Sacto 9-1-1
August 29, 2008
Driver sought in fatal hit-and-run in Fair Oaks

From David Richie:

The California Highway Patrol is seeking the driver of a vehicle involved in a fatal hit-and-run collision Sunday night at the intersection of Madison Avenue and Lincoln Oaks Drive in Fair Oaks.

The incident occurred about 8:35 p.m. as Michael Winnett, 46, of Citrus Heights, rode his 2006 Kawasaki Vulcan westbound on Madison Avenue. An as-yet unidentified driver in a 1991 Hyundai Elantra pulled out to make a left-hand turn on to Madison Avenue and evidently failed to see the approaching motorcycle, said Officer Lizz Dutton, CHP spokeswoman.

The Hyundai struck the motorcycle and Winnett was thrown about 30 feet. At that point the driver of the Hyundai jumped out of the vehicle and ran from the scene, Dutton said.

Winnett was wearing a helmet but suffered extensive injuries. He was transported by ambulance to Mercy San Juan Medical Center, Carmichael, where he died approximately 26 hours after the collision.

CHP investigators would like to talk to anybody who witnessed the collision or saw the driver of the Hyundai fleeing the scene. Witnesses can call the CHP North Area office at (916) 338-6710.

August 29, 2008
Five arrested in alleged illegal prescription drug ring

From the Associated Press:

Five suspects were arrested Friday as part of a federal investigation into an illegal prescription drug ring involving civilian workers at the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong.

The arrests were the culmination of a lengthy investigation by the Lassen County Narcotics Task Force, the FBI, the ATF and the Sierra Army Depot, where three of the suspects were working and a fourth formally worked, the FBI said.

A Susanville couple, Jim Adams, 48, and Tricia Adams, 39, allegedly were at the center of the ring, the FBI said. They have been charged federally with the illegal sale of Schedule II prescription narcotics consisting primarily of Oxycontin, Percocet and Hydrocodone.

Undercover agents made several purchases of the drugs directly from Jim Adams, a former employee of the depot, the FBI said in a statement from its Sacramento bureau. The charges accuse Tricia Adams of serving as the main supplier of the drugs while continuing to work at the depot, where munitions and military equipment have been stored since 1942.

Also arrested were Jacob Lahr, 25, of Doyle, and Markey Walker, 29, and Jerry Goodman, 41, both of Susanville. They face unspecified state charges, the FBI said.

Investigators and police officers from the Sierra Army Depot initially brought the case to the attention of federal authorities after determining that a drug ring was being operated by base employees. Lahr and Walker also work at the base.

Officers from the California Highway Patrol, Plumas County Sheriff's Office, Susanville Police Department and Lassen Interagency SWAT team were among a total of 75 who also assisted in serving seven search warrants in connection with the arrests.

August 29, 2008
Seven shoplifting suspects arrested in two days in Roseville

From Art Campos:

Shoplifting suspects picked the wrong Target over the weekend.

Roseville police said they arrested seven people in two shoplifting incidents at the Target store at 10451 Fairway Drive.

At 5:22 p.m. Saturday, store security contacted police to report a group of young people taking items from the electronics department, said Dee Dee Gunther, a police spokeswoman.

Police intercepted the suspects in the parking lot, finding the stolen property on them, Gunther said.

Arrested on suspicion of burglary and conspiracy were Jonathan Andrew Santellano, 20, of Rocklin, Steven Matthew McDaniel, 18, of Salinas and three younger teenagers. They included a girl, 17, from South Lake Tahoe, and a boy, 17, and girl, 14, from Brentwood.

At 6:45 p.m. the next day, police were called to the same store and arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of cutting open packages in the electronics department and taking the items.

Booked on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy and possession of burglar's tools were Michael Davis Scott, 43, of Sacramento and Sherry Lynn Edadiaz, 37, of Auburn.

The two also were wanted on various arrest warrants from Placer and Sacramento counties, Gunther said.

August 29, 2008
Drunken driving scrutiny increases statewide for the holiday

From Niesha Lofing:

Law enforcement agencies throughout the region and state will be on the lookout for drunken drivers during the Labor Day weekend.

Several agencies are planning sobriety checkpoints, and the California Highway Patrol will place 80 percent of its officers on the road over three-day weekend.

The stepped-up enforcement follows an announcement that traffic deaths in California fell to their lowest level in history last year, as reported in Tony Bizjak's story in today's Bee.

Elk Grove police will set up a drunken driving and driver's license checkpoint at 8 o'clock tonight.

Officers will check for impaired and unlicensed drivers, and will distribute educational materials detailing the dangers of drunken driving, police Officer Christopher Trim said.

The checkpoint is funded through a selective Traffic Enforcement Program grant by the state Office of Traffic Safety.

Residents also are encouraged to call police at (916) 714-5111 or 911 if they observe impaired motorists on the roadways.

The Avoid the Eight DUI Enforcement Task Force will conduct a sobriety checkpoint from 9 o'clock tonight to 3 a.m. Saturday in the area of Richards Boulevard at Olive Drive, a news release states.

Participating agencies include the CHP, Yolo County Sheriff's Department, Yolo County Probation Department and the Davis, West Sacramento, Winters, Woodland and UC Davis police departments.

The program is funded through a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Motorists also may noticed an increased CHP presence from 6 p.m. today through midnight Monday throughout the state.

Officers will be looking for motorists who are speeding, driving while intoxicated and not wearing seat belts - the three major causes of highway deaths, according to a CHP news release.

Labor Day weekend is one of the CHP's six "maximum enforcement periods," the release states.

The worst Labor Day weekend death toll was in 1980, when 81 people were killed on California roadways. Last year, 49 people were killed over Labor Day weekend. If fatalities kept pace with population growth, there would have been between 150 to 160 deaths last year, the CHP reports.

The CHP also will emphasize patrols on Interstates 5, 15 and 80 this weekend, as part of the department's Operation CARE - Combined Accident Reduction Effort - program.

August 29, 2008
Gang member's sentencing delayed in murder trial

From Andy Furillo:

A judge today delayed sentencing on a gang member convicted of second-degree murder in the December 2006 slaying of an Elk Grove man in front of the victim's house.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet continued the sentencing of Manuel Cervin to Nov. 7 on a motion filed by the defendant's new lawyer, John Feiner.

Feiner said he intends to file a motion for a new trial based on what he viewed as the insufficiency of the evidence the jury used to convict the 25-year-old Cervin.

Cervin was convicted July 31 in the shooting death of Marc Grimes, 21.

Grimes was shot and killed following a traffic dispute with Cervin, who was driving a car with three passengers at the time of the 11:45 p.m. slaying.

According to evidence at the trial, Cervin, following the traffic incident, positioned his car in a manner that blocked a vehicle that was being driven by Grimes' girlfriend. Cervin then rolled down his driver's side window and exchanged words with Grimes. Another passenger in the car then fired a gun that killed Grimes, who was about to leave town to attend Navy boot camp.

August 29, 2008
Crime Alert: Man wanted on suspicion of grand theft, battery

martin082508s.jpgSacramento County Sheriff's Department detectives are seeking Jerome Richard Martin, left, on three felony no-bail arrest warrants -- one for grand theft and two for battery against a person with a previous dating relationship, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Martin has described as 21 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall weighing 135 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

He was last known to live in the 7200 block of Amherst Street in the Meadowview area of Sacramento, officials said.

Anyone with information about Martin is urged to contact Crime Alert at (800) AA-CRIME or (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and maybe eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 29, 2008
Sacramento police arrest five suspected of BB/pellet gun attacks

From Chelsea Phua and Niesha Lofing:

Two men and three teenage boys were arrested late Thursday after allegedly shooting BB guns at more than a dozen people in Sacramento.

Police officers spotted the vehicle associated with the shootings at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot of Raley's on Mack Road, said Sacramento police Lt. Kathy Lester.

The officers conducted a probation search and found three BB guns in the vehicle, she said.

Kulpreet Singh, 20, and Clarence Watts, 19, were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon with likelihood of great bodily harm and conspiracy with two or more people to commit crime. They both are being held on $130,000 bail in Sacramento County Main Jail and are scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to online jail information.

Three 17-year-old boys also were taken into custody. One of the teenagers has a gang affiliation, Lester said. They are not being identified because they are minors.

The group allegedly shot the BBs at people who were walking or waiting at bus stops in several locations.

The first incident was reported at 7:30 p.m. in the 6600 block of Folsom Boulevard, police said. Other shooting locations included north and downtown Sacramento.

About 13 people were hit by BBs, Lester said.

Some of the victims were treated for minor injuries.

August 29, 2008
Search for stolen motorcycle leads to arrest in El Dorado Hills

08J08946.JPGFrom David Richie:

A Ducati motorcycle valued at $15,000 to $20,000 has been recovered by El Dorado County sheriff's investigators after an alleged burglary at a home in the 3800 block of Silkwood Place just west of Silva Valley Parkway in El Dorado Hills.

Deputies were called about 7:30 a.m. Monday by a resident who told them that someone had gained entry to his locked garage. The motorcycle was missing along with motorcycle gear and some electronics, including a projector, said Sgt. Bryan Golmitz, El Dorado County sheriff's spokesman.

The resident suggested that deputies talk to a neighbor on nearby Falkirk Way who had shown a lot of interest in the bike.

Deputies went to that address and contacted Shawn Paul Hunter, 31 (top left photo). During a consent search of the home, they found the projector that had been reported missing from the garage on Silkwood Place. Hunter was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property, Golmitz said.

Detectives then obtained a search warrant for the home on Falkirk Way and found other items during a more extensive search. They also developed information that Wednesday night led them to Folsom, where they recovered the Ducati motorcycle, Golmitz said.

Hunter remains in El Dorado County Jail on charges of suspicion of first-degree burglary and receiving stolen property. A vehicle theft charge is pending but has not yet been filed. Bail for the two felony theft counts has been set at $275,000 each.

August 29, 2008
Life sentence possible for Sacramento crack dealer

From Niesha Lofing:

A Sacramento man could be sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to his fifth drug crime.

David Brown Jr., 28, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, a news release from U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott's office states.

Brown was arrested in January after Sacramento Problem Oriented Policing officers assigned to Oak Park spotted him at Eighth Avenue and San Jose Way.

Brown, known to police as a drug felon, parolee and neighborhood drug dealer, spotted the officers, threw down a bag containing more than 40 grams of crack cocaine before being arrested, prosecutors said.

Brown faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison.

Brown is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. Nov. 6.

August 28, 2008
33 indicted in 3 dope-peddling operations

From Denny Walsh:

Federal and local authorities said Thursday they have broken the backs of three dope peddling organizations with five grand jury indictments naming 33 people in the distribution of methamphetamine, ecstasy and marijuana throughout the Central Valley, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Alaska.

"This string of indictments strikes a serious blow to major methamphetamine trafficking in the Sacramento region and beyond," said U. S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

Investigators seized more than four pounds of methamphetamines, 13,000 ecstasy pills, 1,350 marijuana plants, more than $75,000 in cash, body armor and 11 firearms, including a Tech-9 machine pistol.

The amount of meth and number of pot plants hikes the maximum sentence upon conviction to life without parole and a 10-year mandatory minimum.

The charges culminate an extensive investigation by the Sacramento High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, a specialized and federally-funded team comprised of Sacramento County sheriff's deputies, agents from the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Sacramento and Folsom police officers, and Sacramento County Probation Department agents.

The task force worked the cases with the assistance of meth enforcement, gang suppression and SWAT units from the Sheriff's Department, and drug investigators in Milwaukee, Anchorage, Illinois, and the counties of Yuba, Sutter, Nevada and Placer.

"This operation was an excellent example of how the use of narcotics task forces and inter-agency cooperation can be an effective tool in taking down major drug rings," said Sacramento County Sheriff's Capt. Elizabeth Kelly.

Charged in the five indictments are 18 people from Sacramento: Jorge Reyes, 29; Adam Reyes, 37; Juan Alvarez, 30; David Navarro, 37; Majeid Bajmanlo, 28; Steven Lopez, 37; Juan Rizo, 29; Thomas Garcia, 33; Sarah Lancaster, 29; Ashley Rymer, 23; Victor Ceja, 22; Khamsou Sida, 30; Keoudone Phaouthoum, 36; Koutkeo Thi, 32; Zi Lei, 38; De Yang, 24; Komalla Xayadeth, 36, and Loretta Canham, 45.

Five people from Elk Grove are charged: Ruben Olsen, 30; John Li, 36; Son Nguyen, 38; Thanh Nguyen, 33, and Ting Thavisak, 35.

Also charged are Bounthavee Nerasin, 43; Pamouane Pan Phonephackdy, 33; and Vy You, 31, from Michigan; David Forkner, 38; and Steven Talbot, 47, from Nevada County; Juan Abarca-Catalan, 40; and Tuy Nguyen, 23, from Vallejo; Philip Garcia, 29, from West Sacramento; Michael Joseph, 30, from Marysville, and Joshua Like, 20, from Anchorage.

August 28, 2008
Numerous suspects sought in Cameron Park home robbery

From David Richie:

El Dorado County sheriff's deputies are looking for numerous suspects involved in a home-invasion robbery Sunday when a Cameron Park resident was pistol-whipped.

Sheriff's 911 operators received a call about 11:50 p.m. from a home in the 2500 block of Country Club Drive indicating a burglary in progress.

When deputies arrived, they were told that at least three and possibly as many as 10 armed men wearing bandanas over their faces had stormed the house. Two residents, a man and his girlfriend, were in the home. The woman escaped out a back door or window and got to a neighbor's house to call 911, said Sgt. Bryan Golmitz, El Dorado County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

At the same time, the man of the house was confronted by several suspects and pistol-whipped. About $1,000 was taken out of his wallet. Investigators are still trying to determine if anything else was stolen.

No suspect descriptions were available.

August 28, 2008
Citizens' patrol keeps eye out for trouble in River Park

LS CY NIGHT PATROL 3.JPG

Jeff Harris, left, and Billy Martinez report suspicious activity police as part of the River Park Neighborhood Watch night patrol.

Photo by Lezlie Sterling/
sterling@sacbee.com


Members of the River Park Neighborhood Watch night patrol has a message for would-be scofflaws: Don't engage in suspicious acts in their neighborhood.

As reported by The Bee's Edgar Sanchez in today's Sacramento regional edition, the patrol is an "extension" of the River Park Neighborhood Watch. It has about 30 men and women who take turns driving through the neighborhood at night.

"Our neighborhood is not a high-crime area, and we want to keep it that way." said Jeff Harris, a patrol member.

Here is Sanchez's full story.

August 28, 2008
Rancho Cordova cops hunt for brazen armed robber

From Stan Oklobdzija:

Rancho Cordova Police officials are hunting for a brazen robber who attempted three hold-ups on Monday within the span of 15 minutes.

According to sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran, the man started his spree around 9:39 a.m. at an auto parts store on the 10800 block of Folsom Blvd.

Armed with a black semi-automatic pistol, he held up a clerk at the store and made off with the money in the register, Curran said.

Not satisfied, apparently, he crossed the street into the parking lot of a liquor store and held up a customer, Curran said.

Shortly after, the man attempted to rob another person in a parking lot on the 3300 block of Quality Drive, about a mile away from the first two robberies, Curran said.

The man, described as an African American in his 20s standing about 5-feet 7-inches and weighing between 180 and 200 pounds, Curran said. The suspect is clean-shaven, has short black hair and was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans or shorts.

He was last seen driving a mid-90s four-door green Honda or Hyundai, Curran said.

Anyone with information is urged to call (916) 874-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP.

August 28, 2008
Public Safety Watch roundup for Sacramento region

The Bee's Regional editions publish Public Safety Watch stories each Thursday. Here's a roundup of those stories and Police/Fire Logs, as compiled by Bee reporters:

Sacramento/North Sacramento/south Sacramento:
Correctional officer arrested on obstruction charge
Police/Fire Log

Arden/Carmichael:
Ring 'buyers' rob Carmichael man
Police/Fire Log

Elk Grove/Laguna:
Elk Grove motorcycle officers place in skills test
Police/Fire Log

Citrus Heights/Orangevale/Fair Oaks:
Two battle for booze in Citrus Heights
Police/Fire Log

Folsom:
Police/Fire Log

Rancho Cordova/Gold River:
Police/Fire Log

El Dorado County:
Unlocked doors aid burglars in El Dorado Hills

South Placer:
'Bathroom Bandit' steals restroom pipes
Police/Fire Log

August 28, 2008
DUI court date set for El Dorado County supervisor

baumann911.JPGFrom David Richie:

El Dorado County Supervisor Helen Baumann is scheduled for a court hearing 10 a.m. Oct. 24 to fight a drunken driving charge filed against her by the El Dorado County District Attorney's office.

Baumann, left, did not attend her arraignment Tuesday in El Dorado County Superior Court but her attorney, Donald Simonds, appeared on Baumann's behalf and entered a not guilty plea.

Reached by telephone Wednesday at his El Dorado Hills office, Simonds said the Oct. 24 date will be a pretrial conference. He declined to make any further comment, indicating that his is still in the "discovery" phase of the case and it is much too early to talk about it.

The charges against Baumann, 56, stem from an incident on the night of June 6 when she allegedly lost control of her car on Latrobe Road, crashed through a barbed wire fence and rolled down an embankment. California Highway Patrol officers stated that she then apparently drove back up the embankment, crossed the road and hit another embankment.

Because of medical concerns, Baumann was transported to Mercy Hospital, Folsom, where she was treated and released without being booked into El Dorado County Jail.

Earlier The Bee reported that her blood-alcohol level registered over the legal limit of 0.08, but the California Highway Patrol, which investigated the accident, did not release Baumann's exact blood-alcohol level.

She issued this statement about a week after the accident that said: "While there remain many unanswered questions, and my attorney has advised me not to comment, I am extremely concerned and want to apologize for the strain and disruption the situation has caused our law enforcement and emergency services."

Baumann has reached her term limit after serving eight years on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors and she will leave office in January.

August 28, 2008
Crime Alert: Man sought for alleged assualt, firearm offenses

allenca.jpgSacramento Police Department felony assault detectives are seeking Antoine Dupree Allen, left, on a felony $35,000 bail arrest warrant for suspicion of assault with deadly weapon or firearm and possession of a firearm by convicted felon, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Allen is described as 21 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

He was last known to live in the 4000 block of Sea Meadow Way in the Valley Hi area of Sacramento, officials said.

