Police have arrested a man who they say tried to kidnap a woman while she was at work in an Irvine baby store, authorities said.

Irvine police arrested Charlie Choi, 47, on suspicion of attempted kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, said Irvine Police Department spokeswoman Kim Mohr.

Police found Choi on Monday around 4:30 p.m. in his Irvine home in the 300 block of Fountainhead, according to an Irvine Police Department news release.

“Police used investigative leads as well as information from the community to apprehend Choi,” according to the news release. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Surveillance video released Monday shows a man in a white shirt and plaid shorts talking to an employee at Mon Beau Bebe in the Woodbury Town Center around 7:20 p.m. He followed her around the store before grabbing her hair and trying to drag her into the storage room by her ponytail.

The woman crouched down on the floor and tried to free herself, and “told him there were video surveillance cameras in the store,” according to an Irvine Police Department news release. After about 15 seconds the man let go of the woman and ran out.

Police are still looking for a motive, Mohr said. “There’s no indication at this point that they knew each other.”

Reach Sonali Kohli at Sonali.Kohli@latimes.com or on Twitter @Sonali_Kohli.


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Disappointing some immigrant advocates, Los Angeles County officials voted Tuesday to authorize $3 million for legal assistance for immigrants facing deportation but to bar those who have violent criminal pasts.

The Board of Supervisors’ vote came a day after the city’s Budget and Finance Committee approved up to $2 million for the same purpose.

The votes ended a debate about which immigrants should qualify for help through the newly created L.A. Justice Fund, although the proposal that the city is considering would include an exemption for individuals with a “meritorious claim.”

“The county’s $3-million contribution to the L.A.J.F. can only go so far,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis, a champion of the fund, in a statement.

Emi MacLean, an attorney with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, argued for broader inclusion. “This county’s proposal would define people by their worst act,” she said at the meeting Tuesday.

The L.A. Justice Fund, which will include an additional $5 million from private philanthropic groups, was unveiled last December by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Solis in anticipation of a crackdown on immigrants by incoming President Trump. Implementation of the fund was held up in April over protests regarding the exclusion of immigrants with a history of violent criminal offense.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said she wished there were a way to include some of those immigrants.

“Many people have paid their dues to society — have paid their price and served their time,” she said in remarks before the vote. “I simply want to speak up for those people.”

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who opposed the creation of the fund in December, cast the lone dissenting vote. “County taxpayers should not be forced to bear the cost to provide free legal representation for those facing deportation,” she said in a statement.

The county will enter into an agreement with the California Community Foundation to manage and disburse the funds.

The full Los Angeles City Council is expected to approve a similar agreement on Friday.

The foundation will award nonprofit agencies money to provide legal advice to immigrants and to represent them in court.

The proposed county agreement lists family members of citizens and other lawful residents as priorities to receive services, as well as children, veterans and victims of domestic violence or human trafficking.

The decisions this week come about five months after Trump signed executive orders to begin planning for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and to step up immigration enforcement.

In May, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that arrests of people living in the country illegally during Trump’s first 100 days in office were up nearly 38% over the same period in 2016. Arrests in Southern California, however, have remained relatively flat.

The decisions also follow the state Legislature’s passage last week of a budget that would funnel $45 million to community organizations to provide immigrants with legal assistance and other services. Gov. Jerry Brown has until the end of the month to sign budget-related legislation, but he has indicated he supports the idea.

Nearly 10% of the nation’s 11.1 million undocumented immigrants live in Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to the Pew Research Center.

A 2016 report found that immigrants in California who have legal representation are four to five times more likely to succeed in immigration court than their counterparts who lack such representation.

Angelica Salas, executive director of the immigrant rights advocacy group CHIRLA, said in an interview that her organization has seen a jump in clients since Trump took office, sometimes meeting with more than 100 new clients in one day, compared with a previous daily average of 20 new clients.

“The demand is high, and I think the fund will really help us see more people,” Salas said.


Twitter: @AgrawalNina

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Kim Kardashian is about to cash in on the beauty craze she helped start. Today, the reality star and entrepreneur, long known for her contoured makeup, is launching her first stand-alone venture in the beauty space, KKW Beauty. In Kardashian’s first interview since revealing her fragrance and future beauty plans last week at Forbes Women’s Summit, the 36-year-old told WWD she’s ready to meet the intense demand of her fans on social media and beyond.

