Sacto 9-1-1
November 30, 2009
Mother in fatal Woodland car crash released from hospital, arrested

From Hudson Sangree:

The mother of a 10-year-old Woodland girl killed in a car crash last week was arrested Monday and booked into the Yolo County jail on charges of child endangerment, the California Highway Patrol said.

Cirena Martinez, 28, of Woodland, was riding in the passenger seat Nov. 23, when a Mazda 3 driven by Arnold Barraza, who relatives said was her boyfriend, flipped at high speed on a county road near Woodland, CHP officers said.

Martinez's daughter, Destiny Martinez Gonzalez, was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman's 4-year-old daughter was hospitalized and later released.

Barraza's 1-year-old son, Arnold Barraza Jr., remained in critical condition on Monday at UC Davis Medical Center.

Barraza, who has a criminal record that includes two DUI convictions, was booked into the Yolo County jail late last week on suspicion of murder and child endangerment.

He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Martinez was released Monday from UC Davis Medical Center and arrested on three counts of child endangerment, the CHP said.

CHP investigators say the three children in the car were improperly restrained, with the two youngest ejected from the vehicle in the accident.

Yolo County Chief Deputy Coroner Robert LaBrash said 10-year-old Destiny died from blunt-force injury to the head and neck.

November 30, 2009
Cal Expo officer who falsely claimed Silver Star is sentenced

From Bill Lindelof:

A Cal Expo police officer was sentenced today to 200 hours of community service for falsely claiming he earned a Silver Star for gallantry in combat during the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

Eric Gene Piotrowski, who was charged under the Stolen Valor Act, was also sentenced in federal court to 12 months' probation.

Piotrowski, 41, must perform the community service at a veteran's hospital. U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory G. Hollows said that such service will give Piotrowski a chance to learn from his mistakes.

Piotrowski was also ordered to give up his state peace officer's certification and is under a lifetime ban from law enforcement employment.

The Marine veteran bought the medal via the Internet in 2007. Piotrowski did not see military action in Operation Desert Storm.

He told family and friends he received the medal and certificate in the mail after requesting a copy of his military records, according to an affidavit.

Without his knowledge, Piotrowski's family arranged for California Department of Veterans Affairs Undersecretary Roger Brautigan to come to his Elk Grove home in 2007 and formally present the medal to him.

News of the presentation later appeared on the cover of the department's newsletter, and skeptical veterans urged the FBI to investigate.

The Silver Star is the nation's third highest military decoration.

November 30, 2009
Plastic surgeon sentenced for sexual exploitation of patients

By Andy Furillo

The disgraced Dr. Scott Takasugi was sentenced to three years and eight months in state prison today on his conviction for sexually exploiting two of his patients three years ago.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White imposed the term on the 56-year-old former Kaiser plastic surgeon who twice failed to show up at his scheduled sentencing hearings, once because his father died and the other because he was in a 72-hour mental health hold.

Takasugi's attorney pleaded for the judge to sentence his client to probation, but White refused.

"I'm particularly taken by the repeat behavior involved here," the judge said. "If this were an isolated instance...and there were great contrition and full grasp of criminality, I think it would be a good case for probation. But that is not what we have here."

White called Takasugi's touching of two of his patients genitalia before he operated on them "planned behavior and repeat conduct." The judge also said that the victims were especially vulnerable because of the doctor-patient relationship that existed between them and Takasugi, which led them to accede "voluntarily to the defendant's conduct."

"They only did that because he was their doctor and they trusted him," White said.

The judge said that Takasugi "created his own world" of guns, cars and sex and that he "objectified the people around him" in the process. Takasugi manipulated his victims "for his own satisfaction and amusement," White said.

Takasugi, after being granted two continuances on his sentencing, was supposed to finally receive his term on Nov. 20, but his father died the night before in Ventura County. White then issued a bench warrant for Takasugi's arrest but stayed it until last Monday. Takasugi's lawyer, Ted W. Cassman, told the court then that his client had been placed under the 72-hour hold in a Ventura psychiatric unit, at which point White issued a warrant for Takasugi's arrest. He was returned to Sacramento on Wednesday afternoon.

Besides the prison term, White also ordered today that Takasugi register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Takasugi appeared in court today in a black suit and tie, but he was chained at the waist and brought in and taken out of the courtroom in shackles.

"I'm just really glad that this is done and that I can be happy again," one of Takasugi's victims told reporters outside the courtroom.

November 30, 2009
Police describe car in hit-and-run that killed 4-year-old boy

From Kim Minugh:

Sacramento police have released a more detailed description of the car believed to have fatally struck a 4-year-old boy headed to preschool Monday morning.

They describe the car as a 1995-1997 Nissan Maxima, dark red or burgundy with a black-tinted rear window, according to a news release. The car might have minimal or no damage to the front-end of the vehicle, the release states.

Jonathan Vasquez, 4, died at UC Davis Medical Center after he being struck as he was riding a scooter on the sidewalk approaching the Smythe Academy on Northgate Boulevard, according to police. He was struck by a car pulling out of the school's driveway onto southbound Northgate Boulevard. The car did not stop after the collision, police said.

His grandmother and 7-year-old brother, who were trailing behind him on foot, were not injured.

Jonathan's father, said his family is mourning and trying to make funeral arrangements.

"My boy was very happy," said Sergio Vasquez, 29, a house painter. In halting English, the grieving Vasquez said Jonathan loved going to school.

"Oh, sure," he said. "We are very sad."

Vasquez said that he might take his son's body to Mexico for burial. The boy's mother is in Mexico.

"I don't know what we will do right now," said Vasquez. "We don't have the money right now."

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP or traffic detectives at (916) 808-6030. People also can text in a tip to 274637 by entering the word "SACTIP" followed by the information. Callers can remain anonymous and might be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Mexican Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez said the consulate has established the Vasquez Family Fund - Wells Fargo Account Number 7143473283 - to assist with funeral arrangements here. For more information call 916-329-3533.

November 29, 2009
Police ID suspect in Galt double homicide

From Kim Minugh:

Galt police issued an arrest warrant Sunday for Alfredo Daniel Tafoya, 18, of Sacramento, in connection with a double homicide inside the Estrellita Ballroom late Saturday.

Sacramento County Coroner's officials on Sunday identified the victims as Carlos Alonso Montes, 24, of La Puente in Southern California, and 20-year-old Efrain Zambrano of Galt.

Galt police said the shooting occurred just after 11 p.m. inside the ballroom, at 415 C Street in Galt. The ballroom had been rented for a family celebration, and many people were present when gunfire erupted, police said.

Witnesses told police the shootings followed a fist fight between the two victims and the suspect, who fled after he pulled out a gun and fired.

Nobody else attending the birthday party was injured, police report.

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November 28, 2009
Northern California ecoterroist suspect sentenced in China

From Associated Press, Bee Staff

BEIJING -- An American man wanted for ecoterrorism attacks in the western United States has been sentenced to three years in a Chinese prison for making illegal drugs. The group he belonged to has been linked to crimes committed in the Sacramento area.

Justin Franchi Solondz, 30, was given the sentence Friday, said an official at the intermediate court in Dali city, in southwestern China's Yunnan province, who gave his family name as Zhao.

It was unclear what drugs Solondz was found guilty of producing.

Solondz was indicted in California and Washington state in 2006 in connection with a series of arsons attributed to "the Family," a collection of radical environmentalists aligned with the Animal and Earth Liberation Fronts, from 1996-2001.

Attacks by the group caused more than $80 million in damage, according to the FBI, which called Solondz a domestic terrorist.

Prosecutors say Solondz used timers, Tupperware containers and fuel-filled bladders to build incendiary devices used in one of the most notorious blazes, the May 2001 destruction of the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture.

