March and using her credit cards to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards at a department store. Courtesy of the Glendale Police Department

Two men were being sought by the Glendale Police Department for allegedly pickpocketing a woman at the Cheesecake Factory in the Americana at Brand.

The incident occurred around 1:45 p.m. on March 24 as a woman was eating in the restaurant's patio area, according to Tahnee Lightfoot, a spokeswoman for Glendale police.

She said the men reportedly entered the area and went over to a table behind the woman.

One of the men allegedly then used a jacket to partially hide himself as he took the woman's purse from her chair and stole its contents.


A man took his own life
A man took his own life in a La Crescenta home after an hours-long stand-off with police that began Wednesday morning. Glendale News-Press

A standoff between a La Crescenta man and officers from the Los Angeles Police Department ended when the man took his own life.

The man killed himself some time in the 2400 block of Harmony Place after an hours-long standoff with police. Officers had attempted to serve a warrant at the man's home in the morning.

A spokesperson for the LAPD could not say how the man killed himself except it was from a "self-inflicted wound."


For the first time in the state’s history, California was to set permanent water-consumption goals to prepare for future droughts and climate change, with a local elected official involved in the historic move.

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) introduced Assembly Bill 1668, one of the bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday. Her district also includes Burbank.


The Armenian minister of culture, Lilit Makunts, visited Glendale to share her vision for the future of Armenia’s entertainment industry and answer questions about the recent revolution that led to a peaceful transition of power after a decade of one-party rule riddled with corruption.

At the event, held at the Downtown Central Library, Makunts said the ministry’s partnership with Creative Armenia, a foundation based in both Los Angeles and Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia, will assist the Armenian government in improving the country’s entertainment industry.


Glendale police
Glendale police look over a white Ford Mustang involved in an accident in La Crescenta. According to witnesses, the driver abandoned the car in the Everest restaurant parking lot at 3826 Foothill Blvd. and went over a fence. Roger Wilson / Glendale News-Press

A petty-theft suspect remained at large after authorities say he rammed his vehicle into a police car in La Crescenta to evade capture.

The incident began after the Glendale Police Department received report of a shoplifting incident at a local Vons grocery store, according to Sgt. Dan Suttles, a department spokesman.

“He then rammed into one of our [cars],” he said. “We pretty much had him stuck in, but he kept on trying, flooring it … his car was smoking and spinning.”


An elaborate marijuana grow operation
An elaborate marijuana grow operation was uncovered in a Glendale home on Monday leading to the arrest of the home's lone occupant, 38-year-old Rui Yun Guan, police say. Courtesy of the Glendale Police Department

What started as a routine wellness check by Glendale police officers led to the alleged discovery of an illegal marijuana grow operation and the seizure of more than 600 plants.

Officers with the Glendale Police Department were in the 100 block of Wonderview Drive after receiving a call about a person yelling for help from one of the homes in the neighborhood.

After speaking with the home’s occupant, 38-year-old Rui Yun Guan, officers entered the residence and discovered it had been converted into an elaborate marijuana grow operation, according to Tahnee Lightfoot, a spokeswoman for the department.


A brawl between students at Hoover High School in Glendale on Oct. 3 resulted in the campus and two other nearby schools to be placed on lockdown and brought around two dozen police officers to the area.

The fight reportedly began around 1 p.m. near the Hoover’s upper-quad; authorities with the Glendale Unified School District said it’s unknown how many students were involved in the fracas. A video posted on social media showed the fight involved multiple students.


Greg Krikorian
Glendale Unified president Greg Krikorian, shown here after the Hoover High walkouts on Oct. 29, has apologized for the district's handling of the aftermath of the Hoover High brawl on campus on Oct. 3. Tim Berger / Glendale News-Press

An admission of racism at Hoover High School and an apology for inaction surfaced somewhat surprisingly during a Glendale Unified school board meeting a month after students engaged in a brawl on campus.

“The first step is to admit when there’s something wrong,” said board member Shant Sahakian, who shared his experience of having Latino “racist epithets thrown” at him when he was with Latino friends as a Hoover High student.

“A little bit of what the parents want is straight talk, so I want to give a little bit of straight talk,” he added. “Does Hoover High School have a racism problem? Yes. It’s a very simple answer.”

The fight led to more than a dozen student suspensions, Hoover’s forfeit of three football games, along with the cancellation of the “Battle for the Victory Bell” rivalry contest with Glendale High, and changes to homecoming ceremonies for Crescenta Valley, Glendale and Hoover high schools.


A Glendale attorney admitted in federal court earlier this month to using bank accounts meant for his clients to help launder money as part of a $14-million tax-fraud and identity-theft scam.

Arthur Charchian, 44, pleaded guilty on Dec. 14 to one count of money laundering and one count of making a false statement to the Social Security Administration.

He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison followed by three years on parole, according to a copy of Charchian’s plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.