Anyone with information about Allen is urged to contact Crime Alert at (800) AA-CRIME or (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and maybe eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 28, 2008
Vehicle search in Rancho Cordova yields deputy's stolen gun

From Stan Oklobdzija:

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department has recovered a handgun stolen from one of their deputies in Rancho Cordova late last month.

On Aug. 20, deputies from the Rancho Cordova Police Department, which contracts personnel from the sheriff, were responding to a call about a man violating a domestic violence restraining order, according to sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran.

They found the man, Brent May, 31, at the Red Roof Inn on 10800 Olson Drive and stopped him while he was in his car, Curran said.

Deputies found May was on probation and searched his vehicle, Curran said. Inside, they found methamphetamine and a digital scale, along with several rounds of ammunition and three gun holsters, according to a sheriff's report. Upon further search, deputies found a .45 cal Sig Sauer handgun hidden in the wheel well of May's trunk, the report said.

The handgun was the one stolen from a sheriff's detective on July 30 while he was attending an FBI training class at a Rancho Cordova hotel, Curran said.

That deputy locked his gun, along with a sheriff's laptop in a car assigned to him by the FBI. When he returned from the class, he found both items stolen, along with a GPS device that belonged to him.

Curran said May has not admitted to stealing the detective's gun. The laptop, which Curran said didn't contain classified information, and the GPS device have not been recovered, Curran said.

Sheriff's investigators are still determining how May might have acquired the weapon, Curran said.

August 27, 2008
14-year-old arrested on suspicion of burglarizing Elk Grove house

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police arrested a 14-year-old boy Tuesday night on suspicion of burglarizing a home.

At 7:35 p.m., the boy and another boy entered a man's home through a front bedroom window in the 10000 block of Mosaic Way. They put items belonging to the man in a backpack and left, according to police.

The man confronted the boys, chasing after the 14-year-old. The 14-year-old, who was found by officers, was arrested on suspicion of burglary and conspiracy. The second boy wasn't found, police said.

August 27, 2008
Tip leads to arrests in Roseville burglary case

From Art Campos:

Roseville police are crediting a citizen's tip for helping them arrest two men on suspicion of burglarizing three businesses early Tuesday.

The citizen called police at 2:48 a.m. to report two men peering into the windows of the Radio Shack store at 920 Pleasant Grove Blvd., said police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther. The men left in a red sedan, the citizen told police.

Officers arrived to find the store had been broken into and ransacked, Gunther said.

Meanwhile, officers from the Roseville and Rocklin police departments, the Placer County Sheriff's Department and the California Highway Patrol also responded and stopped a car matching the description on Highway 65 near Galleria Boulevard, she said.

Two men in the car ran away and eluded officers, but two others were caught, Gunther said. Items taken in the Radio Shack burglary were recovered, she said.

The men also were suspected of having burglarized two other businesses that morning - Papa Murphy's Pizza at 9260 Sierra College Blvd. and Pizza Guys at 7451 Foothills Blvd., she said.

Booked on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy, evading a police officer and resisting arrest were Joe Kenneth Ornelas, 20, and Justin David Roina, 18, both of Rio Linda.

The other suspects are still being sought, Gunther said.

August 27, 2008
Fight, chase ends with suspect's arrest in Yolo County

From Niesha Lofing:

A man is in custody after assaulting a California Highway Patrol officer and leading authorities on a high-speed chase along Interstate 5 in Colusa and Yolo counties.

The pursuit ended when the suspect, whose identity has not been released by authorities, lost control of the motorcycle he was riding and crashed.

The incident began about 11 a.m. when a CHP officer responded to a report of a person panhandling and creating a disturbance at the Maxwell rest area on the northbound side of I-5, said CHP Sgt. Patrick Landreth.

The officer spoke to the man and found that he was wanted on a felony warrant out of Colusa County. Landreth said the suspect fought with the officer when he attempted to arrest him.

The suspect ran away then jumped aboard a motorcycle and rode onto northbound I-5. He crossed the median and headed south.

CHP officers pursued the man for about 20 minutes, exceeding 100 mph, Landreth said.

When the suspect tried to exit the freeway on the off ramp to County Road 8, he lost control of the bike and crashed, suffering minor injuries.

"He had some cuts and was complaining of back pain," Landreth said.

The man was transported to an area hospital. He likely will face charges of evading arrest and assaulting an officer, in addition to the felony charge contained in the warrant.

The CHP officer assaulted at the rest area was not hurt in the fight.

"I spoke with him, and he is fine," Landreth said.

August 27, 2008
Sacramento police identify suspects arrested in teen's killing

rodriguez dad.jpg

Rodriguezson.jpg

From Kim Minugh:

Sacramento police have identified the three suspects arrested Friday in connection with the Thursday night killing of 17-year-old Kevin Marice Marshall.

Cuauhtemos Rodriguez, 37, (top left photo) was arrested in Long Beach on Friday with his 19-year-old son, Agustin Rodriguez (top right photo), and another son, a 15-year-old boy, said Officer Konrad Von Schoech, a Sacramento police spokesman.

The 15-year-old son's name is being withheld because he is a juvenile. Police are not identifying which suspect was the gunman.

The three were taken into custody separately by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies. Von Schoech said the suspects fled to Long Beach because they have relatives in the Los Angeles area.

Marshall, a student at Vista Nueva Career & Technical High School, was shot to death Thursday night outside the River Garden Estates apartment complex on Northview Drive. Police say the fight stemmed from an exchange of "hard looks" between Marshall and the suspects.

A Vista Nueva administrator described Marshall as a model student with "a quick smile and a big heart." His former basketball coach said Marshall was a team player who helped build a squad from scratch..

August 27, 2008
Pocket-area residents warned about rash of home burglaries

From Sandy Louey:

Sacramento police are looking for two men believed to be responsible for three home burglaries that occurred last week in the Pocket area.

The residential burglaries occurred at night between Aug. 21 and Aug. 23 in the area of Rivergate Way and Rush River Drive.

The two burglaries Aug. 21 were in the 7200 block of Rush River Drive and the 600 block of Rivergate Way, with an attempted burglary Aug. 23 in the 600 block of Rivergate Way, according to a police bulletin.

The burglars entered the homes through unlocked windows or doors and took money, video games and car keys. The keys were used to steal a car from a driveway. The stolen car was later recovered, police said.

Both suspects are described as African American men, between age 18 and 21. One man is described as 5-foot-9 with short-shaved hair. He was wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants. The second man was about 6-foot-1 and was wearing a dark T-shirt and pants. He had an orange comb in his hair, police said.

Residents are being reminded to secure their doors and windows at night and to report any suspicious activity.

August 27, 2008
Lincoln police arrest three suspected graffiti vandals

From Art Campos:

Three young teenagers were arrested Monday by police in Lincoln for allegedly writing a large amount of graffiti on a sound wall in the 100 block of South O Street.

Police said a citizen's tip led to the apprehension of a 13-year-old boy and two 14-year-old boys, all Lincoln residents.

Lt. Terry Kennedy said in a news release that the graffiti appeared to be gang-related writing.

The boys were booked into the Placer County Juvenile Detention Center in Auburn on suspicion of felony vandalism, conspiracy and possession of illegal weapons, as cans of spray paint are considered in these cases, he said.

August 27, 2008
Lawyer: Wife feared police chief in rape case

From the Associated Press:

The wife of a former Blue Lake police chief accused of raping her allegedly told her former attorney that she feared she would be killed if she testified against her husband.

Attorney Patrik Griego testified in the rape trial of David Gundersen on Tuesday that Darcie Seal told him about her fears when they spoke during the two months leading up to the preliminary hearing, and that she often was shaking and crying.

Gundersen faces two dozen counts of raping Seal repeatedly over a two-year period while she was under the influence of sleeping pills, among other charges.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and remains jailed on $1.25 million bail.

Here's the Eureka Times-Standard story about the trial.

August 27, 2008
Killer's parole bid 22 years after West Sac murder is denied

From Niesha Lofing:

A man convicted of murdering a 21-year-old in front of a West Sacramento club 22 years ago has been denied parole.

Alfredo Morales was denied parole for the maximum of four years on Tuesday during a parole hearing at Salinas Valley Prison, a news release from Yolo County District Attorney Jeff W. Reisig's office stated.

Morales shot and killed Gregory Rodriguez in front of the 600 Club in the Broderick area of West Sacramento in 1986.

As Rodriguez "crumpled to the sidewalk," Morales fired five more shots hitting him in the head, neck and chest, parole hearings Commissioner Hollis Gillingham said Tuesday.

Morales was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 32 years to life in prison.

Rodriguez's two brothers, Eugene and Valentino Rodriguez, spoke to the parole board Tuesday and asked that Morales not be released.

Here is Lofing's full story.

August 27, 2008
Report: Sacramento man arrested during Pennsylvania drug raid

A Sacramento man was one of six men arrested in York, Pa., last week during a drug bust in which 50 pounds of marijuana was confiscated, the York Dispatch reports.

Kevin J. Leary, 26, of Sacramento was arrested along with five others in a raid in which police seized the marijuana, about $15,000 cash, seven high-end vehicles, three guns, a bulletproof vest and suspected steroids, according to state police Cpl. Craig Fenstermacher.

Fenstermacher said when police burst into suspect Joshua S. Lindsey's home about 9:15 p.m. Aug. 21, they found men sorting through 50 separate 1-pound packages of pot. The men were arrested on felony marijuana possession with intent to deliver and criminal conspiracy.

Here is the full York Dispatch story.


August 27, 2008
'Straw hat bandit' pleads guilty to area bank robberies

shat.jpgFrom Niesha Lofing:

A Sacramento man dubbed the "straw hat bandit" is facing up to 60 year in federal prison after admitting in court to robbing several area banks.

Michael Edward Osgood, 47, on Tuesday pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence K. Karlton to three counts of bank robbery, a news release from U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott's office stated.

Osgood acquired his nickname because he wore a large-brim straw hat during the robberies.

He was arrested June 9 after robbing the U.S. Bank branch at 3320 Arden Way. Osgood also pleaded guilty to robbing the Sterlent Credit Union at 2648 Watt Avenue on May 12 and the U.S. Bank branch at 2808 Country Club Blvd., Stockton, the release states.

As part of a plea agreement, Osgood also admitted committing four other bank robberies:

• April 30: Tri-Counties Bank, 4650 Natomas Blvd., Sacramento.

• May 16: Wells Fargo Bank, 8870 Madison Ave., Fair Oaks (top left photo).

• May 21: Citibank, 436 Howe Ave., Sacramento.

• May 24: U.S. Bank, 5021 Laguna Blvd., Elk Grove.

Osgood faces up to 20 years in federal prison, three years of federal supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution for each of the three bank robbery convictions.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 4.

The case was investigated by the Sacramento Violent Crimes Task Force, which includes the FBI, Roseville Police Department and Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

August 27, 2008
California crime: West L.A. residents fight 'mini-crime wave'

Although Los Angeles city officials say crime is down considerably, a growing number of people in the city's west side have come to believe that they are in the midst of a mini-crime wave, especially with the recent series of home invasion robberies targeting elderly women, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"The more people you have out on the streets, the more eyes you have watching," said David Holtzman, public safety chairman of the West Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. "Public safety is not just crime statistics, it's also a feeling."

Here's the LAT story.

August 27, 2008
El Dorado remains are Ronald Presba, officials say

Presba, Patricia.jpg Ramos, Jaime.jpg

From Niesha Lofing:

Remains found in a burned-out vehicle in El Dorado County are those of Ronald Presba, who officials say was killed by his wife and another man.

County coroners identified the remains using DNA testing, determining they were Presba, 43, of Garden Valley, El Dorado County sheriff's Sgt. Bryan Golmitz said.

The remains were found June 25 on the floorboard of Presba's sport utility vehicle. Firefighters battling a wildland fire found the vehicle about 300 feet down a ravine along Highway 193 near Kelsey.

Investigators ruled the death a homicide and charged Patricia Presba, 47, (top left photo) and Jaime Ramos, 21, (top right photo) with crimes associated with the killing. They were arrested in Salt lake City in July and await extradition to El Dorado County.

The criminal complaint against the pair alleges that they murdered Ronald Presba for financial gain then set fire to forestland and personal property.

The criminal complaint also states that Ramos used a hammer or similar tool during the crime, and a special allegation of the use of a deadly weapon was added to the charges against him.

Patricia Presba and Ramos both worked at the California Conservation Corps' residential center in Greenwood. Presba was on leave from the state agency, officials said. Ramos had left the agency in May.

Here is The Bee's July 31 story about charges being filed against Patricia Presba and Ramos.

August 26, 2008
Sacramento traffic stop yields cache of alleged counterfeit goods

From David Richie:

Two men are being held without bail in Sacramento County Main Jail after giving deputies a surprise last week during a routine traffic stop.

An arrest summary released today states that Kennard Wayne Shaver, 45, was behind the wheel and John Burnside, 39, was a passenger when deputies pulled their car over for vehicle code violations at about 7 p.m. Wednesday in the 3900 block of 49th Avenue.

Deputies first determined that Shaver was driving without a license, but then they got a look at the load the two were carrying.

A search turned up about 75 pairs of Nike brand shoes, along with about 40 pairs of name-brand sunglasses and 30 DVD movies - all of the merchandise either counterfeit or pirated, according to the arrest summary.

Deputies also found an unspecified quantity of marijuana and a box of ammunition.

Shaver faces a felony charge of suspicion of possession of counterfeit articles while Burnside has been charged with two felony counts of suspicion of failure to disclose the origin of a recording.

August 26, 2008
New area coalition to target underage drinking

From Sandy Louey:

A new regional coalition has formed to combat underage drinking in the Sacramento region.

The coalition, which will focus on educational and enforcement efforts, is scheduled to sponsor a press conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Elk Grove Regional Park to announce its formation.

Coalition members have been meeting since early this year on the issue of teen drinking. More than a dozen organizations are part of the coalition including the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, the California Office of Traffic Safety, Sacramento State University, California Highway Patrol, Elk Grove Police Department, the University of California at Davis Health System, and Kaiser Permanente.

Some of the coalition's plans include a needs assessment of underage drinking in the region, a resource guide on prevention, counseling and rehabilitation efforts, and a Web page of resources.

Click here for information about the coalition.

August 26, 2008
Authorities seek gunman in El Dorado Hills robberies

From David Richie:

El Dorado County sheriff's investigators are hunting for a gunman who has robbed two El Dorado Hills businesses.

Detectives think the same man hit the Bella Bru coffee house on Park Drive about 5:45 p.m. Aug. 10 and followed up with a similar caper at Juice It Up on Town Center Boulevard about 7:45 p.m. Aug. 13. Both businesses were still open, but the man seemed to wait until most of the customers were gone, said Sgt. Bryan Golmitz, El Dorado County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

In both cases, the man confronted employees and took money from the cash register.

The man is described as white and in his 40s. He is about 5-feet-8-inches tall and has collar length brown hair and a Fu Manchu style mustache and goatee.

August 26, 2008
California crime: Law enforcers, recycling centers team to fight metal thefts

Law enforcers in the High Desert city of Hesperia are teaming with metal recyclers to curb scap metal thefts.

The Hesperia Star reports that an increasingly stolen item, according to deputies, is Romex, a plastic-coated wire commonly used for home electrical wiring. That's because thieves are stealing items from homes abandoned because of foreclosure.

Here's the Star story.

August 26, 2008
Tobacco sting leads to clerk's citing in Davis

From Niesha Lofing:

A Davis gas station clerk is facing criminal charges after allegedly selling tobacco to an underage decoy during a sting operation.

The Yolo County District Attorney's office conducted the undercover buy operation in Davis on Sunday and netted one arrest.

Underage decoys, under the supervision of peace officers, attempted to buy tobacco from various stores, Lt. Dan Stroski, of the district attorney's office, stated in a news release.

During tobacco stings, decoys always carry a state ID card bearing their true age.

A 16-year-old police decoy entered the Anderson Davis Shell Station on Anderson Road at 6:30 p.m. and asked for long-cut chewing tobacco.

The two talked about which can of tobacco was desired. 21-year-old female clerk then allegedly sold the product to the decoy without asking for any proof of age or identification, Stroski said.

After the exchange, the clerk allegedly told investigators, "I always check ID," he said.

The clerk was cited and ordered to appear in court Oct. 13.

If the clerk pleads guilty or is found guilty, the gas station's owner could lose their license to sell tobacco for 10 days, the penalty for a first-time violation.

August 26, 2008
Suspect in multiple threats declared incompetent, freed

From Denny Walsh:

Charges in Sacramento federal court against a man accused of making a series of menacing telephone calls were dismissed Monday because he was declared incompetent. The man has a long history of making threats against prominent people.

Scott R. Hudson, who has a long history of mental illness and threats of violence, was charged with warning he would use fire or explosives and directing threatening calls to a Minnesota university, a synagogue in Orange County, a rabbi in suburban New York, a Jewish museum in Philadelphia and two New York City hotels.

The 54-year-old Hudson was arrested by FBI agents in December 2006 at a Chico motel where he was living, and he has since been held without bail.

On a motion Monday by the prosecutor, U. S. District Judge William B. Shubb ordered the charges dismissed and Hudson released.

"It appears there is little likelihood that he will attain the capacity to proceed in the foreseeable future," Assistant U. S. Attorney Philip Ferrari said in a status report filed Friday. "The government simply cannot prosecute Mr. Hudson on the pending charges at this point in time."

In May, U. S. Bureau of Prisons psychiatrists found Hudson incompetent and recommended forced medication. However, given his medical history and the amount of time he had already spent in custody, Ferrari decided involuntary medication was not justified and Shubb said he would not order it.

Based at least in part on a more recent report from a local psychiatrist, Shubb found last week that Hudson's release "would not create a substantial risk of bodily injury to another person or serious damage to the property of another."

In a 2001 prosecution in Sacramento federal court, Hudson pleaded guilty to making a series of telephone calls to various businesses in Arizona threatening harm to Randy Johnson, then a pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team.

Specifically, Hudson stated he would shoot Johnson in the head and would cut off his testicles.

He was first sentenced to 16 months in prison, but a violation of his supervised release drew a second sentence of 18 months.

During the course of that earlier prosecution, Hudson was twice referred by Shubb to a federal medical facility in Rochester, Minn., for evaluation and treatment of his mental illness.

Court records show Hudson was first investigated by the FBI in 1996 in connection with threats made against U. S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. During that investigation, it was discovered that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police also was investigating him in connection with threatening calls received in Canada.

As early as the mid-1970s, Hudson was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Southern California for allegedly "being dangerous with a gun in his possession," according to court records.

He later lived with his mother, who is now deceased, in the Butte County town of Paradise.