Kardashian dipped her toe into beauty in April by collaborating with Kylie Cosmetics, the runaway success founded by her social media phenom sister, Kylie Jenner. The KKW by Kylie Cosmetics crème lipstick set was a litmus test. According to an industry source, 300,000 of the $45 kits sold out in minutes, the equivalent of $13.5 million in sales. This sell-through gave Kardashian, as well as her partner and manufacturer, Oxnard, Calif.-based Seed Beauty (also the parent company of ColourPop), the confidence to go big with the first “drop.”

“We have a good model, and even from our lip kit, we have a really good general idea of what our customer is going to be like. We are definitely prepared for the demand,” Kardashian said, noting that her lipstick collaboration with Jenner sold out in mere minutes.


Industry sources expect that KKW will blow through the reported 300,000 units that were produced of her $48 Creme Contour & Highlight Kit in less than five minutes, amassing $14.4 million in sales. These estimates are proof that even with no prior experience at the helm of a beauty brand, Kardashian — as well as 19-year-old Jenner — wields a selling power that rivals behemoths in the space from L’Oréal and Estée Lauder to P&G, Coty and Unilever.

An expert at building buzz online, Kardashian started teasing the KKW Beauty line to her 101 million Instagram followers last week, leading up to the launch of kkwbeauty.com on June 21. A sneak peek at packaging, campaign images and even three videos with a flashing release date of the collection have garnered millions of views and likes so far — an early indication of the frenzy that’s sure to take place when the site goes live in two days.

Behind the scenes of the KKW Beauty campaign shoot. (KKW Beauty / WWD)

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is buying online men’s clothing retailer Bonobos for $310 million in cash, showing that its appetite for hip clothing brands shows no sign of abating as it looks for ways to gain on Amazon.com Inc.

It’s a sign of the aggressive direction Wal-Mart is taking since buying Jet.com last year and keeping that company’s founder as head of its online division. Wal-Mart has since bought clothing seller ModCloth, footwear retailer ShoeBuy.com and outdoor gear seller Moosejaw as it focuses on brands appealing to younger shoppers.

Bonobos, which started out selling pants online, caters to male shoppers looking for help putting together a wardrobe.

Targeting Bonobos is a good move for Wal-Mart as it tries to compete with Amazon, which has been quickly expanding its clothing business, Internet consultant Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodal said.

“If you roll up enough of these online startups, you create a meaningful share” of business, she said. She also said Wal-Mart can learn from millennial customers.

While Wal-Mart keeps trying to compete against Amazon by pushing harder into the online space, Amazon announced a bold move into bricks-and-mortar stores Friday by saying it would buy Whole Foods in a deal valued at about $13.7 billion.

The Bonobos deal, announced Friday, is expected to close at the end of the second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter of this fiscal year. Bonobos Chief Executive and founder Andy Dunn will report to Marc Lore, the CEO of Wal-Mart’s U.S. online operations.

“Adding innovators like Andy will continue to help us shape the future of Wal-Mart,” Lore said. “They’ve created an amazing product and customer experience, and that will not change.”

Bonobos sought to reassure customers that the deal wouldn’t hurt its brand. “Everything from our product quality, to design, to our customer service will stay the same,” it said on Twitter.

Bonobos started online but, like many similar startups, has also opened some showrooms. Customers at the Guideshops can try on pants, shirts, ties, belts and jackets with suggestions from stylists. They can order online at the store and have their clothes delivered to their homes or offices a few days later.

The company operates more than 30 stores in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Atlanta, and it has planned to have 100 by 2020. The acquisition by Wal-Mart will help Bonobos expand its business.

Still, Mulpuru-Kodal said, it is a bit of “a game of Monopoly.”

“Wal-Mart has huge coffers. Even if one of them shows promise, it pays for the rest,” she said.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart’s online business is gaining momentum but remains a distant second to Amazon. It increased 63% in the fiscal first quarter, up from 29% growth in the previous period. That marked the fourth straight quarter of gains.

Under Lore’s direction, Wal-Mart also has been working to accelerate the integration between Walmart.com and Jet.com, and trying to take advantage of its scale in areas such as shipping and sharing its products. Wal-Mart also is starting to offer discounts on thousands of online-only items when customers elect to have them shipped to one of the company’s stores for pickup rather than shipped to their homes.

Wal-Mart is also launching an incubator lab focused on projects in robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence as it aims to compete more aggressively with Amazon.

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When U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities stopped an SUV that eluded a checkpoint inspection this week in Temecula, they got a $1.5-million surprise.

In the rear cargo area of the 2000 Infinity QX4 was about 101 pounds of cocaine hidden in a speaker box and a plastic container, officials said.