Investigators heard little of Solondz after his indictment, and the FBI issued a $50,000 reward late last year for information leading to his arrest. At the time, the agency said he might be in Canada, Europe or Asia.

Early this year he surfaced in Dali, a city popular with Western tourists, using a phony Canadian identification and an altered appearance, Mark Bartlett, the first assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle, said Saturday. He was arrested in a drug investigation in March, and a few weeks later federal prosecutors in Seattle were contacted to help confirm his true identity, Bartlett said.

The U.S. has no extradition treaty with China and it's not

immediately clear when or how Solondz might be returned to the U.S. to face charges, Bartlett said, but the Justice Department has informed Chinese officials that it remains interested in prosecuting him.

"We did not want to be seen as interfering, so we were letting the legal process go forward there so he can face the music there," said Seattle FBI spokeswoman Robbie Burroughs. "When he gets back here we'll deal with him."

Messages left for Solondz's parents in New Jersey were not immediately returned Saturday. They were quoted in The New York Times on Saturday as saying their son had been accused of keeping 33 pounds of marijuana buried in a courtyard of his rented house as well as a drug laboratory inside.

Prosecutors in the United States say that among the fires Solondz was involved in were arsons at the Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corral in near Susanville and the destruction of several buildings at a poplar farm in Oregon in 2001.

His ex-girlfriend, Briana Waters, is serving six years in federal prison for serving as a lookout at the University of Washington fire. At her trial, prosecutors contended that Solondz built his incendiary devices in a clean room behind her home in Olympia, Wash.

Of 17 people indicted on charges related to the string of ELF and ALF attacks, 13 have been convicted. Three remain at large and are believed to be outside the U.S.: Josephine Sunshine Overaker,

Joseph Mahmoud Dibee and Rebecca Rubin.

Four Placer County residents charged with crimes linked to ELF pleaded guilty in 2006 in Sacramento federal court for their roles in attempts to burn buildings - all under construction. Between December 2004 and February 2005, investigators found incendiary devices at residences in Lincoln, firebombs at a commercial building in Auburn and incendiary devices in apartment buildings in the Amador County town of Sutter Creek.

Ryan Daniel Lewis, 21, identified in court documents as a follower of the ELF, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted arson and one count of arson. He admitted planting the devices in Lincoln, Auburn, and Sutter Creek. He received six years in prison.

No one was injured in the incidents, although the Sutter Creek fire resulted in $50,000 in property damage.

Sisters Eva Rose Holland, 25, and Lili Marie Holland, 20, who both pleaded guilty to one count of attempted arson, admitted that Lewis had urged them to participate in planting incendiary devices at a housing development in Lincoln. They each received two years in prison.

Jeremiah Dean Colcleasure, 21, at first fought the charges but finally pleaded guilty and received two years in prison.

November 28, 2009
Citrus Heights PD gives descriptions of home-invasion suspects

Bee Staff

Citrus Height police released descriptions of two suspects they are seeking in a home invasion at a residence in the 8100 block of Glen Tree Drive Thursday night.

The men, who forced their way into the house at about 9 p.m., stole personal property at gunpoint and fled. No one was injured.

One of the suspects is described as a white adult in his early 20s, 6 feet tall, brown hair, goatee and he was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.

The second suspect is described a s white adult in his early 20s, 5'6" tall, weighing 160 pounds and he was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt with a dark baseball hat underneath.

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

November 27, 2009
Dad arrested in Antelope area; missing children in good health

dadwanted.jpgFrom Chelsea Phua:

Sacramento County sheriff's officials arrested a 25-year-old man Friday, two days after he allegedly abducted his two young children during a court-supervised visit.

Shortly after 7 p.m., detectives tracked Daniel Gwilliam (left photo) to a house in the 4400 block of Bacall Court in the Antelope area and found the two children, a 6-year-old boy and a 20-month-old girl, inside.

Authorities say they are in good health and will be returned to their foster parents.

The children became wards of the court in February.

Officials say Gwilliam took them Wednesday afternoon during a court-supervised visit at a facility in the 2300 block of Glendale Lane in the Arden Arcade area of Sacramento.

Gwilliam was expected to be booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of parental abduction after investigators questioned him Friday night.

November 27, 2009
Driver jailed in Woodland crash that killed girl

By Andy Furillo

The driver accused of murder in the Monday's crash outside Woodland that killed a 10-year-old girl who was riding with him has been released from the hospital and booked into the Yolo County Jail, the California Highway Patrol reported today.

Arnold Barraza, 25, a parolee who lives in Woodland, was transported from the UC Davis Medical Center to the Yolo jail around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, according to a CHP news release.

Barraza is facing murder charges in the death of Destiny Martinez-Gonzalez.

The CHP said Barraza was allegedly driving at 85 miles per hour on County Road 22 west of Woodland when his 2009 Mazda 3 sedan spun out of control.

He also faces two additional counts of child endangerment. Two other children were seriously injured in the crash, including Barraza's 1-year-old son.

The boy is in critical condition, authorities said. The other victim, a 4-year-old girl, has been released from the hospital.

Cirena Martinez, 28, Barraza's girlfriend and the mother of the girl who was killed in the crash, remained hospitalized at the UC Davis Medical Center today in good condition.

She is facing three counts of child endangerment, the CHP said.

November 27, 2009
Man chases armed burglary suspect; lives to tell about it

Bee Staff

A man recently returned to his south Sacramento home to find a burglary in progress, which he responded to by chasing the two suspects. Luckily for him, he didn't catch them, according to a Sheriff's Department crime summary release this week.

One of the suspects, who was caught by cops, turned out to be carrying a loaded handgun, the report states.

The report gives this chain of events:

At about 12:50 p.m. on Nov. 17, the 59-year-old man returned from a trip to find two juveniles burglarizing his residence.

The 16-year-old suspects fled on foot with the man in pursuit.

The chase ended when the suspects almost literally ran into two Sacramento Police Department officers conducting a traffic stop.

The officers detained the suspects, found the handgun and property belonging to the man's wife and arrested the juveniles.

The victim returned - maybe out of breath but unharmed - to his residence.

November 27, 2009
Sacramento deputies: Return trip to store turned into jail trip

Bee Staff

Two assault suspects practically put the handcuffs on themselves, according to a Sacramento County Sheriff's Department crime summary released this week.

The pair returned to the same Sacramento store where they allegedly threatened an employee with a knife six days before, the report states.

At about 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 17, a loss-prevention specialist at the Walmart store in the 10000 block of Folsom Boulevard spotted two suspects who store personnel said earlier threatened an employee when they were confronted the pair on suspicion that they were shoplifting, the report states.

This time, deputies were called and they arrested the pair, the report states. Two video games were found inside the jacket sleeves of the female suspect and a methamphetamine smoking pipe also was found in her possession, the report states.

Jovon Owens, 21, was booked into jail on suspicion of petty theft, grand theft, petty theft, burglary and robbery. Online jail record showed him still in custody early Friday on about $25,000 bail.

Kayla Hurst, 18, was booked into jail on suspicion of theft, receiving stolen property and possession of narcotics paraphernalia. Online jail record showed her still in custody early Friday on about $5,000 bail.

November 27, 2009
Citrus Heights PD seeking 2 home invaders/robbers

Bee Staff

Citrus Height police are asking the public's help in identifying two armed men who invaded a residence in the 8100 block of Glen Tree Drive Thursday night.

The men, who forced their way into the house at about 9 p.m., stole personal property and fled.

A police spokeswoman said details are sketchy, including a lack of description of the robbers.