August 26, 2008
Meth peddler gets 24-year prison term in federal court

From Denny Walsh:

A drug peddler from Corning was sentenced Monday in Sacramento federal court to 24 years and four months in prison for conspiracy and possession for distribution of at least 500 grams of methamphetamine.

Margarito Ramirez Caballero, 36, was found guilty by a jury June 10.

The quantity of drugs, the presence of a firearm and Caballero's perjury during the trial were determining factors in the lengthy sentence.

In imposing it, U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. said it is "unquestionably the case that the defendant intentionally misled the jury," was "more involved than he was willing to admit" and was "deeply involved in the conspiracy."

According to prosecutors Philip Ferrari and Todd Pickles, six men met in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Yuba City just before midnight Feb. 24, 2007 to sell about 4 pounds of meth to an undercover informant. Once they displayed their product to the informant, federal narcotics agents moved in for the arrests.

Testimony established Caballero was at the scene to provide security and drove a pickup truck carrying two others, a military rifle and ammunition.

Five men are scheduled for sentencing on various dates in September and October.

Charges against a seventh were thrown out by Damrell at the trial.

August 25, 2008
Six cited in Rocklin and Lincoln stings

From Art Campos:

Six adults were cited Friday in sting operations in Rocklin and Lincoln for purchasing alcohol for minors, police reported.

One of the adults received an addition citation for soliciting a female decoy for sex, according to Rocklin Police Sgt. Terry Roide.

The liquor-buying sting, known as a "shoulder tap," was conducted from 4 to 10 p.m. in the two cities by officers from the Rocklin, Lincoln and Roseville police departments, Roide said.

In Rocklin, officers went to eight locations, placing a female under the age of 21 in front of a business and having her ask people to buy liquor for her, the sergeant said. The minor approached 32 people, and three of them agreed to furnish liquor, he said.

In Lincoln, officers went to four locations, and of the 29 people approached by their decoy, three purchased alcohol for her, he said.

Also in Lincoln, one of the adults tried to solicit the girl for sex, Roide said. In another instance, a passenger in an associated vehicle was cited for possession of marijuana, he said.

Roide said the "shoulder tap" operations will continue monthly through the 2008-09 fiscal year. The three police agencies received an $87,584 grant from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to conduct the stings, he said.

So far, the operations have resulted in 11 citations at 18 locations, Roide said. Slightly more than 150 adults were approached, he said.

August 25, 2008
Wave of robberies continue to plague Oakland businesses

Robbers are continuing to target Oakland businesses, especially restaurants. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the robberies have taken place in variety of neighborhoods and some have turned violent.

Here's the Chronicle story.

August 25, 2008
Suspected copper thief sought in Fair Oaks

From Niesha Lofing:

Sacramento County sheriff's deputies are searching a Fair Oaks neighborhood for a suspected copper thief.

Someone tried to steal the copper wiring from a liquor store's air-conditioning unit on the 9600 block of Fair Oaks Boulevard, a sheriff's dispatcher said.

Sheriff's deputies received the call just after 6 a.m., he said.

Deputies believe the thief remains in the area.

August 22, 2008
Abducted children found safe after mother's Sacramento arrest

From Kim Minugh:

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department has arrested a woman accused of abducting her two children from their grandmother's home in Palmdale last night, authorities said.

The children, a boy and girl, were found safe.

Teresa Roy, 39, was arrested at about 10 a.m. today on suspicion of child abduction from lawful custodian, said sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran. She is being transported to the Main Jail, he said.

The two children, ages 5 and 9, live with their grandmother, who had legal custody, in Palmdale, Curran said. Los Angeles County authorities put out an Amber Alert after the children were reported missing Thursday night.

A Sacramento County sheriff's deputy searching south Sacramento for the 2000 Toyota Sienna minivan reported in the Amber Alert saw a vehicle matching the description parked at a Motel 6 on Elsie Avenue this morning, Curran said. The deputy checked the vehicle's license plates, which matched the Amber Alert. He was awaiting backup from other deputies when Roy left her room, Curran said.

The deputy arrested Roy without incident, Curran said.

The children were inside the motel room.

Curran said the abduction appeared to stem from a custody dispute.

August 22, 2008
Update: Three arrested in connection with fatal shooting of teen

From Kim Minugh and Chelsea Phua:

A father, his son and a male juvenile were arrested in Long Beach today in connection with Thursday night's fatal shooting of 17-year-old Kevin Marice Marshall in Gardenland, according to Sacramento police.

Authorities are not yet releasing names of those arrested because they are still showing photo lineups to witnesses, said Officer Michelle Lazark, a Sacramento police spokeswoman.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies arrested the three suspects at different times between noon and about 2:30 p.m., Lazark said. Police are not yet sure why they fled to Long Beach, but say all three are from Sacramento.

Lazark said homicide detectives are on their way to Long Beach to take over the investigation.

The oldest suspect is 37, the father of a second suspect, who is 19. Lazark said she did not know the age of the third suspect but said he is a juvenile. They are not believed to have been acquaintances of Marshall, the victim, and said they apparently crossed paths "at a chance meeting," Lazark said.

Marshall, a student at Vista Nueva High School, was gunned down in front of the River Garden Estates apartment complex in the 2200 block of Northview Drive. He was pronounced dead at UC Davis Medical Center.

Sacramento police Sgt. Jim Hose said police received reports of shots being fired about 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Northfield and Northview drives.

Investigators said Marshall had exchanged some "hard looks" with another teenage boy, who was with a group that included adults.

During the fight, someone pulled a gun and shot Marshall.

August 22, 2008
Ex-UNR football player: Gambling addiction fueled crime spree

Rodney Landingham was once played football on scholarship for the University of Nevada, Reno.

For the past four years, he has been an inmate at Warm Springs Correctional Center in Carson City, Nev.

The Reno Gazette Journal reports that Landingham lost everything because of his love affair with the euphoria he felt winning blackjack and craps games that led him to commit an armed robbery spree to pay off his gambling debts.

"Gambling central was only a few blocks away from school," Landingham said. "It was a lifestyle I never experienced. It was a fantasy, like Disneyland. And I was right up the street from it. I was at the top, and now, I'm at the bottom. It's hard to accept. I'm in a prison cell locked up wondering what the hell happened. It was gambling."

Here's the RGJ story.

August 22, 2008
Crime Alert: Authorities seek theft suspect

palmer  081808.jpgSacramento County Sheriff's Department officials are seeking Jason Palmer on a felony $20,000 bail arrest warrant for suspicion of petty theft with prior convictions of petty theft, grand theft, burglary and robbery, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Palmer, left, is described as 23 years old, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair. He was last known to reside in the 3900 block of Oak Hurst Circle in Fair Oaks, authorities said.

Anyone with information about Palmer is urged to contact Crime Alert at (800) AA-CRIME or (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and maybe eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 22, 2008
Rocklin PD, ABC conduct three-month underage drinking sting

For the past three months, the Rocklin Police Department and the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control have joined forces to combat underage drinking.

Decoys age 20 and younger have been deployed at retail outlets and local restaurants and bars to check compliance with state alcohol laws, according to a Rocklin PD news release. The decoys were sent into businesses that had an ABC license and would attempt to buy alcohol.

Of those of those 109 attempts, the decoys were able to purchase alcohol 14 times, officials report.

An $18,700 grant given to the Rocklin Police Department by the California Alcohol Beverage Control funded the operation, authorities said.

August 22, 2008
Roseville 'Bathroom Bandit' steals restrooms' plumbing

Another in the continuing tale of metal thefts, from Art Campos:

Roseville police are trying to flush out one of the most unusual bandits ever to hit town.

The culprit, who dresses in plumber's clothing, walks into restaurants, visits the restrooms and takes apart the toilets and urinals to steal metal parts and pipes.

The "Bathroom Bandit" has pulled the stunt at four Roseville restaurants over a nine-day span, police say.

"It's amazing how brazen some of these thieves are getting in their thefts of metal," Dee Dee Gunther, police spokeswoman, said, adding that burglars frequently try to sell the metals to recyclers.

Gunther said police have seen numerous thefts at construction sites for copper wire and metals, and they've taken reports for the theft of brass nameplates taken from neightborhood entry signs. Roseville has also been hit hard by thieves who steal catalytic converters from vehicles, she said.

"But as far as I know, this is the first time we have had people go into an open business and dismantle the plumbing," she said.

The bathroom bandit pulled the first caper in Roseville on Aug. 13, then two more on Wednesday before committing his fourth crime at an eatery today, Gunther said. A similar incident occurred at a Taco Bell in Citrus Heights last week, police in that city said.

In the Roseville thefts, the suspect wore a brown denim-type long-sleeved shirt in one crime and a dark blue mechanic's overalls in the other three incidents, Gunther said.

The man is described as white, in his 30s, about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and with a medium build. He has short, light-colored hair and appears to be unshaven.

He was seen getting into a white sedan, possibly a 1990s Pontiac Grand Am driven by a woman, Gunther said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Roseville police at (916) 774-5070.

August 21, 2008
Citrus Heights police investigate rash of motorcycle accidents

From David Richie:

Citrus Heights police are trying to determine if a recent spike in motorcycle accidents can be attributed to inexperienced riders jumping on bikes to save gas.

The most recent incident occurred about 5 p.m. Wednesday when a motorcyclist slammed into a car making a left-hand turn into an apartment complex on Greenback Lane, east of San Juan Avenue. Eastbound lanes were shut down for about hour and heavy commuter traffic backed up at least a mile.

The 19-year-old motorcycle rider will be cited for excessive speed and riding without a proper motorcycle endorsement on his driver's license, said Sgt. Eric Mattke, police traffic enforcement unit supervisor.

"He was riding it like a rocket up the street," Mattke said. "He told us he was going 40 mph, but the speedometer was pegged at 75 mph when it impacted the car. There was no motorcycle endorsement so we may have an experience problem too."

The motorcycle rider was transported to Mercy San Juan Medical Center, Carmichael, with "road rash" and bruises. Mattke said it was "a miracle" that the rider survived. He was wearing a helmet, jeans and a T-shirt.

Several occupants of the other vehicle, including a baby, were also transported to the hospital as a precaution.

Excessive speed has been one of the common elements in the city's recent rash of motorcycle wrecks. Mattke estimated that his unit has investigated 15 to 20 incidents in the past two months. An analyst is examining the accident reports, looking for factors indicating lack of motorcycle riding experience as another common element.

August 21, 2008
Update: Elk Grove police officer shoots, kills pit bull

From Sandy Louey:

An Elk Grove police officer shot and killed a pit bull that was reportedly charging officers Wednesday morning.

Officers responded at 7 a.m. to a call at Winterberry Drive and Dianthus Way about two large pit bulls that were chasing several residents in the neighborhood.

A resident told officers that the dogs forced their way into a neighbor's back yard and brutally attacked their dog. The pit bulls then charged officers, who were trying to contain them, according to a report.

Police said an officer was forced to shoot one of the charging dogs. The other dog ran off and was later captured by a city of Elk Grove animal control officer.

Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department, said Thursday that the second dog was returned to its owner, who owned both pit bulls.

The owner was cited for municipal code violations, including two counts each of having dogs at large, failure to license the dogs and failure to have rabies vaccinations, Trim said.

August 21, 2008
Crime Alert: Felon wanted for allegedly possessing firearm

schiveley  081808.jpgSacramento police are seeking Dennis Reed Schiveley on a felony no-bail arrest warrant for suspicion of possessing a firearm by a convicted felon, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Schiveley, left, is described as 29 years old, 6 feet tall weighing 140 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He has tattoos on both sides of his neck and four dots under the outside corner of his left eye.

He was last known to reside in the Beecham Court area in South Natomas, authorities said.

Anyone with information about Schiveley is urged to contact Crime Alert at (800) AA-CRIME or (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and maybe eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 21, 2008
Sac State hopes emergency notification system grows

From Niesha Lofing:

With the fall semester getting ready to launch, Sacramento State University officials are hoping to get more students, faculty and staff to sign up for a system that alerts the campus community of critical incidents.

University officials launched the campus Emergency Notification System (ENS) in late April and so far have had about 3,000 students and employees registered to receive the alerts, said Greg Porter, the university's director of networking and telecommunications.

The university has about 28,000 students and 3,000 faculty and staff.

Officials say they hope more students and employees will sign up for the system for the fall semester, which begins Sept. 2.

Click here for Lofing's full story.

August 21, 2008
Reader: Beware of 'Grandma, I'm in trouble' scam

Bee reader Nancy MacDonald of Carmichael phoned in today with a tale that is similar to the "Granmda" scam blog item we posted May 16.

MacDonald said someone called her during the first week of August and said, "Grandma, I'm in trouble." She said his voice sounded similar to her grandson, who she thought at the time was in Ojai. The caller went on to say he was in jail in Montreal and needed money for bail. She said she spent hours on the phone with the U.S. Consulate office in Montreal to verify the story and see how she could send funds to Canada if she needed to.

She ended up not sending any money, and when a different caller phoned Wednesday with the same "Grandma, I'm in trouble" opening line, she quickly dismissed him. Her grandson is safe in Redding, she said.

The Better Business Bureau lists several such scams, some targeting seniors, and tips to avoid them.


August 21, 2008
California crime: Cemetery thefts plague Bay Area cities

The metal theft spree in cemeteries continues. Yesterday, it was reported that seven metal urns were stolen from a Union City mausoleum. Today, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that in Colma, a town of 2.2 square miles and 16 cemeteries, thieves have stolen bronze vases, brass gates and other metal paraphernalia.

Scrap-metal thieves have hit the town's resting places 12 times in the last three months alone, prompting an emergency meeting Tuesday among police and all of the cemetery operators in town.

Here's the Chronicle's story.

August 21, 2008
Regional roundup: Public Safety Watch

The Bee's Regional editions publish Public Safety Watch stories each Thursday. Here's a roundup of those stories and Police/Fire Logs, as compiled by Bee reporters:

Sacramento/North Sacramento/south Sacramento:
Three arrested in Valley Hi car vandalism
Police/Fire Log

Arden/Carmichael:
Robber steals a video game in Arden Arcade
Police/Fire Log

Elk Grove/Laguna:
School is starting so watch out for kids
Police/Fire Log

Citrus Heights/Fair Oaks/Orangevale:
Slow down or pay, Citrus Heights police tell Antelope Road speeders
Drunken driving checkpoints nab 11 on Auburn Boulevard

Folsom:
Police/Fire Log

Rancho Cordova/Gold River:
Police/Fire Log

El Dorado County:
Undeveloped lots pose fire hazard in Placerville

South Placer:
Former Placer County deputy to serve two years on sex charges
Police/Fire Log

August 21, 2008
Sacramento violence down in July from a year ago

From Phillip Reese, as reported in The Public Eye column today:

Violent crime dropped across Sacramento during July compared to the same month last year, according to a Bee analysis of police data.

North Sacramento had the most instances of violent crime in July. Police District 2, which covers the area, saw 57 robberies, murders and assaults with a deadly weapon. That figure is down from 67 cases in July 2007.

Oak Park crime continued to drop. Police District 6, which covers Oak Park, Tahoe Park and Fruitridge Manor, saw violent crimes decline from 42 during July 2007 to 35 during July 2008.

Natomas, stung by a much-publicized robbery spree in June, bucked the overall trend. Robberies dropped off slightly in July, but violent crime in the neighborhood remained well above July 2007 levels.

Police focused resources in Natomas last month, and home invasion robberies dropped sharply. The decline was offset somewhat by a slight rise in other types of robberies.

Click here for The Bee's Crimemapper, a view of crime in your area.

August 21, 2008
Burglars enter unlocked homes, cars in El Dorado County

From David Richie:

El Dorado County burglars scored property worth thousands of dollars last weekend by entering unlocked homes and vehicles, according to Sheriff's Office incident summaries.

Five sheriff's deputies responded to an incident Sunday morning on Travois Circle in Cameron Park. A resident called 911 after he was awakened by loud noises downstairs.

Deputies determined that someone had cut through a screen on an open window to gain entry into the home. Once inside, the burglar went into the garage to steal a 90cc Yamaha motorcycle.

The resident evidently scared the burglar away. Other property was found stacked next to side door of the garage.

Deputies investigated two incidents Friday where fast-moving thieves hit homes where residents were just gone for a short time. In both incidents the culprits came in through unlocked sliding glass doors.

The first incident was reported about 11:30 a.m. Friday at a home in the 3300 block of Excalibur Road in Placerville. Residents had departed about 9:30 a.m. and came home to find more than $7,500 in property missing. Their losses included a laptop computer, an I-Pod, jewelry, and a box of .380 caliber ammunition.

Deputies were called to the 4600 block of Tennessee Drive in Shingle Springs about 5:30 p.m. The residents had been gone for about an hour to have dinner.

When they returned they noticed that several items were missing, including a camcorder and two diamond and gold rings valued at more than $5,000.

A car break-in late Friday or early Saturday morning resulted in the loss of a $5,500 road bicycle along with a purse containing several credit cards. The items had been left inside a vehicle in the 4800 block of Dale View Court in El Dorado Hills.

The bike's owner told deputies that she had locked the car doors but the windows may have been left down. A brick also was found next to the vehicle. The woman had activated her car alarm system but she told deputies that it had not been working properly.

Deputies advised her to cancel her credit cards and fix her car alarm system.

August 21, 2008
27 motorists arrested for suspected DUI at Auburn event

From Art Campos:

The California Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies in Auburn arrested 27 motorists on suspicion of drunken driving during a traffic enforcement operation at the city's recent Black & White Ball.

In addition to the arrests, the CHP, the Auburn Police Department and the Placer County Sheriff's Department handed out 20 citations and detained at least four people for drug-related evaluations Saturday, CHP Officer Steve Merchant said in a news release.

Capt. Rick Ward, commander of the CHP's Auburn-area office in Newcastle, said extra units patrolled Interstate 80, Highway 49, Bell Avenue and other major roadways in and around the city.

Last year, the agencies combined to arrest 30 suspected drunken drivers during the Black & White Ball, he said.

The law enforcement agencies began teaming up in recent years to provide extra patrols at the annual ball after citizens and businesses complained about an increase in drunken drivers and alcohol-related rowdiness.

August 20, 2008
Four suspected graffiti vandals arrested in Roseville

From Art Campos:

Roseville police arrested four teenagers today on suspicion of writing graffiti on fences, sound walls and signs in neighborhoods near Cirby Way and Sunrise Avenue.

Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said the costs to clean up the vandalism are estimated to be in the thousands of dollars.

