Sacto 9-1-1
October 31, 2008
Discovery Bay man ID'd as victim in Sacramento River crash

Family members have identified the man presumed dead after his car plunged into the Sacramento River on Sunday as 48-year-old Steven Wayne Coward of Discovery Bay, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Coward's body has yet to be found, although a boot belonging to him was found lodged between the brake and clutch of his 2003 Mercedes Benz as it was pulled from the river, said CHP spokesman Officer Mike Bradley.

The accident occurred about 7 p.m. Sunday along Grand Island Road, three miles southeast of Highway 160. Jeri Joanne Lyons-Thompson, 45, of Brentwood in Contra Costa County, also died in the crash. Her body was was found floating in the river shortly after the accident.

The CHP is still investigating the crash, Bradley said.

October 31, 2008
Accident leaves Roseville man in serious condition

From Niesha Lofing:

A Roseville man is in serious condition after his car crashed into a tree Thursday night, shutting a main thoroughfare in the city for several hours.

The 49-year-old man was driving his Ford pickup at 6:22 p.m. on East Roseville Parkway near Parkhill Drive when he crashed into a tree, Roseville police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said.

He was taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where he is listed in serious condition.

East Roseville Parkway, between Eureka Road and Parkhill Drive, was closed for more than five hours while the police department's Major Accident Investigation Team examined the crash site.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The man's identity was not released.

Roseville officers responded to an increased number of collisions Thursday after it began to rain, Gunther said.

Police are advising that motorists slow down and use extra caution while driving in the rain.

The first heavy rain of the season typically makes for slippery driving conditions because motor oil builds up on the roadway during dry months.

October 30, 2008
Fire fought on American River Parkway

From Stan Oklobdzija:

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District firefighters are putting down a fire on the American River Parkway near Larchmont Community Park, fire officials said.

The call came in at about 4 p.m., fire officials said. One engine has been dispatched to deal with it, officials said.

October 30, 2008
Elk Grove man robbed as he exits vehicle

From Sandy Louey:

A man was robbed early Thursday in Elk Grove as he got out of his vehicle.

The robbery occurred at 2:33 a.m. at the Geneva Pointe Apartments at 8280 Geneva Pointe Drive.

Two men approached the victim. One robber had a firearm, while the other one had an aluminum baseball bat, according to a police report.

The robber with the firearm demanded money, while the other robber took the wallet from the victim. The robber with the bat then punched the victim in the stomach and removed the cash from the wallet. Both robbers left on foot, police said.

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

October 30, 2008
Woodland police investigating storage fire

From Sandy Louey:

The Woodland Police Department is investigating a fire at a storage lot Tuesday night.

At 10:47 p.m., Woodland police and the Woodland Fire Department were called out to the lot in the 700 block of Kentucky Avenue. Four travel trailers and a small fishing boat were on fire, according to a press release.

The blaze was extinguished and no one was injured.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police at (530) 666-2411 or (530) 661-7800. Callers can remain anonymous.

October 30, 2008
3 men sought in Elk Grove robbery

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police are looking for three men who robbed two people in a park Wednesday night.

The incident was at 8:40 p.m. at Strong Park, 9580 Bay Point Way. Two men were sitting in the park when three men approached them, demanding that they empty their pockets, according to a police report.

One of the robbers brandished a silver gun, which one of the victims didn't think was real, according to the report. A cell phone and wallet were taken from the victims. The trio left in a tan or gold older model minivan, the report said.

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

October 30, 2008
Pair arrested in slaying at light-rail station

From Bee Staff:

Sacramento County Sheriff's homicide detectives have arrested two suspects for the fatal shooting of a man at a light-rail station on Saturday, a sheriff's spokesman said today.

Brandon Chatman, 21, and Shawn Jones, 20, both of Sacramento were arrested on suspicion of killing Ricky Bufford, 28, said Sgt. Tim Curran.

He said Jones was already being held in the county jail on unrelated charges. Chatman was arrested after he voluntarily met with investigators, Curran said.

Homicide detectives expect to make additional arrests, Curran said. He said investigators do not believe the slaying was gang related.

Bufford, 28, of North Highlands, was sitting in a car at the Watt Avenue light-rail station with a 24-year-old woman, a teenage girl and a 5-year-old boy when suspects approached Bufford, Curran said.

Bufford and the man exchanged words, and then one of the suspects pulled a handgun from his waistband and shot Bufford once in the upper body, he said.

The woman, who was driving the car, drove to a nearby gas station, where witnesses administered first-aid and sheriff's deputies were called at 9:56 p.m., Curran said.

Paramedics arrived, but Bufford died at the scene.

Anyone with information regarding the women is asked to call sheriff's detectives at (916) 874-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

October 30, 2008
Rocklin homeowner's tip leads to burglary suspect's arrest

From David Richie:

A homeowner's excellent description of a burglary suspect and his vehicle helped Rocklin police make an arrest earlier today.

Rocklin police have investigated at least six burglaries during the past few days where a burglar or burglars got away with numerous items, including jewelry, firearms and a computer, officials said. Burglaries have occurred in the Stanford Ranch area and off Midas Avenue.

During a burglary Wednesday a neighbor spotted the suspicious activity and provided police with the descriptions.

Earlier today, a city animal control officer spotted that vehicle and called the police. They stopped the black Ford 150 with distinctive markings near Pacific Street and Sunset Avenue.

Officers searched the vehicle, recovering property stolen in one of the recent burglaries. They arrested Shaun Alan Sterner, 23, of Lincoln on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property.

"The neighbor who contacted us after becoming suspicious of the male subject was instrumental in the arrest," said Lt. Ron Milka, Rocklin police spokesman.

October 30, 2008
Man who killed for a bike gets life in prison

From Andy Furillo:

Steven Burnnett Burkholder will spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of getting out as a result of a sentence he received today in Sacramento Superior Court.

Judge Cheryl Chun Meegan imposed with life in prison with no possibility of parole on the 47-year-old career criminal who was convicted last month in the robbery murder of Floyd Wehe.

Burkholder stabbed Wehe to death in June 2004 while robbing him of his bicycle at knifepoint.

Burkholder has prior convictions for carjacking and burglary.

October 30, 2008
Two Sacramento men convicted in copper thefts

From Niesha Lofing:

Two Sacramento men are facing possible prison time after being convicted of stealing copper throughout the region.

Frank Axtell, 39, of Citrus Heights and Paul Reed, 43, of Folsom were convicted last week of grand theft for their role in numerous copper thefts in the area during the summer.

Cal Expo police took note of the suspicious activity on June 27, when an officer on routine patrol saw a what he considered a suspicious person in the parking lot near Ethan Way. The officer didn't find a detectable violation, however, and the person was released, according to a police news release.

On July 3, another officer found that people had come onto the Cal Expo grounds and taken large amounts of copper wiring from light poles and underground concrete valve boxes in the parking lot, the release states.

Damage was estimated at more than $15,000.

Over the next few weeks, copper thefts continued in the Sacramento region.

The break in the case came after the alleged thieves were caught on video during a copper theft series at San Juan High School. The incident there damaged copper and electrical systems, costing an estimated $8,000, the release states.

Cal Expo police teamed with Sacramento County sheriff's detectives to work on the case, and while reviewing surveillance video, police recognized a van as being the same vehicle used in the June Cal Expo incident.

Axtell and Reed were each convicted of two counts of felony grand theft in Sacramento County Superior Court.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for both men Nov. 18.

October 30, 2008
CHP to swear in 145 new officers Friday in West Sacramento

From Niesha Lofing:

California will gain 145 new officers Friday when the California Highway Patrol swears in its latest class during a graduation ceremony in West Sacramento.

The graduation ceremony is the final marker in the 27-week CHP academy, which involves weeks of intense training. The class is the largest to graduate the academy since 2001, said Fran Clader, a CHP spokeswoman. The enrollment surge is due to active recruiting and the state funding more CHP positions, she said.

"If anyone wants to be a CHP officer, this is the time," Clader said.

The CHP has been starting academy classes of 240 cadets. The attrition rate is usually about a third, she said.

The newly-sworn officers will be assigned to cities throughout the state, with many going to highly populated areas like Los Angeles.

"These are additional officers out there on the road, taking the drunks off, catching the speeders and assisting people on the side of the road," Clader said.

A cadet inspection will be held at 9 a.m., followed by the graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. The event will be held at the CHP Academy on Reed Avenue in West Sacramento.

Thirty-one of the graduating officers are from the Sacramento area. Their names, city of residence, and area they will be assigned to, are listed as follows:

Eliseo Alatorre, of Galt, assigned to Hayward; Hector Arroyo, of Marysville, assigned to East Los Angeles; Jason Aston, of Sacramento, assigned to Oakland; Christopher Boatwright, of Sacramento, assigned to Oakland; Stephen Browning Jr., of Roseville, assigned to Castro Valley; Stephen Bryant, of Chico, assigned to South Los Angeles; Eric Clary, of Sacramento, assigned to South Los Angeles; Christopher Davidson, of Woodland, assigned to South Los Angeles; Steven Dundas, of Sacramento, assigned to Central Los Angeles; Cody Eisenbarth, of Rocklin, assigned to Santa Fe Springs; Aaron Finnegan, of Davis, assigned to East Los Angeles; David Galbraith, of El Dorado Hills, assigned to West Valley; Brian Galley, of Roseville, assigned to Hayward; Guillermo Garcia Jr., of Citrus Heights, assigned to West Los Angeles; Joe Harrington, of Placerville, assigned to South Lake Tahoe; Brian Henderson, of Sacramento, assigned to Oakland; Johnathon Jackson, of Carmichael, assigned to Contra Costa; Manfred Jackson, of Auburn, assigned to Marin; David Jaime, of Woodland, assigned to Contra Costa; Blayne Kilkenny, of Woodland, assigned to Contra Costa; Jeremy Kingsley, of Paradise, assigned to Hollister-Gilroy; David Laroe, of Fair Oaks, assigned to East Los Angeles; Armando Montoya, of Sacramento, assigned to South Los Angeles; Michael Perry, of Orangevale, assigned to Marin; Marcus Renner, of Elk Grove, assigned to Oakland; Christopher Scott, of Rocklin, assigned to Bishop; Pardeep Singh, of Sacramento, assigned to Contra Costa; John Swann, of Roseville, assigned to South Los Angeles; Jeremy Wayland, of Elk Grove, assigned to Santa Barbara;
Nathaniel Wentzel, of Sacramento, assigned to Hollister-Gilroy; and Roger Williams, of Elk Grove, assigned to San Francisco.

October 30, 2008
Crime Alert: Suspected area bank robbers wanted

unknown 08-056  102708.jpgLaw enforcement officials are seeking two men suspected of robbing area banks, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Sacramento Police robbery detectives are seeking information leading to the identity of subject responsible for the robbery of the Washington Mutual Bank, 1631 Broadway.

According to authorities, at 5:53 p.m. Oct. 24, the suspect (right photo) entered the bank, approached a teller with a piece of paper and demanded money. After receiving the cash, the suspect fled.

The suspect is described as in his late 20s to early 30s, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, weighing between 160 to 170 pounds, wearing wire rim glasses, a black short sleeve shirt and black pants.

* * *

unknown 08-057  102708.jpgSacramento County Sheriff's robbery detectives and FBI special agents are seeking information about a suspect responsible for three local bank robberies.

Detectives say the suspect (left photo) is responsible for the Sept. 5 robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank at 7225 Fair Oaks Blvd., the Sept. 23 robbery of the Bank of America at 4300 Arden Way and the Oct. 21 robbery of the Washington Mutual Bank at 8859 Madison Ave.

According to authorities, the suspect entered the banks, approached a teller, demanded cash and claimed to be armed. In the last robbery, the suspect fled on a dark 10-speed bicycle.

The suspect is described as in his 40s, 5-foot-9 with a medium build.

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

October 30, 2008
Update: Sacramento man jailed in anthrax letter hoax

From Sandy Louey, Denny Walsh and Sam Stanton:

A Sacramento man accused of mailing more than 100 hoax anthrax letters nationwide likely will appear in federal court to answer criminal charges.

Marc McMain Keyser, 66, is being held without bail in Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of three counts of mailing a hoax package purporting to contain anthrax.

Although online jail information indicates a court date hasn't yet been set, Keyser likely will make an initial appearance in federal court today.

The letters went to media outlets, a congressional office and businesses and probably contained nothing more harmful than sugar, authorities said.

But the FBI was not taking the situation lightly. They arrested Keyser, an area gadfly, at his apartment Wednesday afternoon.

Click here for the full Bee story.

October 29, 2008
Crash injures motorcyclist in Orangevale

From Sandy Louey:

A 19-year-old motorcyclist was injured after striking a pickup truck in Orangevale Wednesday morning.

At 10:33 a.m., Julian Adame of Orangevale was riding his 2008 Honda CBR 600 motorcycle west on Main Avenue west of Dredger Way. While approaching a right curve, his motorcycle veered into the opposing eastbound lane and hit a 1996 Toyota T100 pickup truck, according to a release from the California Highway Patrol.

The motorcycle struck the pickup's left front, ejecting Adame and throwing him into the windshield. He was taken to Mercy San Juan Medical Center with major head injuries, the CHP said.

Adame was listed in serious condition Wednesday afternoon, hospital spokesman Bryan Gardner said.

The CHP said Adame was wearing a full-face helmet and a padded racing jacket. The driver of the pickup, Kenny Nguyen, 46, of Elk Grove, was taken to UC Davis Medical Center as a precaution.

The accident is still under investigation.

October 29, 2008
Suspicious package mailed to The Bee, other media

From Denny Walsh and Sandy Louey

FBI officials said Wednesday there have been a number of packages containing a white substance delivered across the country, all postmarked in Sacramento.

The Sacramento Fire Department responded to at least four such calls about suspicious packages today, including The Bee and KCRA, said Capt. Jim Doucette, a spokesman for the fire department. The packages were received at The Bee and a local television station.

All the tests so far have found only sugar. The contents of at least two of the packages have yet to be tested, an FBI spokesman told The Bee.

Whether the local deliveries are from the same source is not yet known, said the spokesman.

The Modesto Bee is reporting that, according to FBI Special Agent Steve Dupre in Sacramento, packages purporting to contain anthrax were sent to the Modesto office of U.S. Rep. George Radanovich, as well as to The Modesto Bee, and locations in Washington, D.C., and Charlotte, N.C.

As of 2 p.m., Modesto authorities had removed the package from Radanovich's office. Two employees who were in the office have been released from the hospital and the office remains closed.

Whether the Sacramento deliveries are from the same source is not yet known. There should be more information available later today.

The package mailed to The Bee was opened by a newsroom employee about 2:30 p.m. She reported that the package contained a packet of a white substance stuck on a CD. An image imprinted on the CD showed former Secretary of State Colin Powell holding a vial, and the word "anthrax" was typewritten across the packet.

Also imprinted on the CD was the phrase "Anthrax Shock And Awe Terror."

The package's postmark indicated it was sent from West Sacramento on Monday. No phone number could be found for the company named on the return address. At that street address is a Sacramento apartment complex.

Earlier Wednesday, KCRA reported receiving a similar package and the Modesto office of a U.S. congressman reported receiving similar packages. No one was reported injured in either incident.

Doucette said the package that KCRA received was sent to a lab for testing as a precaution. "There was nothing hazardous found in it," he said.

Last week, three national financial institutions received suspicious packages. Those deliveries did not come from Sacramento, an FBI spokesman in Sacramento said.

Earlier this week, suspicious packages were sent to The Charlotte Observer newspaper, a business in a Charlotte high-rise, and the New York newsroom of the Reuters news agency. All were found to be non-hazardous. The San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper reported late today receiving a similar package.

No one was reported injured in any of the incidents.

October 29, 2008
Narcotics unit to stay on Sacramento County streets, for now

narc.JPGDetective Chris Maher, left, and Deputy Anthony Panonessa arrest Robert Craft of Sacramento, who allegedly sold marijuana to an undercover member of the Narcotics Suppression Unit.

Photo by Autumn Cruz/

From Stan Oklobdzija:

The vests that Sgt. Scott Hays and his eight-man team wear can stop a bullet but not the budget ax.

Since the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department's budget was slashed by $5 million this fiscal year, Hays' team has existed in financial limbo.

The Narcotics Suppression Unit, which conducts operations against street-level drug dealers, was officially disbanded in June, Hays said. He had led the team since it formed in 2007.

"On paper, we're gone," he said.

But thanks to some sympathetic members of the department's command staff, Hays and his team have been able to keep at it.

Sheriff John McGinness and Bill Kelly, the deputy chief of Field Services, saw the benefit of the team and engaged in some creative accounting.

"(Kelly) ID'd some vacant positions in the patrol division and plugged the narcotics street unit into them," said Sgt. Tim Curran, the sheriff's spokesman.

So for now, the team gets to keep going. But as is true for all deputies during these troubled budget times, the uncertainty wears on them, Hays said.

"It's difficult for us to work when we're wondering (what's going to happen next)," Hays said. "Until another hiccup comes, we just get to do our jobs."

A 16-year veteran of the department, Hays said he and the other members of the street unit have not only one of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement, but one that's most beneficial to the community.

To combat street-level drug sales, Hays' team does periodic sweeps through neighborhoods, works with informants and uses undercover officers to arrest dealers.

The drug trade, he said, has its fingers in everything.

"It's all a big spider web," Hays said. "That's the whole thing about the drug trade, it spirals to all areas of crime."

The arrests that Hays and his detectives make lead to major narcotics busts and arrests in other crimes, he said.

On a recent 10-day sweep through the county conducting undercover drug buys and checking on warrants, the team netted 221 arrests, Hays said.

During that sweep, an undercover drug buy near Lawrence Park in south Sacramento led to a crack house just down the street. Two children, ages 9 and 13, were taken from the house by county Child Protective Services, and their mother was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment.

"That 13-year-old hadn't been in school for a year," Hays said as a patrol car whisked the mother away. "If it wasn't for the drug buy, we wouldn't have been able to track that neglect."

Last year, Hays said, his team made about 1,300 arrests and seized about $150,000 in drug money. Even so, he realizes that in his lifetime, he'll never see the end of the drug trade.

"I'm not naive enough to say we can stop drugs (from being sold)," he said. "But we have to let dealers know that they can't just sell drugs with abandon."

It's why the shake-ups in the department worry him despite his best efforts, he said.

"I can't be (worried)," he said. "We've got to stay focused. But in these financial times, it's hard. ... When you have a budget crisis, even good programs get cut."

Click here to see a slide show of phtos of this unit in action.

October 29, 2008
Folsom police, fire to stage hazardous-spill drill

From David Richie:

Folsom residents in the area around Willow Creek and Flower drives can expect to see police cars, fire trucks, command vehicles and many uniformed officers and city employees as the city stages an emergency response drill Thursday to a simulated hazardous-materials spill.

Emergency response personnel from many outside agencies also will be participating at the site or in the city's Emergency Operations Center.

In a news release posted on the city's Web site, Fire Chief Dan Haverty noted: "Many cities across the state and nation are conducting similar exercises to ensure that we are prepared for a potential crisis or serious emergency."

October 29, 2008
Alleged attempted stolen check cashing leads to five arrests

Nicholas Newsome.jpg John Burroughs.jpg John Parker.jpg Vanessa Guevara.jpg

From Niesha Lofing:

What began as one woman's alleged attempt to cash a stolen check at a Sacramento bank ended in the arrest of five people Tuesday.

The incident began about 5:30 p.m. when a woman allegedly tried to cash a stolen check at the Washington Mutual at 4701 Freeport Blvd., said Sacramento police Officer Konrad Von Schoech.

The bank teller became suspicious because the signature didn't seem to match, the check number was out of sequence and the woman said she "'was in a hurry and needed to leave,'" he said.

Bank personnel called police and the man whose check had allegedly been stolen, and obtained a description of the car the woman drove off in, Von Schoech said.

A police officer driving near Franklin Boulevard and Second Avenue spotted the vehicle. When the officer stopped the car, one of the passengers jumped out of the vehicle and ran away, he said.

Another police officer captured the man, Nicholas Newsome, 19, who allegedly was possessing two loaded handguns, Von Schoech said.

Newsome (left photo) was arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle, carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle while in a public place, participating in a criminal street gang, tampering with an identification number of a weapon and resisting arrest.

He is being held on $35,000 bail in Sacramento County Main Jail, according to online jail information.

The other three people in the car also were detained and a box of ammunition was found in the vehicle, Von Schoech said.

John Burroughs (second from left photo), 33, was arrested on suspicion of possession of ammunition by a prohibited person and a parole violation. He is being held without bail in Sacramento County Main Jail.

John Parker (third from left photo), 28, was arrested on suspicion of violation of parole and also is being without bail in Sacramento County Main Jail.

Vanessa Guevara (right photo), 27, the woman who allegedly attempted to pass the check, was arrested on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property, making, passing or possessing a fictitious check and possessing, receiving or uttering forged paper.

She was booked into Sacramento County Main Jail and was released today, according to online jail information.

While conducting a parole search at Parker's house, officers also arrested a woman there on two no-bail warrants, Von Schoech said.

The woman's identity is not available.

Von Schoech said the incident at the bank led to a "pretty good bust."