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

November 27, 2009
CHP chases motorcyclist for 160 miles

From Bill Lindelof:

California Highway Patrol officers arrested a motorcyclist who officers said led them on a chase for more than 160 miles, from Truckee to Benicia.

The motorcyclist, Pedro Alberto Sermeno, 26, of Fremont, was arrested about 4:45 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of reckless evading of an officer.

Officers said that Sermeno was first noticed speeding in the Boreal Ridge area in Placer County by Truckee CHP. Officers say they clocked him traveling at more than 100 mph on westbound Interstate 80.

The CHP tried to stop the motorcyclist but he accelerated, a press release stated. CHP units from the Gold Run, North Sacramento, Woodland and Solano areas were all involved in a pursuit of the motorcycle.

As the pursuit entered Solano County, officers in patrol cars slowed for traffic so air units took over. A CHP helicopter from Napa and CHP airplane from Auburn followed the motorcyclist to the 400 block of Turner Road in Benicia.

That is where officers arrested Sermeno. The CHP said it is unclear why the motorcylist refused to stop.

A record check revealed no warrants and a valid license. Intoxication was not a factor, the CHP said.

November 26, 2009
DUI, theft suspect follows stolen vehicle right into jail

Bee Staff

Sacramento police officers were trailing a stolen bait vehicle Wednesday night but the real arrest bonanza was one vehicle behind, a crime summary indicates.

Just after 11 p.m. on Wednesday near 32nd Avenue and 79th Street, officers spotted a stolen bait vehicle being followed by a blue van.

Officers conducted a felony stop on the stolen vehicle taking the driver into custody, who they identified as Rickey Gasaway, 38.

But the blue van was subsequently spotted by the police helicopter and officers stopped the vehicle.

Ernest Young, 57, was arrested on suspicion of DUI, parole violation and vehicle theft.

Online jail records showed Young still in a custody Thursday night on about $150,000 bail while Gasaway had been released or freed on bail.

November 26, 2009
Sacramento PD: Argument ends in self-ignited fire

davis.JPG1.JPGBee Staff

The law of unintended consequences was in full operation when a 68-year-old man threw a flammable liquid on his roommate during an argument - and the roommate lit himself on fire, a Sacramento Police Department crime summary indicates.

At about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, officers were called to a residence in the 200 block of Arrowrock Road.

Officers gave this chain of events:

The victim was drinking with his roommate when they got into an argument. The suspect threatened to throw camping fuel on him and then did.

The victim took out his lighter and lit his own clothes on fire, not expecting the clothes to ignite "quite so rapidly."

The victim stripped off his burning clothes and then called police.

The suspect, Johnny Davis, 68, was booked into jail on suspicion of assault with caustic chemicals, a felony. Online jail records indicate he is being held on $120,000 bail.

The victim apparently was not seriously hurt.

November 26, 2009
Roseville police dog stands down - forever

Bee Staff

The Roseville Police Department's K9 unit has announced the death of retired police canine "Zig," who survived a burglary suspect's attempt to drown him. But the dog held onto the suspect until officers arrived.

Zig, affectionately called Ziggy, started his career as a Roseville Police Department canine in 1999, according to a Police Department news release.

He was retired in 2005 due to a leg injury and other medical problems. Zig continued to live with his handler, Roseville Police Officer Chris Nowicki (in photo bottom with Zig), and Nowicki's active-duty police dog Eivo, until Zig's death Monday at age 12 .

Once Roseville K9 units responded in the middle of the night to assist the Placer County Sheriff's Department with an in-progress burglary of a business on Cincinnati Avenue. Nowicki and Zig pursued one of the burglary suspects into a flooded field.

Zig located the suspect, who was totally concealed among reeds, waist-deep in cold water. Zig latched on to the suspect and refused to let go, even when the suspect tried to drown him, the release states. Thanks to Zig, officers located and arrested the suspect.

On another night, Roseville officers pursued a car burglar, who crashed his car in the area of Lead Hill and Harding, and fled on foot into the creek area. It was pitch-dark and officers were unable to see anything in the unlighted open space area.

Zig tracked the suspect and then almost pulled officers over the edge of a ravine, barking ferociously in the direction of a downed tree. Officers shined their flashlights around the area for several minutes, seeing nothing, until eventually they spotted a sock sticking out of a pile of debris. Attached to the sock was their suspect - who was then taken into custody, thanks to Zig.

But Ziggy's health declined until the decision was made to have him euthanized, the release states.

On Monday, Nowicki took Ziggy on a last ride in his police K9 vehicle before taking him to the veterinarian.


November 26, 2009
Woodland police seeking pizza restaurant robber

Bee Staff

Woodland police are seeking a gunman who robbed a pizza restaurant after the eatery closed on Wednesday.

Police were called about 10:08 p.m. on that date to the Little Caesar's Pizza in the 1800 block of E. Gibson Road. The caller said they had just been robbed at gunpoint, according to a news release.

Though the store had closed for the evening and the front doors were locked, the robber was able to enter the store through an unlocked back door, the release states.

The release gives this chain of events:

The robber pointed a black semi-automatic handgun with silver detailing at the employees, and demanded money. The suspect also ordered all the employees to the front of the store.

One employee, who had her hands up, was told by the robber to put her hands down and act normal. One of the employees filled a plastic bag with an undisclosed amount of cash from both the register and the safe. The robber then fled the store on foot to a waiting dark-colored SUV, where he got into the passenger's side.

Police are looking for a white male adult, approximately 5'8" tall and 150 lbs., wearing a black, hooded, long-sleeved sweatshirt with a "Famous / Stars & Straps" logo on the front. He was wearing the hood over his head.

The suspect's face was covered by a bandana with an Oakland Raiders logo at the forehead. He was described as having "piercing blue/green eyes". The suspect was also wearing black gloves.

Police said the suspect's description matches almost exactly the suspect description from the robbery of the West Main Street AM/PM on Nov. 20.

Anyone with any information related to this case is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411.

November 25, 2009
Father, children sought after reported abduction during visitation

dadwanted.jpgFrom Chelsea Phua:

Sacramento County Sheriff's officials are looking for a 25-year-old man who allegedly abducted his two children during a court-supervised visit Wednesday.

According to a news release, Daniel Gwilliam (left photo) took his 6-year-old son and 20-month-old daughter from a visitation facility in the 2300 block of Glendale Lane about 4 p.m. Authorities said he walked out of the building with his children, who became wards of the court in February.

Investigators say they believe that the children are not in imminent danger.

Gwilliam is described as 6 feet tall and weighing 170 pounds. He has short brown hair, hazel eyes and a pierced eyebrow. He was last seen wearing a black T-shirt with white printing on it and dark jeans.

His son has brown hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing a red hooded jacket with stripes on the sleeves, a tan T-shirt, blue jeans and white tennis shoes with blue soles.

His daughter has curly blond hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a lavender hair bow, a pink and green windbreaker, a light pink "onesie," dark blue pants and white tennis shoes with pink on the soles.

Gwilliam may be driving one of three vehicles: A light blue Ford Explorer with Florida license plates, a dark blue 1980s van or a tan 1986 Chevrolet van.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's department at (916) 874-5115, Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES). Enter SACTIP followed by the information. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

November 25, 2009
Placer sheriff: Lincoln landfill employee arrested

From Ed Fletcher

Placer County sheriff's deputies have arrested a Lincoln landfill employee on suspicion of embezzlement.

Detectives believe John Alcocer, 38, of Plumas Lake, stole $2,000-$3,000 a month over three or more years from his Western Regional Sanitary Landfill worksite, according to a Sheriff's Department news release. Alcocer was arrested Tuesday.

The investigation into Alcocer began internally and was then handed over to the Sheriff's Department, the release states.