Gunther said a citizen spotted two males writing graffiti on a sound wall near Oakmont High School at 12:42 a.m. and called 911.

When police arrived, the suspects fled, she said. However, within a few hours, four suspects were located and arrested, she said.

Officers found more graffiti on Cirby Way, Kensington Drive and in Eastwood Park, she said.

Arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism and conspiracy were Brandon Jon Benvenuti, 19, Jerin Christopher Miller, 18, Moses Mauro John Rodriguez, 18, and a 16-year-old boy.

The juvenile was booked and released into the custody of his parents. The others were booked and released after posting $10,000 bail each, Gunther said.

The spokeswoman said a conviction for felony graffiti carries a possible sentence of up to one year in jail, 300 hours of community service and the payment of fines. Courts also routinely order graffiti vandals to pay restitution to property owners for damage and cleanup costs, she said.

August 20, 2008
Shotgun-toting man arrested after scuffle in Foothill Farms

From David Richie:

A 19-year-old man remains in Sacramento County Main Jail today after a Sunday afternoon incident when passersby wrestled a loaded, sawed-off shotgun away from him.

A sheriff's summary released Wednesday states that Beau Bailey Childs argued with a 24-year-old man in the 4400 block of Elkhorn Boulevard near Sprig Drive in Foothill Farms.

Childs pointed the illegal weapon at the other man, and that man grabbed for the shotgun as other bystanders joined the fray. They gained control of the weapon and held Childs until sheriff's deputies arrived.

Deputies determined that the shotgun was not registered to Childs. He was booked into jail on suspicion of possessing an illegally modified firearm.

August 20, 2008
Bronze urns another target for scrap metal thieves

Add bronze urns to the list of desired scrap metal for thieves.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, thieves in Union City entered the mausoleum at the Chapel of the Chimes Cemetery on Sunday and pilfered seven bronze urns - including one that contained cremated remains.

"It's hitting everybody," said Union City Police Lt. Jim Bizieff, of the rash of metal thefts plaguing cities. "But when you start taking people's ashes, that's kind of morbid."

Here's the Chronicle story.

August 20, 2008
Police seek help identifying sexual assault suspect

From Niesha Lofing:

Sacramento police are asking for help in identifying a man who sexually assaulted a teenage girl in River Park on Tuesday afternoon.

The girl was walking at about 1 p.m. along Sandburg Drive, near Glenn Hall Park, when a man approached her from behind and forced her into the women's public restroom, where he sexually assaulted her, police Sgt. Matt Young said.

The man left the area on foot, he said.

The suspect is described as a white male in his mid-40s, 5-foot-10, weighing 160 to 170 pounds, with medium-length brown hair. He had a salt-and-pepper beard and was wearing a gray shirt with writing on the front, blue jeans and white sneakers. The man had a Southern accent and spoke in a raspy voice, Young said.

The attacker's appearance was dirty, and he might be transient, he said.

Anyone with information is urged to call police detectives at (916) 808-0575 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 20, 2008
New eyes on crime: Roseville's refuse truck drivers

trux.pngThe city of Roseville has new lookouts for crime -- its refuse truck drivers.

The city's Environmental Utilities Department recently announced the official launch of its Drivers on Patrol Program.

With input from the Roseville Police Department, the plan for drivers is to keep a watchful eye for suspicious activity in the neighborhoods they serve, according to the city's Web site.

Here are more details about the plan.

August 20, 2008
California crime: Parents to be liable if children are caught tagging

From the Associated Press:

Parents will soon be held liable if their children are caught tagging property in Los Angeles County, according to an anti-graffiti ordinance approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

The ordinance will go into effect Sept. 18 and will allow the county to recover costs of removing graffiti. The county can also recoup unpaid costs by placing a lien on the property belonging to a tagger's parent.

Parents can expect to pay hundreds of dollars if held responsible for their children's graffiti. According to the ordinance, graffiti costs more than $520 to remove, and another $665 to apprehend each culprit.

Here's the full AP story.

August 20, 2008
Crime Alert: Robbery, assault suspect sought

Gallegos  081808.jpgSacramento police are seeking Mario Paul Gallegos on a felony $60,000 bail arrest warrant on suspicion of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and battery causing bodily injury, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Gallegos, left, is described as 20 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 165 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

He was last known to reside in the 500 block of Columbus Avenue in the Gardenland neighborhood of Sacramento, officials said.

August 19, 2008
Roseville police: Burglary suspects arrested on repeat caper

From Art Campos:

Roseville police say two burglary suspects returned to the scene of the crime for a second straight night - and got caught.

The two Sacramento men reportedly broke into cargo containers at Pasco Scientific on Foothills Boulevard at 8 a.m. Sunday, carrying off several volt meters, police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said. They tripped a burglar alarm but were gone when police arrived, she said.

However, they returned at 2:29 a.m. Monday, again setting off an alarm and rummaged through a second cargo container that was forced open, Gunther said.

Police arrived in time to stop a pickup truck that was driving away from the business, she said.

They arrested Jeffrey John Bravo, 38, and Rene Gutierrez, 32, on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy and possession of burglar's tools. Gutierrez was also booked on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine, Gunther said.

The two were being held in the Placer County jail in Auburn on $30,000 bail each, she said.

August 19, 2008
Surveillance video leads to arrest of vehicle burglary suspect

blobfetch.pngFrom Art Campos:

Roseville police have arrested a woman on suspicion of stealing items from a vehicle parked in a driveway July 7.

The crime was captured on the homeowner's video surveillance system, which showed an SUV pull up behind the parked vehicle. A woman and a man walk up to the vehicle, open the unlocked doors and search for items to take, the video shows.

Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said the video was posted on the Police Department's Web site and was also broadcast by several local news outlets. Tipsters phoned in leads to police detectives, and one of the tips led to the female suspect, Gunther said.

On Thursday, police went to the Sacramento home of Michelle Breann Treadway, 23, and recovered property stolen in the Roseville burglary, she said.

Treadway, top photo, was booked on suspicion of grand theft, conspiracy and violation of probation, Gunther said. She was released the following day with a promise to appear in court, she said.

Police are continuing to investigate two other suspects, she said.

August 19, 2008
Roseville police arrest two motorcyclists for alleged street racing

From Art Campos:

Roseville police concluded a busy several days of traffic enforcement early Sunday with the arrests of two men who were suspected of racing their motorcycles on North Sunrise Avenue.

In addition, officers handed out three citations to drivers for allegedly making illegal modifications on their vehicles for possible street racing, police said.

The operation targeting illegal street racing began at 4 p.m. and ended at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Besides the two arrests, the officers took a third motorcyclist into custody for allegedly driving recklessly and of having no license, Roseville Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said.

The suspect ditched his motorcycle in some bushes and tried to run away from police, she said. Because of his attempt to flee, he also was booked on suspicion of resisting arrest, she said.

Police also issued five regular speeding tickets during the operation, Gunther said.

On Friday night, Roseville police conducted a sobriety checkpoint on Auburn Boulevard, arresting nine people, including six on suspicion of drunken driving.

Two days earlier, officers conducted a "zero tolerance" effort aimed at speeding drivers on Cirby Way and Riverside Avenue. Officers handed out 130 citations - about 75 percent of them for speeding, Gunther said.


August 19, 2008
Toddler left in unlocked car; mom arrested

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police arrested a mother Monday afternoon for allegedly leaving her 2-year-old daughter alone in an unlocked vehicle for more than 30 minutes.

Police received a call about the child around 4 p.m. Witnesses had opened the rear passenger door to check on the child after unsuccessfully trying to locating the child's mother in a store in the 9600 block of Bruceville Road, according to a police report.

Police located Juana Perez, 29, who was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment. Her daughter was released to a relative and Child Protective Services was notified, police said.

August 19, 2008
Six arrested during DUI checkpoint in Elk Grove

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police arrested six people and issued 67 citations during a sobriety checkpoint Saturday night.

The checkpoint was targeted at removing impaired and unlicensed drivers from the road. Five arrests were for driving while under the influence, while one was for a warrant for driving under the influence, said Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the police department.

The 67 citations were for miscellaneous vehicle code violations, he said

August 19, 2008
Booking photo released of man accused of illegally filming at State Fair

daniel hyman.jpgFrom Edgar Sanchez:

A Roseville man bailed out of jail Monday, a day after he was arrested on suspicion of using a camera to film under a person's clothing at the California State Fair, according to a jail report.

Daniel Abraham Hyman, 52, left, also was arrested on suspicion of offering a bribe to a peace officer, disorderly conduct and soliciting lewd acts, the report said.

August 19, 2008
Armed 85-year-old woman makes intruder call cops

A Point Marion, Pa., woman had her own way of protecting her home, as reported by the Associated Press:

An 85-year-old woman boldly went for her gun and busted a would-be burglar inside her home, then forced him to call police while she kept him in her sights, police said.

"I just walked right on past him to the bedroom and got my gun," Leda Smith said.

Smith heard someone break into her home Monday afternoon and grabbed the .22-caliber revolver she had been keeping by her bed since a neighbor's home was burglarized a few weeks ago.

"I said 'What are you doing in my house?' He just kept saying he didn't do it," Smith said.

After the 17-year-old boy called 911, Smith kept holding the gun on him until state police arrived at her home in Springhill Township, about 45 miles south of Pittsburgh.

The boy will be charged with attempted burglary and related offenses in juvenile court, Trooper Christian Lieberum said. He was not identified because of his age.

"It was exciting," Smith said. "I just hope I broke up the (burglary) ring because they have been hitting a lot of places around here."

August 19, 2008
West Sacramento store owner shot in robbery attempt

From Chelsea Phua:

A longtime West Sacramento convenience store owner was shot in a robbery Monday night, police said.

The store owner, Abdulla Fattah, was struck in his forearm, said Lt. Derek Brummett.

Two men dressed in black clothing with their faces covered in bandannas - one blue and one white - entered the Bryteway Market at Solano Street and Lisbon Avenue around 9:20 p.m. and demanded money at gunpoint, Brummett said.

At least one of the men held a gun and fired a shot, striking Fattah once. He fled southeast on Lisbon Avenue, triggering a manhunt for them that stretched several blocks from the store, Brummett said.

Fattah attempted to run after the men. He was later taken to hospital.

Neighbors say Fattah has run the store for almost 20 years.

"It's just a regular neighborhood store," said Jacob Calderon, whose wife's family has lived in the area for 25 years.

Fattah, his wife and another part-time employee was in the store at the time of the robbery, Brummett said.

August 18, 2008
Roseville and Citrus Heights DUI traffic checks stop 2,500 vehicles

From Art Campos and David Richie:

Eleven people were arrested on suspicion of drunken driving Friday night during sobriety checkpoint operations in which 2,500 vehicles were screened by law enforcement agencies at the boundary line of the cities of Roseville and Citrus Heights.

Roseville police, with help from the Placer County Sheriff's Department and the Rocklin and Lincoln police departments, set up a checkpoint on northbound Auburn Boulevard at Whyte Avenue. They arrested six motorists on suspicion of drunken driving.

The Citrus Heights Police Department set up a checkpoint for southbound traffic on Auburn Boulevard at Linden Lane and apprehended five suspected drunken drivers.

Combined, the agencies had 32 vehicles towed away and issued 71 citations for other traffic violations. In addition, Roseville police made three arrests not related to drunken driving.

Roseville Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said the non-DUI arrests involved a warrant, a drunken passenger and a driver whose license was suspended.

Nine motorists on the Roseville side were given citations for driver's license violations, and 20 tickets were issued for other traffic-related infractions, Gunther said. Thirteen vehicles were towed away, she said.

On the Citrus Heights side, police issued 42 citations, including 15 for driver's license violations. Five people wanted on warrants were arrested, police said. Nineteen vehicles were towed away, police said.

August 18, 2008
K-9, helicopter track down Elk Grove robbery suspects

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police arrested two people for allegedly robbing a gas station Saturday night.

The incident occurred at 10:21 p.m. at the Complete Performance Auto station at 8999 Elk Grove Blvd.

James Benefield, 25, allegedly pointed a shotgun at the clerks and demanded money. One of the clerks pushed the gun away from her. During a struggle with the clerk, he struck her several times with the shotgun, according to a police report.

Police said Benefield ran to a vehicle driven by Danielle Bundy, 24. Bundy's vehicle reportedly struck another vehicle while they were leaving the scene. A witness to the hit-and-run followed her vehicle, which stopped in a residential neighborhood.

Benefield and Bundy ran away, but were found with a K-9 unit and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department helicopter. Witnesses identified Benefield as the robber, according to police.

Benefield and Bundy were arrested on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy, according to Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department.

August 18, 2008
Update: Men arrested after watercraft kills child on Feather River

Blanchard.jpg Mink2.jpg

From Niesha Lofing and Chelsea Phua:

Two Yuba City men are facing manslaughter charges after the personal watercraft they were riding struck and killed a 3-year-old child near the shore of the Feather River.

Authorities have identified the child as Dominique Lee Williams, of Marysville.

The collision occurred at about 5:26 p.m. Saturday when John William Blanchard, 63, and Allan John Minkema, 50, were riding the watercraft about 15 to 20 mph toward the shore of Mosquito Beach, according to a Sutter County Sheriff's Department news release.

The watercraft hit Williams, who was standing in the water, about three or four feet from the shore.

The law requires watercrafts to be at 5 mph if they are within 100 feet of bathers or swimmers, or if they are within 200 feet from a beach that is frequented by bathers or swimmers.

Williams suffered major head injuries and was taken to Rideout Memorial Hospital, where he died at about 6:20 p.m.

Blanchard and Minkema were arrested on suspicion of vessel manslaughter and booked into the county jail. Both have since posted bail, said sheriff's Sgt. Greg Zembiec.

Zembiec would not disclose whether there was any kind of motive in the crash or whether the men expressed remorse. He said witnesses reported that the men had been drinking, but authorities are awaiting a toxicology report to determine if they were drunk.

Sutter County sheriff's deputies continue to investigate the crash.

August 18, 2008
California crime: Stolen vehicle recovered, dog found dead

Sad story from Riverside County: A couple recovered their sport utility vehicle they reported stolen while visiting Riverside National Cemetery , but it was too late to save Rebel, their prized 16-year-old wolf-malamute mix who was unable to walk because of hip dysplasia.

According to the Riverside Press Enterprise, Mary Michael and her husband, Craig, visited the cemetery Saturday while Rebel stayed in the car. The Michaels left the engine running and the air conditioning on for her comfort. They were less than 20 feet from the car, Craig Michael said, when he realized it was moving.

The vehicle was recovered Sunday but Rebel was found dead.

Here's the Press Enterprise story.

August 18, 2008
Update: Woman involved in collision now suspected of homicide

charged.jpgFrom David Richie:

A woman whose car collided with a motorcycle last week killing the driver now is suspected of homicide, authorities said Sunday.

Melissa Nicole Nichols, 23, left, initially had been booked into El Dorado County Jail on Friday on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter after a puzzling head-on collision Thursday evening.

California Highway Patrol investigators said that Nichols and Anthony James Payne, 23, had been dating. They were seen by a passerby talking to each other on Carson Road, near East County Road, at about 7:45 p.m. Thursday. Nichols was driving a 2004 Pontiac Grand AM and Payne was on a Honda 1000 motorcycle.

After the conversation, they departed in different directions but, at some point, investigators say Payne evidently turned his motorcycle and came back westbound toward Nichols. For some reason her car drifted into that lane and struck the motorcycle head-on. The impact threw Payne about 200 feet and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Investigators from the California Highway Patrol and our agency met for a long time Friday afternoon to discuss it," Sgt. Phil Chovanec, El Dorado County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said Sunday.

Investigators also interviewed a passenger who was with Nichols at the time of the crash and developed other evidence they felt supported a murder count, Chovanec said.

The sheriff's office is now lead agency for the continuing investigation but CHP investigators remain involved in the case, Chovanec said.

Nichols was transported to Sutter Roseville Medical Center with minor injuries after the wreck. On Friday she was brought back to Placerville and booked into jail on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and drunken driving resulting in bodily injury.

August 18, 2008
North Highlands man arrested after shots are fired at other motorists

From Niesha Lofing:

A North Highlands man is facing attempted murder charges after allegedly shooting at people in another vehicle near Nicolaus.

The incident began about 10:50 a.m. Sunday when Glenn Daniel Sutton, 44, allegedly showed and fired a handgun at three people in a pickup truck on Highway 70 south of East Nicolaus, according to a California Highway Patrol report.

None of the people was hit, the report states.

One of the people in the pickup called CHP dispatchers and followed Sutton as he continued to drive north on Highway 70. The CHP located Sutton's red Toyota Tercel as he exited the highway at Olivehurst Avenue and stopped him at Fifth and Western avenues in Olivehurst, the report states.

Sutton was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, drawing or exhibiting a firearm to a person in a vehicle, carrying a loaded firearm and drunken driving.

The handgun was found in Sutton's vehicle, the report states.

August 18, 2008
Ice cream vendor attacked in Woodland park

From Niesha Lofing:

An ice cream vendor was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint at a Woodland park Friday evening.

Mohammad Rashid, 38, of Woodland, was selling ice cream near Harris Park on Imperial Street when the alleged attack took place, states a Woodland police news release.

Rashid had stopped at the park to use the restroom when a man approached him from behind, struck him in the head with the butt of a handgun, pointed the gun at Rashid's head and demanded money, the release states.

The man stole Rashid's wallet and other personal belongings and walked out of the restroom.

A witness provided police with a description of the assailant and said that after the attack, he entered a black, four-door vehicle resembling a Ford Focus that was parked on Imperial Street and driven by another man. The car sped away south on Imperial Street, the witness said.

The assailant is described as a white or light-skinned Hispanic man, 5-foot-4, thin build, wearing long, red plaid shorts.

The witness described the driver of the car as Hispanic, between 18 and 22 years old, 5-foot-7, wearing a gray "A's" T-shirt and long, tan shorts, the release states.

Rashid was treated by medical personnel at the scene for a laceration to the left side of his head.

Woodland police are investigating the attack.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (530) 661-7800.

August 17, 2008
CrimeMapper Update: Elk Grove, Roseville, Sacramento

Some big updates this weekend...first of which, is the last 6 months of crime report data from the Elk Grove PD...a much requested update from readers, so thanks to the EGPD for working with us to get that data.

Also added: July Sacramento and Roseville Data.

Email databases@sacbee.com if you have any questions.

August 15, 2008
Rancho Cordova police kill pit bull

From David Richie:

A pit bull terrier was shot and killed Tuesday morning in Rancho Cordova as it attacked a Sacramento County sheriff's police dog, officials said Friday.