The suspected smuggler, a 46-year-old man who authorities did not identify, was arrested on narcotics charges.

According to Border Patrol officials, the man stopped at a checkpoint on Interstate 15 about 8 a.m. Tuesday. When he was asked to head toward a second checkpoint, he sped away.

A brief pursuit led agents into a residential neighborhood, where the man exited the SUV and ran away.

When agents caught up to him, one used a Taser on the suspect and arrested him, according to the Border Patrol.

Agents later searched the vehicle and found the 37 bundles of cocaine, officials said. The vehicle and its contests were seized by the Border Patrol.


Twitter: VeronicaRochaLA

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A man in Central California discovered that the Anti-Piracy Warning Seal and message that plays before every Hollywood movie is not just for show.

Just eight days after the February 2016 release of the Marvel film “Deadpool,” federal authorities said Trevon Maurice Franklin illegally uploaded it to Facebook, allowing more than 5 million people to watch it for free.

It did not take long for the FBI to notice.

On Tuesday, federal authorities arrested the 21-year-old Fresno man, charging him with copyright infringement, according to a U.S. District Court grand jury indictment.

The felony offense carries a sentence of up to three years in federal prison, the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles said.

Federal authorities said Franklin illegally uploaded the action flick starring actor Ryan Reynolds and posted it on his Facebook page using the screen name “Tre-Von M. King.”

He is accused of reproducing and distributing at least 10 copies of “Deadpool,” the indictment said.

Federal authorities estimated the total retail value of the copies was $2,500.


Twitter: VeronicaRochaLA

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From onstage at the Blue Diamond Gala, a benefit for the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine took a break to describe the day he first “experienced the power of the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

He then recalled that as a 9-year-old Oakland Athletics fan, he accompanied his grandfather to the first game of the 1988 World Series, all decked out in A’s attire, expecting the Oakland team to win.

“Then what happened was … one of the best moments in sports history — the unthinkable, the craziest thing happened,” Levine said. “Kirk Gibson hit that home run, and though my dreams were temporarily crushed … this place was so loud … I couldn’t help but understand and appreciate the entire legacy that had gone on here.”

Levine said he decided at that moment, “I’m going to stick with the Dodgers from now.”

The event

Earth, Wind & Fire performs during the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala 2017 at Dodgers Stadium on Thursday in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss / Invision for Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation)

Featuring hour-long sets by two Grammy Award-winning bands, Maroon 5 and Earth, Wind & Fire, the June 8 gala began with a festive cocktail party and dinner buffet beneath a tent at Dodger Stadium.

Although an intimate affair for a concert, at which guests enjoyed the show from plush sofas and small seating sections on the baseball field, the gala raised an impressive $1.5 million.

The program

Mackenzie Hancsicsak, left, Parker Bates and Lonnie Chavis arrive at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala 2017 at Dodgers Stadium on Thursday in Los Angeles.
Mackenzie Hancsicsak, left, Parker Bates and Lonnie Chavis arrive at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala 2017 at Dodgers Stadium on Thursday in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss / Invision for Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation)

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, host Kevin Frazier of “Entertainment Tonight” and team chairman Mark Walter took turns at the podium, with Walter thanking the bands, event chairs and players, “who gave up one of their very rare nights off at home during the summer for being here tonight.”

A short live auction then offered guests a chance to travel with the team to San Francisco, enjoy owner’s perks at Dodger Stadium or play softball on the field. The lots surpassed the goal of $100,000 to build the 48th Dodger Dreamfields program in underserved communities in the greater Los Angeles area.

The crowd

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Mark Walter, from left, Ariel Winter, Eric Stonestreet and Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boehly attend the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala 2017 at Dodgers Stadium.
Los Angeles Dodgers owner Mark Walter, from left, Ariel Winter, Eric Stonestreet and Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boehly attend the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala 2017 at Dodgers Stadium. (Jordan Strauss / Invision for Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation)

Celebrities Ariel Winter, Eric Stonestreet, Mackenzie Hancsicsak, Parker Bates, Lonnie Chavis, Vanessa Grimaldi, Nick Viall, Haley Joel Osment, Heather Morris, Loretta Devine, and TV personalities Mario Lopez, Alfonso Ribeiro and Larry King as well as Prince Jackson joined Dodgers players Clayton Kershaw, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner, Logan Forsythe, Corey Seager, Josh Fields and others, along with Orel Hershiser, Steve Garvey and more.