"That's usually how it begins," he said. "A routine call can turn into something like this."

October 29, 2008
Resident's tip leads to pair's arrest on allegedly possessing burglary tools

From David Richie:

Roseville police officers are congratulating an alert resident who spotted a man using a flashlight to peer into a neighbor's locked vehicle about 2:40 a.m. Tuesday in the 2800 block of Courtside Drive, near Roseville Parkway and Eureka Road.

Officers spotted the suspect's vehicle in the 2800 block of Barret Drive with two men inside, as well as what officers described as burglary tools and shaved vehicle keys.

They arrested Richard Cale Anders, 24, of Roseville on suspicion of possessing burglary tools, unlawful possessing keys, loitering on private property and conspiracy. He also had two warrants out of Sacramento County. He was released from jail today with a date to appear in court.

Daniel Michael Sewell, 24, of Sacramento, was booked on similar charges, as well as suspicion of parole violation. He remains in custody.

October 29, 2008
How to get your crime question answered by The Bee

From Bill Enfield and Anthony Sorci:

The Bee is pleased to offer the service of obtaining answers on crimes or criminal cases but because of the volume we can't answer every question.

We will concentrate our staff on answering questions that we think will have the widest audiences and/or have the best chances of providing a public service.

If you have suggestions, post a comment to this article or e-mail either of us directly at or

October 29, 2008
Crime Alert: Sex offender sought after reportedly fleeing parole

madden 102708.jpgCalifornia Department of Corrections parole agents are seeking Chaun Madden (left photo), a registered sex offender, on a felony no-bail arrest warrant for alleged parole violations and fleeing parole, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

According to authorities, Madden, also known as "Snoope," was released from prison Oct. 14. A day later, he cut off his his GPS ankle monitor and fled, officials said.

Madden is described as 30 years old, 5-foot-7, weighing 145 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

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

October 29, 2008
Police seek man targeting Sacramento region banks

chbank2.JPGFrom Sandy Louey:

Auburn police say a man who tried and failed to take money from one bank has succeeded in robbing two others in the Sacramento region.

At 11:58 a.m. Thursday, a man entered the U.S. Bank at 730 High Street in Auburn and demanded money from a teller but eventually left empty-handed. It's unclear if the man was armed, according to a press release.

Less than an hour later, about 12:43 p.m., the same man went into a Washington Mutual Bank in Citrus Heights, demanded money and left with an undisclosed amount, the release said.

Auburn police say the same man also robbed a Wells Fargo bank Oct. 3 in Roseville. He went into the bank at 781 Pleasant Grove Blvd. and demanded cash, taking an undisclosed amount and leaving, the release said.

The man (top photo) is described as a white male, age 35 to 40, 5-feet-8 to 6-feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. He was unshaven with short hair, wore a white T-shirt under a black-hooded sweatshirt, hunting-style camouflage pants, black shoes, and a black baseball cap with a white emblem.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Auburn Police Department's investigations division at (530) 823-4237, ext. 207.

October 28, 2008
9 busted in counterfeit-goods sweep at Galt flea market

From Sandy Louey:

Authorities on Tuesday arrested nine people in a takedown of loosely affiliated dealers who allegedly sold counterfeit goods in Northern California.

The arrests, which took place at the Galt Market, were the culmination of a several month undercover operation. It was based on nine criminal complaints filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento.

The people arrested were involved in selling fake goods including UL power strips, bags, wallets, jewelry, watches and clothing, according to a press release from the U.S. attorney's office.

Exact details about the seized merchandise and the value they would have sold for if authentic weren't available Tuesday, said Mary Wenger of the U.S. attorney's office.

The nine people arrested were allegedly trafficking counterfeit goods as well as trademarked emblems, labels, and badges, according to the release.

The cases were the result of joint investigations by the U.S. Secret Service, Placer County Sheriff's Office, the Internal Revenue Service, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Galt Police Department, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and the Sacramento Police Department.

All nine were arrested on suspicion of trademark violations, Wenger said.

Six of the people arrested were identified in a press release. They were: Maria "Pala" Brosnan, 68; Qi Jin Chen, aka Jimmy Chen, 36; Kyong Yong Kim, 60; Raymond Mao; Sunshine Pasquale, 37; and Lisa Yeh. No ages were available for Mao and Yeh.

The three others arrested were only identified by their first names: Fernando, Gris, and Jun.

The penalty for federal criminal trademark violations is a maximum of 10 years in prison, a fine of $2 million or both, for a first offense. For a second offense, the penalty is a maximum of 20 years in prison, a fine of not more than $5 million, or both.

Chen was also arrested on suspicion of structuring financial transactions, the release said.

Chen allegedly sold a volume of counterfeit merchandise, including UL power strips at the market and elsewhere, investigators said. He also reportedly imported a volume of counterfeit items that were stored in warehouses and a home in the Stockton area, investigators said.

Authorities also allege that he illegally structured about $132,921.50 into United Commercial Bank to circumvent bank-reporting requirements.

A conviction of structuring financial transactions over $100,000 carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Wenger said all nine were released Tuesday and are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

In addition to the arrests, law enforcement served 12 search warrants on retail locations, residences, cars, trailers, warehouses and other locations in Sacramento and San Joaquin counties.

Agents with the IRS' financial crimes task force helped with the searches and arrests and executed two seizure warrants for bank accounts.

October 28, 2008
Cal Fire arrests El Dorado Hills man in arson fires

From Sandy Louey:

Cal Fire officials have arrested a 25-year-old El Dorado Hills man for allegedly setting seven fires earlier this month.

Kenneth Powell was arrested on suspicion of seven counts of arson, according to a press release.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection made Monday's arrest with assistance from the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office, said Bill Dillard, a criminal investigator with the DA's office.

The seven fires broke out during a two-hour period on Oct. 18 and 19. All were grassland fires except one that was set in a dumpster at Raley's, Dillard said.

The grassland fires were in large, dry fields and many were near multi-million dollar homes. The fires were kept to less than an acre each because of the quick response from fire agencies including Cal Fire and the El Dorado Hills Fire Department, he said.

The investigation was a joint effort between Cal Fire, El Dorado Hills Fire, and the DA's office.

October 28, 2008
Copper theft closes popular Roseville pumpkin patch

From Ramon Coronado:

The Sleepy Hollow Pumpkin Patch, a Halloween fixture in Roseville for the past 20 years, is no more, thanks to the work of thieves.

"Thousands and thousands of people would come. What are they going to do now that pumpkin patch is closed?" said owner Wayne Strauch, who had to shut down the patch after copper thieves stole the outdoor overhead electrical wiring for lights.

Strauch, who calls himself Bambi, also operates Bambi's Christmas Tree Land, at the same location at Harding and Douglas boulevards. After spending about $15,000, Strauch is working on restringing the lights and hopes to be ready for Christmas tree selling the first weekend after Thanksgiving.

Roseville Crime Stoppers have posted a $1,000 reward to anyone with information about the thefts, which have taken place over a period of time.

October 28, 2008
Man, two teens arrested in Elk Grove after girl is robbed

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police arrested three people Monday night for allegedly robbing a 17-year-old girl of her cell phone.

Johnny Harris, 20, and two boys, ages 15 and 16, were arrested on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy. Harris was also arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, said Officer Christopher Trim, Elk Grove police spokesman.

The incident occurred at 6:50 p.m. in the 5000 block of Laguna Boulevard when Harris reportedly struck the girl in the face with a fist and threw her to the ground. The 16-year-old boy grabbed the girl's phone from her pocket while Harris allegedly held her on the ground, according to a police report.

The 15-year-old didn't try to stop the robbery. He and the 16-year-old fled in one direction, while Harris left in another, the report said.

Officers responded and located the trio and found the phone in the 16-year-old's possession. Harris was taken to the Sacramento County jail, while the two teens were transported to juvenile hall.

October 28, 2008
Arrest made, planned in connection with apartment home invasion

John Alarcon.jpgFrom Niesha Lofing:

A man who was shot Monday night at an apartment complex near Arden Fair mall is facing criminal charges in connection to a home-invasion robbery at the same location.

The 38-year-old man, whose identity is not yet being released, is recovering from a gunshot wound to the upper body at a local hospital.

He will be arrested once released, Sacramento County sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran said.

The man was shot around 9:20 p.m. Monday after allegedly participating in a home-invasion robbery at an apartment complex in the 1900 block of Ethan Way, he said.

The home-invasion robbery occurred earlier that evening, Curran said.

"Instead of calling us, the victim called his brother and cousin," he said.

At some point, the man's relatives arrived at the apartment and the three men left, during which time the alleged thieves returned to the apartment, Curran said.

"Sometime during that return, they were encountered by the other three men and sometime during that altercation, the suspect of the home invasion was shot," he said.

Deputies arrested the other man allegedly involved in the home invasion. John Alarcon (top left photo), 27, was arrested on suspicion of home-invasion robbery, burglary, conspiracy and violating parole. He is being held without bail in Sacramento County Main Jail and is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, according to online jail information.

The gunshot victim will face similar charges upon his release from the hospital, Curran said.

Deputies are still trying to determine who the shooter was, he said.

The five men all knew one another, Curran said.

October 28, 2008
Sacramento man sentenced to life in prison for robbery-murder

From Andy Furillo:

A 21-year-old Sacramento man was sentenced today to life in prison without possibility of parole for a robbery-murder he committed during a shootout behind a north side strip mall two years ago.

The defendant, James Willis, also received an added 25-to-life term from Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd G. Connelly.

Jurors convicted Willis last month for the Dec. 27, 2006, murder of Rajneel Kamal Sharma, 19, behind the shopping center on Norwood Avenue.

Prosecutors said Willis shot and killed Sharma, a suspected marijuana dealer, in the course of robbing him. Police said Willis also was shot in the exchange.

October 28, 2008
Arrests made in Roseville after Yes on Proposition 8 signs found in car

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From David Richie:

Roseville police arrested a man and two women early today who were reportedly stealing "Yes on Proposition 8" signs from residents' yards.

Officers recovered 53 signs from the suspects' vehicle - all in support of Proposition 8, said Dee Dee Gunther, police department spokeswoman.

The arrests occurred about 12:32 a.m. after a resident in the 200 block of Sierra Boulevard spotted someone taking a sign out of a neighbor's yard.

A few minutes later an officer spotted a green sedan, matching the description of the suspect vehicle in the 700 block of Shasta Street. All four doors and the trunk were open and the officer watched as two people walked to the car and placed something in the trunk. The car then drove away but was stopped by police.

Police arrested Brian Joseph Greene (left photo), 18 of Roseville, Kacey Elizabeth Flieder (right photo), 18, of Sacramento and a 17-year-old girl from Roseville. The 18-year-olds were booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property, conspiracy, petty theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The 17-year-old was cited and released to her parents.

Karen England, a local coordinator for the Yes on 8 campaign said theft and vandalism of Proposition 8 signs has become a continuing problem. In some cases, signs have been stolen multiple times. Proposition 8 backers along Misty Creek Drive, off Foothills Boulevard, have started bringing their signs in at night but recently they also have experienced spray paint vandalism as well as sign theft.

"This has been happening all over Roseville," England said, noting that she has filed two police reports related to theft of signs from her yard. Her organization recently posted a $1,000 reward for information leading the arrest of sign thieves and vandals, England said.

October 28, 2008
Witness relents, testifies in Sacramento murder trial

From Andy Furillo:

A witness in a murder trial who threatened to withhold his testimony if he didn't get an immigration deal wound up taking the stand and telling the jury what he knew about the shooting death of Gary Brooks.

Vimal Singh had been classified as an "aggravated felon" by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which has been trying to deport him to his native Fiji because of his past convictions for car theft and second-degree burglary.

Singh, a resident legal alien, said in an interview with The Bee earlier this month that if the feds pressed the deportation issue, he would refuse to testify in the murder trial of defendants Wayne Albert Caskey and Bennett Louis Kovac.

Sacramento Count prosecutors, however, negotiated with Singh's lawyer to send a memorandum to the immigration authorities telling them about his "willingness to come forward" in the murder case, according to the witness' attorney, Michael J. Wise.

In his testimony Monday, Singh told jurors he saw two masked men enter the south area electronics warehouse where Brooks was shot dead. Then, when they were leaving, Singh said the men turned a gun on him and fired. He was not hit by the gunfire.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Kane in his opening statement at the trial included Singh's observations as part of a chain of events in the circumstantial case against Caskey and Kovac.

October 28, 2008
Man arrested after reported sexual assault in mall parking lot

From David Richie:

Citrus Heights police confirmed Monday evening that they arrested a man late Sunday night after he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in the Sunrise Mall parking lot outside the Sears store.

The incident occurred about 11:30 p.m. when a stranger, later identified by police as Erick Guzman, 24, forced his way into a woman's car and attacked her, police said. The woman fought off the man before he fled. Officers found him a short distance away and took him into custody.

Guzman was booked into Sacramento County Main Jail on a charge of sexual battery and he remains in custody today with bail set at $20,000.

October 28, 2008
Three men arrested after alleged drug deal sours in Roseville

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From Niesha Lofing:

Three men are facing criminal charges after allegedly participating in a drug deal gone awry in Roseville, which ended in one of the alleged drug dealers being hit by a car.

Roseville police received a report of a woman having been struck by a Jeep at 4:48 p.m. Oct. 20 in the 300 block of Gibson Drive, police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said.

After allegedly hitting the woman, the Jeep hit a power transformer box, causing an hour-long power outage on the street.

The people in the Jeep ran away, she said.

The 28-year-old Marysville woman suffered broken bones and other serious injuries and was taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center. She has since been released.

The police department's Vice and Narcotics Enforcement Team investigated the case and discovered that the people involved had met in a parking lot on the street to complete a drug deal and argued over money. The Marysville woman, who is one of the suspected sellers, and another man walked away, Gunther said.

One of the men, Alex Jeffrey Childs, 20, of North Highlands, allegedly got into his Jeep, drove up onto the sidewalk, hit the woman with the vehicle and then hit the transformer box, she said.

On Friday, police arrested Childs (top left photo) on suspicion of attempted murder, attempted drug trafficking, conspiracy and violating probation. He is being held without bail in Placer County Main Jail in Auburn, according to online jail information.

Officers also arrested Thomas Jay Croff (middle photo), 24, of Yuba City, on Thursday. He is being held on $50,000 bail on suspicion of transportation and sales of narcotics, conspiracy and violating parole, according to online jail information.

Officers arrested John Wallace Lewis Jr. (right photo), 36, of Marysville, for a parole violation on Oct. 20. Lewis has been transferred to state custody, Gunther said.

Police have asked the Placer County District Attorney's Office to consider charging the other two people involved in the incident as well, she said.

October 28, 2008
Witness gives Woodland police key facts on armed robbery

From Niesha Lofing:

An observant onlooker managed to obtain crucial information about a vehicle involved in an armed robbery at a Woodland store Saturday, but police still need help in identifying the thieves.

A man entered the Sally Beauty Supply on East Main Street, showed the clerk a black handgun in his waistband and demanded money from both cash registers, Woodland police Sgt. Jason Brooks stated in a news release.

The clerk gave the man an undisclosed amount of cash, and he ran out of the store into a waiting getaway vehicle, he said.

A man standing in front of the nearby Grocery Outlet store saw the getaway car, which was occupied by two other men, and wrote down the car's license plate number. The man thought the car was suspicious because of how it was parked and because the passenger door was slightly ajar, Brooks said.

Moments later, the man saw the alleged thief leave the beauty supply store and get in the suspicious vehicle, which then drove out of the parking lot.

The car is described as a white-and-purple two-door sedan with California license plate 3BBD231. Department of Motor Vehicle records state the vehicle assigned to the license plate should be a 1992 two-door Lexus sedan, he said.

The armed robber is described as a black man, between 17 and 22 years old, with a small goatee, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black denim jeans and a silver-studded black belt. A detailed description of the other two men was not available.

Police are following up on the license plate information and a police sketch artist is scheduled to meet with the store's clerk today to complete a composite sketch.

Anyone with information about the vehicle or the case is asked to call Woodland police at (530) 666-2411.

October 28, 2008
Video shows couple taking wallet from Target checkout

From Niesha Lofing:

Two people who took a wallet that was left in a Woodland Target store by another shopper last week were recorded by video surveillance, and police are asking the public to help ID the alleged thieves.

Andrea Overbaugh, 26, of Woodland, was shopping at the city's new Target store on Bronze Star Drive on Friday when she accidentally left her wallet at one of the checkout counters and left the store, police Sgt. Jason Brooks stated in a news release.

A man and a woman waiting behind Overbaugh approached the checkout counter and waited while the clerk rang up their purchases and after paying, the woman picked up Overbaugh's wallet and left the store with her companion, he said.

Police and store personnel later saw what is being called a theft on the store's multi-camera surveillance system.

In the footage, the woman can be seen putting the wallet into the cart she was pushing just before leaving the store, Brooks said.

Neither the store nor the police department has not received the wallet as found property.

In the footage of the checkout counter, the wallet can be seen being taken at time code 5:07:48 p.m., Brooks said.

Video showing the man and woman leaving the store contains time codes 5:08:12 and 5:08:16 p.m., Brooks said.

Police are asking anyone who knows identities of the man and woman to call the department at (530) 666-2411.

October 28, 2008
Detectives release photos, seek help in light-rail shooting

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From Niesha Lofing:

Sacramento County sheriff's detectives are asking for help identifying three women who might have information about a shooting that killed a man who was parked at a light-rail station Saturday.

The first woman is described as white, with light brown shoulder-length hair wearing a white hooded jacket with small dark spots, blue jeans and black sneakers.

The second woman is described as black, with long dark hair, a reddish jacket with brown fur around the hood, red Bermuda-length shorts and a dark-colored shirt.

The third woman is described as black, wearing a white blouse, black skirt and white sneakers.

Homicide detectives say the women were last seen on the light rail train, then leaving the Watt Avenue station and heading toward Marconi Avenue shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, Curran said. That would put them in the vicinity when Saturday's violence erupted, claiming the life of Ricky Bufford.

Bufford, 28, of North Highlands, was sitting in a car with a 24-year-old woman, a teenage girl and a 5-year-old boy when a man dressed in dark clothing approached Bufford, sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran stated in a news release.

Bufford and the man exchanged words, and then the man pulled a handgun from his waistband and shot Bufford once in the upper body, he said.

The woman, who was driving the car, drove to a nearby gas station, where witnesses administered first-aid and sheriff's deputies were called at 9:56 p.m., Curran said.

Paramedics arrived, but Bufford died at the scene.

Anyone with information regarding the women is asked to call sheriff's detectives at (916) 874-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

October 27, 2008
Suspect arrested in Citrus Heights home invasion

From Sandy Louey and David Richie:

Authorities arrested a 39-year-old man Monday afternoon in connection with last week's home invasion robbery in Citrus Heights.

Sean James Gwiazdowski was arrested on suspicion of robbery, burglary, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, and vehicle theft in connection with Wednesday's incident, said Sgt. Josh McVay of the Citrus Heights Police Department.

A woman was held at knifepoint Wednesday morning after she returned home to her place in the 6500 block of Mariposa Avenue and interrupted a burglary. The woman struggled with Gwiazdowski, who allegedly held her against her will for about 30 minutes before he fled in her car with stolen property, police said.

McVay said teamwork with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department helped lead to the arrest.

Gwiazdowski was tracked to a home in the 6300 block of Channing Way in North Highlands where he was arrested at 3:31 p.m. Monday, said Sgt. Tim Curran, a spokesman for the sheriff's department.

Gwiazdowski was spotted driving the vehicle that he allegedly stole from the woman's home. Investigators were able to identify him and make the arrest.

The woman also identified him through a photo lineup, police said.

October 27, 2008
Cosumnes firefighters push smoke-detector checks

From Sandy Louey:

Firefighters from the Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department will be riding on fire engines Saturday to remind Elk Grove residents to turn back their clocks and change the batteries in their smoke detectors.

The annual tradition will kick off from Fire Station 71, 8760 Elk Grove Blvd., at 11 a.m.

About 100 on-and off-duty fire personnel and volunteers are scheduled to deliver more than 2,000 replacement batteries to Elk Grove's older homes.

Fire officials are encouraging residents to change their batteries when they change their clocks back an hour for the end of Daylight Savings Time, which ends Sunday.

Changing batteries in smoke detectors can cut a family's risk of dying in a fire by nearly half, according to the department.

October 27, 2008
Man sought in reported south Sacramento traffic shooting

From Stan Oklobdzija:

Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputies are searching for a man in a black BMW that they believe might have been shooting at another car near the intersection of Fruitridge Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard around 4:45 p.m. today, according to sheriff's officials.

The incident took place in the 5400 block of Enrico Boulevard, sheriff's officials said. The suspected shooter is described as a black man in his 40s, about 5-foot-9-inches tall and last seen wearing a tan shirt and black shoes, sheriff's officials said.

October 27, 2008
Man fixing phone booth hit by runaway truck

From Sandy Louey:

A man working on a phone booth was critically injured Monday after a truck went off the road and hit him, authorities said.

The accident occurred at 9:43 a.m. when a truck traveling south on Marysville Boulevard veered off and hit a vehicle parked in the parking lot of Market Basket supermarket, 3845 Marysville Blvd., said Officer Konrad Von Schoech, spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department.