That makes three pit bulls killed by local law enforcement officers in less than a week - a "very rare" occurrence, said Detective Sgt. Pete James, spokesman for the Rancho Cordova Police Department.

The incident in Rancho Cordova occurred about 10:30 a.m. when Rancho Cordova police and a sheriff's K-9 unit went to a house on Glenmoore Drive, not far from the Rockingham police station. They had a no-bail felony warrant for a suspect identified as Gregory Lawrence Thorne, 38, James said.

When the officers knocked on the door, two pit bulls came out of a side yard through a hole in the fence. One of them attacked K-9 Ado and his handler shot the attacking dog, James said. The other dog did not take part in the attack and actually retreated during the melee. That dog was not harmed, James said.

Ado suffered several wounds around his eye but is expected to make full recovery.

On Wednesday, a sheriff's detective shot and killed two pit bull fugitives from the Sacramento County animal shelter during an incident at Motel 6 on College Town Drive. Brutus and Smokey were condemned to death after they attacked a utility company worker in June. But, before that death sentence could be carried out, someone broke into the animal shelter and stole them.

They were found Wednesday when sheriff's detectives went to the motel in search of their owner, Cynthia Peters, and her boyfriend Mark Parr. The dogs ran out of the motel room when Peters opened the door to the detectives. They attacked a maintenance worker who was walking by the room and one of the detectives shot them.

Peters and Parr are suspects in the animal shelter jailbreak but that incident is still being investigated and no charges have been filed against them in that case, officials said.

August 15, 2008
Woman booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter after head-on crash

From David Richie:

A woman was booked into El Dorado County Jail today on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter after a puzzling head-on collision Thursday evening, California Highway Patrol officials report.

Investigators said that Anthony James Payne, 23, and Melissa Nicole Nichols, 23, appear to have had a previous dating relationship. They were seen by a passerby talking to each other on Carson Road, near East County Road, at about 7:45 p.m. Thursday. Nichols was driving a 2004 Pontiac Grand AM and Payne was on a Honda 1000 motorcycle.

After the conversation, they departed in different directions but, at some point, investigators say Payne evidently turned his motorcycle and came back westbound toward Nichols. For some reason her car drifted slightly into that lane and struck the motorcycle head-on. The impact threw Payne about 200 feet and he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Nichols was transported to Sutter Roseville Medical Center with minor injuries and on Friday she was booked into jail on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and drunken driving resulting in bodily injury.

August 15, 2008
Assault in neighborhood prompts school lockdown in south Sacramento

From Niesha Lofing:

A south Sacramento elementary school was on lockdown for 30 minutes this morning after an assault in the surrounding neighborhood.

Students at Samuel Kennedy Elementary School on Briggs Drive were kept in classrooms with their teachers during the lockdown, which began at 10:05 a.m., said Elizabeth Graswich, director of communications for the Elk Grove Unified School District.

"The lockdown was lifted at 10:35 a.m. after we received information from law enforcement that the area was clear," she said.

Nearby violence sparked the lockdown.

A woman was walking to a bus stop in the area when two women snatched her purse and slashed her with a knife, Sacramento County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said. A description of the suspects will be published when it becomes available.

The woman was taken to an area hospital and treated for wounds that were not life threatening.

School officials will send letters home to students' parents informing them of the lockdown today, Graswich said.

August 15, 2008
New members to join Sacramento Fire's emergency response team

From Niesha Lofing:

The Sacramento Fire Department's Community Emergency Response Team will get new members, hold a disaster drill and is planning to donate new pet oxygen masks during a graduation ceremony Saturday.

The 30 new CERT members have recently completed more than 24 hours of training and will be able to assist the community during disasters, according to a fire department news release.

The ceremony will be held at 9 a.m., followed by a mock disaster drill for new recruits. A disaster scene will be set up at the fire department's emergency medical services headquarters at 3230 J St., said Pat Burritt, Sacramento CERT's volunteer manager.

After the drill, which is expected to last about two hours, the CERT team will present five new sets of pet oxygen masks - which can be used to revive dogs and cats rescued from fires - to the fire department, she said.

August 15, 2008
California crime: Fingerprint scanners aid deputies in field

San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies are using portable fingerprint scanners to identify suspects in the field.

Here are details from the Victorville Daily Press.

August 15, 2008
Law enforcers target illegal off-road riding in north Sacramento County

From Niesha Lofing:

Sacramento law enforcement authorities have launched a new program to stop illegal off-road riding and driving in the northern areas of the county.

The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, in conjunction with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, county code enforcement and property owners, has begun special code enforcement measures in Rio Linda, Elverta and Antelope neighborhoods, according to a news release by District Attorney Jan Scully's office.

The program includes posting "no trespassing" signs around private property lots, constructing barriers at entry areas to open lots and sending letters to residents telling them about the consequences of trespassing on private property to participate in illegal off-road driving.

Citations and further criminal prosecution will be enforced if the preventative measures fail, the release states.

The letter residents will receive lists properties in each neighborhood that have had off-road vehicle problems, outlines the increased law enforcement measures and states possible citations and criminal charges for violations.

August 15, 2008
Missing Sacramento man sought

Thomas missing.JPGFrom Niesha Lofing:

Police are looking for a Sacramento man who has been missing since Thursday morning.

Alvin Thomas, 80, left, was last seen leaving his home in the 3600 block of 38th Street to go to a nearby store, according to a police news release.

Thomas, who has an progressing case of Alzheimer's, did not return and his whereabouts are unknown.

He was last seen driving a gray 2005 Dodge Ram pickup with yellow and blue paper license plates, the release states.

Anyone with information about Thomas' whereabouts is asked to call Sacramento police at (916) 264-5471.

August 14, 2008
Roseville police cite four for allegedly buying liquor for minors

From Art Campos:

Four adults were cited for allegedly buying liquor for minors during a sting operation Tuesday in Roseville, police reported.

The operation, known as a "shoulder tap," was conducted at six locations that night as police used minors as decoys to approach nearly 100 adults in front of the stores and ask if they could buy liquor for them, said police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther.

Of the four adults cited, one was also arrested for a drug-related felony warrant, Gunther said.

Assisting Roseville in the sting were the police departments of Rocklin and Lincoln and agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Gunther said it was a grant from the ABC that provided funding for the sting.

August 14, 2008
Three arrested for allegedly setting fires at Elk Grove High

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police arrested three 17-year-old boys for allegedly setting fires at Elk Grove High School early this morning.

At 2:38 a.m., a witness called 911 after seeing a fire burning on the grounds of the high school at 9800 Elk Grove Florin Road. Several people were standing next to the blaze, according to a report.

Officers found five fires burning in trash piles and garbage cans set near school structures. None of the school buildings were damaged, police said.

Another witness spotted people jumping residential fences near the school grounds and walking in a nearby neighborhood.

August 14, 2008
Roseville purse-snatching incidents occur near grocery stores

From Art Campos:

Roseville police say four purse-snatching incidents have been reported in grocery store parking lots in the city over the past week.

Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said two men in a white sedan were seen in all of the cases.

In each incident, the men cruised the lot and pulled up next to a woman pushing a shopping cart. The man on the car's passenger side then leaned out the window and grabbed or tried to grab the woman's purse from the cart, Gunther said.

The two men are described as white and in their early 20s, she said.

Their vehicle is a late-model white or cream-colored four-door sedan, possibly a Cadillac, she said.

Anyone who sees a similar vehicle cruising in a parking lot, or other suspicious activity in store parking lots, is urged to call 911 immediately, Gunther said.

Citizens with information about the purse-snatching incidents are asked to call the Roseville Police Department at (916) 774-5070 or the Roseville Crime Stoppers at (916) 783-7867.

August 14, 2008
Yolo County idol contest gets a real judge

PK ROSENBERG 0131.JPGFrom Hudson Sangree:

In his day job, David Rosenberg, left, presides over the Yolo County Superior Court.

Tonight at 7:30, he'll preside over the Yolo Idol Search competition at the county fairgrounds in Woodland.

The Yolo County Fair is in full swing through the weekend, and fair organizers have billed tonight's event as a highlight.

For the fifth year, contestants will sing along to recorded music, karaoke style, as they seek to claim a top prize of $250.

Rosenberg, the county's head judge, will emcee the event, as he did last year.

Contestants must supply their own music and pre-register at the fair office at 1125 East Street.

This year's theme is "Jam Packed With Fun." The fair features livestock barns, art exhibits and carnival rides. Its stages will host a variety of local musical acts.

Saturday night's Auto Destruction Derby is already sold out.

Entry to the fair and many events are free. The entrance is on Gum Avenue in Woodland.

The fair closes at midnight Sunday.

August 14, 2008
Sacramento police seek sexual-assault suspect

Suarez.JPGFrom Kim Minugh:

Sacramento police are looking for a 38-year-old man wanted in connection with the sexual assault of a minor, authorities said.

The suspect, Marco Suarez, left, is known to frequent the Sacramento area, police said.

He is described as a 5-foot-6, 210-pound Hispanic adult with black hair and brown eyes, according to police. Suarez might be driving, or associated with, a silver and blue, mid-80s Chevy S-10 pickup truck.

Police urge anyone with information to contact Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 14, 2008
Update: Detective kills stolen pit bulls in purse-snatching bust

From David Richie:

Brutus and Smokey, two pit bull terriers abducted from the Sacramento County animal shelter last month while facing a death sentence, were shot and killed Wednesday at the Motel 6 on College Town Drive.

The dogs attacked a motel maintenance worker and were shot by a sheriff's detective, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Detectives went to the motel about 10:45 a.m. seeking the dogs' owner, Cynthia Peters, and her boyfriend, Mark Parr, said Sgt. Tim Curran.

Detectives considered them suspects in a purse snatching involving an 80-year-old woman who was robbed outside the Bel Air supermarket at Arden Way and Eastern Avenue July 9, Curran said.

Peters and Parr also are suspects in the July 8 break-in at the county animal shelter on Bradshaw Road and abduction of the two dogs. Animal control officials had sentenced the dogs to death for mauling a Sacramento Municipal Utility District worker in June.

Here's Richie's updated story.

August 14, 2008
Robbers target Asian women in their driveways

From Niesha Lofing:

Police are warning Sacramento residents to be on the lookout for armed robbers who primarily are targeting Asian women in the driveways of their homes.

Five robberies that occurred over the past two weeks at homes in southeast Sacramento, are thought to be linked, said Sacramento police Officer Konrad Von Schoech.

The robbers struck in the late evening, demanded purses, wallets and small electronics and, except once, targeted Asian women in neighborhoods near Elder Creek Road. The victims were robbed as they arrived home and were in their driveways.

Description of the robbers and how they left the crime scene also are similar, Von Schoech said.

"There's so many commonalities here, we can't exclude that," Von Schoech said, referring to the crimes being linked.

Here's Lofing's full story.

August 14, 2008
Ex-court clerk sentenced to five years in prison for altering DUI records

Fernando_Catlin.JPGFrom Kim Minugh:

A former Sacramento County court clerk was sentenced today to five years in state prison for his role in altering court records associated with driving under the influence cases for financial payoff, authorities said.

Investigators connected seven false DUI case dismissals to court orders and computer entries handled by Fernando Catlin, left, who was responsible for data entry for active DUI cases while a Superior Court clerk, according to the Sacramento County District Attorney's office.

Investigators also identified Hector Whitley as the person who offered the DUI defendants an opportunity to get their cases dismissed with the help of someone Whitley knew at the court house in exchange for money, a news release stated. Evidence linked those pay-offs to Catlin.

A trial date for Whitley is expected to be set at his next court hearing,Friday.

August 14, 2008
Fleeing man abandons 2-year-old brother in hot car

From Niesha Lofing:

An 18-year-old Sacramento man faces felony child endangerment charges after leaving his 2-year-old brother in a hot car while he ran from police Wednesday afternoon.

Undercover Sacramento police officers were stopped at a red light at the intersection of Florin Road and 24th Street at about 4:15 p.m. when they noticed a man smoking what appeared to be marijuana in a car beside them, said police Officer Konrad Von Schoech.

They also saw a small child in a car seat in the in the back of the car, he said.

"They feared for the safety of the child and attempted to get the guy's attention," Von Schoech said.

Here's Lofing's full story.

August 14, 2008
Regional roundup: Public Safety Watch

The Bee's Regional editions publish Public Safety Watch stories each Thursday. Here's a roundup of those stories and Police/Fire Logs, as compiled by Bee reporters:

Sacramento/North Sacramento/south Sacramento:
Vehicle stop near airport leads to arrest of two
Police/Fire Log

Arden/Carmichael:
Man pistol-whipped in home robbery in Carmichael
Police see jaywalking on the rise
Police/Fire Log

Elk Grove:
Arrests take toll on local gang
Police/Fire Log

Citrus Heights/Orangevale/Fair Oaks:
Woman is denied bail in Citrus Heights tantrum
Police/Fire Log

Folsom:
Police/Fire Log

Rancho Cordova/Gold River:
Police/Fire Log

El Dorado:
Suspected shoplifter bagged at Cameron Park supermarket

South Placer:
Deadline nears to get Rocklin alarm permit
Police/Fire Log

August 14, 2008
Former Placer deputy gets two years in sex case

From Art Campos:

A former Placer County sheriff's deputy was sentenced Wednesday to two years in a county jail and placed on five years probation for having sexual relations with two underage girls during his years as a law enforcement officer.

Michael Stuart Johnson was given the term by retired Placer Superior Court Judge J. Richard Couzens, who expressed concern over the ex-deputy's safety if he were to be housed in a state prison.

Johnson, 26, who worked two years for the Sheriff's Department, was arrested Oct. 5 after detectives looked into reports that he was having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl in Colfax, where he was a patrol officer.

Further investigation revealed allegations of a prior sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl from 2003 to 2004 when Johnson was a police officer in Auburn. The probe also uncovered the alleged distribution of lewd material to a 15-year-old girl in 2007 and the illegal use of a law enforcement computer system.

Johnson resigned as a deputy in December and pleaded guilty in May to five criminal charges.

Under terms of his sentencing, Johnson must serve two full years in jail without possibility of alternative sentencing or of earning a shorter jail stay based on good-conduct credits. He faced a state prison term of four years and eight months.

"Two years in custody is not a slap on the wrist," said prosecutor Garen Horst. "If he'd gone to prison, he'd be eligible for half-time credits, meaning he would have served two years and four months. So I agree that this was a pretty harsh punishment."

Lt. Jeffrey Ausnow said Johnson will not be housed in the county jail in Auburn. He will serve the two-year sentence at a jail facility in an undisclosed county, he said.

August 14, 2008
Moving up the ranks

Four Sacramento police officers will be promoted today to the rank of sergeant.

Wendy Brown, Benjamin Gomez II, Roman Murrietta and Daniel Nutley will be promoted during a ceremony at 11:30 a.m. at the Sacramento Police Department, 5770 Freeport Boulevard.

The officers all bring "considerable experience, education and expertise," to their new positions, a police news release states.

Officers must have three years of continuous service with the Sacramento Police Department to be qualify for promotion to sergeant, according to the city of Sacramento's Web site.

Sergeants are ranked a level above police officer and report to a police lieutenant or higher-ranking officer. They have lead responsibility for carrying out an assignment independently or with lower ranking officers.

Some of the sergeants' duties and responsibilities include training, counseling and evaluating lower-ranking officers, supervising complex situations, gathering evidence for court preparation, testifying in court, and apprehending, interrogating and arresting suspected criminals, the Web site states.

- Niesha Lofing

August 13, 2008
Drunken driving enforcements begin stepping up this weekend

From Kim Minugh:

Law enforcers across the region will begin cracking down on drunken driving this weekend in anticipation of Labor Day festivities.

The enforcement is part of the statewide "Avoid" campaign funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

On Saturday, the Sacramento County "Avoid the Capital 15" task force - composed of representatives from 15 agencies - will conduct a sobriety checkpoint in Elk Grove. Also on that day, the "Avoid the 8" Yolo County task force will begin its two-week long crackdown leading up to Labor Day.

In 2006, nearly 13,500 people died in crashes in which the driver or motorcycle rider was legally drunk, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than 300 of them were children under the age of 15.

Authorities encourage area residents to plan ahead to avoid drunken driving.

Click here for more information about "Avoid" campaign.

August 13, 2008
Search for June suspect ends in August arrest

From David Richie:

El Dorado County sheriff's detectives tracked a man with a lengthy criminal record to Roseville on Tuesday, arresting him for his suspected involvement in an attempted raid on a Placerville area hydroponics equipment shop.

When sheriff's deputies interrupted that caper about 1 a.m. June 11, Timothy Alan Anderson allegedly led them on a vehicle chase that ran along Highway 50 and for about four miles on Ponderosa Road before Anderson crashed his truck and fled, leaving one of his accomplices injured in the wreckage.

The vehicle was registered in his name and detectives have been looking for him ever since, said Sgt. Phil Chovanec, sheriff's office spokesman.

Investigators eventually determined that he was staying at an address on Sawtelle Road, west of Washington Boulevard and not too far from the Roseville Police Station on Junction Boulevard.

Anderson was booked into El Dorado County Jail on suspicion of second-degree burglary, possession of concentrated cannabis and evading police officers with serious bodily injury.

Jail records indicate that bail is set at $115,000 for the three offenses. An additional bail enhancement of $60,000 was added noting that Anderson has four prior felony convictions.

When people flee from police officers, death or serious injury can be right around the corner, Chovanec said. He stressed that a pursuit endangers the suspect, the officers and any other driver, pedestrian or bicyclist who might be on the road.

August 13, 2008
Drivers cite their reasons for violating cell-phone law

From Art Campos:

Rocklin police are seeing some creative behavior and hearing a variety of opinions and excuses from those cited for violating a new law against using hand-held cell phones while driving.

During a grace period in July, when the new law went into effect, officers gave 77 verbal warnings to violators, said Rocklin Police Lt. Lon Milka. But this month they've issued 54 citations.

"People will think of just about anything to try to get out of a ticket," Milka said. "Our job is to hack our way through the excuses and enforce the laws."

Among the excuses and opinions Rocklin officers have heard, are:

• "I can't stand that stupid earpiece."

• "I haven't figured out how to use my Bluetooth yet."

• "My wife said I sounded like I was in a toilet so I switched back to cell."

• "I was waiting to get a ticket before I spend money on a Bluetooth."

• "The fine is just a business expense. I'll write it off."

• "Is it not more of a hazard to fumble around trying to get the ear thing in?"