Alcocer was booked into Placer County Jail and subsequently released due to over crowding, the release states.

No other details were provided.

Alcocer is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 8 at the 8:30 a.m.

November 25, 2009
Suspects sought in Woodland gas station robbery

Bee Staff

Woodland police investigators are looking for the gunman who robbed a gas station Tuesday.

Around 10 p.m. on that date, a gunman robbed the Gas Plaza in the 400 block of East Street, according to a news release.

The robber wielded a large handgun and took an undisclosed amount of money from the clerk. The robber fled on foot.

The suspect was described as possibly being a white male adult wearing a black mask, white gloves and having a black jacket, shirt and pants. It is unknown if the suspect had a vehicle, the release states.

After reviewing the surveillance video officers learned there was a second suspect that was waiting outside during the robbery, possibly as a lookout.

This suspect was described as possibly being a black male adult wearing a white hat, white gloves and blue jeans.

If anyone has information regarding this robbery they are asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 661-7800.

November 25, 2009
Rocklin PD recovers $1,000 stolen bike on Craigslist

Bee Staff

Rocklin police officers, working under their department's contract to provide police service to Sierra College, have recovered a student's stolen $1,000 bicycle that was advertised on Craigslist.

On Nov. 16, a student reported the bicycle stolen from his truck while it was parked in the college's dorm parking lot, according to a Police Department news release.

Rocklin Police detectives said they found the stolen bicycle being offered for sale on

Detectives, posing as potential buyers, contacted the Lincoln-area seller. The stolen bike was identified by distinctive markings and it is was recovered, the release states.

The case has been forwarded to the Placer County District Attorney's Office for possession of stolen property charges.

The college's contract with the Police Department began this month.

November 25, 2009
Sacramento PD will conduct DUI check on southside Friday

Bee Staff

Sacramento police officers will be conducting a DUI and driver's license checkpoint on Friday in the south area of the city.

The checkpoint is another that law enforcement agencies in the regions are conducting, thanks to grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Approximately four hours prior to the setting up of the checkpoint, police will specify the location and approximate duration of the operation, according to a Police Department news release.

November 25, 2009
Photos released of Sacramento store robbery suspect

Bee Staff

Sacramento police investigators released surveillance photos today of a suspect who is suspected of punching a convenience store clerk and fleeing with stolen items.

At 8:47 p.m. on Oct. 12 in the 2900 block of Stockton Boulevard, the suspect (see surveillance photos below) entered the store and selected a few items, according to a Sacramento Police Department news release.

Before the clerk finished ringing up the items, the suspect grabbed them and started walking towards the door, the release states. The clerk confronted the suspect and the suspect punched the clerk in the face, the release states, and the suspect fled on foot from the store with the stolen items.

The suspect is described as black, in his late 20s to early 30s, 5'6", medium build, with a beard or goatee. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt with white lettering, a black t-shirt with a gold-colored emblem and black jeans.

The Sacramento Police Department asks anyone with information to contact Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP or text in a tip to 274637 (CRIMES). Enter SACTIP followed by the tip information.

Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.




November 25, 2009
Missing man found, Sacramento police report

From Bill Lindelof and Bee staff:

The Sacramento Police Department reports that a missing 88-year-old man has been found

At 4 p.m. Tuesday, Maynard Augustine left his home near 25th Avenue and 78th Street, according to a police news release.

Augustine was driving to the Food Source at 4401 Broadway and surveillance video shows that he made it to the store but it is unknown where he went afterward.

Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies found Augustine in the 1300 block of Fulton Avenue, police officials said.

November 25, 2009
Roseville PD: Man convicted of molestation re-arrested

blobfetch[1].JPGBee Staff

Roseville police officers have arrested on suspicion of parole violation an Auburn man convicted of misdemeanor child molestation and other crimes, according to a news release.

Jonathan Regent Tyrell (photo left), 42, was arrested Nov. 17 and is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections awaiting a parole violation hearing, the Roseville Police Department release states.

Tyrell was convicted of misdemeanor child molestation, forgery, possession of methamphetamine, and battery causing serious bodily injury, all related to Roseville Police investigations conducted in 2005, the release states.

The release gave this background to Tyrell's case:

Tyrell represented himself as a scientific researcher and recruited teenagers and young adults for a study.

He paid his "research subjects," which included teenagers as young as 15, to immerse themselves in a bathtub and hold their breath, while he photographed and videotaped them.

His conviction for misdemeanor child molestation was related to his recruitment and videotaping of minors for his "research". Tyrell is a former attorney who was disbarred in 2007 due to his criminal convictions.

Roseville detectives arrested Tyrell after they learned that Tyrell recently cultivated a friendship with a 19-year-old male, and tried to recruit him to participate in research involving "underwater apnea testing," the release states.

Roseville detectives are concerned that Tyrell is exhibiting the same pattern of behavior that led to his previous arrests, and may have contacted other young people, including minors, in order to recruit them for "underwater research," the release states.

Anyone who has had such contact with Tyrell or has any information that could assist in this investigation is asked to call the Roseville Police Investigation Unit at (916) 774-5070.

November 25, 2009
Public's help sought in slaying of convenience-store clerk

From Kim Minugh:

More than a month has passed since Ravinder Singh Banga was gunned down while trying to ward off a convenience store robber, and Sacramento County sheriff's detectives say they are nearing a dead end in the case.

Banga, 44, had just recently begun working behind the counter at the MC Discount Liquor and Food Minimart on 47th Avenue in south Sacramento when a hooded assailant entered the store the night of Oct. 19.

The assailant pointed a gun at Banga as he looked for a cash-drop box behind the counter. Video surveillance footage shows Banga trying to intervene, and eventually getting shot by the assailant.

Banga died shortly after being transported to a local hospital.

Banga's niece, Garinder Kaur, told The Bee that her uncle, his wife and two teenaged children had arrived in the United States from their native India just four months before the shooting. They had plans to stay in the Sacramento area, visiting family, for about a year before returning to India.

Kaur said Banga had left behind a good job and a good life in India to be with family. Here, he struggled to find a job, and only recently had begun working at the liquor store.

Sacramento County sheriff's detectives are asking for the public's help in identifying the shooter, who has only been described as a man who was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.

Detective Paul Belli encouraged people to call with any potential tips about the case, "however insignificant they may seem."

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP of homicide Detective Jason Cvitanov at (916) 874-3778. Callers can remain anonymous and might be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

To see an earlier Bee story about this crime, as well as the surveillance video, go here.

November 25, 2009
Cal Expo police launch anti-DUI patrols

Bee Staff

The war against drunken drivers takes on a new dimension tonight as the police who patrol Cal Expo take to nearby streets.

Officers of the California Exposition and State Fair Police Department will patrol the Cal Expo neighborhoods around Exposition Boulevard, Arden Way and Howe Avenue from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. tonight with an eye toward DUIs.

The department has been awarded an $81,000 grant for a year-long anti-DUI program, according to a news release. Tonight's patrol will be the first activity under the grant.

"The Cal Expo Police Department is dedicated to keeping our streets safe through enforcement and public awareness," said Cal Expo Police Chief Robert L. Craft.

Cal Expo will enhance its existing partnerships with the Sacramento Police Department, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, and the California Highway Patrol to reduce the number of DUI deaths and injuries in and around the California Exposition and State Fair grounds, Craft said.

Police Officers from the Cal Expo Police Department will be conducting special DUI enforcement and saturated patrols to provide additional safety to the visitors at Cal Expo and the surrounding neighborhood during the annual state fair and during large events where DUI is a concern, he said.