The truck then hit the man, who was repairing a phone booth nearby. The truck also hit several other parked vehicles, Von Schoech said.

The man, whose name and identity weren't available, was taken to a local hospital. The driver of the truck, who has a medical condition, had minor injuries, he said.

October 27, 2008
Arrest made in North Sacramento shooting

From Stan Oklobdzija:

Sacramento Police have arrested a man in connection with a late-night North Sacramento shooting on Saturday evening that left a man in critical condition.

James Robinson, 23, was arrested Monday morning on charges of attempted homicide, according to police officials.

At about 11 p.m. on Oct. 25, police were called to a home on the 2300 block of Norwood Avenue. A 36-year-old man with multiple gunshot wounds was taken to the hospital, where he was remained in critical condition as of Monday.

Because the investigation is ongoing, police could not offer more details, said spokesman Officer Konrad Von Schoech

October 27, 2008
Body, car recovered from Sacramento River

From Sandy Louey:

Authorities have recovered a car and a body from the Sacramento River near Walnut Grove.

The accident occurred around 7 p.m. Sunday at Grand Island Road three miles southeast of Highway 160, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.

A car heading north on Grand Island failed to negotiate a sharp left turn, overturning as it went down the embankment, said Officer Michael Bradley, a spokesman for the CHP.

He said the car, a silver 2003 Mercedes Benz, went 30 feet into the river and submerged on the driver's side. A female passenger, who was likely not wearing a seatbelt, was found floating in the water.

The body has been identified as Jeri Joanne Lyons-Thompson, 45, of Brentwood in Contra Costa County. She is the owner of the car, Bradley said.

The driver, whom they believe is a 48-year-old Discovery Bay man, has not been located yet, he said. The driver was not further identified.

CHP is still investigating the accident.

Anyone with information is asked to call the CHP at (916) 681-2300 or after hours at (916) 861-1300.

October 27, 2008
Update: Deputy looked up slaying victim's records, source says

CVue.jpgFrom Kim Minugh and Sam Stanton:

Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Chu Vue used a sheriff's department computer to look up personal information about the correctional officer who was gunned down in his garage Oct. 15, according to a law enforcement source.

Sheriff John McGinness confirmed that Vue was served his termination notice at his arraignment "for violations of administrative policy of the department." He declined to elaborate.

Vue, who is no longer receiving a salary or benefits from the department as a result of his firing, has a right to appeal, McGinness said.

Vue's was fired for insubordination, according to the source, who indicated that accusation stemmed from Vue's refusal to talk to internal affairs investigators after the slaying of Steve Lo.

Vue has not been charged in the slaying and his arraignment today was for a charge of possession of an illegal firearm.

Vue's not guilty plea was entered by his attorney, Palai Lee.

After the hearing, Lee stressed that Vue has not been charged with anything related to the slaying. Lo was shot to death before dawn in his garage in south Sacramento as he prepared to leave for his job in Vacaville.

"There's no evidence tying him to the murder or anybody's murder," Lee said. "They only charged him (with possession of an illegal weapon) and that's it."

However, a source told The Bee today that Vue had accessed a sheriff's department computer before Lo was killed and reviewed personal information about the 39-year-old officer, who worked at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville. Vue's wife also works at that facility, where she is a medical technician.

A spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department, which is investigating Lo's slaying, said last week that Vue's arrest on the weapons charge stemmed from a search of his home the day Lo was killed. During the search, officers found an unregistered, illegal assault rifle and later issued a warrant for Vue's arrest, a police spokesman said.

The spokesman said that the rifle confiscated from Vue's home is not consistent with the type of weapon used to kill the correctional officer.

Last week, a police investigator said in a court document that Vue's behavior over recent months strongly indicates he was "involved in the planning and/or the execution" of Lo.

In a request to seal the record of a search warrant for Vue's home, police Detective Eric Schneider told the court he is confident the 13-year veteran is not the perpetrator of the homicide.

He wrote, however, that Vue is a "principal" in the case, and a law-enforcement source told The Bee Friday that Vue's two brothers -- who are fugitives wanted on second-degree murder charges out of Minneapolis -- are being sought for questioning in the case.

October 27, 2008
Judge orders accused cop killer to stand trial

From Andy Furillo:

A judge today ordered accused cop killer Jimmy Siackasorn to stand trial in the shooting death of Sacramento sheriff's Detective Vu Nguyen.

Superior Court Judge Gerald S. Bakarich's order came after a brief second day of testimony in Siackasorn's preliminary hearing.

Siackasorn is scheduled to return to court Nov. 21 for further proceedings.

The 17-year-old reputed street gang member is accused of gunning down Nguyen, 37, during a foot chase Dec. 19 through backyards in a south Sacramento neighborhood.

October 27, 2008
Sheriff's Department to sponsor community meeting in Carmichael

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department will sponsor a Carmichael community meeting Tuesday evening at the Carmichael Park Clubhouse, 5750 Grant Ave.

Guest speakers at the event, to begin at 6:30 p.m., are scheduled to be Hilary Gould of the Sacramento County Department of Neighborhood Services, and Carl Simpson, the county's chief code enforcement officer.

For more information, call (916) 487-4309.

October 27, 2008
Man arrested after Rocklin vehicle burglary spree

From Niesha Lofing:

Rocklin police arrested a Sacramento man Sunday morning in connection to a vehicle burglary spree near an apartment complex.

Rocklin police received a report that someone was allegedly breaking into cars about 7 a.m. Sunday near Lea Court, Sgt. Tom Dwyer stated in a news release.

While searching an apartment complex in the area for the man and an associated four-door silver Toyota sedan, an officer found a man who matched the suspect description.

The man said he was visiting a friend in the complex, but couldn't provide the apartment number or the friend's last name, Dwyer said.

Christian Hale had a Toyota vehicle key in his possession that officers later learned unlocked a Toyota Camry parked nearby, he said.

The Toyota had allegedly been stolen in Lincoln. Police found toys, a laptop computer, garage door openers, sunglasses, various electronic items, a weapon, illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle, he said.

While the investigation was underway, several Rocklin residents called the police department to report that items had been stolen from their vehicles. Some had their property returned, Dwyer said.

Police expect more residents likely will call the police department to regain their property this week.

Hale was arrested at 8 a.m. on suspicion of taking a vehicle without the owner's permission, receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm, grand theft, petty theft and a felony enhancement for offenses committed while on bail.

He is being held on $20,000 bail in Placer County Main Jail.

October 27, 2008
School resource officers to be reassigned in Folsom

From David Richie:

Starting today, two Folsom police officers assigned as school resource officers based at Folsom High School will be reassigned to other duties, Folsom police officials announced Friday afternoon.

While the officers were based at the 2,200-student high school, they also were available to deal with problems and provide law enforcement programs at other city schools. A continuing state budget crisis also is creating local funding shortfalls and a decision has been made to eliminate the SRO program.

The two officers will be reassigned to field operations and become part of the group patrolling throughout Folsom.

Calls for service at local schools will be prioritized along with other calls and handled as patrol personnel become available.

A brief news release issued by the police department did not indicate how the department or the school district plan to replace the crisis intervention, counseling and mentoring services provided by the SROs on campus.

October 27, 2008
Stolen vehicle parts find leads to arrest in Citrus Heights

From David Richie:

Citrus Heights police shut down a suspected chop shop Tuesday when they went to a residence in the 6500 block of Oakcreek Way, south of Greenback Lane, to assist utility workers who were there to turn off the power.

When they entered the back yard, officers noticed various types of vehicle parts, including doors, hoods and exhaust systems. They checked the vehicle identification numbers on one of the doors and determined that it had come from a stolen vehicle. Another vehicle was parked in the driveway with its interior stripped. It also turned out to be stolen.

Officers arrested resident Richard Blackburn, 41, on suspicion of possessing stolen property.

Officers also detailed what they had found in the back yard with a regional multiple-agency stolen vehicle task force.

October 26, 2008
Police probe North Sacramento shooting

From Sandy Louey

Sacramento police are investigating a Saturday night shooting in North Sacramento that critically injured a 36-year-old man.

Police were called at a 11:12 p.m. to a home in the 2300 block of Norwood Avenue. A man with gunshot wounds was taken to the hospital, where he was remained in critical condition Sunday morning, said Officer Konrad Von Schoech, a spokesman for the Police Department.

Von Schoech said police believe that the victim and the man knew each other, but the motive behind the shooting is under investigation. There was no forced entry and the victim opened the door to the shooter.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police at (916) 264-5471.

October 26, 2008
CHP identifies pedestrian killed on Highway 49

From Sandy Louey:

California Highway Patrol officials have identified the 50-year-old Auburn pedestrian who was fatally struck trying to cross Highway 49 Saturday as Doyle Lynn Moore.

The accident occurred around 11 a.m. as Moore was trying to cross the highway north of Edgewood Road. He and a female friend were crossing the highway from west to east and had reached the center divide, according to a release from CHP Officer Kelly Baraga.

A vehicle in the northbound fast lane stopped to let the pair cross. Moore crossed in front of the stopped car and was hit by a 1991 Pontiac traveling in the northbound slow lane. The driver of the Pontiac, which was traveling about 40 mph, was 83-year-old Joan Loleta Holloway of Auburn, Baraga said.

Moore was taken to Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, where he died. No one else was injured, Baraga said.

The accident is still under investigation, but alcohol and drugs were not involved, Baraga said.

October 26, 2008
Slaying investigated at light-rail station

From Sandy Louey:

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is investigating a Saturday night shooting at a light-rail station that left a 28-year-old man dead.

At 9:56 p.m., deputies responded to a call from an employee at a gas station/convenience store at Watt Avenue and Auburn Boulevard. A car had pulled into the parking lot with a passenger who had been shot, according to a press release.

Witnesses administered first-aid, but soon after paramedics arrived, they pronounced the man dead at the scene. On Sunday, the Sacramento County Coroner's Office identified the man as Ricky Bufford, of North Highlands.

Bufford was a passenger in a car that had gone to the upper deck of the light-rail station at Watt Avenue and Interstate 80, the press release said. The other occupants in the car were the 24-year-old female driver, a teenage female, and a 5-year-old boy, officials said.

They were parked in the loading zone on Watt when a man approached the car. There was a verbal exchange between Bufford and the man, the release said. The man pulled a handgun from his waistband and fired one shot that hit Bufford in the upper body, the release said.

The driver of the car then drove to the business, the release said. Neither a motive nor a suspect has been identified in the homicide.

No detailed description of the suspect was available.

Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at (916) 874-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers can be anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

October 26, 2008
Fake U.S. agents steal medicinal pot in Loomis

From Sandy Louey:

Six masked men posing as federal agents are being sought in connection with a Loomis home-invasion robbery Saturday night in which they stole medicinal marijuana, officials said.

The incident took place shortly after 9 p.m. in a home on Swetzer Road when the men went into the unlocked home and ordered the occupants to lie on the floor. At least one of the men, who were wearing bandanas as masks, was armed with a handgun, according to a release from the Placer County Sheriff's Department.

The men ordered the occupants to lie on the floor and bound them with duct tape, the release said.

Between 10 to 20 pounds of marijuana were taken, including some processed marijuana and several marijuana plants, officials said.

The robbers left in a vehicle. The Sheriff's Department investigators have no leads on the identity of the robbers.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call (530) 886-5375.

October 25, 2008
Rocklin police arrest CHP officer on suspicion of lewd act with girl

Authorities said Saturday that they have arrested a California Highway Patrol sergeant on suspicion of committing a lewd act with a young girl.

Sgt. Wayne Robert Alger, 36, of Roseville, was under investigation for two weeks before his arrest, said Rocklin Police Department spokesman Lt. Lon Milka.

Milka said the victim is younger than 14 and that Rocklin police arrested the CHP sergeant after the girl's family contacted them.

Alger works the CHP's Capitol Protection Section, which provides law enforcement for state buildings in Sacramento.

According to Placer County documents, Alger was taken into custody Friday and later released on $50,000 bail.

CHP Capt. Bob Ghiglieri, Alger's commander, said Saturday that the alleged incident occurred when Alger was off duty and was not job-related. He said Alger has been put on administrative leave, pending the conclusion of the Rocklin Police Department's investigation.

October 24, 2008
Rocklin cop ends one tagger's graffiti spree

From Niesha Lofing

A Rocklin police officer's attentiveness recently led to the arrest of a teen suspected of tagging property with graffiti throughout the city for the past eight months.

Officer Neil Costa spotted three 18-year-olds at 2 a.m. Oct. 17, walking near Sunset and Whitney boulevards. He stopped the teens and, considering their actions suspicious, took down their names and other information, Lt. Lon Milka said.

One of the men had a can of spray paint in his coat, Milka said.

That night, Costa found freshly tagged private and public property. Over the next few days, he linked the teen carrying the spray paint to nine different graffiti crimes that occurred since February, Milka said.

Trevor Diehl of Rocklin was arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism and conspiracy. He has been released from Placer County Jail on a promise to appear in Placer County Superior Court in November, Milka said.

The investigation of the other two men is ongoing.

"Catching one of these guys is great," Milka said in a written statement. "There are so many times when we don't, but in this case an alert officer made all the difference."

October 24, 2008
Double murderer gets double life sentence

From Andy Furillo

A convicted double murderer got a double life sentence today, and he still must face additional charges that he murdered his cellmate last month at Sacramento's downtown jail.

Jose Guadalupe Barrera-Rodrigu, 22, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Kevin J. McCormick to life in prison with no possibility of parole and to an additional 15-to-life term for the January 2007 bludgeon killings of his one-time girlfriend, Kelly Ann Johnson, 19, and her mother, Sharon Ann Johnson, 49.

While awaiting sentencing on those convictions, Barrera-Rodrigu killed Demario Lavell Patterson, 22, on Sept. 12 in the jail cell they shared, according to a criminal complaint that has since been filed against him.

Patterson had been convicted of methamphetamine possession, misdemeanor battery and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was awaiting placement into a Proposition 36 drug treatment program at the time of his death.

October 24, 2008
Deputy's brothers sought for questioning in guard's killing

A nationwide search is on for two brothers of a Sacramento County sheriff's deputy linked in court documents to last week's killing of a correctional officer. Read this breaking news story.

October 23, 2008
Auburn police seek man for attempted bank robbery


From Sandy Louey:

Auburn police are looking for an attempted bank robber Thursday.

At 11:58 a.m., a man came into the U.S. Bank at 730 High Street and demanded money from a teller. There was an exchange between the man and the teller, but the man left without any money. It's unclear if he was armed or not, according to a press release.

The man is described as being a white male, age 35 to 40, 5-feet-8 to 6-feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. He was unshaven with short hair. He wore a white T-shirt under a black-hooded sweatshirt, hunting-style camouflage pants, black shoes, and a black baseball cap with a white emblem.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department's investigations division at (530) 823-4237, ext. 207.

October 23, 2008
Shopping center robbery suspect sought

From Stan Oklobdzija:

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department was still hunting Thursday for a brazen robber who shut down a shopping center in south Sacramento last night while eluding police for nearly nine hours.

At about 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, three men attempted to shoplift merchandise from the Ross Dress for Less on Florin Road in the Southgate Plaza, investigators said. The men were detained by store security, but managed to escape before sheriff's deputies could arrive.

One of the men allegedly produced a gun in the escape, sheriff's officials said.

Two of the men, Jason Billy Washington, 20, of Sacramento and a 17-year-old boy from Utah, were captured almost immediately, said sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran. The third, who sheriff's officials say may have escaped via the roof of the shopping complex, remains at large.

Curran did not wish to identify the third man, but Thursday night, an officer using a loudspeaker implored someone identified as "Tony Morgan" to surrender peacefully.

As of late Thursday afternoon, the suspect's weapon had not been recovered, Curran said.

Anyone with information about the suspect's identity is asked to call the sheriff's department at (916) 874-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357. Callers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

October 23, 2008
Cops: Deputy linked to slaying of officer

From Kim Minugh:

Sacramento County sheriff's Deputy Chu Vue's behavior over recent months strongly indicates "he was involved in the planning and/or the execution" of last week's slaying of correctional officer Steve Lo, according to a police investigator.

In a request to seal the record of a search warrant for Vue's home obtained by The Bee on Thursday, Detective Eric Schneider told the court that he is "confident" the 13-year veteran of the sheriff's department is not the perpetrator of the homicide.

He wrote, however, that Vue is a "principal" in the case.

Sacramento police on Thursday arrested Vue, 43, and booked him into the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of possession of an assault weapon - a charge unrelated to the homicide investigation, police said.

Vue's bail was set at $500,000. Jail records late Thursday afternoon indicated Vue was still in custody.

Sgt. Matt Young, spokesman for the Police Department, said Vue's arrest stemmed from a search of Vue's home on Oct. 15, the day Lo was killed. During the search, officers found an unregistered, illegal assault rifle and later issued a warrant for Vue's arrest, Young said.

Young said he could not comment on Vue's connection to the investigation into Lo's slaying. But he did say that the rifle confiscated from Vue's home is not consistent with the type of weapon used to kill the correctional officer.

Police have not formally announced Vue or anyone else as a suspect in Lo's killing, nor have they made an arrest in that investigation.

In a telephone interview from Burbank, Sheriff John McGinness said he began the process to terminate Vue's employment Friday night, but said the state Peace Officers Bill of Rights prohibits him from saying why.

McGinness said that beginning Friday night, Vue had 10 days to appeal.

According to Sacramento County court records, Vue was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty in 1995, but the case was dismissed.

On the morning of Oct. 15, Lo, 39, was shot in the garage of his Tambor Way home as he prepared to leave for his shift at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville. He was in full uniform, wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying his utility belt over his arm. He died at the hospital.

Lo is survived by his wife, five children and seven siblings.

October 23, 2008
Elk Grove welcomes new police chief, praises former

From Loretta Kalb:

Robert Lehner took the oath of office as the new chief of police for the city of Elk Grove on Wednesday night as City Council members bid farewell to outgoing Chief Robert Simmons.

Lehner, police chief in Eugene, Ore., has 30 years of experience in municipal law enforcement. He will receive $169,754 a year.

Under Simmons' leadership, the city quit Sacramento County law enforcement services in 2005 and established a new police department in mid-2006.

Lehner praised that accomplishment, crediting the city and its residents for building a "remarkable police department."

The creation of such a municipal department, he said, was "almost unheard of in America, and to do it almost overnight is an awesome responsibility to follow."

Councilwoman Sophia Scherman asked that the council, at a future meeting, consider naming the city's police communications center after Simmons.

October 23, 2008
Four arrested after gun is shot at Roseville party

From David Richie:

Roseville police responded to a complaint about gunshots early Saturday and ended up arresting four men on various weapons and drug charges, officials stated in an incident summary released Wednesday.

The action started about 12:22 a.m. at a party in the 1500 block of Roadrunner Drive, north of Junction Boulevard, near Woodcreek High School. Officers determined that a man decided to punctuate an argument in the backyard by firing a shot into the air. The shooter, identified by police as Jared Ravi Miles, 19, of Sacramento, then left the party accompanied by three other men.

Police pulled over their car on Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard, near Crimson Ridge Way. Miles was booked on suspicion of willful discharge of a firearm.

Officers searched the car and found a concealed, loaded handgun as well as cocaine and ecstasy packaged for sale.

The driver of the car, Andre Steven Gatewood, 19, also was booked on suspicion of drunken driving. Curtis Ray Bell, 19, of Carmichael and Devin Vernell Brown, 21, of Sacramento, also were arrested. Each man posted a $15,000 bail bond and was released from jail, officials said.

October 23, 2008
Woodland PD to hold open house Saturday

From Hudson Sangree:

The Woodland Police Department will hold its second annual open house Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1000 Lincoln Ave.

Residents are invited to meet the department's officers, learn about their duties and discuss police issues with patrol officers assigned to their neighborhoods.

Representatives from the various divisions and specialty units also will be available to answer questions. These will include SWAT and crisis negotiations teams, bike patrol, traffic, school resource officers, crime prevention, investigations, K-9 and records. Marked and unmarked vehicles will be on display.

October 23, 2008
Update: Sketch released in Citrus Heights home invasion

08-12673CH.jpgCitrus Heights police on Thursday released a sketch of the man who they say held a woman at knifepoint Wednesday morning after she came home to interrupt a burglary.

The woman, who lives in the 6500 block of Mariposa Avenue, struggled with the suspect and suffered minor injuries, said Citrus Heights Police Department Lt. Thomas Chaplin.

She was held against her will for about 30 minutes before the suspect fled in her car with stolen property, Chaplin said.

The suspect was last seen driving southbound on Mariposa Avenue in a beige four-door 1998 Mazda Millenia with a California license plate No. 3XIA070.

He is described as white, in his 20s, about 5-foot-9-inches to 5-foot-10-inches tall and weighing between 190 and 200 pounds, according to police. He was wearing a navy blue baseball cap with a white emblem, a brown T-shirt and gray sweatpants. He was carrying a knife with about an 8-inch-long blade.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at (916) 727-5500.

October 23, 2008
Update: Olivehurst boy found safe at friend's house

From Niesha Lofing:

An 11-year-old Olivehurst boy who was missing for a day was found safe at a friend's house Wednesday.