• "I wasn't using my phone. I was just resting my head against it."

And one motorist tried to fool a motorcycle officer who spotted him using a cell phone, Milka said.

The driver "flipped his cell phone shut and acted as if he was using an electric shaver while driving," he said.

The quick thinking didn't prevent the driver from getting a citation, which carries a base fine of $20 for a first offense. Subsequent citations earn a $50 fine.

August 13, 2008
Crime Alert: Suspected parole violator sought

camoten2.jpgCalifornia Department of Corrections Parole Agents in Sacramento are seeking Bobbie Jean Moten on a felony no-bail arrest warrant for suspicion of parole violations and absconding parole, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

According to authorities, Moten has an extensive history of financial crimes, counterfeit checks and fake bank accounts.

Moten is described as 22 years old, 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 187 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. Her whereabouts are unknown.

Anyone with information about Moten is urged to contact Crime Alert at (800) AA-CRIME or (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and maybe eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 13, 2008
Two burglaries a few streets apart could be linked, police say

From Niesha Lofing:

Three people were assaulted during two residential burglaries this morning along the border of Orangevale and Citrus Heights, incidents police say could be related.

Citrus Heights police are searching for a burglar who broke into home, struck a woman in the face and fled. The assailant did not take anything from the home.

It happened about 2:37 a.m. at a home in the 7700 block of Wachtel Way.

Then, a man broke into a home in the 8500 block of Linda Creek Court about 4:53 a.m., tied up two elderly residents and stole their burgundy Dodge Sebring, said Sacramento County Sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran.

The intruder is described as a man in his 20s, wearing black clothing and a mask, he said.

The Orangevale home is about eight-tenths of a mile from the Citrus Heights home.

Authorities think the two incidents may be related.

"There's a strong likelihood that they could be connected," said Citrus Heights Police Lt. Ray Bechler of the two burglaries.

Bechler would not disclose why authorities believe the crimes are linked.

In Citrus Heights, a woman who was house-sitting at the home on Wachtel Way awoke when she heard a noise at the front door.

"She thought it was a cat scratching or something," Bechler said.

The woman, who is in her 50s, checked out the noise and found a person inside the house. The burglar hit her in the face and ran away, Bechler said.

The woman called 911 from her cell phone and was taken to Mercy San Juan Medical Center. Bechler said the woman was not badly hurt.

Police set up a perimeter and searched the area, but did not find the subject, he said.

Police have a "very vague" description of the burglar, who was only described as wearing black clothing.

Investigations of both incidents continues.

Anyone with information about the Orangevale burglary is asked to call the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department at (916) 874-5115.

August 13, 2008
Two die, others hurt in violent Redding attack

From Niesha Lofing:

A Redding woman is recovering in a Sacramento hospital after she and three other people were violently attacked in their home by her former boyfriend.

One of the attack victims was killed, along with the assailant, who committed suicide.

Redding police investigated after receiving a reports of gunfire inside an apartment on Hartnell Avenue, a police news release states.

Three people lived at the home - Patricia Haggard, 56, Phillip Lampella, 28, and Shasta Maw, 27. Maw is Haggard's daughter. Haggard's friend, Nancy Bosley, 63, of San Jose was visiting Haggard and staying at the home at the time.

Here's Lofing's complete story.

August 13, 2008
Cat burglar details his techniques for police in video

Interesting story detailing how a serial burglar chose his targets, as reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Ignacio Pena Del Rio, known as one of Los Angeles' most industrious and prolific cat burglars until his arrest in 2006, agreed to authorities' unusual request. He starred in a 70-minute video in which he disclosed all his techniques for a Los Angeles Police Department training video.

Pena Del Rio, who came to the United States with hopes of becoming a professional mixed martial arts fighter and earned a business degree from the University of San Diego, was convicted of stealing more than $16 million in loot.

The Spanish national was sentenced Tuesday to 7 1/2 years behind bars for the two-year crime spree that targeted scores of victims in Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Simi Valley.

Here's the Times full story.

August 13, 2008
Ammunition purchase program results in felon's guilty plea

From Niesha Lofing:

A Sacramento man pleaded guilty Tuesday to possession of ammunition by a felon after buying bullets from a local sporting goods store.

Ramon Michael Clark, 31, entered his guilty plea in federal court before U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez, according to a news release by the office of U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

Clark's illegal activity came to light as a result of a pilot program requiring merchants to collect identifying information from people buying ammunition.

Clark bought 50 rounds of .25 caliber ammunition from Big 5 Sporting Goods on Mack Road in February.

Clark was required to submit his driver's license and a thumbprint to complete the sale in compliance with a recently enacted ordinance, the release states.

Sacramento police used the information to determine that Clark had been convicted of possessing marijuana for sale and possessing narcotics while armed, both felonies.

Clark is scheduled to be sentenced by Mendez at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 4.

He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, the release states.

The case resulted from joint investigation by Sacramento police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

August 12, 2008
Citrus Heights police make pot, meth house busts

From David Richie:

Citrus Heights police put the pressure on a suspected marijuana grower and closed down a suspected methamphetamine house during two separate actions late last week.

Patrol deputies went to a duplex in the 7700 block of Pompei Court, south of Antelope Road, Friday to serve a felony arrest warrant on Kevin Allan Radder, 31, officials said. A marijuana cultivation charge had been filed against Radder in late June when officers discovered a large number of plants at that address.

During their visit Friday, officers spotted about 73 more plants - some up to 5 feet tall in the backyard and shorter plants inside, along with lights and other equipment. Radder was booked into Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of cultivating marijuana.

Complaints from neighbors about suspected drug activity led Special Investigations Unit officers to a house in the 7200 block of Geowood Way about 3:15 p.m. Thursday. Officers were armed with a search warrant.

During the search they turned up just more than three grams of suspected methamphetamine, along with weight scales, cash, a shotgun, shotgun shells and other indications of drug sales activity.

Christopher Wendel Torscher, 47, and Paul Michael Kirk, 28, were both arrested on suspicion of maintaining a house where controlled substances are used or sold. Kirk also was booked on suspicion of possession of controlled substances for sale because much of the evidence was found in his room.

Although the amount seized was relatively small, the action is still important, officials said.

"Most of our cases are generated from tips we receive from residents," said Sgt. Doug Fletcher, SIU supervisor. "That kind of illegal activity can really have an impact on the quality of life in a neighborhood."

August 12, 2008
Sacramento police show fruits of firearms ordinance

JV GUNS 04.JPGFifty-six guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition that have been taken off the streets in the last six months were displayed today at the Sacramento Police Department property warehouse.

Photo by Jose Luis Villegas/
jvillegas@sacbee.com

From Ryan Lillis:

Sacramento police have seized 56 guns and more than 800 rounds of ammunition from criminals over the past year through an ordinance that tracks ammunition sales, officials said today.

The ordinance, passed in July 2007, requires city gun dealers to enter into a Web site information about people who purchase ammunition. The Police Department tracks the sales and then arrests people who are prohibited from owning guns, including felons.

City Councilmember Kevin McCarty, who sponsored the ordinance last year, said the results show "we've made our neighborhoods a little safer."

City police seized guns ranging from 50-year-old rifles to a high-powered shotgun labeled a "destructive device" by the federal government, police said. In the past year, 53 people have been charged with felonies related to the seizures.

Here's Lillis' updated story.

August 12, 2008
Roseville police plan three traffic enforcement sweeps this week

From Art Campos:

Roseville police will conduct three traffic enforcement operations this week, including a "zero tolerance" effort against speeders Wednesday.

The no-tolerance operation will run from 6 to 10 a.m. on Cirby Way near Riverside Avenue, said police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther, who noted that a number of motorists have not been slowing down in that vicinity, despite construction on a road-widening project.

"This creates real hazards for construction workers, as well as other motorists," she said.

On Friday, police will begin conducting a sobriety and driver's license checkpoint at an undisclosed location that has a history of traffic collisions and arrests related to drunken driving, Gunther said.

The operation will begin about 9 p.m. and conclude at 1 or 2 a.m. Saturday, she said.

On Saturday, officers will be on the lookout for street racers, Gunther said. The operation begins at 8 p.m. and will end at about 2 a.m. Sunday. In addition, police will issue citations to anyone who has illegally modified a vehicle for street racing, she said.

"Anyone caught street racing or assisting with a street race may be arrested, and their vehicles may be impounded for 30 days," Gunther said.

Each of the traffic enforcement operations is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, she said.

August 12, 2008
Rocklin man to stand trial for allegedly shooting, killing his dog

From Art Campos:

A Placer County judge has ordered that a Rocklin man be held to answer for allegedly shooting and killing his 6-month-old German shepherd.

Superior Court Judge Colleen Nichols said Argene Corbett Millard, 76, must stand trial following a preliminary hearing last week into felony charges of animal cruelty and negligent discharge of a firearm.

Millard was arrested May 25 by police, who had responded to a call about shots being fired in the 5700 block of Casa Grande Avenue. The officers discovered the dog dead in Millard's backyard.

Eleven other dogs also were found at the residence and placed in protective custody at the Placer County Animal Shelter. Three of the dogs were later released to some of Millard's relatives.

During Wednesday's preliminary hearing, four members of the Rocklin Police Department were placed on the witness stand, prosecutor Carl Mayhew said.

Nichols denied a motion by Millard's attorney, Jess Bedore, to have the two felony charges reduced to misdemeanors, Mayhew said.

Millard, who is free on bail, was ordered to return to court for a conference Aug. 26.

August 12, 2008
Police seek truck driver who crashed into Elk Grove house

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police are looking for the owner of a green Chevy truck that crashed into an Elk Grove house this morning.

The incident occurred at 7:10 a.m. in the 8600 block of Sumerlin Court. The truck crashed into the garage of the home and then took off with wood still embedded in it, said Christopher Trim, spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police at (916) 714-5115.

August 12, 2008
Elk Grove man arrested on suspicion of contracting without a license

From Jon Ortiz:

Amid what state authorities say is a growing problem with unlicensed contractors, an Elk Grove house painter with a history of complaints by homeowners was arrested in a sting operation Tuesday.

Contractors State License Board officials, backed by Elk Grove police, put handcuffs on 40-year-old Jim Lew Seitz outside a two-story house on Caribou Peak Way, where he and a homeowner were in dispute over a painting contract.

Here's Ortiz's updated story.

August 12, 2008
California crime: Cactuses become hot targets for thieves

Over the last six months, there has been an epidemic of cactus thefts in Palm Desert, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Officials say they have lost nearly $20,000 worth of the plants. The main target is the golden barrel, which, depending on its size, can fetch anywhere from $100 to $800 each.

"Once or twice a year we encounter people with shovels and pickup trucks trying to steal cactus," said Gail Sevrens, a park spokeswoman for the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. "You can see the cumulative impact of 60 years of this kind of thing along some park roads where all of a sudden there are no barrel cactus."

Here's the complete Times story.

August 11, 2008
Police arrest suspect in Natomas apartment death, fire

From Niesha Lofing and Chelsea Phua:

Police have arrested a Sacramento man for allegedly killing a 20-year-old woman and then setting fire to her Natomas apartment early Sunday morning.

Sacramento County Coroner's officials identify her as Alicia Ray.

Firefighters discovered Ray's body around 2:36 a.m. after extinguishing a blaze at the apartment at 2055 W. El Camino Avenue, according to a news release.

Sacramento police were called to the scene by fire crews and homicide detectives began investigating the fire and the woman's death, both of which were deemed suspicious, said Officer Konrad Von Schoech.

The investigation led to Jose Duarte, 21, whom detectives allege killed Ray and then set fire to the apartment to cover up the killing, the release states.

Duarte and the victim knew one another, Von Schoech said.

"They were acquaintances," he said.

The investigation is ongoing. A motive has not yet been determined.

Duarte was arrested on suspicion of murder and a probation violation and is being held without bail in Sacramento County Main Jail, according to online jail information.

He is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

August 11, 2008
Costly Rancho Cordova blaze leads to arrest of two men

From Niesha Lofing:

Two men have been arrested in connection with a Sunday-morning fire that caused $3 million in damage to townhomes being built in Rancho Cordova.

The four-alarm fire started just after 6 a.m. at two sets of townhomes near Zinfandel Drive and Highway 50, said Charles Jenkins, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District battalion chief.

"When I left the station, flames were visible over the rooftops and trees," he said.

The fire began in one of two six-unit townhome buildings and spread to the other complex across a narrow alley. The townhomes were under construction and were in the framing stage, Jenkins said.

Firefighters established a defensive line around the fire to keep it from spreading to nearby occupied homes.

The fire was contained in about an hour-and-a-half, and crews had the blaze extinguished in about five hours, Jenkins said.

"The potential of getting all those occupied homes was huge," he said.

The townhomes are in high-density housing area called Zinfandel International, Jenkins said.

The development is owned by Beazer Homes. Beazer officials estimated damage to the 12 units at $3 million, he said. The fire damaged the framed structures, as well as the infrastructure beneath them.

"In my opinion, it's a complete loss," he said.

The suspects, whose identities have not been released, were arrested on suspicion of arson. The fire remains under investigation.

August 11, 2008
Update: Man arrested after allegedly shooting at CHP officers

From Niesha Lofing:

Police arrested a man wanted for allegedly shooting at two California Highway Patrol officers early this morning.

Sacramento Police officers found Carroll Wayne Cavanaugh, 31, at about 11:15 a.m. near Meadowview and Belinda Way, said CHP Officer Michael Bradley.

It isn't known if Cavanaugh had the gun that he allegedly fired at the officers this morning, Bradley said.

Neither officer was hit by the multiple gunshots fired as Cavanuagh fled after a vehicle chase ended with Cavanaugh's car crashing, the CHP said.

An extensive search followed, prompting road closures in the area of Power Inn Road, between Florin and Gerber roads, and an increased police presence at an area elementary school today.

Here's Lofing's full updated story.

August 11, 2008
UC Merced chemistry student arrested for allegedly making meth

From the Merced Sun-Star:

A UC Merced graduate student close to earning a Ph.D in chemistry was arrested Thursday afternoon on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine.

Jason West, 36, was arrested at his home in the 100 block of Castle Drive in Atwater, Merced County sheriff's officials said.

Authorities believe West stole more than $10,000 worth of chemicals and equipment from a UC Merced lab, which he used to cook methamphetamine, said deputy Ed Katen.

Here's the full Sun-Star story.

August 11, 2008
Man arrested in connection with fatal south Sacramento stabbing

A Sacramento man was arrested Sunday in connection with the stabbing death of Dinesh Kumar Singh, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department reports.

At 1:30 p.m. Sunday, detectives arrested Gabriel Pete Chavez, 32, near Laguna Boulevard and Interstate 5, after he contacted the Sheriff's Department and arranged to turn himself in, according a department news release.

Chavez allegedly stabbed Singh Saturday morning in the driveway of Singh's home in the 7500 block of Glendora Court, officials said. Sheriff's officials said a 36-year-old friend of the victim found the victim lying in the driveway of the residence and rushed him to a south area hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

Chavez was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of murder, as well as several active misdemeanor traffic warrants, officials said. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Dept. 3.

The investigation is continuing and detectives are still attempting to establish a motive for the crime. Anyone with information about the fatal stabbing is urged to call Sheriff's Homicide detectives at (916) 874-5115.

August 11, 2008
Update: Suspects arrested in Elk Grove shooting

From Melissa Nix:

Elk Grove police arrested two people Saturday in conjunction with a Wednesday night shooting that occurred on the 6300 block of Livorno Way.

Brandon Claypool, 19, and a 17-year-old male juvenile were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and conspiracy, authorities reported.

Police say the crime was gang -related and could carry heavier penalties accordingly.

"If you commit a crime to further or enhance your gang, that will come into play in the penalty phase of a court hearing," Elk Grove Police Sgt. James Fuller said.

The shooting injured three people whose wounds were not life-threatening. The two shooters had fled the scene when police arrived.

Detectives believe the shooting was in retaliation for a fight that the 17-year-old >was involved in earlier Wednesday, police said.

Anyone with information about the is asked to call the Elk Grove Police Department's communications center at (916) 714-5115 or the Elk Grove Police Department's detectives bureau at (916) 478-8060.

August 11, 2008
Sweeps target -- and catch -- procrastinating DUI suspects

From Blair Anthony Robertson:

Many folks who get caught drinking and driving are under the impression that if they simply avoid the court system, the whole thing might fade away.

Little by little and month by month, the Sacramento Police Department is disabusing them of that notion with sweeps targeting motorists who either failed to show up for a court date or violated terms of their probation in a DUI case.

Friday night, officers arrested two such suspects - one as he was arriving home in a car he was not licensed to drive.

"There are literally thousands of DUI warrants in the system. Some of the people are hoping they can put it off for a long time and not have to deal with it," said Officer Timothy Davis, who is overseeing a DUI program funded by the state's Office of Traffic Safety. "We're letting the public know that if they don't take care of it by going to court, we're going to come find them and take then to jail."

Many suspects involved are transients, meaning addresses on warrants were out of date when officers showed up Friday to make an arrest, Davis said.

Not so for Timothy Furey. He rolled up at his residence in the Valley Hi section of Sacramento, just as officers were leaving, police said.

He was arrested Friday around 6 p.m. for two outstanding DUI warrants, cited for driving without a license and had his car towed away, according to Davis.

Sacramento police have conducted similar sweeps since April, yielding 11 arrests, Davis said.

August 11, 2008
Search continues for man who shot at CHP officers

From Niesha Lofing:

Police continue to search for a gunman who allegedly shot at two California Highway Patrol officers in South Sacramento early this morning.

Neither officer was hit by the multiple gunshots.

The extensive search prompted road closures in the area of Power Inn Road, between Florin and Gerber roads, and has resulted in increased police presence at an area elementary school today.

The alleged shooter, identified by the CHP as Carroll Wayne Cavanaugh, 31, is thought to be in the area of Florin Elementary School on Kara Drive.

Cavanaugh was the driver of an ivory-colored Cadillac Seville carrying three passengers that crashed into a fence at a home on the corner of 68th Avenue and Florinda Way after being pursued by a CHP unit at about 3:15 a.m. today, said CHP Officer Michael Bradley.

Here is Lofing's updated story.


August 8, 2008
Case over slaying of deputy back on track in Yolo County

JV TOPETE 02.JPGFrom Hudson Sangree:

After a series of legal detours, the case against Marco Antonio Topete, center, accused of killing sheriff's Deputy Jose Antonio Diaz in June, appears to be back on track in Yolo Superior Court. On Friday, the court ordered two private attorneys to replace the public defender. The new attorneys then withdrew a motion to disqualify all Yolo County judges from hearing the case.