Funding for the grant comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

November 25, 2009
Ask Sacto911: Doctor sent to prison after child's death

Q: What happened to Dr. Tison who was accused of killing his small child by throwing her out a window? - Anonymous, Sacramento

A: On July 10, 2002, Sacramento weight-loss doctor Dennis Jay Tison was sentenced to six years in prison, The Bee reported. Tison was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and child endangerment after his 14-month-old daughter fell to her death from the second-story window of the Tison family home.

Deputy Sacramento County District Attorney Mike Savage argued during the trial that Tison, then 36, either assaulted the child or threw her out of the second-story window in a drunken rage on Jan 12, 2001.

Despite warnings from his wife to stop drinking alcohol, Tison persisted and after the girl's death in their Orangevale home, he lied to cover it up, the prosecutor said.

Tison's lawyer, Donald Heller, described his client as a "drunk parent" who made a mistake he will have to live with for the rest of his life.

Heller maintained that Tison had placed his daughter on top of a desk to play while the doctor was checking his stocks on a computer. On the desk, next to an open window, were a loaded handgun and a knife.

Tison was guilty of drinking and using bad judgment, but he never intended to hurt his daughter, Heller argued.

The girl mistook the open second-story window for a sliding-glass door on the ground floor and leaped or fell to her death on the wooden deck 12 feet below, the defense attorney said.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

November 25, 2009
Fire, stabbing at North Sacramento apartments

From Bill Lindelof:

A two-alarm fire damaged two apartments in North Sacramento Tuesday night, forcing nine adults and three children to find a new place to live.

In addition, a man was stabbed by a woman after fleeing the fire. Her motive was not clear, Sacramento police said.

The fire at 333 Barrette Ave. was reported at 9:23 p.m. to Sacramento Fire Department dispatchers. When firefighters arrived they saw the top floor of the two-story apartment house on fire.

A second-alarm was sounded for other firefighters to assist. Crews were able to bring the blaze under control before more apartments were damaged. There were no injuries.

The American Red Cross responded to help the displaced residents with housing needs. The fire is under investigation.

Chavez.JPGAs one of the apartment residents was leaving the fire, he was confronted by a woman looking for an occupant from another apartment, police said. When the man answered he did not know of the person's whereabouts, the woman stabbed him in the chest.

Sacramento police officers arrested Sonia Chavez, 42, pictured at left, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

The stabbing victim was taken to the hospital. His condition was not immediately known, but his wound was not considered to be life-threatening.

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November 25, 2009
Sting of Sacramento County DUI probationers nets 21 arrests

From Bill Lindelof:

Eleven people on probation and under order not to drink have been arrested, including one man who waited only minutes after meeting law enforcement before he bought alcohol.

The man, who walked across the street and bought two 20-ounce beers and a pint of vodka after meeting with a probation officer, was arrested on a probation violation as part of the sting conducted last Friday. In addition, nine people were arrested for driving on a suspended license and one who tested positive for alcohol.

The sting, in conjunction with Sacramento police, was part of the Sacramento County Probation Department's program of monitoring convicted drunken drivers who have multiple offenses.

Using a new computer program, the department's DUI Intensive Unit identified probationers with both multiple drunken driving arrests and multiple drunk in public arrests, according to a probation department press release.

On the day of the sting, 70 people on probation were contacted and alcohol screening tests were administered. All had orders to abstain from alcohol and all had suspended driver's licenses.

"This is the first time we've operated a sting in this fashion and are very pleased with the results," said Don Meyer, chief probation officer.

November 24, 2009
Convicted plastic surgeon arrested in Ventura County

Scott_Takasugi.JPGFrom Chelsea Phua:

Ventura County authorities have arrested Dr. Scott Takasugi (left photo), the 56-year-old former Sacramento plastic surgeon who pleaded no contest to sexually exploiting his patients.

According to online inmate information on the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Web site, Oxnard Police Department arrested Takasugi on Monday, the day he was scheduled to be sentenced in Sacramento County Superior Court.

A defense attorney said Takasugi failed to show up in court because he was confined in a Ventura County hospital on a 72-hour psychiatric hold.

Takasugi said in an interview with The Bee on Monday that didn't know how he ended up in the psych ward.

Takasugi pleaded no contest June 5 to two felony counts that he had sexual contact with two of his patients.

Takasugi faces a prison term of three years and eight months as a result of his plea.

November 24, 2009
Yolo DA won't charge deputies in man's death

Bee Staff

The Yolo County district attorney will not file charges against three sheriff's deputies who shot a Woodland man to death on April 30, according to a news release from the DA's office.

The use of force by deputies Hernan Oviedo, Hector Bautista and Sgt. Dale Johnson was ruled "reasonable and justified" in the death of Luis Gutierrez, 26, in Woodland, according to they report by DA Jeff Reisig's office.

A district attorney report outlining the reasons for the determination and a supporting letter from the California Attorney General were released today.

The report laid out this chain of events that led to the DA's conclusion:

- Gutierrez immediately fled from deputies after the initial consensual contact by the officers on Gum Avenue in a high crime area with gang graffiti.

- Gutierrez had methamphetamine in his system which may have altered his perception.

- The plain-clothed deputies' said that they verbally identified themselves as police officers and showed their guns and badges which was confirmed by a civilian witness who watched the pursuit and stated she could tell the deputies were police officers.

- During the foot pursuit, Gutierrez turned and swung a pocket knife at Johnson and Johnson jumped back to avoid the knife.

- Johnson's action placed him in a position that required him and Deputy Oviedo to use deadly force in order to avoid injury or death.

In a letter dated Nov. 16, the California Attorney General upheld the Yolo County District Attorney's decision that criminal charges against the sheriff's deputies were not warranted, the report states.

The attorney general conducted its independent review at the request of the Reisig, the report states.

An investigation by the FBI, which was also requested by the Reisig, is ongoing, the report states.

Click on the full district attorney report: FINAL REPORT ON THE SHOOTING OF LUIS GUTIERREZ.doc

November 24, 2009
CHP: Children not restrained in fatal crash near Woodland

From Hudson Sangree

The 10-year-old girl killed in crash near Woodland Monday afternoon was not wearing a seat belt, the California Highway Patrol said Tuesday.

A 4-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy was also were not in a car seat or wearing seatbelts in the one-vehicle rollover, the CHP said in a news release. The 4-year-old suffered major injuries and the 1-year-old was critically injured, the CHP said.

However, the two adults in the car were wearing seatbelts, the CHP said. Both adults suffered major injuries.

The crash sent the three children flying from the compact car as the driver lost control at high speed, said California Highway Patrol Officer Ken Walter.

Excessive speed and driving under the influence were under investigation as possible causes, the statement said.

The CHP identified the driver as Arnold Barraza, 25, of Woodland and a female passenger as Cirena Martinez, 28, both of Woodland.

Authorities did not name the children pending notification of other family members.

Relatives at the hospital Monday night described Barraza and Martinez as boyfriend and girlfriend, each with their own children.

The black 2009 Mazda 3 sedan was traveling at approximately 85 mph on County Road 22 - a rural stretch of Woodland's East Main Street that parallels Interstate 5 - when the driver lost control for unknown reasons about 1:20 p.m., Walter said.

Two helicopters airlifted the other victims to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, authorities said.

The car's mangled wreckage came to rest in a ditch in tall grass beside the roadway and railroad tracks.

At the medical center about a dozen relatives, most with tears in their eyes, kept vigil and visited the victims in the intensive care unit.

Destiny Bruno, 25, said she was a cousin of some of the victims.

She said the Barraza and Martinez were boyfriend and girlfriend.

The two older children, including the girl who died, were the woman's, and the baby was the boyfriend's child, Bruno said.

Barazza and Martinez had driven to Tulare to pick up the Barazza's child for Thanksgiving, she said.