Andrew "Rodeo" Ward was last seen about 3:30 p.m. in his room at his home in the 1000 block of Jay Avenue. His parents discovered that he was gone a short time later, Yuba County sheriff's officials said.

Ward was found shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday at a friend's house in Olivehurst, said Melanie Oakes, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

About 20 law enforcement personnel had been looking for the boy, searching Yuba River bottoms and area businesses.

Information authorities received indicated he was missing voluntarily, but they considered him at-risk because of his age and the length of time he had been missing.

"He had just gone to a friend's house and decided not to call anyone," she said.

October 23, 2008
Roseville residents' ire expressed at meeting about sex offender

soffender.pngFrom David Richie:

Hundreds of Roseville residents jammed into a community meeting Wednesday night, trying to learn more about Michael Charles Etchison (left photo), 53, a registered sex offender who moved into the city last week.

What they learned was far from satisfying.

The already tense crowd grew angrier as Etchison's past crimes were discussed. They started with a sexual assault and murder of a young woman while Etchison was still a teenager. After his release from California Youth Authority, he attacked another woman in 1979, was sent to prison and paroled. In 1981 he attacked three more women and was sent to prison again. He remained in prison and a mental institution until 2006 when a judge ruled that he was no longer a sexually violent predator.

"If those crimes had been committed today, he would be serving a life sentence," said Jeff Wood, Placer County deputy district attorney in charge of sex crime prosecution.

That was the dilemma for the police and the residents Wednesday night. Etchison is essentially a free man - he is not on parole or probation and he is under no extra restrictions regarding his presence in or around schools and parks, said Police Chief Mike Blair.

"It provides an opportunity for all of you to have a discussion with your family and with your neighbors about what you can do to protect yourselves," Blair said.

The neighborhoods along Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard in northwest Roseville are designed with bike trails, wide sidewalks and other features that make the area a family-friendly environment. Children routinely walk or ride their bikes to school and other activities. Men and women, walk, jog and ride bikes pretty much any time of the day or night. As the tone of the discussion grew hotter, it was pretty obvious that many parents were rethinking their attitude about their special neighborhood.

Etchison was asked not to attend the meeting, Blair said.

He was represented by Pastor Michael Tomlinson, director of Jordan Crossing Ministries, a Christian program for ex-convicts based in Palermo, Butte County. Etchison is a changed man, anxious to meet with his neighbors and try to put all their fears to rest, Tomlinson said.

"He has been walking with us for 22 months," Tomlinson said.

The crowd did not have much patience with Tomlinson.

Roseville resident Eric Owen got even rougher treatment.

Before the meeting, Owen said he was leaning toward supporting Etchison, even though he would probably never allow him to baby-sit his children. He also thinks the man should be supervised in some way.

"If he truly has been changed by his relationship with Christ, he is a new creation," Owen said.

When Owen tried to make those points during the public meeting, the crowd shouted him down.

Scott Otsuka, leader of the Quail Glen Neighborhood Association, said he might be able to put together another meeting with Etchison attending. He is "not really buying" the man's claim of religious conversion.

Otsuka also was a little concerned about the anger exhibited Wednesday night and wondered if another meeting would be constructive. The bottom line is that the police are doing all that the law allows.

"This is the cost of living in a free society," Otsuka said.

October 23, 2008
Search continues for missing Olivehurst boy

From Sandy Louey:

The Yuba County Sheriff's Department is searching for an 11-year-old Olivehurst boy who has been missing since Tuesday.

Andrew "Rodeo" Ward was last seen about 3:30 p.m. in his room at his home in the 1000 block of Jay Avenue. His parents discovered him gone a short while later, according to a press release.

Information indicated that he is missing voluntarily, but authorities consider him at-risk because of his age and how long he has been missing.

The boy is a white male, approximately 4-feet-10, and weighing 79 pounds. He has short brown hair, fair skin, and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing a tan Old Navy brand sweatshirt, blue jeans and carrying a multi-color Spiderman blanket.

Sheriff's officials say he might be near the Yuba River bottoms because he likes to camp and fish.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's department at (530) 749-7777, ext. 8

October 23, 2008
Update: South Sacramento shoplift suspect thought to be armed

From Stan Oklobdzija and Niesha Lofing:

Sacramento sheriff's deputies are asking for help locating a third person suspected of shoplifting at a south Sacramento Ross store Wednesday night after a nine-hour search and extensive evacuation.

Two people were arrested in connection with the shoplifting incident at Ross Dress for Less on Florin Road, but a third person -- who reportedly was armed with a gun -- continues to elude authorities.

Deputies and other law enforcement officers searched on roofs and inside the Ross Dress for Less on Florin Road and nearby stores until about 1:15 a.m. but did not locate the suspect, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran stated in a news release.

The search was called off because officials think the suspect was "somehow able to get outside of the perimeter and evade capture," Curran said.

Click here for story updates.

October 22, 2008
Armed suspect takes to roof, causes evacuation of Sacramento shopping center

From Stan Oklobdzija:

Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies evacuated the Southgate Plaza shopping center Wednesday afternoon after an armed shoplifting suspect, escaped custody of a store employee and climbed onto the roof.

After the roof was found to be clear, the search was shifted to individual stores, which include a Wal-Mart, an Office Max and a Home Town Buffet. The search was continuing into the evening.

Two other suspects, who also initially escaped, were caught by deputies. They are not being named by authorities.

The incident began about 4:15 p.m. when the store's personnel called the Sheriff's Department, said Sgt. Tim Curran, department spokesman.

By the time deputies arrived, the suspect had escaped. Because one was reported armed with a handgun, the deputies evacuated the shopping center, established a perimeter and called in the SWAT team, which includes marksmen and other personnel trained in special tactics.

The center was successfully cleared of shoppers and workers, Curran said, and the deputies, assisted by the Sacramento Police Department's SWAT tean.

Some store employees said they were told to leave in a hurry.

"My associate said, 'Get in your car and get out. She said it's three guys with a gun,'" said Yelena Zhuk, who works in the pharmacy at Wal-Mart.

Home Town Buffet general manager Michael Swedon said his restaurant was full when two officers ran into the restaurant and "screamed, 'Get out!"

Staff and customers dropped everything, inclduing dinner plates, and rushed out.

Curran did not identify the suspects, but a woman who identifed herself as a niece of the suspects, said she saw them enter the Ross store.

Denise Williams, said she was coming out of a beauty supply store as the men were going into Ross. She said they chatted briefly.

She said she recognized the suspect's car still in the parking lot, hours after the center was evacuated. The older model gray car had no license plate.

Williams said she lives nearby, but was stranded because officers were not allowing customers or staff to retrieve their vehicles.

She stopped talking to a reporter after another woman, who Williams said was her niece, told her to "stop snitching."

At one point, a sheriff's negotiator with a bullhorn tried to contact the suspect believed to be on the roof.

The huge deployment of officers left traffic in chaos along Florin Road.

October 22, 2008
Citrus Heights woman held at knifepoint after interrupting burglary

From Kim Minugh:

A Citrus Heights resident was held at knifepoint this morning after she came home to interrupt a burlary, according to police.

The woman, who lives in the 6500 block of Mariposa Avenue, struggled with the suspect and suffered minor injuries, said Citrus Heights Police Department Lt. Thomas Chaplin.

She was held against her will for about 30 minutes before the suspect fled in her car with stolen property, Chaplin said.

The suspect was last seen driving southbound on Mariposa Avenue in a beige four-door 1998 Mazda Millenia with a California license plate No. 3XIA070.

He is described as white, in his 20s, about 5-foot-9-inches to 5-foot-10-inches tall and weighing between 190 and 200 pounds, according to police. He was wearing a navy blue baseball cap with a white emblem, a brown T-shirt and gray sweatpants. He was carrying a knife with about an 8-inch-long blade.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at (916) 727-5500.

October 22, 2008
Carmichael man arrested in connection with infant's death

Harper.jpgFrom Kim Minugh:

A 25-year-old Carmichael man was booked in the Sacramento County Main Jail this week after he allegedly shook his 6-month-old son to death this summer, according to authorities.

Kevin Harper (left photo) faces charges of murder and assault resulting in the death of a child younger than age 8, said Sacramento County sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran.

In the early evening of Aug. 21, Harper reportedly called 911 but then decided to bring his unresponsive 6-month-old son to the Mercy San Juan Medical Center, Curran said. That night, the baby was transported to UC Davis Medical Center.

A social worker there called the sheriff's department the next day to report the baby's injuries. Curran said doctors told deputies the baby appeared to be the victim of non-accidental trauma.

The baby died the next day, Curran said.

The baby's mother, a 24-year-old woman who lived with Harper, was not home at the time the baby became unresponsive, Curran said. Child Protective Services has no involvement with the family, Curran said.

A warrant was issued earlier this month for Harper's arrest, and he was taken into custody in the San Diego area last week, Curran said. He was booked into the Main Jail on Tuesday.

October 22, 2008
Crime Alert: Information sought about Roseville bank robbery

Bank2.JPGSacramento-area FBI agents are seeking information leading to the identity of two suspects wanted in the robbery of a Roseville bank, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

According to authorities, the suspects entered the Bank of America at 431 Roseville Square, each approached a different teller and announced that a robbery was taking place. After receiving money from the tellers, the suspects fled.

The suspects (one of them pictured at left) were described as two black men.

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

October 22, 2008
Update: Meth lab find leads to four arrests in El Dorado County

Chuck Lavado.JPG Jolene Jones.JPG Christopher Hamman.JPG Margaret Brady 2.JPG

From Niesha Lofing and Sandy Louey:

Three young children were taken into protective custody and four people were arrested Tuesday after El Dorado County Sheriff's deputies busted a methamphetamine lab at an El Dorado home.

The children, whose ages ranged from 2 to 7 years old, lived with two adults in the modular home in the 3500 of White Oak Ridge Road where there was access to the drugs, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Bryan Golmitz said.

While serving a search warrant at the property, deputies found glass pipes, methamphetamine, scales and a small amount of marijuana in the house, he said.

Child Protective Services took custody of the children.

An inactive methamphetamine lab with glassware and chemicals was found in a detached garage on the property, Golmitz said.

A team from the California Justice Department's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement dismantled the lab, he said.

Chuck Lavado (left photo), 41, and Jolene Jones (second photo from left), 33, are each being held on $100,000 bail in the Placerville Main Jail on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of substances with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

Christopher Hamman (third photo from left) , 32, and Margaret Brady (fourth photo from left), 25, are each being held on $119,000 bail on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, willful cruelty to a child, manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of substances with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

Brady is the mother of the three children.

October 22, 2008
Nevada sting nets 23 suspects, 75 weapons in Washoe County

From the Reno Gazette-Journal:

Federal officials said a 15-month undercover operation investigating the sale of illegal firearms and drug dealing has led to charges against 23 people in Washoe County, part of an investigation that put federal agents inside a notorious motorcycle gang and led to arrests in six states.

Six suspects, most affiliated with the Mongols Motorcycle Club, were arrested early Tuesday in Reno and 14 other people had been charged with crimes, said Tom Cannon, resident agent in charge of the Reno office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said more than 6 pounds of methamphetamine and 75 weapons had been seized in the Reno area during Operation Domino, a sting that also involved Reno police, Washoe County sheriff's deputies and the district attorney's office.

Here's the full Gazette-Journal story.

October 21, 2008
Elk Grove police warn of GPS thefts

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police are reminding people to be careful because they are seeing an increase in portable GPS navigation units and other electronic items being stolen from vehicles.

Two 27-year-old men were arrested Monday night for breaking a window and removing electronic items, including a GPS unit, from a locked vehicle in the parking lot of the Hilton Garden Inn, 9261 Laguna Springs Drive, said Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the police department.

Armando Saldana and Mark Sapola were arrested on suspicion of burglary, petty theft, receiving stolen property, and possession of burglar's tools. Saldana was also arrested on suspicion of violating probation, Trim said.

Trim said police have noticed an increase in GPS units and hands-free devices being taken from vehicles.

Small electronic items should be removed and taken from vehicles. If not, they should be locked in the trunk or glove box, he said.

"Burglaries are crimes of opportunities," he said.

October 21, 2008
Probation check yields three drug-related arrests in Citrus Heights

From David Richie:

Roseville police ventured into Citrus Heights last week on a probation check, disrupting a suspected drug dealing operation in the 7400 block of Auburn Oaks Court, west of Auburn Boulevard, about a half mile from the city boundary.

The Vice and Narcotics Enforcement Team's main target was Robert Theodore Endres, 52, who is on probation out of Placer County.

When officers arrived at the apartment at about 12:10 a.m. Friday, they found Endres washing suspected methamphetamine down a sink. Officers recovered a small amount of suspected crank from the sink and from several locations in the apartment. They also confiscated a loaded gun, ammunition, drug packaging material and what police officials described as "a large amount of currency."

Endres was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale, keeping a place to sell drugs, possessing drugs while armed, attempting to destroy or conceal evidence, and probation violation. He was released from the Placer County Jail the next day after posting a $25,000 bond.

Kenneth Lee Kinyon, 39, of Roseville was arrested on suspicion of possessing a hypodermic needle and visiting a place where controlled substances are illegally used. He was booked into the Roseville Police Department Jail and released on a citation to appear.

Jillian Marie Gedecke, 26, of Citrus Heights was arrested on suspicion of keeping a place to sell drugs, and released from the Placer County Jail on a citation to appear.

October 21, 2008
U.S. drug czar rips Prop. 5

From Andy Furillo:

The national drug czar came to Sacramento today to blast the Proposition 5 drug treatment initiative that he and opponents charge will undermine court-based treatment programs they say have succeeded over the past decade.

National Drug Control Policy director John Walters said at a press conference that Proposition 5 "will weaken our capacity to help people in the criminal justice system" who are being treated for their addiction still remain subject to punishment if they fail.

"We want to help people are addicted, but we also need to punish crime, otherwise addiction becomes an excuse and we encourage drug use and addiction as a way of avoiding the kind of punishment criminals needs," Walters said.

Yes on 5 spokeswoman Margaret Dooley-Sammuli called the initiative a "common sense response" to drug-related crime and blasted Walters as a spokesman for failed criminal justice policies.

"President Bush's drug czar has come to California to insist that we continue with the failed approach that has been so ineffective and crowded our prisons full of non-violent offenders," Dooley-Sammuli said.

The initiative would increase spending on drug programs by hundreds of millions a year and divert a range of offenders incarcerated on drug and property crimes out of prison and into treatment.

Proponents say the measure will lower prison costs by treating offenders as addicts instead of criminals. Opponents say that tack will give addicts more opportunity to commit crimes by reducing the accountability they would face in the criminal justice structure.

October 21, 2008
Update: Sex offender's arrival alarms Roseville police

soffender.pngFrom David Richie and Niesha Lofing:

Roseville police are taking unprecedented steps to notify residents about the presence of convicted murderer and sex offender Michael Charles Etchison, who moved into the city last week.

On Tuesday morning Roseville police distributed fliers with photographs of Etchison and the car he drives around his neighborhood. They also released fliers to the local news media. Etchison, 53, is the subject of a community meeting scheduled Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Roseville Sports Center, 1545 Pleasant Grove Boulevard.

"This is the first time we have done a community-wide notification," said Dee Dee Gunther, Police Department spokeswoman. "His offenses were violent and unlike the vast majority of sex offenders, he targeted strangers."

The Police Department's Megan's Law Public Notification indicates that during the late 1970s and early 1980s Etchison committed four sexual assaults on young women in San Mateo County. He attacked one woman at knifepoint after offering her a ride home in his car. He also assaulted three other women in the restroom at a drive-in movie theater, officials said.

Etchison's juvenile record includes the sexual assault and murder of young woman in 1972, when he was 17-years-old. Elaine Tipton, supervising deputy district attorney for the San Mateo County District Attorney's office confirmed that Etchison was first sent to California Youth Authority for murder.

Then, as an adult, he was convicted of sexual assault in 1979 and again in 1981 while out on parole. He was sentenced to 26 years in state prison, Tipton said.

From 1981 through 2006 Etchison was held in either state prison or a state mental institution in Atascadero.

"In December 2006, we aggressively sought a finding that he remained a sexually violent predator," Tipton said.

Her office lost that fight and a judge ordered Etchison released from custody.

Etchison answered the door at his house on Marblethorpe Drive, off Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard, early Tuesday afternoon. He opened the door just enough to look outside, while restraining a dog that seemed anxious to be outdoors. A copy of the Roseville police flier was still under the welcome mat on the front porch.

"I think it's best that I wait until things die down a little," Etchison said. "I really don't have any comment."

The Bee also contacted the American Civil Liberties Union office in San Francisco but representatives did not return a call for comment on the situation.

Roseville police who prepared the Megan's Law release on Etchison are limited to discussion of the crimes that led to Etchison's status as a registered sex offender, Gunther said.

He has served his entire prison sentence. He is not on parole or probation and he is not wanted for any offense, Roseville officials stated.

Megan's Law requires that Etchison notify local police when he moves into a new community. "He did everything he is supposed to do," Gunther said.

The law also allows local officials to alert the community about the man's presence. "Our intention is not to create fear. Megan's Law is a notification law. We also are not going to tolerate any harassment of him," Gunther said.

There are 147 registered sex offenders living in Roseville. Not all of them are listed on the Megan's Law Web site because they have successfully petitioned to get off that list or local police do not consider them a high risk to the community, Gunther said.

October 21, 2008
Burglars hit Corti Brothers, Trader Joe's on Folsom Boulevard

From Niesha Lofing:

Police are investigating whether burglaries at two east Sacramento grocery stores early this morning and an armed robbery at a nearby McDonald's restaurant on Monday are connected.

The two Folsom Boulevard stores hit today are Corti Brothers and Trader Joe's, which are just a few blocks apart. The McDonald's is between the two stores.

A Corti Brothers employee discovered that burglary just after 3 a.m. at the specialty grocer at 5810 Folsom Blvd.

Someone had broken out a front window, making a hole big enough for a person to enter the store, said Sacramento police Officer Konrad Von Schoech.

Police searched the store and the surrounding area but did not find the burglar, he said.

It is not yet known if anything was taken.

About 4 a.m., a police officer driving by Trader Joe's at 5000 Folsom Blvd. heard the store's security alarm ringing and saw that a window had been broken, Von Schoech said.

Police checked inside the store but found no one.

"They took alcohol from Trader Joe's," Von Schoech said.

Both stores were closed when the burglaries occurred.

The burglaries occurred on a usually busy stretch of Folsom Boulevard between 50th and 59th streets.

Police continue to investigate the Monday armed robbery of the McDonald's at 55th Street and Folsom. In that case, a man broke into the restaurant through the drive-through window, attempted to break into the safe, stole the cash register and fired shots at a maintenance worker who tried to run after him. The worker was not hit and was unhurt.

No one has been arrested in that case, Von Schoech said.

"It's the same M-O, the same general area, the same time frame," he said. "There's a strong possibility that they are related, but we're looking into it to see if there's a more substantial connection."

October 21, 2008
Suspected vehicle thieves push car through Folsom neighborhood

From David Richie:

Three men were in Sacramento County Main Jail on Monday after Folsom police spotted them pushing a stolen vehicle through a residential neighborhood in the 200 block of Thorndike Way about 5 p.m. Saturday.

During their investigation officers also found that suspect Kelty Jack-Rober Decroix, 23, of Rancho Cordova, also was carrying a loaded gun. Decroix was booked on suspicion of vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle on a public street, carrying a concealed firearm and conspiracy.

Abioseh MacMillan, 21, of Roseville was booked on suspicion of auto theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.

Brandon Michael Struwe, 21, of Rancho Cordova, was booked on suspicion of vehicle theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy. He also has warrant out of Placer County and Gridley.

October 20, 2008
S.F. political activist sentenced to probation

From Denny Walsh:

Julie Lee, the San Francisco community activist and political fundraiser convicted of diverting state grant money to a political campaign, has been sentenced in a state court to five years probation.

Lee, 62, was sentenced in San Francisco Superior Court on Friday to five years on probation. A condition of the probation is a year in jail, but that is to be served concurrently with a federal prison term.

She was sentenced last month in Sacramento federal court to a year and a day in prison and, with time off for good behavior, will serve approximately 10 months.

She also was ordered in the federal case to pay a $5,000 fine and serve three years of supervision after her release.

Lee pleaded guilty July 15 in superior court to charges of grand theft, forgery, misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, fabricating documents, and making campaign contributions using the names of others.

Four days earlier, a federal jury in Sacramento found her guilty on two counts of mail fraud and three counts of attempting to tamper with government witnesses.

The crux of both cases was Lee's theft of $125,000 from a taxpayer-funded grant meant for the development of a community services facility that was never built. She laundered the money through five nominees and into Kevin Shelley's successful 2002 campaign for secretary of state.

Lee had donated all the law allowed in her own name.

There is no evidence Shelley knew of Lee's scheme.

October 20, 2008
Man arrested after allegedly firing shots in Citrus Heights neighborhood

From David Richie:

A Citrus Heights man remains in Sacramento County Main Jail today after being arrested Sunday on suspicion of firing shots in the neighborhood west of Interstate 80.