Public Defender Barry Melton announced at a hearing Friday that his office was officially withdrawing from the case because of undisclosed conflicts of interest.

At the same time, two experienced death-penalty lawyers - Hayes Gable III, of Sacramento, and Tom Purtell, of Woodland - stepped in to represent Topete.

The new lawyers then withdrew an earlier motion by Melton's office to disqualify all the judges on the Yolo County bench from hearing the case.

The motion contended that Topete could not get a fair trial in Yolo County because Diaz had worked as a courthouse deputy and was well known among court officials in Woodland.

The motion also cited an incident in which sheriff's deputies failed to unlock the front doors of a court building at Topete's initial court appearance on June 18.

The deputies' action blocked access to Topete's family, the public and media, while Diaz's family and law-enforcement officers were allowed to fill the courtroom through secured side doors.

The charges against Topete were read at the June 18 hearing, but Topete did not enter a plea.

A subsequent attempt by Presiding Judge David Rosenberg to arraign Topete in a more public setting was derailed by the defense's bombshell motion.

That motion was set to be heard this afternoon by Sacramento Superior Court Judge David De Alba, who was appointed by California Chief Justice Ronald George to hear the matter as an outside jurist.

But after Topete's new lawyers withdrew the motion, De Alba vacated it, a Sacramento court spokeswoman said Friday.

Topete, 35, is scheduled to appear in a Woodland courtroom later this month and may be formally arraigned then.

He is accused of gunning down Diaz, 37, with a high-powered rife following a chase near Dunnigan on June 15.

August 8, 2008
Rocklin alarm ordinance grace period to end Sept. 1

From Lakiesha McGhee:

Rocklin residents and businesses who have alarm systems must obtain an alarm permit by Sept. 1, or face a $100 fine.

In an effort to decrease false alarms, the Rocklin City Council adopted an alarm ordinance, which became law April 11. The grace period to get the permit ends Sept. 1, according to a news release. An alarm company will be in violation of the new law by activating an alarm without ensuring their customer has obtained a permit.

Applications for the permit are available via the city's Web site. The cost is $25 for the first two years and $15 for each two-year renewal.

Each residence or business is given one free false alarm response in a rolling 12-month period, which begins when they obtain their alarm permit. For general false alarms, there is a fine of $50 for the second response and $100 for the third and subsequent responses during the 12-month period. For holdup or duress alarms, there is a fine of $100 for the second response and $150 for the third and subsequent responses during the 12-month period.

In 2007, the Rocklin Police Department responded to more than 2,700 alarms, 99 percent of which were false. Burglary and robbery alarms are high priority incidents requiring immediate deployment of a minimum of two patrol officers.

For more information about the alarm ordinance, call (866) 541-7626.

August 8, 2008
Police: Two suspects targeted in Natomas attempted homicide

Matt Jones.JPG Joshua Nickerson.JPG

The Sacramento Police Department are seeking two 18-year-old men who have outstanding warrants for suspicion of attempted homicide, authorities report.

At 10 p.m. July 25, five suspects confronted a male inside the Point Natomas Apartments, according to a department news release. The confrontation escalated and the victim was beaten and shot several times, authorities said. The victim is expected to recover from his injuries, but he has lost the use of his right eye, officials said.

Detectives are seeking Matthew Jones, left photo, who is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 175 pounds, and Joshua Nickerson, right photo, who is 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds. Both suspects should be considered armed and dangerous, authorities said.

Anyone with information about the suspects are urged to contact Crime Alert at (800) AA-CRIME or (916) 443-HELP, or the Sacramento Police Department at (916) 264-5471. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 8, 2008
Mexican army takes lead fighting crime in Tijuana

Tourists to the Mexican border city of Tijuana beware, according to the Associated Press:

If you witness a murder or a drug deal in the crime-stricken city, don't bother calling the police - call the Mexican army.

In a slap at the police, Gen. Sergio Aponte Polito, the army's top officer in northwest Mexico, has publicized a phone number for pleas for help and on Sunday gave the news media his latest 5,700-word bombshell letter complaining of police corruption.

Here's the full AP story.

August 8, 2008
Citrus Heights police seek stabbing suspect

From David Richie:

Citrus Heights police surrounded the area around Sylvan Oaks Library and Crosswoods Community Center Wednesday night, searching for a man who stabbed another man during an argument about 10:30 p.m.

A helicopter from a neighboring police agency and police K-9 units also participated in the search near Van Maren Lane and Auburn Boulevard and along the stretch of Arcade Creek that runs through that part of town, officials said.

The suspect was not captured and the incident is still under investigation.

August 8, 2008
Woman arrested after reportedly threatening residents with knife

From David Richie:

A parolee is in Sacramento County Main Jail, deemed ineligible for bail, after police said she threatened several residents Wednesday afternoon with what police describe as a "large fixed blade knife" in the Sayonara Drive area of Citrus Heights.

Police officers do not know what happened to trigger Susan Marie Peacock's temper. Peacock, 49, was first seen riding a bicycle near her home on Sayonara Drive. Then she approached several homes on nearby Ming Way and started screaming at the people inside, who told police that they did not know her.

Peacock then broke a front window of one home and stabbed the door several times before walking back into the middle of the street, where she reportedly screamed anti-Hispanic slurs.

Peacock then menaced a woman who was sitting in a nearby parked car but the woman managed to get away, officials said.

When police officers arrived, Peacock dropped the knife, complied with all their commands and was taken into custody with no more trouble.

She was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, felony vandalism, threatening people with a weapon, and parole violation.

August 8, 2008
Area agencies plan DUI checkpoints

Area law enforcement agencies are planning sobriety checkpoints tonight in Sacramento and Aug. 15 in Citrus Heights and Roseville.

In Sacramento, the DUI checkpoint will begin at 8:30 p.m. tonight near Fruitridge Road and Mendocino Boulevard and last between four and six hours. Uniformed officers will be checking for alcohol or drug-impaired drivers, according to a police department news release. A grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, provided funding for the program.

Citrus Heights police will conduct a DUI checkpoint from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Aug. 15 on Auburn Boulevard, north of Twin Oaks Avenue near the Placer County line, according to a department news release. The checkpoint is one in a series that are being funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Roseville Police Department will also lead a checkpoint near the Citrus Heights operation as a part of the Placer County AVOID DUI grant.

Officers will be checking drivers for signs of impairment and if they possess a valid driver's license. Drivers without a valid driver's license are subject to tow, according to authorities.

August 8, 2008
Crime Alert: Burglary suspect wanted

(Editor's note: Sacramento Crime Alert officials report that McDaniel has since been arrested).

mcdaniel  080408.jpgSacramento Police burglary detectives are seeking Michael McDaniel on a felony $30,000.00 bail arrest warrant for suspicion of residential burglary, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

McDaniel is described as 25 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds with green eyes and blond hair. He was last known to reside in the 8300 block of Discovery Bay Court in the Antelope area.

Anyone with information about McDaniel is urged to contact Crime Alert at (800) AA-CRIME or (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and maybe eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 8, 2008
Man sought by federal authorities for 30 years arrested in Lake County

From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

A man sought by federal authorities for nearly 30 years was apprehended in Lake County after he was arrested for being drunk and making sexual advances toward a 13-year-old girl and her aunt at Konocti Harbor Resort, authorities said.

John Arthur McKenzie disappeared after being paroled following a six-year prison term related to an explosion of a railroad bridge in Massachusetts in 1972, said Lake County sheriff's Capt. James Bauman.

Here's the full PD story.

August 8, 2008
IDs released in south Sacramento homicide-suicide

The Sacramento County Coroner's Office has identified the victims of a homicide and suicide early Wedneday in an apartment in the 6700 block of Sunnyslope Drive, southeast of Florin Mall.

According to Sheriff's Department officials, Charles Barcklay, 27, was getting into his vehicle when he was approached by Phong Thao, 33, who shot the younger man without provocation.

A security guard at the complex told Thao to drop the gun, but the man turned it on himself, according to sheriff's officials.

"We have no idea why he shot him," said sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran. "There was nothing to lead us to believe there was any type of altercation ...."

-- Bee Metro Staff
August 7, 2008
Federal grand jury indicts 13 in reported drug operation

From Chelsea Phua:

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted 13 members of a large-scale drug organization that operated in several states along the West Coast, authorities said.

Those indicted are all illegal immigrants from Mexico and operated acres of growth operations on federal and state lands, officials said.

Prosecutors say that one of the men indicted, Hubert Mario Ramirez, 24, of Stockton, financed two large marijuana plots - one on federal Bureau of Land Management land in western El Dorado County and one on Clementine State Park near Auburn in Placer County.

About $5 million to $6 million worth of marijuana and $60,000 to $70,000 worth of methamphetamine were seized when the men were arrested on July 30.

The charges include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to manufacture more than 1,000 plants of marijuana, manufacturing more than 1,000 plants of marijuana, conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

One of them, Adrian Ortega-Diaz, 39, of Stockton, was also charged with being a deported alien found in the United States.

August 7, 2008
Teen robbed; Elk Grove police arrest four

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police arrested four people Wednesday for allegedly robbing a teenager.

At 2:30 p.m., a 17-year-old boy was walking in the 9000 block of Elk Grove Boulevard when a 15-year-old boy approached him and asked him how much money he had, according to a police report.

When the 17-year-old kept walking, the younger boy began punching him. Another three people jumped in and began punching and hitting the 17-year-old, police said.

The 15-year-old took the victim's hat. Officers detained the four suspects, who had run away, police said.

The 15-year-old boy, two 17-year-old boys, and 19-year-old Robert Vargas were arrested on suspicion of robbery, said Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department.

August 7, 2008
Mom arrested after 2-month-old infant dies from meth dose

From Niesha Lofing:

A Sacramento woman has been arrested in connection with her 2-month-old daughter's death, who died after ingesting a lethal dose of methamphetamines, investigators said Thursday.

Maureen Hoffart, 45, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of endangering a child causing death in January and is being held without bail in Sacramento County Jail, Sgt. Matt Young said.

Sacramento firefighters found the dead baby girl after responding to a medical aid call at the home in the 2500 block of 38th Avenue at 8:20 a.m. Jan. 1, he said.

Nothing suspicious was noted at the time, but the infant's body was turned over the Sacramento County Coroner's Office for an autopsy.

Coroners eventually determined that the baby had a lethal dose of methamphetamines in her system, and homicide investigators assigned to the case believe the baby ingested the drugs as a result of the mother's actions, Young said.

An arrest warrant was issued for Hoffart and she was taken into custody.

Further details were not available.

Check back at www.sacbee.com for details.

August 7, 2008
Officials: Fifth suspect arrested in June robbery-homicide

Willie James Scroggins.JPGSacramento County Sheriff's Department detectives on Wednesday arrested a fifth suspect they believe was involved the in the June 8 killing of Samuel Alex Wilson in south Sacramento, authorities reported today.

Detectives arrested Willie James Scoggins, left, 32, at 1:40 p.m. Wednesday as he was walking near Fruitridge Road and Wilkinson Street in Sacramento's Avondale neighborhood, according to a department news release. Scoggins was arrested for his involvement in the June 8 robbery gone bad that resulted in the shooting death of Wilson, 31, in the 5500 block of Florin Road, authorities said.

James Allen Howard, 28, surrendered to sheriff's homicide detectives June 21 in connection Wilson's shooting death. Hours after Howard surrendered, authorities arrested 27-year-old Randall Ronnie Powell in Martinez in connection with the homicide, according to authorities.

The day after the killing, detectives arrested 21-year-old Shaneil Varneil Cooks of Elk Grove and 21-year-old Jennifer Ella Kane of Sacramento on suspicion of homicide.

Scoggins was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of murder and attempted robbery. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Dept. 62.

August 7, 2008
Crime Alert: Suspected counterfeit check passer sought

unknown 08-042  080408.jpgCitrus Heights police financial crimes detectives are seeking information leading to the identity of a man they say is responsible for passing counterfeit checks, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

According to authorities, the unknown suspect, right photo, purchased a vehicle July 18 from the victim with a counterfeit check for $12,000. The victim attempted to cash the check and was detained by officers. The vehicle was entered as stolen and had since been recovered. The victim was able to obtain a digital image of the suspect via a cellular telephone during the transaction for the stolen vehicle.

The suspect is described as 5 feet 11 inches, weighing 175 pounds.

Anyone with information about the suspect is urged to contact Crime Alert at (800) AA-CRIME or (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and maybe eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 7, 2008
Regional roundup: Public Safety Watch

The Bee's Regional editions publish Public Safety Watch stories each Thursday. Here's a roundup of those stories and Police/Fire Logs, as compiled by Bee reporters:

Sacramento/North Sacramento/south Sacramento:
Sacramento vandalism ends in arrest
Police/Fire Log

Arden/Carmichael:
Assault of officer on Arden-area street ends in arrest
Police/Fire Log

Elk Grove/Laguna:
Safety is aim of car seat inspector
Police/Fire Log

Citrus Heights/Orangevale/Fair Oaks:
Citrus Heights businesses get tips for outwitting criminals
Police/Fire Log

Folsom:
Police/Fire Log

Rancho Cordova/Gold River:
Police/Fire Log

South Placer:
Don't fire guns in air, police warn
Police/Fire Log

August 7, 2008
North Highlands robberies show marked decline in July

From Phillip Reese, via The Bee's Public Eye:

A hot spot for robberies cooled down last month, The Bee's weekly analysis of local crime data shows.

Three robberies were reported in North Highlands in July, the Sheriff's Department said. That's much better than June, when there were six robberies there, and May, when there were eight.

Most happened along Watt Avenue. The community often posts the second-highest violent crime rate in the county, but lags well behind south Sacramento.

For a view of crime in your area, view sacbee.com/crimemapper.

August 7, 2008
Police to target drunken drivers in south Sacramento

From Niesha Lofing:

Police will be on the lookout for drunken drivers in south Sacramento today.

Sacramento police will set up a sobriety checkpoint and will be checking for alcohol or drug-impaired drivers, a police news release said.

The checkpoint is intended to get drunken drivers off the streets, educate people about the dangers of drunken driving and lessen drunk driving's impact, police said.

The program is funded through a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

August 7, 2008
Update: Third victim found in shooting at Elk Grove house party

From Niesha Lofing:

Police have discovered a third victim during their investigation of a shooting at a house party in Elk Grove Wednesday night.

The third shooting victim, a 16-year-old girl, suffered a grazing wound to the lower right leg, said police Officer Chris Trim.

Detectives found the girl, and a 41-year-old woman who was standing with the three victims when the shooting occurred, during the course of their investigation early this morning, he said.

Two other teens also were shot. A 16-year-old girl suffered a grazing wound and an 18-year-old girl was shot in the upper torso. Both were taken to area hospitals and are expected to be OK.

The shooting occurred at a home in the 6200 block of Livorno Way, after a large fight broke out about 9:32 p.m.

"There was some type of party, and some uninvited individuals showed up and a fight broke out," Trim said.

Here's Lofing's full updated story.

August 6, 2008
Break-in thief gets Sacramento County deputy's gun, laptop

From Stan Oklobdzija:

A Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy was recently robbed of his gun, his laptop and a GPS device outside the Marriott Courtyard on White Rock Road in Rancho Cordova, sheriff's officials said Wednesday.

At about 1 p.m. July 30, the deputy, a detective who's been assigned to an FBI task force, was attending a training class at the hotel on the 10600 block of White Rock Road, said Sgt. Tim Curran, the sheriff's spokesman.

According to Curran, those attending the course were not allowed to bring their weapons into the hotel. So the deputy, who sheriff's officials are not naming, left his semi-automatic pistol in the car, one the FBI had provided for him, Curran said. The gun was the deputy's personal weapon that he used on duty, as per sheriff's department policy, Curran said.

The detective came out of the class to find his window broken and the items missing. The laptop, which was assigned to the detective from the sheriff's department, did not contain any classified information, Curran said. The GPS device belonged to the detective, he said.

The Sheriff's Department has no suspects, Curran said.

While the theft of a firearm certainly raises concerns, Curran said, theft from sheriff's department employees in general is far from rare.

"This happens about once a year," he said.

August 6, 2008
Pair arrested in copper thefts from San Juan schools

From Kim Minugh:

Two men have been arrested in connection with copper thefts at two San Juan Unified high schools, according to sheriff's officials.

Frank Axtell, a 39-year-old North Highlands resident, faces charges of grand theft, vandalism and violating his probation, according to Sacramento County sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran. Axtell was arrested last week as he visited his probation officer, Curran said.

Paul Reed, a 42-year-old Citrus Heights resident, faces charges of grand theft, vandalism and violating his parole after being arrested at a motel the next day, Curran said.

The arrests stem from copper thefts at Encina and El Camino high schools in June. San Juan Unified officials previously told The Bee the thefts - jobs officials estimated took about four hours - involved about $70,000 in copper.

Both suspects are being held in the Sacramento County Main Jail. Cal Expo police assisted in the investigation.

August 6, 2008
Crime Alert: Man wanted on suspected firearm, gang offenses

betti  080408.jpgSacramento Police gang detectives are seeking Mickey Leon Betti Jr. on a felony $50,000 bail arrest warrant for suspicion of possessing a firearm by a convicted felon and suspicion of participating in a criminal street gang, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Betti, also known as "Pooh Bear," is described as age 28, 5 feet 5 inches tall weighing 165 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He was last know to live in the 3700 block of 45th Avenue in south Sacramento, officials report.

Anyone with information about Betti is asked to contact Crime Alert at (800) AA-CRIME or (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and maybe eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.


August 6, 2008
Update: Homicide-suicide at south Sacramento apartment complex

From Chelsea Phua:

A 54-year-old man killed himself after shooting his 16-year-old son Wednesday, sheriff's officials said.

Sacramento County coroner's officials identified the father as Ka Thao Vang.

Officials said Vang and his son had been arguing, but don't know what prompted the shooting about 3:45 p.m. at 37th Street and 44th Avenue.

Deputies arrived to find the teenager lying in the front yard, authorities said.

The teenager, identified by a brother as Phong Vang, was hospitalized. Family members said he is expected to survive.

After the shooting, Ka Thao Vang retreated into the house, where he turned the gun on himself. Deputies found his body in the front room with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Here's Phua's updated story.

August 6, 2008
Crime prevention tips shared at National Night Out events

hoverstenbiopic5.jpgResidents throughout the Sacramento area Tuesday celebrated the 25th annual National Night Out. Neighbors held block parties and ice cream socials, which were also attended by area law enforcement personnel.