She described the girl who died in the crash as "our tomboy that we loved" and said she was protective of her younger sister and cousins.

Aireana Vidales, a 14-year-old cousin, said she grew up with the 10-year-old girl and lived with her much of the time.

The girl went to church in Woodland and "loved God," she said.

Vidales said they would make "wacky" movies together - laughing, dancing and having tickle fights for the camera.

"She was fun, loving and energetic," Vidales said.

November 24, 2009
Sacramento police seek public's help to find gunman

From Bill Lindelof:

Sacramento police are looking for a gunman and have released a photograph of a car used by a man fleeing the scene of a shooting in October.

Police hope the public can identify the car and lead them to the man suspected of firing a weapon at 1 a.m. Oct. 24 in the area of Stoner and Sabo drives near Fruitridge Road and 65th Street Expressway.

According to witnesses, the suspect and others were loitering in the area when a vehicle drove by. The suspect pulled out a gun and shot at the vehicle, police said.

The suspect and three others then ran to a parked, light-colored sedan and fled.

The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic man in his late teens or 20s with short dark hair. He was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Alert at 443-4357.

car 1 shooting suspect.jpgshooting suspect car 2.jpg

November 24, 2009
Man, 19, arrested in Rancho Cordova fatal shooting

From Kim Minugh

A 19-year-old man is in custody in connection with the fatal shooting of another young man near a Rancho Cordova light-rail station Saturday.

Sacramento County sheriff's detectives accuse Rancho Cordova resident Deandre Brooks of shooting 21-year-old Juan Carlos Sanchez during a fight that began on a light-rail train Saturday night and ended behind a Ross department store at Zinfandel Drive and Folsom Boulevard, said Sgt. Tim Curran.

Detectives do not know what the men began arguing about, but allege that they got off the train to settle the score with a fistfight, Curran said. That's when Brooks allegedly pulled a stolen handgun and fired at Sanchez, hitting him at least once in the upper body, Curran said.

Paramedics pronounced Sanchez dead at the scene shortly after the 10:15 p.m. call to authorities.

Only two men were believed to have been involved in the fight, and no other suspects are being sought, Curran said.

Sheriff's homicide detectives stopped Brooks as he was driving in Rancho Cordova on Monday afternoon. Inside the car, they found the handgun they believe was used in the homicide, Curran said.

After questioning Brooks, detectives booked him into the Sacramento County Main Jail that night on suspicion of multiple charges, including murder, carrying an unregistered firearm and violating probation, according to booking records.

He is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.

November 24, 2009
Ask Sacto 911: Rancho Cordova pair convicted in child's death

Q: What happened to the man and woman who forced a little boy they were taking care of to box with other kids, eventually killing the boy? - Anonymous, Sacramento

A: On Oct. 20, 2006, Renecha Marina Gulley, then 24, and Earl Joseph Christopher, then 26, were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison over the beating death of their 3-year-old godson, The Bee reported.

A jury convicted the pair of the murder of Christopher David Thomas, who died July 19, 2004 of severe head injuries sustained in what the prosecutor described as a week of physical and emotional abuse.

In opening remarks to the jury, Deputy District Attorney Robin Shakely said the boy was forced to box with his 5-year-old brother as "spectator sport" for Christopher and Gulley. The boxing matches and other acts of violence in the Rancho Cordova apartment were for the amusement of the godparents who were taking care of the boy for the parents, trial evidence showed.

The boy, who died of bleeding in the brain, also had several bruises on his chest, hip, knees, shins, hands and legs. He had a bruise on his buttocks in the shape of a hand, the evidence showed.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

November 23, 2009
Davis PD: Investigation of kindapping, robbery continues

From Hudson Sangree:

Davis police are investigating a kidnapping and robbery that happened in the city's downtown business area late Saturday.

A news release gave this account:

At about 11 p.m., a business owner was locking up his shop on G Street when a man with a gun approached and ordered him to get in his vehicle and drive.

The man refused and fled, but his son and a friend, both in their early 20s, were waiting in the car.

The suspect got in and held them at gunpoint as he forced them to drive to three local banks and withdrawal money from ATMs.

He threatened to kill the passenger if the driver didn't comply.

They eventually became lost in an east Davis neighborhood, where the suspect got out and ran.

No one was injured, police said.

The suspect was described as being in his early 20s, 5 feet 5 to 5 feet 9, with a stocky build and broad shoulders. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, dark pants with a dark bandana over his face.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sgt. Scott Smith at (530) 747-5430.

November 23, 2009
Sacramento police investigating sexual assault of teen

Sacramento police are investigating the sexual assault of a teenager in Meadowview.

Police reported that the 17-year-old girl was walking home from a party about 6:30 a.m. Sunday when she was forced at gunpoint into a red 1990s Ford Mustang.

The suspects drove her to a vacant house in the area of Amherst Street and Meadowview Road where they sexually assaulted her, according to a police report.

Police described the three suspects as East Indian. The first suspect was described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, 230 pounds, wearing a black shirt and black pants; the second, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 150 pounds, wearing a black leather coat; and the third, 5 feet 9 inches tall, medium build, wearing a long-sleeved gray shirt with a white and black checked pattern.

November 23, 2009
Update: Severed limb found case treated as homicide, officials said

From Peter Hecht:

Sutter County sheriff's deputies are investigating the grim discovery of severed leg near a popular Feather River destination known as "Beer Can Beach."

The discovery of the left leg from unknown man Sunday set off a homicide investigation and an intensive search of the river area for more clues.

"We're treating this as a homicide until we learn otherwise," said Brenda Baker, sheriff's spokeswoman. "We've had a ground search. We've had a cadaver dog out. We've had a boat patrol out."

Authorities also were checking missing person reports from around the region to see if there is a possible match.

The area search was suspended late Monday afternoon with the mystery still unanswered.

Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said a car found about two miles away in Sutter County was registered to an adult male from Sacramento who was reported missing two days ago.

Baker said the leg was believed to have been at the location for less than a week. But she said authorities couldn't confirm if the presence of the vehicle had anything to do with the discovery.

The leg was found by citizens shortly after noon at the base of a levy by the beach off of Garden Highway and Lee Road.

People with information that may help in the investigation are being asked to call Sutter sheriff's detectives at (530) 822-7307. Tips can also be left through the department's Web site at

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November 23, 2009
Convicted plastic surgeon can't explain stay in psychiatric center

By Andy Furillo

The former Kaiser plastic surgeon who failed to show up for his sentencing on two sexual exploitation counts said in a telephone interview from a Ventura County psychiatric facility today that he has no idea how he wound up there or whether he tried to commit suicide.

"I'm trying to figure that out myself," Scott Takasugi said from the Hillmont Psychiatric Center in Ventura, where his lawyer said that the defendant is being held on a 72-hour hold as a threat to himself or others.

"I just woke up a couple hours ago, and I'm in a room here with a bunch of strange people," Takasugi said during the noon interview with The Bee.

Takasugi said he feels "perfect."

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White issued a no-bail warrant for Takasugi today when the former physician failed for the second time in four days to appear at his sentencing.

Takasugi, 56, pleaded no contest on June 5 to the two counts under the state's Business and Professions Code of sexually exploiting his clients. He had initially been charged in a 21-count complaint, following his arrest in June 2006.

"They are not Penal Code violations," Takasugi said. "They are Business and Professions Code violations. But they're not like a violent rape, things like that."

Despite his no-contest pleas, Takasugi said today he doesn't believe he is guilty of any crimes.

"What I did was misconstrued medical procedures," he said. "I practiced for 14 years, and all of a sudden a complaint comes out?"