The conversations

Betsy Gonzalez, left, and Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez arrive at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala 2017.
Betsy Gonzalez, left, and Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez arrive at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala 2017. (Jordan Strauss / Invision for Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation)

Chatting with us on arrival, Devine said she and husband Glen Marshall attend most of the Dodgers’ home games. “The Dodgers are all here tonight in suits. So that’s going to be something exciting to see,” she added.

On asking Osment, a self-described “huge Dodger fan,” about his iconic “I see dead people” line in “The Sixth Sense,” he told us, “It’s amazing how long a life that line has had. One of the most bizarre things happened last year when the Dodgers did movie quotes on the big screen. Yasiel Puig said the line. That was a pretty cool moment.”

The numbers

Yasiel Puig, left, and Andrea de la Torre at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala 2017.
Yasiel Puig, left, and Andrea de la Torre at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala 2017. (Richard Shotwell / Invision for Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation)

With tickets beginning at $1,000 and sponsorship packages ranging up to $100,000, the gala attracted 1,500 guests to raise funds, which will go toward expansion of the foundation’s Dreamfields and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities programs.

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Ellen Olivier is the founder of Society News LA.


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A single winning Powerball ticket matching all six numbers has been sold in Sun City, Calif., and will claim an estimated $447.8 million jackpot.

The lucky numbers drawn Saturday night that will claim the 10th largest lottery prize in U.S. history are 20-26-32-38-58, and the Powerball number is 3.

According to the California Lottery website, the winning ticket was sold at the Marietta Liquor and Deli on Bradley Road in Sun City, southeast of Riverside.

It costs $2 for a Powerball ticket and a chance to dream of instant riches, but the odds of winning are incredibly small, at one in 292.2 million.

The jackpot grew so large because no one had matched all the numbers since April 1.

The estimated prize is based on a winner choosing an annuity, which pays off over 29 years.

Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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Former FBI Director James Comey’s highly anticipated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was watched by an estimated 20 million television viewers on Thursday, according to Nielsen data provided by the networks.

The figure for the hearing, touted as “Washington’s Super Bowl,” includes viewers across all ad-supported broadcast and cable networks that carried it from 10 a.m. to around 1 p.m. Eastern time. It does not count people who watched at viewing parties at bars and restaurants or through online streaming on computers and digital devices.

Nielsen will release an official total later Friday.

Cable news networks CNN, Fox News and MSNBC typically broadcast congressional hearings. But Comey’s session — in which he called President Trump a liar — was a bona fide major media spectacle and received live coverage across the four major broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

The broadcast network carriage boosted the ratings for the hearing, but its weekday morning airtime limited the size of the audience available to watch on TV.

There is no official total for online viewing, as many outlets don’t disclose their streaming numbers. CNN said its online audience peaked at 11:35 a.m. Eastern, with 767,000 simultaneous users watching its coverage, an indication that it was a significant audience across all available streams. CNN said there were 3.9 million “starts” to its online stream of the testimony.

The last major news event carried across both broadcast and cable networks was the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Trump, which had an average audience of 30.6 million TV viewers.

Thursday’s testimony made for some dramatic television. Those who tuned saw Comey tell the committee that Trump tried to impede an FBI probe into his fired national security advisor Michael Flynn’s contacts with a Russian ambassador during the new administration’s transition. Comey, who was dismissed by Trump on May 9, also accused the president and his administration of lying about him and defaming the FBI.

Comey’s testimony raised the possibility that Trump could be investigated for obstruction of justice.

ABC had the largest audience, with 3.295 million viewers, followed by CBS (3.286 million viewers), Fox News (3.096 million), CNN (3.049 million), NBC (2.73 million), MSNBC (2.719 million), Fox Business Network (210,000) and CNBC (164,000). The hearing was also carried by PBS and was offered to Fox broadcast affiliates, which had the option to air it. Ratings for those outlets were not available.


Twitter: @SteveBattaglio


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Something wasn’t right when John Berry drove up unannounced to his family’s home one day two summers ago. He’d been fired from his job at a pizza parlor and had been getting little sleep — not a healthy scenario for someone diagnosed with schizophrenia who appeared to be off his medication.

So when Berry’s brother, a sworn law enforcement officer, called the local Los Angeles County sheriff’s station in Lakewood, he requested a mental evaluation team to try to calm Berry down and transport him to medical care.

Instead, after deputies responded to the call about an “insane person” on the residential street where Berry was parked on July 6, 2015, a struggle ensued. Berry was shot 18 times and killed by deputies, according to a memorandum by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

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