Police were called to a home on Butternut Drive about 7 p.m. when a man subsequently identified as Isaac Sandoval Valdez, 46, allegedly fired several shots while standing outside a house. Police then determined that he was in the neighborhood, possibly walking toward Raley's at Antelope Road and Lichen Drive. Officers found Valdez and took him into custody.

During their investigation they determined that the handgun Valdez was carrying had been reported stolen.

He was booked on several charges including suspicion of grossly negligent discharge of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

October 20, 2008
Georgetown man arrested after chase in Roseville

From David Richie:

Roseville police chased a man already on probation for burglary through the Sierra Gardens neighborhood south of Douglas Boulevard Saturday night after they spotted him driving a car that had been reported stolen in Auburn.

The action started just before 11 p.m. when officers tried to stop the vehicle. Its driver led them on a chase through several parking lots along North Sunrise Avenue. The driver abandoned the car and his passenger on Tanglewood Lane and fled. About an hour later, a resident on Kent Street called 911 reporting that someone had jumped onto his roof. Police then spotted the suspect leaping off a 20-foot-high sound wall along Sierra Gardens Drive.

The suspect, Bradley Allen Sherman, 25, of Georgetown was slightly injured on the jump and officers took him into custody. He was booked on variety of charges, including suspicion of vehicle theft, evading police officers and possession of controlled substances. Police determined that he already was on probation for burglary in the state of Nevada.

The car's passenger, Jeffrey James King, 25, of Auburn, also was arrested on numerous charges, including suspicion of receiving or possessing stolen property, conspiracy and possession of controlled substances. He posted bail and was released.

Sherman is being held without bail in Placer County Jail.

October 20, 2008
Man convicted of killing student on way to graduation

From Andy Furillo:

A Sacramento jury today convicted a 24-year-old south area man in the gang murder of a 15-year-old boy on his way to a graduation ceremony last year.

Steve Anthony Duran Jr. faces life imprisonment with no chance of parole as a result of his conviction for the June 8, 2007, shooting death of Abel Alonso.

Duran also was convicted of attempted murder in the attack that left Alonso's older brother, Bernardo, slightly injured with a gunshot grazing.

The Alonso brothers were driving to a ceremony at 8 a.m. on the day of Bernardo Alonso's high school graduation when Duran spotted them from another car, chased them down on Ortega Street near Fruitridge Road and began shooting.

Prosecutors charged that Duran was a member of the Nortenos street gang and that he mistakenly believed that the Alonso brothers belonged to a rival set.

Duran had been up all night smoking methamphetamine and also was on high on ecstasy pills at the time of the shooting.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly scheduled Duran's sentencing for Dec. 4.

October 20, 2008
Officials seek information about two suspected arson cases

From Niesha Lofing:

Fire investigators are looking for information this morning about two fires at Sacramento-area homes that officials say were caused by arson.

The first fire began about 9:40 p.m. at a vacant house in the 7900 block of Cresentdale Way in the Valley Hi area, Sacramento fire Capt. Jim Doucette said.

The single-alarm fire significantly damaged the home.

A single-alarm fire also damaged a duplex. The fire began about 1:21 a.m. at a duplex at 403 Mint St., Doucette said. The duplex is occupied, but no one was home when the fire started, he said.

Details about the fire have not been released.

Anyone with information about either fire is asked to call the fire department's arson tip line at (916) 808-8732.

October 20, 2008
Cause of death for person found in Sacramento field sought

From Niesha Lofing:

The death of a person whose decomposing body was found in a vacant field north of downtown Sacramento on Sunday is suspicious, police say.

A citizen found the body at 6:44 p.m. Sunday in an empty field just west of the Super 8 Motel near 216 Bannon St., Sacramento police Officer Konrad Von Schoech said.

The body was so decomposed that its officials don't know yet whether it was a man or a woman, Von Schoech said.

The woman might have been transient, he said. The area where the body was found is highly populated by homeless, Von Schoech said.

"We don't know how (the person) died yet," Von Schoech said. "There are no obvious signs of trauma and foul play."

But items found near the body lead police to suspect the person's death might not have been from natural causes, he said.

The Sacramento County Coroner's Office is performing an autopsy.

Officials are trying to confirm the woman's identity, a coroner's spokesman said today.

October 20, 2008
Update: Man escapes with cash register after east Sacramento robbery

From Niesha Lofing:

An armed man continues to elude police after breaking into a closed east Sacramento McDonald's this morning, stealing a cash register, then shooting at a maintenance worker who followed the fleeing robber.

The robbery happened about 5:17 a.m. when a man armed with a handgun entered the fast-food restaurant at 5525 Folsom Blvd. through the drive-through window and encountered a maintenance crew inside, said Sacramento police Officer Konrad Von Schoech.

The McDonald's was closed at the time.

The man tried to open the restaurant's safe but failed.

"So he grabbed the cash register, threw it out the window, jumped through the window and ran off with the cash register," Von Schoech said. The cash register contained an undisclosed amount of money.

A maintenance employee followed the fleeing man but stopped when the suspect fired shots at him. The shots missed and the maintenance worker was unhurt.

The shooter ran to a parked car and drove away. It is unclear if someone else was waiting for him or if he acted alone, Von Schoech said.

The man is described as a Hispanic adult with short black hair. He was wearing a blue beanie, blue pants and a blue shirt.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357.

October 20, 2008
Bee launches data page detailing crime trends by cities, counties

From Phillip Reese:

All crime is local. One city can see its crime rate plunge while another city 15 miles away can see crime hold steady or even rise.

That's why The Bee today launched its latest data page breaking down crime trends by cities and counties: Violent Crime Trends Across the Region . On Tuesday, The Bee will post a similar data page for property crimes .

A few highlights:

When it comes to violent crime, the winners over the last 25 years include Woodland, Rocklin, Folsom and Galt - all had low crime rates to begin with in the mid-1980s, and all saw them drop in ensuing years. It's been a tougher ride for Sacramento, South Lake Tahoe and Marysville - those cities started out with lots of violent crime, and are pretty much in the same jam today.

Property crime trends in the region are more straightforward: Every major agency has seen property crime drop. Some, though, have been luckier than others. Sacramento's property crime rate, for instance, plunged almost 50 percent over the last 25 years. Folsom, which had a low property crime rate to begin with, maintained a pretty similar rate over that period.

When you look at the short term, even more trends emerge. Galt, Woodland, Davis and Yuba City suffered property crime increases from 2006 to 2007; Sacramento, Roseville and several other cities saw property crime drop. Violent crime also fell in Sacramento, Auburn, unincorporated El Dorado County and other places last year; it increased in Rocklin, Marysville, Galt and other places.

October 19, 2008
Woman arrested on suspicion of robbing a Citrus Heights bank

From Sandy Louey:

A 25-year-old Sacramento woman was arrested Friday night for allegedly robbing a Washington Mutual Bank in Citrus Heights.

Yuliya Stepanisko was arrested on suspicion of robbery in connection with a bank robbery that happened at 5:15 p.m. Friday at 5801 Sunrise Blvd. A woman had passed a note to the teller demanding money and the teller complied, the Citrus Heights Police Department said.

A search of the area was not successful, but several hours later Elk Grove police were called out to a Longs Drug Store at 9285 Elk Grove Blvd., where a woman was reportedly involved in a fight. Officers determined that the woman, identified as Stepanisko, was connected to the bank robbery, Citrus Heights police said.

The investigation into the robbery is continuing.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Citrus Heights' investigative services division at (916) 727-5500.

October 17, 2008
4 members of agribusiness family sentenced in federal court

From Denny Walsh:

Four members of one of California's most prominent agribusiness families were sentenced today in Sacramento federal court to short prison terms for tax and financial felonies.

Lawrence Sambado and his two sons, Timothy and Richard Sambado, each pleaded guilty in April to one count of filing a false tax return. Timothy's wife, Marie Josee Dusablan-Sambado, pleaded guilty to one count of structuring monetary transactions to avoid reporting requirements.

The Sambados are the state's largest sellers of cherries, apples and walnuts. From their state-of-the-art facilities in Linden, they market, pack and ship crops of growers all over the Central Valley to customers in the United States, Asia and Europe.

With supporters crowding the courtroom, Lawrence Sambado, 70, was sentenced to six months in prison, five months of home confinement, and fined $30,000.

Timothy Sambado, 45, was sentenced to seven months in prison, five months of home confinement, and fined $30,000.

Richard Sambado, 43, was sentenced to five months in prison, five months of home confinement, and fined $30,000.

Dusablan-Sambado, 42, was sentenced to a month in prison, three months of home confinement, and fined $10,000.

The Sambados will serve staggered prison terms.

Beverly Sambado, 71, wife of Lawrence Sambado and mother of the sons, pleaded guilty to one count of structuring monetary transactions so as to avoid federal reporting requirements imposed on financial institutions. But her sentencing has been put off to Dec. 5.

Restitution was not an issue at today because the father and sons had already paid $473,635 in civil tax liabilities, penalties and interest.

October 17, 2008
Elk Grove man gets 15-plus years in fatal crash

From Andy Furillo:

A judge sentenced an Elk Grove man to 15 years and eight months in prison today for his street-racing crash that killed a teenager and seriously injured four others.

Twenty-one-year-old Clinton Colon must serve 85 percent of his term on the vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence conviction.

The June 2, 2006, wreck resulted in the death of Anthony Mondragon, 15.

"This is an enormous tragedy, as everybody knows," Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White said in imposing the term on Colon.

More than a dozen members of the Colon family and their friends watched and some of them cried while deputies handcuffed the defendant and took him into custody.

A smaller group of Mondragon's relatives also attended the sentencing. They expressed satisfaction with the sentence and said they were thankful the court proceedings are over.

October 17, 2008
Sacramento deputy placed on leave in officer's slaying

From Kim Minugh:

The Sacramento County sheriff's deputy being investigated in connection with this week's slaying of a correctional officer has been placed on administrative leave, a law enforcement source said Friday.

Under the terms of the leave, the deputy has been stripped of his gun and badge, the source said.

The deputy was on duty at the time of Officer Steve Lo's killing on Wednesday morning, and is not a suspect, other sources said. However, he is being investigated by Sacramento police detectives working the case, the sources said.

Officer Steve Lo was shot in the garage of his home on the 8400 block of Tambor Way as he prepared to leave for work at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville. He later died at a hospital.

October 17, 2008
Man sentenced in Sacramento race killings

From Andy Furillo:

Jorge Padilla Ruiz received two life sentences plus 50 years in prison today for shooting two men dead just because they were black.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette said Ruiz exhibited "a dangerousness we don't often see, at least here in Sacramento" when he gunned down Roosevelt June Campbell and Lonnie Lee Taylor on April 23, 2006.

Prosecutors said Ruiz hunted his two 40-year-old African American targets at a North Sacramento gas station after his brother had been beaten up in a fight hours earlier at least two miles away.

Marlette told Ruiz "it would be one thing" if he had gone looking to fight the men who beat up his brother.

"Rather than do that, you went out and ambushed somebody," Marlette said. "That's a coward's way."

Ruiz sat stone-faced in court while tearful relatives of Campbell described their loss of a father, fiancé, brother and son. They said in interviews later that Campbell struggled with drug addiction but had found a job working for a moving company while living in a homeless shelter in the months prior to his death.

Daisy Jean Fitzgibbon, Campbell's fiancé and mother of his 8-year-old daughter, told the court that the girl's world took a painful hit with the loss of her dad.

"She comes home every day and cries because she's the only child in her class who doesn't have a father," Fitzgibbon said.

October 17, 2008
Tire vandals hit hard in Citrus Heights

From David Richie:

Citrus Heights police are working hard to determine who is responsible for a seemingly senseless vandalism spree earlier this month when the tires on at least 60 cars were ruined.

At least 30 residents were victimized, police officials said Thursday night during a community meeting. Several homes were hit more than once. While most of the vandalism occurred during the early morning hours of Oct. 4, the vandals returned to some streets a few nights later to damage more tires, said Ryan Kinnan, a problem oriented policing officer.

Several residents told Kinnan and his partner, Officer Alexi Fanopoulos, that their concern was not just for the hundreds of dollars they had to shell out during tough economic times, but also for the way the damage was done in some cases. A man in the audience said d that damage to a tire on his daughter's car was not immediately apparent, but the tire was bound to fail.

"What if it had blown out while she was driving on the freeway?" the man asked.

Vandals targeted cars parked outside on at least nine streets on both sides of Van Maren Lane, between Auburn Boulevard and Antelope Road. Misty Creek Drive and Willowleaf Drive appeared to be the epicenter but vandalism was noted on some streets up to a mile away.

The discussion Thursday night helped move the investigation along because residents were able to compare notes. Several residents said the damage to their tires appeared to have been done with an ice pick. Others said that sidewalls had been scraped by some kind of tool, prompting tire mechanics to ask if they had run into any curbs lately.

Kinnan and Fanopoulos are leading the investigation, which also involves patrol officers and the police department's special investigations unit. Undercover teams have been sent into the area.

Police also are stepping up their enforcement of the city's curfew regulations, which generally require that teenagers be off the street by 10 p.m. They also appealed to the residents to be the department's eyes and ears on the street. Usually vandals eventually brag about the crime to someone. Kinnan said.

"Any whisper in the neighborhood, whether it's from an adult or a juvenile, we want to hear about it," Kinnan said.

October 16, 2008
12 arrested in Woodland sting for not having contractor's license

From Sandy Louey:

A sting operation at a Woodland commercial building ended up in 12 employers being arrested Wednesday for contracting without a license, investigators said.

The operation was conducted by the Yolo Unlicensed Rapid Apprehension Team, which was set up three years ago to go after employers who are unlicensed contractors or fail to insure their employees, investigators said.

The agencies that participated in the string were the Yolo County District Attorney's Office, the Contractors State License Board, Woodland Police Department, state Department of Industrial Relations, state Department of Insurance, and the Employment Development Department.

The contractors who showed up to bid on a job as part of the string were compiled from consumer complaints and from looking at newspaper and online ads, Lt. Dan Stroski of the district attorney's office said Thursday.

Stroski said 12 employers were arrested by the state license board for contracting without a license. Their names weren't available Thursday.

The industrial relations department also issued civil fines against six of the employers. Bricker Handyman of Fair Oaks, Eagle Nest of Sacramento, Orlando Interior Work of Woodland, Teorres Landscaping of Rancho Cordova, Showcase Drywall of Woodland, and Tile & Stone of Dixon were fined for failing to have workers' compensation insurance, said Dean Fryer, a spokesman with the industrial relations department.

Teorres Landscaping also was fined for paying employees under the table, Fryer said.

October 16, 2008
Authorities seek help in identifying suspect in Elk Grove home robbery

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police are asking for the public's help in identifying a woman who might have been involved in a September home robbery.

On Sept. 8, a masked suspect went into a home in the 8400 block of Raspberry Way and confronted the occupant with a small knife. The robber demanded personal property and left with a purse belonging to the resident, a news release states.

On Oct. 5, a woman tried to pass a check from the victim's account at Thunder Valley Casino. The transaction was denied and the woman was captured on video surveillance leaving Thunder Valley, police said.

The woman in the video is described as a white female, 20 to 30 years old, 5-feet-5 and 170 pounds. She wore a black jacket, black shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Elk Grove police detective bureau at (916) 478-8060 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357. Callers to Crime Alert can be anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

October 16, 2008
Citrus Heights man arrested on suspicion of defrauding couple

Marks, Michael.jpgFrom Sandy Louey:

A 38-year-old Citrus Heights man was arrested today for allegedly defrauding an elderly Rocklin couple.

Michael Marks (left photo) was arrested on suspicion of burglary, theft, financial elder abuse, conspiracy, vandalism and operating without a contractor's license. He is being held at the Placer County jail, according to a Rocklin Police Department news release.

The arrest came after Rocklin and Citrus Heights police and investigators from the state Contractors State License Board served a warrant on Marks' home.

The investigation stemmed from a Sept. 2 incident in which a man posing as a contractor offered to repair the damaged roof of an elderly couple. The man demanded $1,900 for two hours of work, which the couple thought was unreasonable. They didn't want to pay but did so because they felt intimidated, police said. The couple reported the incident to Rocklin police, according to the release.

Rocklin police developed information about a suspect and used a legitimate state licensed contractor to inspect repairs by Marks that were unnecessary or that he claimed to do but did not undertake. Marks and his employee vandalized the roof and made repairs that would have caused more damage to the victim's roof over time, police said.

Marks has been the object of previous complaints with the state license board for performing construction work without a contractor's license. He has been fined for violations, the release states.

People who might have been victims of Marks are asked to call their police departments or the state license board at (916) 255-2924.

October 16, 2008
Man suspected of nine area robberies in three days

From Bill Lindelof:

One person is suspected of pulling nine robberies in three days -- six on Wednesday alone -- at gas stations and mini-marts, Sacramento police say.

Wearing a long black wig and carrying a lunch box, the robber has hit throughout the county, including east Sacramento, midtown, Arden Arcade and Foothill Farms.

Police say that on Wednesday the suspect held up the Food Stop, 4128 El Camino Ave.; Metro Food and Liquor, 5380 H St.; RK Mini Marts, 2820 E St.; Union 76 gas station, 2400 15th St.; Valero gas station, 860 Arden Way; and Valero gas station, Auburn Boulevard and Orange Grove Avenue.

On Monday he is suspected of robbing the Shell gas station at Madison Avenue and Auburn Boulevard and on Sunday holding up the Express Mart, 2365 North Ave., and the Chevron gas station at 1828 Broadway.

At the Chevron station Wednesday, the clerk surrendered money from the cash register to the armed man, who put it in his lunch box and fled, police said.

October 16, 2008
DA won't retry man in baby drowning

From Andy Furillo:

Sacramento prosecutors have declined to retry a man on criminal child neglect charges in the drowning death of his 10-month old baby earlier this year, the defendant's lawyer said today.

A jury voted 11-1 on Oct. 7 to acquit Hector Lozano in the death of his son, Benjamin Lozano, and prosecutors at a hearing today officially notified Sacramento Superior Court that it would not seek another trial, according to Deputy Public Defender Amanda Benson.

"We're very relieved that the DA's office has chosen to dismiss the case," Benson said in an interview. "We're hoping the family can move on and this will provide some closure to the tragedy."

Benson said that Lozano, 26, has relocated to San Jose and is attempting to reunify his family that also includes his wife and 4-year-old son.

The baby drowned on Feb. 9 after Lozano, a North Sacramento apartment manager, was distracted by a tenant's complaint after he had put his two sons in a bathtub.

October 16, 2008
Crowd witnesses fight between 2 Encina High students

From Kim Minugh:

Officials have restored order at Encina High School after a fight between two students drew a large and, in some cases, uncooperative crowd, according to a district official.

Initial reports described a melee involving as many as 200 students. But after further investigation, it was found that just two students threw punches, first in front of the Arden area campus and then near the cafeteria where students were eating lunch about 10:30 a.m., said Trent Allen, spokesman for the San Juan Unified School District.

A large group of students gathered to watch the fight but did not get involved, Allen said. When Sacramento County sheriff's deputies who work on campus and school officials tried to disperse the crowd, some students resisted, Allen said.

Deputies detained a few students as they sorted out the details, but none have been arrested, Allen said. Several students were suspended for failing to obey school officials, he said.

The school day has resumed as scheduled.

October 16, 2008
Crime Alert: Strong-arm robbery suspect sought

johnson 101308.jpgSacramento Police robbery detectives are seeking Edmond Leon Johnson (left photo) on a felony $25,000 bail arrest warrant for suspicion of strong-arm robbery, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Authorities recount these details: At 4:55 p.m. Oct. 4, the victim left Western Union at 5400 Stockton Blvd. after unsuccessfully trying to wire $5,000 and walked to the Rite Aid store at 5610 Stockton Blvd. When the victim left the Rite Aid store, he was confronted and attacked by three male subjects and robbed of the money. An unknown witness said one of the suspects was "Mondo." A record check revealed "Mondo" to be Johnson, and he was identified in a photo lineup. The two remaining suspects are unidentified.

Johnson is described as 20 years old, 6-foot-1 weighing 155 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

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

October 16, 2008
Natomas snapshot: Crime statistics show mostly decreases

Sacramento Police Capt. Daniel Hahn shares updated crime statistics with Natomas residents via Robslist, a listserv about crime in that area:

Remember, these are preliminary statistics and could slightly change (but not much so they are good for trends). They compare September of 2008 to September of 2007 and Year-to-date stats for 2008 and 2007. I also added some numbers from 2006 so you can get a little more perspective.

Police Beat 1A (North Natomas)
* Residential burglaries went down in September 50% (32 to 16). This is the lowest total since January. They are down 17% for the year (221 to 183). There were 147 burglaries for this time period in 2006.
* Vehicle burglaries went down 55% (58 to 26) for September and 23% for the year (377 to 287). In 2006 during this time there were 343.
* Stolen vehicles have gone down every month this year and are down 38% for the year (366 to 225). There were 405 this time period in 2006.
* Assaults (no firearm) went up 133% in September (3 to 7) and is the highest total all year.

Police Beat 1B (South Natomas)
* Residential burglaries went down 20% (24 to 19).
* Vehicle burglaries went down 30% (23 to 16) and is down 24% for the year (279 to 212). In 2006 during this time there were 325 vehicle burglaries.
* Assaults (no firearm) went down 60% (5 to 2). It's the first time they went down since May.