Asked, then, why he pleaded no contest, Takasugi said "I'm not in agreement" with the legal advice he was given and that "I was told to buy an insurance policy," meaning that he should take the deal offered by the District Attrorney's Office so he wouldn't have to do as much time in prison.

Deputy District Attorney Keith Hill said Takasugi faces a term of three years and eight months when he is finally sentenced.

Takasugi's victims declined to comment today, but the father of one of the women said last Friday, "It just seems like the wheels of justice turn very slowly." The man, whose name is being withheld because it would serve to identify his daughter, said that Takasugi "continues to be arrogant, as displayed by his failure to show up today."

The man said "it's unfair" to the victims that the "judicial system wants to be fair to the perpetrator."

Judge White first issued the no-bail warrant on Friday when Takasugi failed to appear for his sentencing His lawyer told the court that Takasugi's father had died on Thursday night and that his client returned to Ventura County to attend to his "distraught" mother.

The judge then stayed the issuance of the warrant until today at 9 a.m.

"This is the time and date for judgment and sentencing," White said when he took the bench today. "Dr. Takasugi is not present this morning. A no-bail bench warrant is issued and bail was forfeited Friday. But last week, the order was stayed until 9 a.m. this morning.

"It's now 9:20," the judge said, before ordering that the warrant be served.

Takasugi's lawyer, Ted W. Cassman, told the court today that his client had been admitted for a 72-hour evaluation, after which the prosecutor asked the court to issue the warrant.

"Your Honor, this is the second time the defendant has failed to appear for court," Deputy DA Hill said. The prosecutor said that as part of his plea bargain, Takasugi, who is a weapons collector, had to refrain from having any weapons in his possession and that "he has apparently violated that aspect of the deal."

"His motives are unclear," Hill said. "It is unknown whether or not this is a ploy on his part to avoid court and sentencing."

Asked outside court if Takasugi had tried to kill himself, Hill said, "I can't verify that information" and referred questions to Cassman, who declined to comment. Asked if Cassman told him that Takasugi had tried to commit suicide, Hill said, "That's the information that was given to me."

Takasugi said he is "pretty sure" he got rid of his weapons, which he claimed were returned to him after his arrest more than three years ago, under the requirements of his recent plea deal.

He said that he is not depressed.

"I'm clinically fine, although the last three years have been melancholy years," Takasugi said. "I am sharp. I have plenty to live for."

He said he had been drinking tequila and "Chopin martinis" with friends and family on Sunday night, as they gathered ahead of his father's funeral next week in Ventura County. He said his last memory was parking his car somewhere. He said he had been under "lots of pressure" and that "we were having very little sleep" for the past several days.

Takasugi said he had been hoping to be sentenced to probation.

Asked what he would say to the victims in the two counts to which he pleaded no contest, Takasugi said, "I feel very sorry for everybody. Including me. To have to have put everybody through this and put into their minds that they had wrongdoing done to them, I would imagine that's horrible."

He told a reporter to talk to his attorney about what actually happened in the two counts.

Sacramento County sheriff's spokesman Tim Curran said that his agency will contact the local agency in Ventura County that has jurisdication at the psychiatric unit where Takasugi is being held "and let them know there is a no-bail warrant in the system. When he is released from that facility, he will be taken into custody and transported up here."

Takasugi said he knew nothing about the warrant.

"I don't know what happened today," he said.

He said he finds that idea of going to prison "a scary thought."

"In my particular case, I'm not looking forward to it at all," Takasugi said.

But he said "I'm a true believe that if someone has done something wrong, they need to own up to it."

November 23, 2009
Tip-off for Rocklin police: Cash register in the back seat

From: Bill Lindelof

Rocklin police say the cash register in the back seat was a tip-off this morning that three young men might be burglary suspects.

Police said the driver of the vehicle was pulled over for a minor traffic violation and an officer noticed a cash register in the back seat, a printed receipt sticking out of the top of the register.

Officers put two-and-two together and checked the business name on the receipt. Sure enough, the business had been burglarized.

Also, police said, potential blood evidence was gathered at the Rocklin business and on the register, and the driver had a small cut on his hand.

Arrested on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property were, from left: Jordan Wolfe, 18, of Rocklin; Drew Schroers, 19, of Roseville; and Dominique Carter, 19, of North Highlands.

Jordan Wolfe, suspect.jpgdrew schroers, suspect 3.jpgdominique carter, suspect 2.jpg

November 23, 2009
Update: Sacramento fire station's Dalmatian is in good hands

From Bill Lindelof

The little ceramic Dalmatian reported taken from a downtown Sacramento fire station has been found. Turns out the statue was never really stolen.

"Lucky," the inanimate mascot of Fire Station 2, had been taken by firefighters for good luck to a Willows car race in which they compete. However, the racing firefighters didn't tell other firefighters who reported the dog missing.

Sacramento fire officials said Lucky has been photographed by tourists from all over the world. It usually sits outside the station.

When firefighters saw fire spokesman Capt. Jim Doucette on television this morning putting out an appeal for Lucky's safe return, a firefighter called Doucette with the news that the dog statue was in good hands.

November 22, 2009
DUI checkpoint in Citrus Heights stings dozens of motorists

From Loretta Kalb:

A Citrus Heights checkpoint for drunken drivers netted four DUI arrests, 73 citations and 24 vehicle towings, police said today.

The checkpoint at Madison and San Juan avenues started at 8 p.m. Saturday and continued to 2 a.m. today.

About 1,930 vehicles drove through the checkpoint, Citrus Heights Police Sgt. Joshua McVay reported.

Towings can be triggered in cases where drivers are unlicensed.

Funding for the program comes from the state Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

November 22, 2009
Man shot to death in Rancho Cordova near shopping center, light rail station

From Loretta Kalb:

A man was shot to death in Rancho Cordova behind a department store near a light rail station Saturday night.

Sacramento County sheriff's deputies said the victim was found lying behind a Ross store near the light rail station at Zinfandel Drive and Folsom Boulevard in Rancho Cordova.

They described the homicide victim as "either a light-skinned Hispanic, or a white male in his early to mid 20's. "

The Sheriff's Department said the victim had at least one gunshot wound to his upper body. The shooting occurred at 10 p.m.

People at the light rail station told investigators they heard several shots fire and saw a ground of black juveniles run from behind the store.

The sheriff's K9 teams searched the area but found no suspects.

Paramedics, who arrived a short time after the shooting, pronounced the victim dead at the scene.

Coroner's officials said today they are withholding the identity of the victim until family members are notified.

Alane Masui, spokeswoman for Sacramento Regional Transit, said the light rail station is adjacent to the shopping center and reports indicate the shooting did not occur at the station.

November 22, 2009
Coroner IDs 16-year-old killed at south Sacramento apartment complex

By Kim Minugh and Loretta Kalb

The Sacramento County Coroner's Office has identified the 16-year-old boy killed in a south Sacramento apartment complex Saturday night as Francisco Jesus Medina-Tomas of Sacramento.

The teen was shot in the head about 9:30 p.m. as we waited on the sidewalk for a friend at the Bowling Green Village apartments on 49th Avenue, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Medina-Tomas' friend, who lives at the complex, told deputies he was walking to meet the teen when he heard several shots and saw four men running through the parking lot.

Detectives said they are not yet sure whether the assailants got into a car or continued to flee on foot. They also do not know whether any of the suspects live in the apartment complex.

Deputies arrived at 9:35 p.m. Paramedics pronounced Medina-Tomas dead a short time after they arrived.

Anyone with information on the crime is urged to call sheriff's homicide detectives at (916) 874-5115, or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Information also may be sent by text message to 274637 (CRIMES). Enter SACTIP followed by the tip information. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00.