In South Natomas' Jefferson Park, Sacramento Police officer Keith Hoversten and Sonic (left photo), his 96-pound German shepherd K9 dog, visited with residents. Police department officials also distributed fliers detailing neighborhood crime tips.

Here's a few dealing with safety when returning home via car:

  • • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • • Pay attention to vehicles that appear to be tailing or following you as you approach your home. Drive to a well populated area and call the police, if necessary.
  • • As you pull into your garage/driveway, be away of individuals on foot in the area.
  • • Check the mirrors on your car to make sure that no one has managed to skip into the garage and hide around your vehicle.
  • • Have your house keys ready before exiting the car
  • • Upon entering your residence, it is recommended that you remain inside the doorway while you watch the garage door close completely.
  • • It is recommended that, if possible, you not unload items from the car until the garage door is safely closed.

Click here for more crime prevention tips, as provided by the police department. Click here for more information about the Sacramento Police Canine Association.

August 6, 2008
Longtime Oak Park crack dealer sentenced to 25 years

From Niesha Lofing:

A longtime Oak Park crack dealer was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in federal prison.

Harvey Lee Sewell, 45, of Sacramento, also was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton to 10 years federal supervised release, according to a news release by the office of U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

Sewell was found guilty of five counts of conspiracy and distribution of crack cocaine by a federal jury in February.

Evidence introduced during the trial showed that from August 2005 to January 2006, Sewell was the "architect" of a crack cocaine distribution ring responsible for selling thousands of dollars worth of crack cocaine each day in south Sacramento, federal prosecutors said.

Sewell ran his crack business from motel rooms along Stockton Boulevard, the release states.

During that time, Sewell traveled to Oakland and Richmond to obtain up to 15 ounces of powder cocaine from his drug suppliers and then took the cocaine to a "stash pad" at a motel near the Arden Fair mall, the release states. Once at the motel, Sewell would convert the powder cocaine into crack cocaine. He then packaged the crack and delivered the large packages to his "crew members" in the Stockton Boulevard motel, the release states.

During the trial, witnesses described Sewell, known as "JR," as a well-known, longtime drug dealer in Oak Park who also distributed large quantities of methamphetamine.

Sewell's criminal history includes three felony convictions for crack cocaine sales and one robbery conviction, the release states.

The case was investigated by members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Sacramento High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area team and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

August 6, 2008
Carmichael man sentenced five years for receiving, possessing child porn

From Niesha Lofing:

A Carmichael man was sentenced Tuesday to five years in federal prison for receiving and possessing child pornography.

Kevin Gifford, 29, was sentenced in federal court by United States District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, who decided to lessen the more than 16-year sentence recommended by federal probation officers because of Gifford's age and his history as a victim of child sexual abuse.

Prosecutors said Gifford received and then kept at least 200 video files and 160 photos of child pornography from known victims on his home computer, according to a news release by the office of U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

Some of the files depicted "sexually sadistic behavior" of grown men with 5- and 6-year-old girls, the release states.

Evidence presented during the jury trial made it clear that Gifford had installed at least two different file-sharing networks on his computer in order to solicit and receive videos and pictures of child porn, the release states.

Gifford also developed an online relationship with a 16-year-old Ohio girl while he was obtaining child pornography. The girl eventually moved to California to live with Gifford when she turned 18.

Within minutes of Gifford's first online contact with the girl, he began to engage her in explicit conversation. During that first conversation and subsequent conversations, Gifford talked about viewing other girls on web cameras who were engaging in inappropriate behavior, displayed his genitalia on his web camera, stated that he wanted to engage in sexual activity with the girl and wanted to enlist younger girls for his sexual fantasies, the release states.

When Gifford's computer was seized, he had contact information on it for a number of people whose online personas implied that they were minors, the release states.

A jury found Gifford guilty of the crimes Feb. 22.

The case is the product of a joint investigation by the Sacramento Sheriff's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the FBI.

August 6, 2008
Information sought about Lincoln man found dead July 25

From Niesha Lofing:

Placer County sheriff's deputies are asking for help in uncovering details about the life of a Lincoln man found dead late last month.

Robert Joseph Vargas, 32, was found shot to death July 25 in the brush behind his home on South Forbes Road, according to a sheriff's department news release.

An autopsy confirmed that Vargas died from a gunshot wound.

Anyone who has information about Vargas' activities in the weeks before his death is asked to call detectives at (530) 889-7800.

People who wish to remain anonymous can call Placer County Crime Stoppers at (800) 923-8191. Crime Stoppers provides up to $1,000 for anonymous tips that lead to arrest and conviction.

August 5, 2008
Juries convict 2 reputed Trigga Mob Gang members in shooting

Two reputed members of the Trigga Mob Gang were convicted today of conspiracy and attempted murder for the shooting of a man last year in North Sacramento.

Separate Sacramento Superior Court juries returned the verdicts against Lerome Franklin, 24, the self-described "five-star general" of the Del Paso Heights Bloods gang subset, according to trial testimony, and Floyd Aaron Martin, 21.

Franklin, who had been arrested for robbery on the day of the shooting of Timothy Hurst, ordered the attack because he thought Hurst had informed on him to the police. According to trial testimony, Franklin asked Martin to carry out the shooting, and Martin did so on the night of March 15, 2007.

Here's Andy Furillo's full story in today's Bee.

August 5, 2008
Stolen bike slows couple's Northern California wedding plans

From the Associated Press:

Melissa Henige and Andy Davis have been cycling cross-country this summer, pedaling west from their home in Indiana toward San Francisco, where they plan to marry.

But when the Bloomington, Ind., couple stopped in Eugene, Ore., this week for a coffee break, someone stole Henige's bicycle.

"It was our home for two and a half months, and now we're like, 'OK so what do we do now?'" said Melissa Henige.

Still, the two say they'll make it somehow to their wedding in San Francisco.

They've been chronicling their journey on a blog, and collecting footage for a documentary on sustainability.

"We feel good about what's going on in the country and along the route," Davis said. "We just had one person who chose to do something that wasn't so great."

August 5, 2008
Good news-bad news day for Stockton man

From Wesley DeBerry:

A Stockton man had a good news-bad news day.

The bad news - he was in a minor traffic accident that left his car on the railroad tracks as a train approached.

The good news - he and his two passengers got out of the car before the train hit it.

The bad news - his car was thrown from the tracks and hit him.

The good news - he only suffered minor injuries.

The bad news - he was arrested for driving under the influence.

Here are the details:

According to California Highway patrol, Andre Becerra Jr., 18, was traveling north on Lower Sacramento Road on Monday when he looked down momentarily just as traffic stopped ahead of him because of an oncoming train approached.

Becerra, veered to the left to avoid the vehicles but hit the concrete base of the railroad-crossing arm. The car came to rest on the tracks, Becerra and the two female passengers were able to exit the vehicle before the train hit. However, the momentum of the collision propelled Becerra's vehicle into him.

Becerra was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. He also was arrested for DUI.

Becerra was cited and released on a DUI charge. No other injuries were reported in the accident.

August 5, 2008
Sacramento cocaine supplier gets 16-plus years in prison

From Chelsea Phua:

A major cocaine supplier in Sacramento has been sentenced to 16 and a half years in federal prison, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott's office said Monday.

Prosecutors say Eddie Houston Jr., 36, of Sacramento, will also be supervised for 10 years following his release.

Houston pleaded guilty to a three-part conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, to possess with intent to distribute powder cocaine and to manufacture crack cocaine on March 3, authorities said.

Prosecutors say Houston supplied large quantities of crack cocaine to drug dealers and users in the neighborhoods of Del Paso Heights, Oak Park, Meadowview and the Dos Rios Public Housing Complex in downtown Sacramento.

Houston admitted to using a residence in the 3000 block of Cactus Way to cook powder cocaine into crack cocaine, to store the drug and conduct sales.

More than a year ago, a search conducted at Houston's place yielded what authorities called the largest crack cocaine seizure by the Drug Enforcement Administration in the Sacramento region, officials said.

DEA agents and Sacramento police officers recovered about seven pounds of crack cocaine worth $250,000, two pounds of power cocaine, cooking instruments and ingredients, digital scales and an electronic money-counting machine.

They also found $12,000 in cash on Houston, a validated gang member, when he was stopped a few blocks away in a Jaguar.

U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. said Houston had caused a lot of pain and suffering for a lot of families and deserved a "big-time" sentence.

August 5, 2008
National Night Out events focus on preventing crime

From Niesha Lofing:

Block parties and barbecues will blanket Sacramento neighborhoods this evening as residents celebrate the 25th annual National Night Out.

More than 80 neighborhoods in the city will be hosting ice cream socials, flashlight parades, block parties, potlucks and barbecues in an effort to help combat crime, according to a Sacramento Police Department news release.

Neighborhoods in other areas of the region, including Davis and Elk Grove, also are planning activities.

The nationwide event is intended to raise crime and drug prevention awareness, strengthen communities and generate support for local anti-crime efforts, the release states.

In Sacramento, police officers and city representatives will be attending neighborhood celebrations. Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully is scheduled to attend events in the Fruitridge, Foothill Farms and Citrus Heights areas tonight, according to a news release from Scully's office.

Clck here for more information about National Night Out events in Sacramento.

Here's a list of tonight's community events in the city of Rancho Cordova and the unincorporated areas of Sacramento county, as provided by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department:

NNO 2008.pdf

August 5, 2008
Woman describes attacker after sexual assault

sexual_assault_suspect.jpg tattoo.jpg

From Chelsea Phua:

Police are looking for a man accused of sexually assaulting a 28-year-old woman in her home near Lawrence Park on July 8.

The man, described as Caucasian or Hispanic in his late 30s, entered the garage when no one was home and waited.

The victim returned to her home in the 4900 block of 48th Street from work at 8:45 p.m. and heard noises coming from the garage. She opened the garage door and saw the man in the doorway. He grabbed her neck and forced her into a bedroom where he sexually assaulted her. He then fled on foot.

The victim told police she did not know her assailant and had never seen him before.

On Sunday, the victim reported seeing the man again in the area of Lawrence Park, riding an older-style silver bicycle.

The assailant (top left sketch) is about 6 feet and 170 pounds with unkempt shoulder-length brown hair and brown eyes. He was unshaven and had a full goatee. He was wearing a gray thermal shirt, black jeans and black steel-toed boots. He also has an armband-type tattoo (top right sketch) on his upper left arm and a deformity or scarring near his left eye.

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 5, 2008
Placer County Search and Rescue seeks donations

From Niesha Lofing:

Placer County Search and Rescue volunteers are hoping to dial in to residents' generosity as they begin soliciting donations over the phone to help purchase new equipment.

The fund-raising blitz began Friday in the Lake Tahoe area, and money raised will be used to buy mobile communications equipment and updated global-positioning systems for volunteers, according to a Placer County Sheriff's Department news release.

Each year, Search and Rescue volunteers donate thousands of hours to find lost hikers, skiers and others that get lost in the county's wildland areas.

Phone solicitors will be calling county residents to ask for donations. Callers will not ask for credit card information. Anyone wishing to donate will be sent a pre-addressed envelope, the release states.

Donations should be sent only to P.O. Box 4150, Auburn, CA, 95604 or P.O. Box 1710, Tahoe City, CA 96145.

August 4, 2008
Three teens arrested for allegedly stealing a vehicle in Elk Grove

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police arrested three teenage boys early Sunday morning after spotting them reportedly trying to steal a vehicle.

Around 1:30 a.m., the boys saw the officer and entered a green Honda that had been reported stolen. A short pursuit ensued. The Honda came rest on a lawn at Springhurst Drive and Earlmar Court, according to a police report.

All three ran away, but a K-9 officer and a helicopter located them.

The three boys, two age 16 and one 15, were arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle and conspiracy, according to Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department.

One 16-year-old also was arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed dirk or dagger, evading a police officer and resisting arrest. The second 16-year-old also was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, Trim said.

August 4, 2008
Two men arrested in alleged catalytic converter theft attempt

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police arrested two Sacramento men early Monday morning for allegedly attempting to steal a catalytic converter.

Sean Whiteside, 28, was spotted parked in front of a man's home at Brown Road and Heritage Hill Drive at 4:20 a.m., while Tim Fifer, 27, was seen underneath the man's vehicle, according to a police report.

The catalytic converter on the man's vehicle had been tampered with, police said. An additional 16 catalytic converters and a hydraulic cutting tool were found in Whiteside's vehicle, according to reports.

Elk Grove police are trying to determine if the 16 converters were stolen.

Whiteside and Fifer were arrested on suspicion of grand theft, possession of burglar tools and conspiracy. Whiteside also was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Catalytic converter thefts are increasing common as thieves are selling them to metal recyclers. It is difficult to trace stolen catalytic converters back to their owners, police said.

August 4, 2008
DUI arrests, 40 citations in Roseville traffic operation

From Art Campos:

Roseville police arrested five people on suspicion of drunken driving and issued 40 other citations to motorists Friday and early Saturday during a zero tolerance traffic operation.

The effort ran from 4:30 p.m. Friday until 2 a.m. Saturday on city streets, said Dee Dee Gunther, department spokeswoman.

In addition to the DUI arrests, one person was arrested and another was cited for driving with suspended licenses, she said. The vehicles of those two people were towed away, she said.

Officers issued the approximately 40 citations for such offenses as speeding, not wearting seat belts and illegal use of cell phones while driving, Gunther said.

Funding for the operation came from a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, she said.

August 4, 2008
Elk Grove details National Night Out plans

From Sandy Louey:

More than 40 groups in Elk Grove have planned block parties Tuesday night as part of National Night Out.

The annual crime- and drug-prevention effort is scheduled to run from 6 to 9 p.m.

The event is designed to help increase crime prevention awareness, strengthen neighborhoods and develop relationships between law enforcement and community members, said Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department.

Anyone interested in setting up a Neighborhood Watch program can call Denise Costello at (916) 478-8117.

August 4, 2008
CHP targeting of Yuba County yields 40 arrests

From Bill Lindelof:

Yuba County got a taste of saturation coverage Saturday by the California Highway Patrol that other areas have also recently experienced.

The result: 40 arrested for suspicion of drunken driving, driving while under the influence of drugs -- and riding a bicycle while impaired.

Over the past few months, the CHP has pulled officers from several areas into designated communities to cut down on drunken driving. The CHP calls the strike force operation "Rapid Apprehension of Impaired Drivers" -- RAID.

The department pays for the extra effort with grant money to fund officer overtime. RAID is conducted in communities the department knows have high numbers of DUI-related traffic accidents.

At a minimum, 10 units with two officers in each squad car rove around, backed by a fully-staffed command post.

Statistics from past RAID deployments include:

  • • North Sacramento, 50 arrests, September 2007
  • • Auburn , 30 arrests, September 2007
  • • Stockton, 52 arrests, November 2007
  • • North Sacramento, 46 arrests, Dec. 2007
  • • South Sacramento, 87 arrests, March 2008
  • • North Sacramento, 50 arrests, April 2008
  • • Stockton, 64 arrests, May 2008
  • • South Sacramento, 50 arrests, May 2008
  • • Placerville, 25 arrests, June 2008

    The majority of the arrests Saturday and early Sunday morning were in unincoporated Yuba County, said CHP officer Carlos Lejarza.

    "I wish we could do this more often," Lejarza said. "It sends out a message that we are serious."

August 4, 2008
Juries return guilty verdicts in two Sacramento murder trials

From Andy Furillo:

Sacramento Superior Court juries have returned guilty verdicts against two men who were on trial for murder.

On Wednesday, a panel found Jeffrey D. Ward, 22, guilty in the June 2006 shotgun shooting death of Serge Zubenko, 24, in Antelope. Ward is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 26.

On Thursday, suspected Norteno gang member Manuel Cervin, 24, was convicted in the Dec. 22, 2006, shooting death of Marc Grimes, 21, in Elk Grove.

Grimes was about to leave for Navy boot camp when he was slain. Cervin drove the car from which another gunman fired the weapon that killed Grimes.

Cervin's sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 29.

August 4, 2008
California crime: Supected pickup truck thief carjacked

A Salinas man who had reportedly stolen a Chevy pickup truck earlier on Saturday was later carjacked at gunpoint in the vehicle, the Salinas Californian reports.

Then on Sunday, the carjacking suspect nearly drove the truck into Salinas Fire Station as he was pursued by police.

"You couldn't make up something stranger than this," said police Cmdr. Kelly McMillin, when explaining the incident.

Here's the Californian story.

August 4, 2008
New target for metal thieves -- water heaters

From the Associated Press:

Authorities are looking for a thief they say stripped the copper fittings and tubing off four dozen water heaters in a Redlands apartment complex.

Investigator Frank Rocha says police believe a man posed as a maintenance worker and visited the sprawling apartment complex several times. Each time he would pry open the doors of water heater closets and take the copper.

A man wearing a baseball cap, black shorts, dark T-shirt and carrying a dark blue backpack was seen on one occasion and is the suspected thief.

With the price of raw metals increasing around the world, thefts of copper and other metals that can be resold to scrap dealers is becoming increasingly popular.

August 4, 2008
Update: Body of missing custodian found in Sacramento River

From Chelsea Phua:

Fishermen found the body of a missing 39-year-old man Friday morning in the Sacramento River south of the Isleton Bridge, authorities said.

Sacramento County coroner's officials identified him as Donald Nelson Gower Jr. of Sacramento. They said the manner or cause of death has not been determined.

Sheriff's officials said Gower was last seen at 4:41 a.m. last Thursday on a videotape showing him going through one of the doors of Franklin High School, where he worked as a custodian.

Detectives said at that time that they did not find any evidence that would lead them to believe that Gower had been a victim of foul play.

His family and employer said his disappearance was out of character.

Peter Stocks, Gower's brother-in-law, said at the time that Gower kept busy even on the weekends helping his roommate with a catering business.

"He's not a guy who would leave his work," Stocks said.

He also spent time on the weekends with his teenage son. Stocks said Gower had battled with a drug addiction a few years ago, but had been sober for a year and a half. Recently, he had been doing well at work, Stocks said.

August 1, 2008
Teens robbed of their cell phones in Elk Grove

From Sandy Louey:

Two 15-year-old girls were robbed of their cell phones at gunpoint Thursday in Elk Grove.

The incident occurred in 9:45 p.m. in the 6600 block of Kilconnell Drive. The girls indicated that one of the men was wearing a multicolored jersey with the No. 23 on the front and baggy plants, according to a report from the Elk Grove Police Department.

Police said the girls didn't know the two men and believed the gun wasn't real.