Police Beat 1C (Gardenland/ Northgate)
* Residential burglaries went down 58% (12 to 5) and is the lowest total all year.
* Stolen vehicles went down 63% (19 to 7) and is down 59% for the year (227 to 93). In 2006 there were 235 stolen vehicles during this time period.
* Robberies went down 50% (6 to 3) and has either gone down or stayed even every month this year since January.

I hope these crime stats help give you some perspective on what is going on in your neighborhoods. Several of them are going down which is very good - but there is always work to be done.

October 16, 2008
Roseville police seek bank robbery team



From Bill Lindelof:

Two men teamed up to rob a Roseville bank this week, escaping with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The robbers entered the Bank of America, 431 Roseville Square, at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday. Both men appeared threatening as they approached separate tellers, police said, although no weapons were observed.

After receiving cash, the robbers left the bank without injuring anyone.

They were described as black males in the mid-20s. One (left photo) was about 5-feet-10, 150 pounds with short hair. He wore a maroon or red long-sleeved sweatshirt and dark blue pants.

The other suspect (right photo) was 5-9 and about 180 pounds. The suspect wore a black baseball cap, dark blue shirt with stripes and dark pants and had a mustache and goatee.

October 16, 2008
Rio Linda man killed by Sacramento deputy is identified

From Bill Lindelof:

The man shot and killed by Sacramento County sheriff's deputies Wednesday after a Taser failed to stop him was identified today.

The Sacramento County Coroner's Office identified the man as Damion Devon McMurray, 30, of Rio Linda.

McMurray was shot several times after struggling with deputies who had been called to a Rio Linda apartment complex.

Following department policy, three deputies involved in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave. The incident will be investigated by the department's homicide and internal affairs units and the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office.

Sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran said deputies responded to a citizen's call Wednesday afternoon reporting that a man was acting irrationally and might be armed at an apartment complex in the 6000 block of Dry Creek Road in Rio Linda.

Three deputies responding to the call about 4:30 p.m. found McMurray standing near the doorway of his downstairs apartment.

A news release from Curran stated that McMurray "failed to comply with the deputies' orders and retreated into the apartment." The deputies entered the apartment and again gave McMurray unspecified orders, which he did not follow, Curran said.

The deputies continued to order McMurray to comply with them before one deputy fired his Taser at the McMurray, who shrugged off the electronic device's effects and attacked one of the deputies, Curran said.

The deputy then drew his department-issued semi-automatic handgun and fired several shots, striking McMurray in the upper body.

Paramedics arrived and took McMurray to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:30 p.m.

No weapon was recovered from McMurray, officials said, and the person who called the sheriff's department to originally report the disturbance left the scene without speaking to investigators.

"As far as the deputies knew, they were still dealing with a man with a gun," Curran said, "and that gun could have been in the apartment."

October 15, 2008
Arrests made in robberies targeting Asians

From Kim Minugh:

Authorities announced today that several arrests have been made in a series of armed robberies targeting Asian women in the south Sacramento area, but police continue to urge residents to be on alert as they search for more suspects.

Sacramento police Sgt. Matt Young declined to release the suspects' names or say exactly how many arrests have been made, citing sensitivity in an ongoing investigation.

He did say, however, that the robberies have stopped since detectives began making arrests.

"It's promising. We're optimistic we're on the right track," Young said. "We've worked in cooperation (with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department) and made a tremendous amount of progress."

Residents in the south area should remain vigilant, however, until all suspects are in custody, said Sgt. Norm Leong, who has been leading a team of officers focusing on the series. He declined to say how many more suspects are at large.

The robberies that occurred within city limits began July 29 and the last two occurred Sept. 20. Typically, the victim's purse was taken at gunpoint just after she exited her car in a driveway or carport. The robberies involved only minor injuries, but frightened many in south Sacramento's Asian community.

The number of assailants has varied, but victims all have described African American men in their early 20s, wearing ski masks and armed with a handgun, according to police. The assailants have fled on foot, on bike or in a car.

It is not clear how many occurred within the sheriff's department's jurisdiction, but they have been working alongside police in the investigation.

Anyone with information about the series is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP.

October 15, 2008
Rancho Cordova resident shoots would-be burglar

From Kim Minugh:

Not my house, said one Rancho Cordova resident.

When he heard someone trying to kick in his front door just after 11 a.m. today, the 26-year-old resident of a Vehicle Drive apartment grabbed a gun and shot the suspect, according to authorities. Then he held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived.

The suspect was transported to a local hospital and is expected to survive, said Sacramento County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran, who also serves as spokesman for the Rancho Cordova Police Department. After he was treated, he is likely to be arrested on suspicion of home invasion robbery, Curran said.

Police were called to the 2300 block by the resident's mother. She had been on the phone with her son when he suddenly yelled that somebody was trying to break into his apartment and hung up, Curran said.

At the scene, officers found evidence that someone had been trying to force entry into the apartment, Curran said. They also found a handgun - other than the resident's - that they believe was carried by the attempted burglar, Curran said.

He said the resident and suspect did not know each other, and it's unknown why that apartment was targeted. Officers found no evidence of illegal activity, like drugs, in the apartment, Curran said.

He did not know whether either gun was legally registered.

October 15, 2008
Wrong-way driver on I-80 stopped after 7 miles

From Bee Staff:

An elderly driver drove the wrong-way on Interstate 80 for nearly 7 miles Wednesday morning before a Placer County deputy was able to stop him, the California Highway Patrol reported.

There were no crashes or injuries but several close calls, a CHP spokeswoman said.

The CHP gave this chronology:

Paul Dawley, 82, of Newcastle, entered the wrong way onto the interstate and started driving in the fast lane near Penryn. CHP Dispatch receives our first 911 call at 9:37 a.m. stating that an elderly man was driving the wrong way on the freeway, driving in the fast lane and using the center divide to avoid oncoming vehicles.

CHP officers attempted to get into position as Placer County Sheriff's deputies also monitored the radio traffic. The errant driver continued eastbound in the westbound lanes as drivers narrowly escaped colliding head-on with the driver.

Eight minutes into the ordeal and seven miles later, Placer County deputy Carol Ramirez was able to stop the driver in the center divide of westbound I-80 near Highway 49.

CHP Mark Williams asked the driver, "Do you realize you were traveling the wrong way on the freeway?" according to the CHP spokeswoman. Dawkins said, "I was looking for a turnaround and couldn't find one."

The spokeswoman said Dawkins' license was taken and he will have to contact DMV for a driver re-evaluation.

"Officers drove the gentlemen home and released his vehicle to his children," the spokeswoman said.

October 15, 2008
16-year-old suspect in fatal DUI faces 5 felonies

From Andy Furillo:

Sacramento County prosecutors said today they plan to file five criminal counts against the 16-year-old youth suspected in the drunken driving death of a 58-year-old Natomas area man Friday night.

The suspect, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, will be arraigned Thursday in juvenile court.

Deputy District Attorney Rick Lewkowitz said the teenager will face one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence of alcohol causing great bodily or death, two counts of driving while under the influence of alcohol, one count of felony hit and run and one misdemeanor count of driving without a valid license.

Aman Khanna, driving to his job as a hospital security officer, was killed in the collision Friday night around 10 p.m. at the intersection of Cottage Way and Fulton Avenue.

In an earlier Bee report, police said a drunken, unlicensed 16-year-old driver ran a red light at the intersection at 80 mph -- double the speed limit - crashed into Khanna's vehicle and then ran away from his victim's smoldering car.

October 15, 2008
Notebook: Moment of light in tough neighborhood

Editor's note: Notebook is an occasional series on slices of life found by The Bee's police reporters.

From Kim Minugh:

Sometimes, we all feel like a kid at heart - even the men and women in blue.

During a routine traffic stop in a tough south Sacramento neighborhood Monday night, Officer Andy Hall wondered about the source of a high-pitched whine piercing the midnight silence. Just a block down Fruitridge Road, he found the source - three teens and a remote control car.

Hall swung his cruiser into the empty parking lot of an Asian market. He marveled at the boys' nitrous-fueled stock car model. They showed off its speed.

The laughs shared by the four young men were almost indistinguishable.

One boy offered the "wheel" to Hall. He declined, fearful he'd be the one to total it.

After a smile and a wave, Hall went on his way patrolling the streets of south Sacramento. Though many people remember the ugly crimes committed by young people, Hall said they forget that there are many more like those in the parking lot - kids being kids, trying to get by despite their surroundings.

"The people who do bad things are such a small percentage of people who live down here," Hall said. "Everybody's poor, mostly. They're not criminals."

It's always refreshing, Hall said, for cops to have positive interactions with youths; this was one of those.

But the young cop acknowledges it mostly was all about the car.

"It was really cool," Hall said. "I wanted one myself."

October 15, 2008
Crime Alert: Mall robbery suspects wanted

unknown 08-051  101308.jpgSacramento Police Department robbery detectives are seeking information leading to the identity of subjects who reportedly robbed victims while they walked in the Arden Fair Mall south parking lot, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Authorities recount these details: At 9 p.m. Oct. 8, the victims were walking in the parking lot when they were approached by two suspects. One suspect pulled a handgun, pointed the gun at the victims and robbed them of their purse, wallet and cell phone. The two suspects fled south.

One suspect (right) is described as 5-foot-6, thin, with very short hair wearing a white T-shirt and shorts. The other suspect (left) is described as 5-foot-6 with short hair in twisty braids, wearing a white T-shirt and shorts.

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

October 15, 2008
Flags lowered, reward offered in correctional officer's slaying

From Kim Minugh and Andy Furillo:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for Capitol flags to be flown at half-staff and correctional officers' union offered a reward following the Wednesday morning slaying of a correctional officer in full uniform at his south Sacramento home.

Steve Lo, 39, was preparing to go to work just before 5 a.m. when he was shot in the garage of his home on the 8400 block of Tambor Way, said Sacramento police Sgt. Matt Young. Lo was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.

"We are forever grateful for Officer Steve Lo's dedication to serving our state," the governor said in a news release. "His commitment will never be forgotten."

The correction officers' union also has announced a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Lo's killer.

Although no motive was given for the slaying a spokesman for the correctional officers' union speculated that the homicide may have been connected to Lo's job.

Lo had been a correctional officer for about three years and most recently was assigned to the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

He began working for the department in November 2005, said spokeswoman Terry Thornton. He was assigned to the California Medical Facility in March 2006 and has been working various shifts and assignments there since.

Thornton declined to say whether Lo's work might have played a role in his death.

"Immediately the fact that he worked around convicted felons all day long might lead people to speculate that," she said. A possible connection is being investigated, she said, but added, "I'm not going to elaborate on anything."

Thornton said Lo's death has troubled department employees.

"The news has hit everyone really hard," she said.

Officer Lo is survived by his wife and five children.

"Officer Lo was a well-respected, professional officer who carried out his duties with diligence and humanity," CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said. "His death is a great loss to his family as well as his friends and co-workers at California Medical Facility and at CDCR."

"My condolences and prayers are with his family. We will continue to work closely with the Sacramento Police Department to ensure the person or persons responsible for this heinous act will be brought to justice."

Police have no suspects at this time. Detectives are working closely with corrections officials to investigate Lo's killing.

"Obviously, being in full uniform, there was no mistaking that Officer Lo was a peace officer in California and we believe he was murdered because of his service to the citizens of California," said Lance Corcoran, spokesman for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

"Oftentimes, gang members achieve status within their particular gang by murdering not just a citizens, but a peace officer," Corcoran said.

The union spokesman said he had no evidence that Lo's death had anything to do with his job or any former inmates with whom he may have had a problem.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

October 15, 2008
Surveillance photos released in Roseville bank robbery

wells_fargo_3.jpgFrom Sandy Louey:

The Roseville Police Department has released surveillance photos of a man who reportedly robbed a Wells Fargo bank Oct. 3.

According to authorities, about 1:06 p.m., a man (right photo) went up to teller at the bank at 781 Pleasant Grove Blvd. and demanded cash. He took an undisclosed amount of cash and left. No was injured and no weapons were seen.

The robber was described as being a in his thirties, about 6-feet-tall wearing a light blue long-sleeved T-shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police's investigation unit at (916) 774-5070, the FBI's Sacramento office at (916) 481-9110, or the Roseville Crime Stoppers at (916) 783-7867.

October 15, 2008
Recent Sheldon High arrests called isolated incidents

From David Richie:

A reported sexual assault in a Sheldon High School restroom and two other recent on-campus episodes were "isolated incidents" and safety at the school is still strong, law enforcement and school district officials said this week.

The most serious incident occurred about 11 a.m. Oct. 2 when a 15-year-old boy reportedly forced a 15-year-old girl into a restroom stall and sexually assaulted her. An incident summary released recently by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department indicates that the girl tried to fight back and told the boy several times to stop what he was doing.

Eventually the boy departed and school officials found the girl during a routine bathroom check, said Elizabeth Graswich, spokeswoman for the Elk Grove Unified School District. Sheriff's investigators were called in and the boy was arrested later that day. A letter was sent home with all students informing parents about the incident, Graswich said.

The boy acted alone and did not present a danger to the rest of the student body, Sgt. Tim Curran, spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, said Tuesday.

"The girl was targeted. They were former girlfriend and boyfriend, so it was not a random incident," Curran said.

Curran and Graswich did not know if the boy was still in juvenile hall or if he had been released to his parents.

Graswich described an incident about 9:35 a.m. Oct. 1 as a fight between two groups of boys.

The sheriff's description of the incident indicates that three 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old attacked two other boys of similar age and at least one of the four was armed. All four were arrested and booked on multiple charges including suspicion of battery, conspiracy and participation in a criminal street gang. All the individuals involved were Vietnamese.

The weapon was a belt buckle. The two boys suffered cuts and refused medical attention, Graswich said.

The third incident, about 10:20 a.m. Sept. 30 involved a 15-year-old boy who reportedly brought a folding knife to school. Another student spotted the weapon and informed school officials. A vice principal started looking for the boy with the knife and during the course of that investigation, he was threatened by another boy, age 16. Both boys were eventually taken into custody.

No letters were sent home informing parents about the Oct. 1 and Sept. 30 occurrences.

"Realize that all three of these were isolated incidents," Graswich said.

The school district contracts with the Sheriff's Department for a deputy who serves as a school resource officer at Sheldon High School. That relationship also gives the district access to other sheriff's services when they are needed.

The district also employs school monitors at Sheldon High, and the principal walks around the school regularly. Officials do not see any need to further tighten campus control measures.

"Security is already fairly high," Graswich said.

October 15, 2008
Retail gift card hijacker sentenced in federal court

From Denny Walsh:

A serial hijacker of retail gift cards was sentenced Tuesday in Sacramento federal court to a maximum 10 years in prison.

Timothy Truong, 43, pleaded guilty in November to access device fraud in connection with his use of cloned gift cards to hijack Wal-Mart accounts.

Truong shoplifted non-activated cards off racks in stores, got the card and personal identification numbers by scratching strips off the backs, captured the electronic data on a skimmer and downloaded that onto a computer to manufacture duplicate cards. After cloning the cards, he replaced them at the retailers where he shoplifted them.

With the numbers, Truong could access account balances once the cards were activated and then spend them down with his clones ahead of the legitimate customers.

From 1992 to the present, Truong racked up convictions for gift card hijackings in Nevada, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Utah, according to Assistant U. S. Attorney Matthew Segal.

At the time of his arrest in the Sacramento case, he was facing charges related to gift card fraud in New Jersey, Segal said.

In sentencing Truong to the statutory maximum, an angry U. S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. called him a "liar and a thief" and "a menace to society." The judge said Truong had thus far avoided serious consequences, but "the buck stops here."

Truong was well known to retail security personnel, and police were called when he was spotted two years ago in a Yuba City Wal-Mart. When officers arrived, they saw Truong enter his 2002 Cadillac Escalade. A brief chase ensued and he crashed the SUV into two other vehicles, totaling a pickup truck and sending its driver to the hospital with a concussion.

Truong ran bleeding through the parking lot and into a store. He punched a shopper, who then tackled Truong and restrained him.

He has since been behind bars, first in Sutter County's custody, then the U. S. Marshal's.

In the SUV, officers found more than 3,800 gift cards for stores such as Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Borders and Safeway, two laptop computers and an electronic card reader, a card printer, acetone, maps marked with locations of Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Borders stores, 4,000 gift card numbers, and recently purchased merchandise.

He was carrying more than $7,000 in cash when arrested by Yuba City police.

October 14, 2008
Boy, on grandmother's lap, dies in crash

From Sandy Louey:

A 5-year-old boy who was sitting on his grandmother's lap while she was driving died Tuesday afternoon after she stepped on the gas and plowed into an Antelope home.

The boy, identified as Alexander Martinez, was pronounced dead at Mercy San Juan Medical Center. His grandmother, Joni Kelley, 52, was critically injured, said Officer Lizz Dutton, spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol.

The grandmother nor the grandson were wearing a seatbelt and the child wasn't properly restrained in a car seat. Doing so could have minimized the severity of the injuries both suffered.

Kelley was also driving on suspended license, Dutton said.

"It was a tragic accident that could have been prevented," she said.

In California, a child must be in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat of a vehicle until they are at least 6 years old or weigh 60 pounds.

The state's primary seatbelt law requires drivers and all passengers to be belted in at all times.

CHP investigators were called to the accident scene in the 7900 block of Iroquois Court around 3:30 p.m.

Kelley was driving home and pulling into the court with her grandson sitting on her lap. When she got to the curb, she stepped onto the gas pedal, Dutton said.

Her 1996 Toyota Camry went under the carport and into the wall of an empty home several driveways from where they lived. It's unknown how fast she was traveling, but the car traveled 40 feet from the street to the wall and hit it hard enough that it rolled back into the street, Dutton said.

Dutton said the airbags in the Camry deployed.

"The force of these airbags to a child can be fatal," she said.

Dutton said investigators don't know why Kelley accelerated the car or why her grandson was sitting on her lap.

"The point is no matter how close or how far away you are away from home, your child always needs to be restrained properly," Dutton said.

Investigators did do a blood draw to test her for drugs and alcohol.

Kelley lived with her grandson's parents. The parents have another child, a 2 1/2 year-old girl, Dutton said.

October 14, 2008
Gang fight confirmed at El Dorado County jail

From Sandy Louey:

Ten inmates were involved in a fight that stemmed from gang rivalry at the El Dorado County jail in Placerville last week, a sheriff's spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

The incident occurred at 2 p.m. Oct. 8 when the inmates in the D-pod started fighting, the spokesman said.

Correctional staff entered the area and stopped the fighting, he said. A stun gun was used to control one inmate who refused to stop, he said.

The inmates involved received minor injuries and no correctional staff were hurt, he said. The inmates were rehoused and reclassified.

October 14, 2008
Suspicious fire damages Elk Grove playground equipment

From Sandy Louey:

Officials from the Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department are investigating a suspicious fire that damaged a playground structure at an Elk Grove park.

Maintenance workers from the district discovered the damage Tuesday morning at Womack Park, 9340 Castleview Drive, district spokesman Steve Capps said.

No damage estimate is available yet, but a mini-slide was destroyed and a swinging bridge was severely damaged.

The playground has been fenced off, he said.

October 14, 2008
Diamond Springs store robbery investigated

From Sandy Louey:

The El Dorado County Sheriff's Department is investigating an armed robbery at a Diamond Springs convenience store that took place over the weekend.

The incident occurred at 8:30 p.m. Sunday at the Motherlode Mini Mart, located at 3943 Missouri Flat Road.

A man holding a folding knife demanded money from the register. When the employee opened the drawer, the man took about $100 in cash, according to a press release.

When the man was leaning over, the store employee hit him in the head and face with her fist. The man stepped back and left, the release said.

The robber was described as being a white man in his 20's, 5-feet-7-inches tall and weighing 135 pounds. He had a short dark hair and hazel eyes. He wore a dark jacket, a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans, and black snow type gloves. The folding knife was green with a 4-inch blade.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office at (530) 621-6600.

October 14, 2008
Elk Grove to conduct sobriety checkpoint Saturday

From Sandy Louey:

The Elk Grove Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint Saturday night.

The checkpoint, which begins at 8 p.m., will focus on removing impaired and unlicensed drivers from the roads.

Funding for the checkpoint comes from a California Office of Traffic Safety grant.

The public is asked to call the police at (916) 714-5111 or 911 to report drunken drivers.

October 14, 2008
Amtrak engineer beating: 2 views

From Hudson Sangree:

WOODLAND - Prosecution and defense lawyers offered very different versions of events the night in April 2007 when an Amtrak train engineer was severely beaten by a group of teenagers in West Sacramento.

At a trial that began Tuesday in Yolo Superior Court, Deputy District Attorney Jay Linden said the teens, ages 14 to 18, threw rocks at a slow-moving Capitol Corridor train. When the engineer stopped the strain and confronted them, one of the young men approached him from behind in a threatening manner, Linden said.

Fearing for his safety the engineer punched the teen, Linden said. The other teens joined the fray, hitting the engineer in the head with the train's fire extinguisher and demanding his wallet, Linden said.

Linden said all five defendants were members of the Broderick Boys street gang.

