Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Toys ‘R’ Us Agrees to Settlement in Price-Overcharge Case

Retail chain Toys R Us agreed to pay about $178,700 to resolve a consumer case involving purported overcharges to customers at the company’s stores in California, including Los Angeles County, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige approved the settlement payment, under which the Delaware-based corporation did not admit any wrongdoing. The settlement resolves a complaint by Los Angeles and San Diego county prosecutors alleging pricing errors at checkstands at the corporation’s toy stores and Babies R Us outlets.

Pricing inspections conducted by county and state agencies between late 2009 and mid-2012 revealed a pattern of inaccuracies in prices charged at many Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores in California, including some of the 10 in the San Diego area and 30 in Los Angeles County, according to the plaintiffs.

The checks found overcharges in 5 percent of a survey of about 4,200 purchases, court documents stated. Higher percentage errors were found in selected areas and stores, despite a pricing-compliance program that Toys R Us had implemented.

Under the terms of the settlement, Toys R Us-Delaware Inc. is enjoined to fully comply with California’s pricing-accuracy and false-advertising laws, and must implement an additional internal compliance program with annual reporting to the Los Angeles County and San Diego County district attorneys’ offices.

The corporation also agreed to pay agency investigative costs of $28,730 and civil penalties totaling $150,000, to be divided equally between the two prosecuting counties.

Teen arrested for allegedly stealing part from Walker crash

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A Los Angeles teenager has been arrested and a second plans to turn himself in after allegedly stealing some parts from the Porsche that  “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker was in when he died in a crash, authorities said.

The two men allegedly stole wreckage from the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT as it was being towed away from the scene Saturday night after the crash, Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker told the Los Angeles Times.

The investigation led detectives to Jameson Witty, 18, who was arrested at his home in Los Angeles and was being held on $20,000 bail, the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.  A second suspect, a 25-year-old man whose name has not been released, was outside California and arranging to surrender, according to the statement.

“A witness saw a male exit a vehicle that was following the tow truck. The male grabbed a piece of the wrecked Porsche off the tow truck bed. The male drove away with the stolen vehicle part,” the statement said.

Detectives identified the two suspects, and while serving a search warrant at a home in Canyon Country, a community north of Los Angeles, they found a red T-top roof panel from the Porsche, sheriff’s officials said. They would not say what led them to the two men or what evidence they had against them.

Sheriff’s detectives planned to meet with prosecutors to discuss charges.

It wasn’t clear if Witty has an attorney, and no phone listings for family or associates could be found.

An Instagram account with the profile name “Jameson Witty” shows a picture of what appears to be a car part with the caption, “Piece of Paul walkers car, took it off a tow truck at a stop light,” TMZ.com reported.

Walker, who starred in all but one of the six “Fast & Furious” blockbuster films that glorified fast cars and dangerous driving, was killed when the Porsche smashed into a light pole and tree then caught fire on Saturday afternoon, authorities said. The seventh installment of the movie series was on a break from shooting for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The crash also killed friend Roger Rodas, who was driving the car. Sheriff’s investigators are still trying to determine what caused Rodas to careen out of control.

2015 Ford Mustang officially unveiled

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America’s first pony car — the Ford Mustang — is celebrating its 50th birthday with a swoon-worthy new design and plans to go global.

Ford Motor Co. was to reveal the 2015 Mustang Thursday morning at events in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona and its hometown of Dearborn. It goes on sale next fall in North America and will arrive later in Europe and Asia.

The Mustang isn’t anywhere near Ford’s best-seller — Ford sells more pickups in a week than it does Mustangs in a month. But Ford says the Mustang has the highest name recognition and highest favorable opinion of any car in its lineup. And car companies count on beautiful sports cars to cast a glow over the rest of their offerings.

“It’s an emotional connection to the rest of the brand,” said Jacques Brent, group marketing manager for large cars and SUVs.

As for sales, Ford will be happy if Mustang can become the top selling pony car in the U.S. The Chevrolet Camaro, which followed the Mustang to market in 1966 and was last redesigned in 2009, has outsold the Mustang for the last three years and is on track to do it again this year, according to Kelley Blue Book.

The Mustang’s first full redesign since 2005 presented Ford with a tough task: Update and freshen an icon without alienating its passionate fans. More than 9 million Mustangs have been sold since 1964, and the car has hundreds of fan clubs, including one solely for owners of yellow Mustangs. Farrah Fawcett drove a white one in “Charlie’s Angels;” Steve McQueen raced a dark green one through the streets of San Francisco in 1968’s “Bullitt.”

The result is a new car with plenty of cues from the old. The long hood and sloping fastback are still there, as is the trapezoid-shaped grille with the Mustang logo from the original. But the new car sits lower and wider, and the roof tapers dramatically in the front and back. The signature rounded headlights are smaller and sit back under a fierce, chiseled brow, while the traditional three-bar taillights are now three-dimensional and tucked beneath the rear deck lid.

The Michigan-made car is currently sold overseas, but this is the first time it has been engineered to meet various international safety and emissions standards. A right-hand-drive version is being offered for the first time, for the United Kingdom and Australia, and Ford will market the car more heavily overseas.

Chief engineer Dave Pericak said that while the design meets international needs, it wasn’t influenced by them.

“We did not design a global Mustang. We designed a Mustang and took it global,” Pericak said.

Even with Ford’s push, overseas sales will likely be modest, said Stephanie Brinley, an auto analyst with the consulting company IHS. IHS forecasts European Mustang sales will triple from current levels to around 2,500 in 2015, while sales in China will likely remain low because two-door coupes aren’t popular there.

Coupes, in fact, make up less than 1 percent of sales annually across the globe, Brinley said. But they’re still an important car for automakers to have.

“It’s an aspirational body style. It signals a sporty drive and a sexier product,” she said.

Drivers will have three engines to choose from: updated versions of the current 3.7-liter V6, which gets a projected 300 horsepower, and 5.0-liter V8, with 420 horsepower, as well as a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that gets a projected 305 horsepower. Ford will also offer updated six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Final numbers for horsepower and fuel economy will be released later.

The car sits on the Mustang’s first independent rear suspension, which should improve handling because it lets the wheels operate independently.

Inside, new options include blind-spot detection and toggle switches that adjust the steering, stability control and other settings depending on the road conditions. The interior also has nicer materials, with brushed aluminum replacing painted plastics.

Ford isn’t saying how much the new Mustang will cost, but the current one starts around $23,000. A convertible version will also be offered.