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Father, son held in sex crimes

Covina police say the pair lured a 14-year-old girl to their apartment and molested her for seven days. Neighbors heard her screams.

March 10, 2007|Richard Winton and Tony Barboza | Times Staff Writers

A Covina man and his 28-year-old son were charged with multiple felonies Friday for allegedly luring a 14-year-old girl on a telephone party line and sexually molesting her for a week at their apartment.

"This is a disgusting and horrible crime," said Covina Police Lt. Scott Pierson, who is overseeing the investigation. He added that there may have been other victims who have not come forward.

The two men were arrested Wednesday. Authorities allege that the son, Thomas Alan Hinds Jr., met the girl on a telephone service popular with local teenagers and then lured her to the home with the help of Thomas Alan Hinds Sr., 50.

"What she didn't know was that Mr. Hinds Sr. was listening in too," Pierson said.

After she agreed to meet the younger Hinds on March 1, the father allegedly drove to Long Beach and picked her up away from her house to avoid detection.

Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said the men molested the girl for seven days at their apartment in a two-story brick and stucco complex on West San Bernardino Road.

Her family reported her missing the night she disappeared, but there was little for police to go on.

"At some point she tried to leave and then they threatened her with a pellet gun that resembles a real gun," Pierson said.

Then men did allow her to call her grandmother to tell her she was OK. The grandmother had caller ID, determined that the prefix of the number placed it in Covina and called the police. Detectives traced the number to the Hinds' apartment and arrested the two men.

Upstairs neighbors Xochitl Medina, 31, and Eyal Beckerman, 28, said they heard a young girl screaming "Help me! Help me, please!" about 1 a.m. Wednesday. But the couple thought the screams were coming from the street.

"Since only two men lived downstairs we didn't think it could be coming from their apartment," Medina said.

The couple described the two men as heavy-set and recall the younger Hinds sitting outside the ground-floor apartment in his underwear smoking cigarettes or talking on his cellphone. Beckerman said he recently saw the younger Hinds kissing a girl outside the apartment.

Records show Hinds Jr. was arrested by Glendora police last fall and charged in November with misdemeanor reporting a false emergency to authorities. The case is pending.

The men are each charged with three counts of oral copulation of a person under 16 and unlawful sexual intercourse, along with five counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object.

The elder Hinds also is charged with two counts of committing a lewd act upon a child and another count of oral copulation.

They appeared Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, but agreed to postpone their arraignments until March 28.

The two men are being held at the L.A. County Jail in lieu of $915,000 bail for the father and $800,000 for the son.

Detectives said they found evidence in the apartment suggesting there might be other victims.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Covina Police Department at (626) 858-4477.

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