Defense lawyer offered a different scenario. They admitted that the teens were drinking beer stolen from a local market and that the teens had thrown rocks at the train as it traveled toward the I Street Bridge in West Sacramento.

But they said the fight was started by the train crew and the teens were defending themselves.

The defendants are Orlando Javier Ramos, Robert James Reynolds, Austen Nunes, Pauliton Ricardo Nunes and Daniel Bonje.

They were charged as adults with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and attempted robbery.

October 14, 2008
Rancho Cordova shooting victim identified

From Kim Minugh:

A man shot to death at a Rancho Cordova service station last month has been identified as 25-year-old Rene Mejia Cruz, according to the Sacramento County Coroner's Office.

Sheriff's investigators said they believe Cruz was arguing with 25-year-old Lizbeth Colon at the station in the 10000 block of Folsom Boulevard at about 1:30 a.m. Sept. 28. Colon allegedly shot Cruz with a sawed-off shotgun, investigators said.

Colon fled but was later arrested, according to the sheriff's department.

She is being held in the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of murder, robbery and a weapons charge, according to court records. She is scheduled to appear again in court Oct. 24 at 8:30 a.m.

October 14, 2008
Man fatally shot in South Sacramento

From Kim Minugh:

A young man was gunned down and killed outside a residence in Sacramento's Woodbine neighborhood Monday night, just a mile from where a man was fatally shot and another critically injured Sunday morning, according to police.

The victim of Monday's shooting was identified as Joseph DePaul Montoya, 22, of Sacramento. He was pronounced dead at UC Davis Medical Center, said Lt. James Beezley.

Just after 10 p.m., police responded to calls of shots fired and a person wounded in the 2600 block of Hing Avenue, Beezley said. The victim was found with two gunshot wounds to the torso and transported to the hospital, where he died about 11 p.m.

Witnesses told police that the suspect pulled next to the victim in a white car with expensive-looking 20-inch wheel rims, Beezley said. The two exchanged words, although police say they are not sure whether the two knew each other, Beezley said. The suspect then pulled out a handgun, shot the victim and fled in the car, he said.

"We don't know the relationship," Beezley said. "We don't know if it was random."

Tuesday morning, police issued a description of the shooter as a male black adult, 18-21 years old, 5'10", thin build, wearing a white sweater.

The suspect vehicle is described as a 2-door, white car, possibly a Lexus, Acura, or Infiniti with large rims and "Lamborghini" style doors (also known as "scissor" doors), police said.

Early Sunday morning, 20-year-old Joseph Washington of Oakland died at a local hospital after being shot on the 2200 block of Mangrum Avenue, in the Golf Course Terrace neighborhood southeast of Sacramento Executive Airport. A 20-year-old Sacramento-area man also was shot in that incident and remained in critical condition Monday.

Investigations continue in both incidents. It is not clear whether the two shootings are related.

Anyone with information pertaining to this crime is urged to contact Crime Alert at (800) AA-CRIME or (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.

October 14, 2008
Notebook: Beethoven and a blood-stained sidewalk

Editor's note: Notebook is an occasional series on slices of life found by The Bee's police reporters.

From Kim Minugh:

The blood-stained sidewalk was hardly befitting of the light-hearted Beethoven wafting through the air.

Sacramento police pulled up to Oak Park's Bonfare Market on Monday evening to find a 33-year-old man barely conscious as he lay slumped against the brick building. His nose was bloody, his cheek gashed, a golfball-sized welt above his left eye.

Paramedics arrived just seconds later and secured the man's neck in a brace. He turned his upper body awkwardly to vomit on the sidewalk. The sound clashed with the classical music blaring through loudspeakers on the market's roof - a feature designed to discourage loitering by those not typically associated with string quartets.

"No gangster's going to want to be around that stuff," explains Officer Andy Hall. "It makes it one less reason to hang out there."

Still, police are called to the market often, potentially daily, Hall said. And in the case of Monday night's attack, the music sent the man's assailants fleeing only after knocking him near unconscious.

Inside the market, Hall scanned a sea of faces. "Anybody see anything?" he asked. Nothing. Market employees tell him that a surveillance tape can be retrieved in the morning.

The reality of street culture - the "old school" mentality - leaves him wondering what's been left unsaid.

"I understand the reasons people don't want to talk. They don't want to be seen as a snitch," said Hall, a newcomer to Sacramento's police force. "We get that all the time."

Such silence nonetheless leaves police frustrated, hamstrung in their search for answers.

At UC Davis Medical Center, Hall gets only a few more about what happened to the 33-year-old man that night - a name, a date of birth, a memory of earlier hours.

The man said he had been outside an AM PM at Fruitridge Road and Franklin Boulevard that night, but didn't remember who beat him or how he ended up at the Bonfare Market, at the corner of Alhambra Boulevard and Broadway.

"It all happened so fast," the man said as doctors rushed around him and a crime scene investigator photographed his bloodied face. "It happened too fast."

On Tuesday, another officer will visit the victim in hopes he has more clarity and can provide more information. Until that happens, however, this man's attack gets filed away with little likelihood of closure.

October 14, 2008
Body found in Yolo County identified

From Bill Lindelof and Sandy Louey:

Yolo County Coroner's deputies have identified the body of a man found in a dry creek bed as Israel Carranza Torres, 31, whose last known address was the city of Colusa, Colusa County.

An autopsy was conducted this morning. Torres' death has been determined to be a homicide by the Yolo County Sheriff's Department, but the cause of death is not being released because of concern that it could jeopardize the investigation.

After a citizen had come upon the body in the stream bed, deputies responded Monday morning to County Road 86 south of County Road 2 near Dunnigan. Officials estimated that Torres' body had been there for about a week.

Anyone with information is asked to call the department's investigations section at (530) 668-5280.

October 14, 2008
Memo to suspect: Don't drop cell phone at scene

From David Richie:

Robbery suspect Johnny Ray Tucker and his pals nailed their getaway but unfortunately Tucker dropped his cell phone in his victims' car during the stick-up, officials said in a recent summary detailing Tucker's subsequent arrest.

Tucker is being held on $100,000 bail and he heads back to court Wednesday facing two counts of robbery and one count of possession of marijuana for sale.

He was allegedly one of at least three gunmen who approached and robbed two men parked in a car near the corner of Waterman Road and Westray Drive about 10 p.m. Oct. 1, officials said. That is also when Tucker's dropped his cell phone, officials said.

Deputies were able to identify Tucker through "further investigation," states the arrest summary. When deputies tracked him down, just a few hours later, they also found a quantity of suspected marijuana and a scale in his backpack.

The other men involved in the robbery have not been identified.

October 13, 2008
Body found in dry creek near Dunnigan

From Sandy Louey:

The body of a man was found in a dry creek bed near the town of Dunnigan Monday afternoon, authorities said.

The Yolo County Sheriff's Department responded at 11:30 a.m. to the creek bed, near County Road 86 south of County Road 2. A person walking in the area found the body, which has been there for about a week, according to a press release.

The man's death has been deemed suspicious, but information such as his age, race, and cause of death is unknown at this point. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, the release stated.

Anyone with information is asked to call the department's investigations section at (530) 668-5280.

October 13, 2008
Elk Grove police investigating robbery, assault of teen

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police are investigating a robbery in which a 17-year-old boy was punched in the face.

The incident occurred at 9:19 p.m. Friday at Geneva Pointe and Auberry drives. Five men punched the boy and took his property. Four of them fled in a white vehicle, while the fifth one left on foot, according to a police report.

The boy was unable to provide any more information about the men, including their age range or other descriptions, said Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department.

October 13, 2008
Two men shot; one dies in south Sacramento

Two men were shot - one fatally - early Sunday in a neighborhood west of Sacramento Executive Airport near 24th Street, Sacramento city police said.

Police said a 20-year-old Bay Area man was found wounded at 4:52 a.m. in the 2200 block of Mangrum Avenue. He died at the hospital a few hours later.

The Sacramento County Coroner's Office identified the deceased man Sunday afternoon as Joseph Washington of Oakland.

The other victim, 20, of Sacramento, was in critical condition.

In a police news release, the department said the two men were standing outside a residence on Mangrum Avenue when they were shot. The news release said the victims didn't live there but did know the people who did.

Police said they are trying to determine the motive for the shooting and the investigation is continuing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Alert at (800) AA-CRIME or (916) 443-HELP.

Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.

October 13, 2008
Homeless man's slaying leads to an arrest

A 34-year-old Foothill Farms resident, Manuel Alvarado-Guerrero, was arrested Saturday night in connection with the fatal assault of a homeless man whose body was found last week near Walerga Road, the Sacramento Sheriff's Department announced Sunday.

In a news release, the Sheriff's Department said Alvarado-Guerrero is suspected of killing Rudolfo Enrique Nunez, 28, whose body was found Thursday in the bushes behind a Dumpster near businesses in the 7100 block of Walerga Road.

His upper body had significant trauma and he had been stabbed several times, sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran said last week.

On Sunday, the department said Alvarado-Guerrero lives in an apartment in the 4500 block of Galbrath Drive - across the street from where the body was found.

Detectives believe the two men knew each other and were together Wednesday night, and that they got into a fight later that night resulting in Nunez's death, the department said.

Alvarado-Guerrero was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on the charge of murder. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Department 63.

October 13, 2008
Sacramento couple arrested in insurance fraud case

A Sacramento husband and wife have been arrested on suspicion of insurance fraud, the state insurance commissioner said.

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said in a press released that Joanne Fawcett, 61, and Steven Fawcett, 62, both of Sacramento, were arrested in Sacramento on Oct. 7.

In April 2007, Joanne Fawcett claimed she was hit by a vehicle as she was walking in a parking lot, and injured her knee, Poizner said. Fawcett then alleged that as a result of her injury, she could not walk up stairs or work, he said.

Steven Fawcett confirmed his wife's claims in an interview with insurance company investigators, Poizner said.

A subsequent investigation revealed that Joanne Fawcett was able to walk up stairs and was employed cleaning rental properties during the time period she claimed to injured, Poizner said.

Surveillance video showed both Fawcetts working for a property management company, Poizner said. The video also shows Joanne Fawcett walking normally and moving a refrigerator into a rental property, he said.

The Department of Insurance investigation revealed that Joanne Fawcett has filed 24 injury claims since the mid-1990s, costing insurance companies in excess of $450,000, Poizner said.

"Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime," he said. "It adds the equivalent of a $500 tax to every man, woman and child in the state of California."

If convicted, the Fawcetts could each face up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines, Poizner said.

The Sacramento District Attorney's Office will prosecute the case, he said.

October 13, 2008
Citizens, police run down alleged purse snatcher

From Bill Lindelof:

Citizens and the Rocklin Police Department combined to catch a suspect who allegedly knocked a woman to the ground in an attempt to steal her purse.

Terrance Doutherd, 20, of Auburn was arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery and violation of probation for an incident that occurred shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday near Sierra College Boulevard and El Don Drive.

Rocklin officers found the victim and several witnesses at the scene of the incident. The victim told them that a man wearing blue jeans and a gray hooded sweatshirt with the hood over his head tried to pull her purse from her shoulder.

The woman struggled and was knocked to the ground, suffering minor head injuries. The man then fled.

Two citizens in separate vehicles stopped to help the woman and also chased the suspect into a nearby apartment complex before losing him.

Rocklin police located the man in the apartment complex. They said that Doutherd already had changed his clothes before being found, hiding the original attire on an apartment balcony.

Doutherd was booked into Placer County Jail and was being held in lieu of $70,000 bail.

October 13, 2008
Citrus Heights to ticket at another red-light camera site

From Bill Lindelof:

Red light violations caught on camera will earn a ticket starting Thursday at one busy Citrus Heights intersection where for the past month only warnings were issued.

Run the red westbound on Antelope Road at Garden Gate Drive beginning at one minute after midnight Thursday and violators will be responsible for paying a $381 fine.

"We want people to think about it and stop at these red lights," said Citrus Heights Police Sgt. Eric Mattke.

Beginning Sept. 16, the Citrus Heights Police Department issued only warning notices at the intersection for the first 30 days. This week, the 30-day grace period is over.

The city began its red-light camera program earlier this year. Citrus Heights is contracting with Redflex Traffic Systems and has authorization to post cameras at 20 intersections.

Redflex provides the equipment and monitoring, including still photographs and six seconds of video recorded on each side of the intersection whenever a red light violation is recorded.

The images are then sent to the Police Department where an officer decides whether to issue a traffic ticket.

Cameras were switched on at Greenback Lane and San Juan Avenue and at Greenback Lane and Fountain Square Drive June 6 to catch drivers. The numbers show hundreds have been given tickets.

Citrus Heights Police issued 705 notices of violation for Greenback Lane and Fountain Square Drive since June 6. At San Greenback and San Juan 426 have been written since June 6.

Cameras were also installed at Sunrise Boulevard and Oak Avenue and officers began issuing tickets Saturday. Last week, during the warning period, one motorist was clocked going through the intersection at more than 104 mph.

"That's the what we are trying to prevent," said Mattke. "That's the kind of thing that is going to seriously injure or kill somebody."

Mattke reminded motorists that right turns on a red light without stopping are also a violation. A driver must come to a complete stop behind the limit line to make sure the intersection is clear of traffic and pedestrians before completing the right turn.

Anyone who gets a ticket can view the image of the suspected violation by visiting the police department or viewing it on the Redflex website listed on the citation.

The number of people caught on camera running red lights has surprised Mattke. And he thinks that some people are inattentive because they are also violating another law

"What's amazing is how many people running through red lights who still have their phones to their ear," said Mattke. "Put those phones away."

October 11, 2008
Citrus Heights police investigate tire-slashing spree

From David Richie:

Citrus Heights police are continuing to investigate a major vandalism spree that occurred last weekend.

Officers received reports Saturday morning that tires had been slashed on vehicles parked along at least a half dozen streets on both sides of Van Maren Lane, between Auburn Boulevard and Antelope Road. Streets pinpointed by police in a news release issued today include Van Maren Lane, Navion Drive, Willowleaf Drive, MIsty Creek Drive and Circlet Way.

Police officials noted that increased patrols are being sent into the area. Residents may be invited to attend a special community meeting to discuss the incident.

Residents with information about the tire slashing spree are asked to call the police department's main switchboard at (916) 727-5500 and ask to be connected to the Problem Oriented Policing Team.

October 10, 2008
Roseville police seek mall robbery suspects

From Jennifer K. Morita:

Police are looking for two male suspects wanted for robbing a woman at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville mall Tuesday afternoon.

The woman was walking through a mall parking structure around 2:52 p.m. when either the driver or passenger of a Ford Explorer reached out through a window and grabbed her purse from her shoulder.

The victim suffered abrasions to her arm and wrist.

The driver was described as a white male approximately age 20, weighing 150 pounds with a thin build and crew cut. He was wearing a gray short-sleeve T-shirt.

The passenger, who was seated behind the driver, was described as a Hispanic male in his 20s, also weighing 150 pounds with short black hair, and wearing a black hat and a black shirt over a red shirt.

The vehicle they were in was a gray or green Ford Explorer with a partial plate number of "4L."

There may have been two or three other passengers in the vehicle, including two possible females.

Anyone with information about this crime should call Roseville Crimestoppers at (916) 783-7867.

October 10, 2008
State AG clears Woodland cops in law-school student's death

From Sandy Louey:

The state attorney's general office has cleared the Woodland Police Department in the May death of Ricardo Abrahams, who died after police shot him repeatedly with Taser stun guns.

Abrahams, a 44-year-old law student who suffered mental disturbances, walked away from a voluntary treatment facility on May 28.

When called to check on his safety, Woodland police officers shot him at least three times with Tasers and hit him with batons after he didn't follow their orders and allegedly became aggressive.

A Yolo County coroner's report concluded Abrahams died of asphyxia.

A review of Abrahams' case found "no criminal conduct on the part of any of the involved officers," Deputy Attorney General David A. Lowe in an Oct. 6 letter sent to the Woodland police.

The Yolo County District Attorney's Office couldn't investigate Abrahams' death since he worked as a part-time intern there.

The attorney general's office made its finding after reviewing the results of an inquiry that the Woodland police did.

Woodland police said an internal investigation found that the actions of the officers involved in the incident were consistent with the department's use of force policies.

"Throughout these investigations I have remained confident our officers acted within the scope and spirit of their authority, even when you do things right, for the right reasons there can be unintended and unexpected outcomes," Woodland Police Chief Carey Sullivan said Thursday in a press release. "In this case it was the most regrettable and unfortunate outcome imaginable."

Johnny L. Griffin III, who represents the Abrahams family, said Friday that there is a question of credibility since the attorney general's office made its decision based on materials that Woodland police provided.

"To a certain extent, the fox may have been in control of guarding the henhouse," Griffin said.

He has requested a copy of the materials that Woodland police submitted to the attorney general's office.

Griffin said he still plans to file a federal lawsuit against Woodland police. In August, the city of Woodland rejected a claim filed by Abrahams' parents.

October 10, 2008
Body found Thursday off Walerga Road identified

victim.jpgFrom Kim Minugh:

Authorities have identified the body found Thursday off Walerga Road as a 28-year-old homeless man.

Rodolfo Enrique Nunez (left photo), who was known to frequent the area where his body was found, suffered significant trauma to his upper body and had been stabbed several times, according to Sacramento County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran. Detectives believe Nunez was killed sometime Wednesday night, Curran said.

Nunez's body was found early Thursday afternoon in bushes behind a dumpster near a strip mall at Walerga Road and Elkhorn Boulevard. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Detectives have not yet determined a motive, have no suspects and are seeking the public's help. They are particularly interested in speaking to anyone who patronized any businesses near the intersection Wednesday between 6 p.m. and midnight.

Anyone with information is asked to call sheriff's homicide detectives at (916) 874-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

October 10, 2008
Jury convicts man in DUI-fixing scheme

From Andy Furillo:

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted the alleged leader of a scheme to get drunken driving cases dismissed from the courthouse docket.

Hector A. Whitley, 27, faces six to eight years in prison as a result of the verdict that was returned by the jury after about two hours of deliberations.

Whitley's sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 6 in front of Superior Court Judge Gregory F. Haas. He was remanded into custody after the verdict and held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

According to prosecutors, Whitley promoted the DUI fixes in contacts he had at bars in the Sacramento area, using bartenders and others to pass his name to people who were facing drunken driving cases that they wanted to go away.

At least six people had their cases fixed by Whitley, according to court records.

An accomplice in the case, former Sacramento Superior Court clerk Fernando Catlin, 25, pleaded no contest in the case earlier this year and was sentenced to five years in state prison.

October 10, 2008
Operation Branding Iron planned Saturday in Citrus Heights

From David Richie:

Area residents are invited to protect their vehicles from catalytic converter theft by participating Saturday in Operation Branding Iron in Citrus Heights.

The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Les Schwab Tire Center, 8001 Greenback Lane, across from Sunrise Mall. Volunteers will etch license plate numbers on to catalytic converters, making them less attractive to thieves and easier to identify if they show up at a recycling center.

The catalytic converter is part of a vehicle's exhaust system. They contain a small amount of precious metal, and they are a hot target for area thieves.

Toyota trucks and sport utility vehicles seem to be especially popular targets, according to police officials who are spearheading the branding program. Police are being assisted by students from San Juan High School and a long list of local businesses.

Police have been taking reservations, but also plan to have several operating bays available for drop-in requests for the free service.

October 10, 2008
Yolo County DA wants quick trial in deputy's slaying

From Hudson Sangree:

Yolo County District Jeff Reisig said Friday he would push for a quick trial in the case of a man accused of killing Yolo County Sheriff's Deputy Jose Antonio Diaz in June.

Resig said he would like to see Marco Antonio Topete tried as soon as this spring.

Topete, 35, listened from the jury box of a Woodland courtroom as Reisig made his comments to Yolo Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall.

Topete's lawyers, Hayes Gable and Tom Purtell, said it was unrealistic to expect them to be ready to try the capital case in a matter of months.

Earlier this week, Reisig announced in a court filing that he would seek the death penalty against Topete, who is accused of fatally shooting Diaz following a chase near Dunnigan.

Reisig tried the case against Brendt Volarvich, who was sentenced to death in June for the 2005 murder of California Highway Patrol Officer Andy Stevens.

Diaz was killed three days later.

October 10, 2008
Notebook: In real life clues hard to find

Editor's note: Notebook is an occasional series on slices of life found by The Bee's police reporters.

From Stan Oklobdzija:

On TV, there's always a clue at the scene of the crime that breaks the case. There's a strand of hair, a book of matches or a name whispered to a detective on the edge of the police tape.

In real life, like on Wednesday night in Del Paso Heights, sometimes all that's left is a set of bloody clothes and a block full of people who don't want to talk.

After a shooting on Roanoke Avenue left a young man clinging to life, Sgt. Lai Lai Bui and a team of patrol officers from the Sacramento Police Department canvassed the neighborhood for anyone who might have seen the shooter or shooters. She didn't have much luck.

"No one wants to say what happened," she said.

One man, who lived just up the block, explained why. The man initially gave his name to The Bee, but as the interview progressed, asked to not be named.

"I've got to live here," he said. "People who'd do something like that - they'd do anything."

October 10, 2008
Crime Alert: Robbery suspect, accomplices sought

sims   100608.jpgSacramento Police detectives are seeking Kendra Lee Sims (left photo) on a felony $150,000 bail arrest warrant for suspected robbery, burglary and elder abuse, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

According to authorities, here's what took place Sept. 24: Sims and two other suspects forcibly entered the elderly victim's residence as she responded to a knock at the front door. Sims grabbed the victim by the wrist and forced her to the couch while the other unknown female suspects, a female Hispanic adult and a white female adult, went through the rooms of the house. The suspects were seen removing property from the house. Sims was positively identified by the victim.

Sims is described as 21 years old, 5-foot-10, weighing 165 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair.

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

October 10, 2008
Cal honors student who was slain in Oak Park

ROD.JPGFrom Bill Lindelof:

A UC Berkeley student who was killed outside an Oak Park barbershop will be honored today with a "memorial certificate" in lieu of a degree in recognition of the young man's academic accomplishments.

Rodrigo "Rod" Rodriguez Jr. (right photo), 21, was killed in Sept. 16, 2007, outside the barbershop where he worked as an apprentice barber while on break from UC Berkeley, which he attended on a prestigious Buck scholarship.

Police say the killers were targeting someone else for whom they mistook Rodriguez. One man has been arrested in connection with the homicide.

University of California regents will honor Rodriguez today in a ceremony on campus at UC Berkeley's School of Business. His parents will be present.

H. Faye Lawson, student advocate of Student Services at the Haas School of Business, said Rodriguez was a dynamic student who left an indelible memory of his strength and optimism with people he met.

"His legacy as a student and as a young man compelled this recognition of his work toward a Berkeley degree," Lawson said in a statement.

In addition to the recognition from the regents, his parents will receive an award from the University of Rochester. Rodriguez earned the Rochester award in 2002 when he was a student enrolled in the Mathematics, Engineering, Science and Liberal Arts (MESL) Honors Academy at the former Sacramento High School. He never received the actual award and certificate.

The award recognizes academic and extracurricular achievement, according to Jean Crowder, MESL director.

October 10, 2008
Sacramento man sentenced for mail theft, fraud

From Denny Walsh:

Aaron Darnel Runner of Sacramento has been sentenced in federal court to three years and 10 months in prison for fraud and theft.

Runner, 46, pleaded guilty in May to bank fraud, conspiracy, unauthorized use of a credit card and possession of stolen mail. He was sentenced Thursday.

He recruited a nephew, Edward James Talley, and a daughter-in-law, Charlene Mitchell, to open bank accounts in Sacramento and Carmichael for the sole purpose of depositing forged credit card access checks, prosecutor Lawrence Brown said.

Runner and others stole the checks from residential mailboxes in Orangevale and Carmichael. He forged blank credit card access checks, making them payable to Tally or Mitchell, the prosecutor said. When deposited, the checks created balances from which cash could be withdrawn.

The total face amount of falsified checks was more than $40,000, with approximately $7,000 in cash withdrawn by Runner before postal inspectors caught up with him, Brown said.

Charges against Talley and Mitchell are pending, records show.

October 10, 2008
Man arrested in Roseville convicted in Tennessee

TN.pngFrom Bill Lindelof:

A man arrested three years ago by Roseville Police for having unlawful sex with a minor has been convicted in Memphis, Tenn., on nine counts of crimes against children.

Daniel Scott Ogden (left photo), 37, of Tennessee was suspected in 2005 of developing a relationship with a Roseville girl over the Internet over a six-month period. He then traveled to California to meet her.

The girl's parents alerted Roseville police, who then arrested Ogden. He remained in Placer County Jail until Feb. 27, 2006.

At that time he was turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for prosecution on nine counts related to enticement of a minor for the purpose of having sex, production or possession of child pornography, receipt of child pornography and conspiracy.

He was tried in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee in Memphis and on Oct. 6 the jury returned its verdict. He will be sentenced in 30 days, pending an appeal.

October 9, 2008
Man's body found behind strip mall on Walerga Road

From Stan Oklobdzija:

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is looking for the killer or killers of a man in his mid- to late 20's who was found dead today near a trash bin behind a strip mall on the 7100 block of Walerga Road, sheriff's officials said.

The body was found at about 1 p.m., said Sgt. Tim Curran, Sheriff's spokesman. Sheriff's investigators are unsure about the cause of death, Curran said.

The Sacramento County Coroner's Office is working to identify the man and determine what killed him, Curran said.

October 9, 2008
Officials seek identity of body found south of Galt

pants.JPG keys.JPG

From Sandy Louey:

Authorities are looking for help in identifying a man whose body was found off of Lower Sacramento Road south of Galt last month.

Public works crews found the body Sept. 26 cleaning up along the road near Dry Creek. The man, who was the victim of a homicide, had been there from three to six months, said Deputy Les Garcia, spokesman for the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department.

The sheriff's department released photos and descriptions of clothing that the man was wearing in hopes of finding out who he was.

"We're running out of leads and want the public's help," Garcia said.

The man was between 30 to 55 years of age. His race, hair, and eye color are unknown because of the body's condition.

He wore a dark-colored Western-style shirt with horses across the front with a size-36 leather belt through the loops of a beige or tan pants. The leather buckle had the letters MACL on it, Garcia said.

Garcia said the man's boxers had fishing lures on them and he had on size 7 black and white Nike Air Jordans (top left photo).

His pockets had two key rings (above right photo), one which had flat soccer ball emblem with the words "Western Union" on them. A house or door key and a handcuff key were on that ring, authorities said.

There were three nickels in his pocket. Two plain yellow rings were on his left ring finger. A dark-colored zippered hooded sweatshirt was found next to the man's body, Garcia said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's investigations unit at (209) 468-4425 or the Lodi Area Crime Stoppers at (209) 333-6771.

October 9, 2008
Authorities: Video find leads to second arrest of ex-union official

jaime feliciano.jpgFrom Sandy Louey:

Sacramento County Sheriff's detectives Wednesday arrested the former president of a state workers union on suspicion of eight counts of lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor.

Jaime E. Feliciano (left photo), 49, worked at the state Insurance Department as a research program specialist until his Sept. 10 resignation, according to Darrel Ng, Insurance Department spokesman.

Feliciano resigned from his position as president of SEIU Local 1000 Labor Council 784 from a letter he wrote from the Sacramento County jail, according to Jim Herron Zamora, spokesman for the SEIU Local 1000.

The union represents employees at various state agencies, including the Department of Insurance, Department of General Services, the California Highway Patrol and Department of Social Services.

Feliciano has been in jail since his Sept. 9 arrest on suspicion of child pornography and violating his probation as a sex offender.

He was convicted in 1993 of a lewd or lascivious act with a child under the age of 14 years old, which is felony, according to court records.

The September arrest came after authorities received a tip from Reno police that Feliciano had inappropriate contact with a juvenile there.

That tip was followed up by the high-tech crime task force, which is led by the sheriff's department. A compliance check of Feliciano's home found thousands of pornographic images of children on the his computer, according to a press release from the sheriff's department.

Video of an unidentified child being molested was found on the computer. Task force investigators spent hundreds of hours completing a forensic examination of Feliciano's computer and were able to identify the child, who is now 9, according to the sheriff's department.

The child and the child's mother were located and interviewed, leading to the eight counts that Feliciano were booked on Thursday.

Feliciano, who is ineligible for bail, is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges at 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to jail booking records.

Detectives believe that there may be additional victims and are asking anyone with information to call the Sheriff's Department at (916) 874-5115.

October 9, 2008
Folsom officer is sole suspect in cooking-oil theft

From David Richie:

Highly regarded Folsom police sergeant John Landahl is the only Folsom police officer under scrutiny in an investigation involving the theft of used cooking oil from the Sacramento Rendering Company, Folsom officials said Thursday.

Landahl was arrested by Folsom police on Sept. 30 and released with order to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of violating California Vehicle Code Sections 2474 and 2470 involving the theft and transportation of inedible cooking grease.

Folsom officials decided to release information about the charges against Landahl Wednesday after getting media inquiries.

Because he was accused of a misdemeanor, Landahl was not jailed. He is scheduled to go to court on Oct. 17. Landahl has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, said Officer Michelle Beattie, police department spokeswoman.

The value of the oil Landahl is suspected of stealing is estimated at about $350. In their release, Folsom officials noted that it can be used to make bio-diesel fuel but they provided no further information about what Landahl may have been doing with the stuff.

Landahl is a 22-year veteran of the Folsom Police Department. He has participated as an award-winning member of the department's special weapons and tactics team and he is considered one of the most accurate police marksmen in the United States.

According to Bee file reports, Landahl and his partner, Jon Kracher, took second place in the Sniper Craft 2006 Pacific Challenge, a three-day competition held in San Diego.

In the news release issued Wednesday, Folsom officials stated that the alleged cooking oil theft occurred in March but was not reported to the police department until June. Landahl turned himself in to police investigators on Sept. 30.

October 9, 2008
Suspected robbers of Arden Way bank wanted

wamu.JPGFrom Sandy Louey:

Sacramento police need help in identifying three men who robbed a Washington Mutual Bank on Wednesday.

At 3:16 p.m., three masked men, one with a handgun (right photo), entered the bank at 1950 Arden Way and ordered employees to lay on the ground. Two robbers jumped over the bank counter and took an undisclosed amount of money, according to a press release.

The three robbers left in a waiting car. All three were described as African American men, according to police.

The armed robber was described being 5-feet-8 inches tall, 160 pounds with short black hair. He wore a dark blue hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.

The second man was between 5-8 and 5-10. He wore a black hooded sweatshirt with a grey horizontal-striped shirt underneath, blue jeans, and white shoes.

The last robber wore a black hooded sweatshirt.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357 or (800) 222-7463. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

October 9, 2008
Rash of vehicle burglaries vexes Roseville

From Jennifer K. Morita:

Roseville police are urging people to lock their cars and not leave valuables behind after a recent string of vehicle break-ins.

Over the past two weeks, burglars hit 28 vehicles parked at motels, shopping centers and residential neighborhoods, targeting portable GPS navigation units, according to police spokesperson Dee Dee Gunther.

Most of the burglaries occurred during the night. In about half of the incidents, thieves smashed a window and took property left inside, including purses, wallets, tools, briefcases, stereos, garage remote controls and cameras.

In some cases, vehicles were left unlocked or the windows were partially open.

Vehicles should be locked with all the windows rolled up, and valuable items should not be left inside, particularly purses and wallets that have credit cards and personal identification. If possible, vehicles should be parked in locked garages overnight.

Any suspicious activity should be reported to police immediately.

October 9, 2008
Crime Alert: Suspect sought in midtown bus robbery, assault

unknown 08-050  100608.jpgSacramento Police robbery detectives are seeking information leading to the identity of the man (left photo) suspected of robbing and assaulting a woman on a Regional Transit bus, Sacramento Crime Alert officials said.

According to authorities, here's what transpired at 11:35 a.m. Sept. 12: The suspect boarded the RT bus at 29th and R streets. the victim was seated on the bus using her I-phone when the suspect walked past her and grabbed an I-phone out of her hand.

The victim jumped out of her seat, the suspect punched her in the face and fled out the back door of the bus with the phone.

The suspect is described as in his mid to late 20's, 6-feet tall, weighing 220 pounds with black hair worn in short dreadlocks, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, white T-shirt and blue jeans.

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 may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

October 9, 2008
Despite economy, area robberies show downward trend

From Phillip Reese, via The Public Eye column in today's Bee:

Mayor Heather Fargo said recently that crime might increase now that the economy is heading south. But even as the economic situation worsened this summer, robberies in Sacramento continued to drop, according to the Bee's regular analysis of crime data.

The Valley Hi community in south Sacramento saw the biggest decline in robberies from summer 2007 to summer 2008. Nineteen robberies occurred in the community during June, July and August, down from 34 robberies in the same period last year. Robberies also dropped in the surrounding communities of Meadowview and Parkway.

Land Park, the Pocket, the area around Executive Airport and parts of North Sacramento also benefited from the trend.

A few places, though, did see robberies increase – most famously, North Natomas saw a rash of home invasion robberies that scared a lot of residents in the fledgling community.

Oak Park, east Sacramento and midtown also saw slight increases in robberies from summer 2007 to summer 2008.

For a view of crime in your area, see

October 9, 2008
Police: Gang graffiti mars Sayonara Drive area of Citrus Heights

ATT338468.jpgFrom David Richie:

While Citrus Heights officials try to tighten their grip on the Sayonara Drive area, residents and local police continue to be challenged by elusive gang members or wanna-bees who also are trying to claim the long-beleaguered neighborhood.

Residents came out outside Wednesday morning to discover freshly spray-painted gang graffiti on fences (left photo) and vehicles parked in driveways. The tagging occurred at several locations along Sayonara Drive and farther west on San Simeon Drive, where fourplex and duplex rental units give way to single-family homes. The mix of gang references, obscenities and challenges on the fences was still visible Wednesday afternoon. Mothers pushed babies in strollers along the sidewalk and tough-looking young men in loud cars twisted around to view the scrawls.

Lt. Jeff Mackanin, who supervises the police department's community policing efforts, said the tagging appeared to be the work of members of a specific Latino gang (Surenos) or individuals who would like to be associated with that group. No arrests had been made Wednesday afternoon. A problem-oriented policing officer would be investigating the incident. Citrus Heights does not have any large population of gang members, but most of the city's gang-related activity seems to come out of the Sayonara Drive area, Mackanin said.

That is one of the reasons why the city is targeting the area with so many resources.

"We had our first Neighborhood Watch meeting out there recently," Mackanin said, noting that 15 to 20 residents attended that first session.

James Lynch, manager of the city's Community Enhancement Division, said that he was aware of the vandalism. Notices were being sent to property owners requiring them to cover up the graffiti as soon as possible. A city crew would handle clean-up in public areas, Lynch said.

"It is somebody trying to mark turf," Lynch said.

Meanwhile city officials are moving ahead with redevelopment plans for the Sayonara Drive area that are more far-reaching than any can of spray paint, Lynch said.

Today, community development staff members will seek authorization from the City Council to purchase another boarded up fourplex in the 7800 block of Sayonara Drive. The purchase is expected to cost just over $200,000.

The city has already purchased on fourplex on Sayonara Drive. Long-range plans may involve restoration of the properties. They also may be demolished to decrease the overall density along Sayonara Drive.

Demolition could provide space for a playground or similar use in the area, which is considered a community development nightmare, Lynch said. There has never been a play space for the dozens of children who live along Sayonara Drive, so they end up in the street or in the driveways.

The city has already made several improvements in the area, including street repaving, implementation of traffic calming strategies and introduction of streetlights.

"It is now one of the best illuminated streets in the county," Lynch said.

Residents on San Simeon Drive said they are aware of all the improvements going on just a few blocks away. They would like to see more streetlights and similar improvements on their street too but right now they said they feel like "orphans."

October 9, 2008
Sacramento police investigate two shooting incidents

From Stan Oklobdzija:

Sacramento police are searching for the shooter in an attack in Del Paso Heights that sent a man to the hospital in critical condition Wednesday night.

The shooting, on the 1000 block of Roanoke Avenue, occurred about 9 p.m., said Sgt. Lai Lai Bui. The victim, whose identity was not immediately available, was a man in his 20s, Bui said.

Police don't have an exact description of the suspect or suspects, Bui said, because potential witnesses were uncooperative.

The shooting last night was the second the Sacramento Police dealt with on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the department responded to a shooting on the 7400 block of Hainesport Way about 4:40 p.m. that injured several people, according to a police spokesman.

That shooting wounded two or three people, said police spokesman Sgt. Matt Young. None of their injuries appeared to be life threatening, he said.

An exact description of the attackers was also unavailable, he said.

October 8, 2008
Court orders faster parole-revocation hearings for juveniles

From Denny Walsh:

A Sacramento federal judge has ordered sweeping reforms to the parole revocation system for California juveniles, including an accelerated schedule of hearings to quickly determine whether revocation is merited.

U. S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton earlier ruled the failure of state authorities to hold probable cause hearings and appoint counsel for juvenile parolees violated the Constitution and two landmark U. S. Supreme Court decisions.

He issued a statewide permanent injunction Tuesday ordering state officials to:

- Notify a juvenile parolee of the charges within three days of placing a hold on the parolee. A hold is akin to an arrest warrant.

- Make sure a juvenile parolee has an attorney throughout the revocation process.

- Provide a hearing within eight business days after notification of the charges if a defense lawyer has made a good argument there is no basis to hold the parolee. Otherwise, provide a hearing within 13 days of the hold to find out if there is probable cause to detain the parolee.

- Convene a final revocation hearing on or before the 35th calendar day after placement of the hold.

- Set up "a clearer, prompt appeal system," with appeals of revocation to be decided within 10 business days.

Under the injunction's terms, those and other changes in juvenile parole revocations must be implemented by Dec. 15.

The class action lawsuit was filed more than two years ago challenging the way California treats juveniles arrested on alleged parole violations.

The multifaceted injunction's provisions were earlier agreed to by attorneys for juvenile parolees, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and state officials in charge of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice, Board of Parole Hearings, and Juvenile Parole Board.

Karlton retains jurisdiction over the case to enforce the terms of the injunction. He has appointed a special master - Chase Riveland, a corrections consultant from Deer Harbor, Wash. - who will monitor compliance.

"There should be a more accurate outcome of revocation actions, because the parolee now will have the ability to understand and make an intelligent contribution to the proceedings," said Michael Bien, an attorney for the parolees.

"The state has also committed to consider alternatives to re-incarceration, such as drug treatment programs and halfway houses," he said. "That's good for public safety, good for the state, and good for our clients."

Chuck Supple, executive officer of the Juvenile Parole Board, said the injunction "will definitely strengthen the parole system and make sure it protects the rights of youths as well as the public."

"We've already met a number of requirements of the order," Supple said. "Since February, every youth has been provided with legal counsel. Since April, every youth has received a probable cause hearing."

As of Oct. 1, there were 2,207 juvenile parolees, 1,826 of which were out of custody and under supervision. There were 127 unaccounted for, with warrants issued for their arrests.

Of the 254 parolees pending revocation proceedings, 173 were confined at local jails or juvenile halls, and 81 confined to a state juvenile or adult facility.

Other mandates of Karlton's injunction include:

- Sentencing of a juvenile for a parole violation will be fixed and no more than a year.

- A disabled juvenile parolee will be given more time with an attorney to prepare for hearings, supplied with forms that accommodate the disability, and provided - as needed - with interpreters, hearing aids, computer readers and magnifying devices.

- A grievance process will be put in place to address claims that disability accommodations were denied.

Karlton is one of three judges riding herd on certain aspects of corrections management in California.

He presides in a long running, class action lawsuit that seeks to bring mental health care of state prisoners up to constitutional standards. He also presides in a class action similar to the juvenile parolees' suit that has mandated a constitutional revocation process for adult parolees. And he is a member of a three-judge panel that will decide whether prison overcrowding is a factor in sub-standard health care for inmates.

October 8, 2008
Yolo County DA to seek death penalty in deputy's death

From Hudson Sangree:

In a court filing Wednesday, Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced he would seek the death penalty against Marco Antonio Topete.

Topete, 35, is accused of murdering Yolo County Sheriff's Deputy Jose Antonio Diaz on the night of June 15, after a brief chase near Dunnigan.

Authorities alleged Topete ambushed the 37-year-old officer, firing a high-powered rifle that pierced Diaz's protective vest. The deputy was pronounced dead later that night at Woodland Memorial Hospital.

Topete, of Arbuckle, was found hiding in bushes the next morning, after a massive manhunt along Interstate 5.

He was charged with murder and special circumstances that made him eligible for capital punishment, including the killing of a peace officer. But Reisig had not announced whether he would seek the death penalty.

A hearing in Topete's case is scheduled for Friday in Yolo County Superior Court in Woodland.

October 8, 2008
Crime Alert: Burglary suspect wanted

(Editor's note: Sacrmaento Crime Alert officials report that Giron has since been arrested.)

giron   100608.jpgThe Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is seeking Magarido Giron (left photo) on a felony no-bail arrest warrant for suspected burglary, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Giron is also known as Maga Santos Chavez and Margarito Giron Salas. He is described as 41 years old, 5-foot-6, weighing 170 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

He was last known to live in the 1400 block of Santiago Avenue in North Sacramento, authorities report.

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

October 8, 2008
Update: Missing Roseville man's rented vehicle found

The blue 2008 Hummer rented by missing Roseville man Tri Nguyen was found by the San Jose Police Department this morning, Roseville police officials report.

The vehicle was unoccupied and Nguyen is still missing, authorities report Roseville police investigators are en route to San Jose to follow up.

October 8, 2008
Police arrest two men suspected of vandalizing Roseville trees

tree1.png tree2.png

From Jennifer K. Morita:

Two Roseville men were arrested early Tuesday morning for killing several recently planted trees in the city's historic district.

Police responded to a report of someone screaming and trees being vandalized at Lincoln and Pleasant streets around 1:44 a.m, according to spokesperson Dee Dee Gunther. They detained Chad Phillip Westbrook (right photo), 20, and Michael Scott Hardin (left photo), 23, as they were running from the area.

Seven young trees had been snapped off at the trunks, Gunther said.

Westbrook and Hardin were arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism and conspiracy.