November 21, 2009
Sacramento deputy district attorney arrested on DUI

Huggins booking photo.jpgFrom Denny Walsh

A veteran deputy district attorney was arrested on drunken driving charges in midtown Sacramento early this morning, police said.

An officer observed a vehicle being driven erratically by Ross Robert Huggins (photo left) westbound on I Street near 20th Street, according to Sacramento Police Department spokesman Norm Leong.

The officer stopped Huggins at 1:44 a.m. at 19th and J Streets, he said.

"The odor of alcoholic beverage was emanating from the vehicle," Leong said. "Field sobriety tests were conducted and Mr. Huggins was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol."

Huggins, 44, was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail at 3:01 a.m. and was released later Saturday, according to jail online records.

Reached by phone Saturday at his home, Huggins said, "I made a mistake and I'll have to accept the consequences. Beyond that, I'd rather not comment because it's a private matter."

Shelly Orio, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, did not return a call seeking comment.

Huggins did confirm he is currently assigned to the "state-targeted offenses program," a division comprised of five units - prison crimes, vehicle theft, mental health litigation, public assistance fraud and parental child abduction.

He prosecuted crimes against children for a number of years.

He was also the prosecutor of former Kings player Chris Webber and Jason Williams on reckless driving charges in 2000. After a day-long non-jury trial then-Sacramento Superior Court Judge Morrison C. England Jr., now a federal judge, decided they were not guilty.

Huggins, who has been a local prosecutor for more than a decade, graduated from University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1991.

November 21, 2009
Man arrested on involuntary manslaughter in roommate shooting

clip_image002.jpgbatalla.jpgBee Staff

On Saturday, a 24-year-old man was booked on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old man Friday night in a North Highlands home, Sacramento County Sheriff's officials report.

Jason Louis Batalla (photo left) posted a $30,000 bond and was released from the Sacramento County jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 10:30 a.m. Monday

Batalla was one of three men, all 24 years old, who were detained in connection with the shooting, which took place in the 6700 block of Medora Drive, said Sgt. Tim Curran, Sheriff's Department spokesman.

Responding deputies found the victim lying on the floor, just inside the front door of the home, Curran said. Paramedics pronounced the victim, who was Batalla's roommate, dead at the scene.

Two of the detained men were released shortly after questioning by detectives. Batalla was arrested.

Someone in the house called sheriff's officials at 7:15 p.m. and said his friend had been shot.

The victim, whose identity wasn't reported, suffered a single gunshot wound to the chest.

No motive for the shooting was given.

November 21, 2009
Teen arrested in robbery; 2nd teen shot by officer after fight

From Denny Walsh

A 14-year-old was booked into Juvenile Hall Saturday on charges of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon after he was detained Friday night at the scene of an officer-involved shooting in the Foothill Farms area.

After questioning the teenager, sheriff's detectives said, they became convinced he was involved in the robbery of a convenience store clerk that preceded the shooting.

Responding at 10 p.m. Friday to a report of an assault on the clerk, sheriff's deputies captured two subjects a short distance from the store, which is at Madison and Garfield avenues. With the pair detained in the back of a patrol car, one of the deputies pursued a third subject on foot.

He caught up with the 18-year-old and the two engaged in a fight behind a fourplex on the 5100 block of Connecticut Drive. The deputy, whose name was not released, fired multiple shots at the subject, who was hit at least once in the torso. He was transported to a hospital and is expected to survive, according to a Sheriff's Department press release.

The 14-year-old was detained at the scene of the shooting when additional deputies arrived. After the trio of detained subjects were questioned, the teenager was arrested and the other two were released. When the man who was shot is deemed fit for incarceration, he will be booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on felony charges of resisting an officer by means of threats or violence and robbery, the release said. An unidentified suspect in the convenience store robbery is being sought. He is described by witnesses only as a young black male, the Sheriff's press release said.

Sheriff's officials said the officer who shot the suspect has been placed on paid administrative leave while homicide and internal affairs detectives and the district attorney's office investigate the incident, in accord with department policies. The officer is 45 and has been with the department 15 years.

Anyone with information about the shooting or the robbery is urged to call sheriff's detectives at (916) 874-5115, or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP, or send a tip by text messaging 274637 (CRIMES) then enter SACTIP followed by the information. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

November 20, 2009
Suspect sought after reported sexual assault in Pollock Pines area

From Bee staff:

El Dorado County sheriff's officials are seeking information about a reported kidnapping and possible sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in the Pollock Pines area.

Sheriff's deputies responded to the incident about 5 p.m. Thursday.

A department news release provided these details:

The victim reported that she had been walking along a local trail, when she was attacked by a man. The suspect dragged the victim off the trail and attempted to sexually assault the victim. The victim was able to fight off her attacker and flee.

The victim provided this description of the suspect: white male adult in his late 20s, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds, medium to muscular build, short straight brown hair, light complexion, with a reddish goatee beard. The suspect was wearing dark tight-fitting pants and a long-sleeve red/black checkered shirt.

Officials said the suspect was not found after an extensive search of the area.

The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information about the incident to call (530) 621-6600.

November 20, 2009
Breakfast-cooking Roseville burglar sentenced to two years in prison

From Ed Fletcher:

A Roseville man was sentenced to two years in state prison after he broke into an occupied Roseville home on Coloma Way during the early morning hours of Sept. 5 and began cooking breakfast, authorities report.

The homeowner noticed the intrusion about 1:45 a.m. as Mejia began exploring the home.

The fact that Mejia didn't make off with anything is irrelevant said, Art Campos, a spokesman for the Placer County District Attorney's office.

"When you break into someone's house, its burglary," Campos said. "We don't know if he was there to steal anything."

Mejia's bizarre behavior didn't end there.

Twenty minutes later, another homeowner awoke to find Mejia in her Audrey Way sunroom.

The homeowner immediately called the police, Campos said. When they arrived they found a chair on fire.

Mejia was arrested and plead no contest to two counts of residential burglary.

November 20, 2009
Galt police arrest Sacramento officer on alleged domestic violence

bryan david weinrich (3-1-86).jpgFrom Kim Minugh:

A Sacramento police officer was arrested this morning on suspicion of felony domestic violence and brandishing his service weapon during an argument with his girlfriend, according to authorities.

Bryan David Weinrich (left photo), a 23-year-old patrol officer who works downtown, was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail at 11 a.m. and has since been released, according to jail booking records. He was booked on suspicion of domestic violence, brandishing a firearm, kidnapping and false imprisonment - all felonies.

Galt police Lt. Jim Uptegrove said the charges stem from an argument that began Wednesday night at the couple's Galt home and lasted through Thursday. Weinrich's girlfriend called police at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Uptegrove said.

Sacramento Police Department spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong confirmed that Weinrich is an officer with that department and said he has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.

"We take the allegations seriously and we'll be conducting a concurrent internal investigation," Leong said.

That internal investigation will determine what, if any, administrative policies were broken while also monitoring the Galt Police Department's criminal investigation, Leong said. He said it's too early to say what would happen to Weinrich if he were found guilty of the allegations against him.

Uptegrove said Galt police officers arrived at the couple's home Thursday night and the girlfriend told them that Weinrich had "physically shoved her down" and brandished his service weapon when they'd fought the day before.

Uptegrove said officers found physical evidence of injury on the woman, but she did not need medical attention.

She also told officers that Weinrich left their home that night, and the couple patched things up when he returned the next morning, Uptegrove said. At some point Thursday, they drove together to a home Weinrich owns in Roseville and began arguing again during the drive, the lieutenant said.

Several times, the girlfriend told police, she tried to get out of the car when they were stopped at an intersection, but Weinrich "held on to her and wouldn't let her leave," Uptegrove said.

Weinrich eventually let go and she left, Uptegrove said. She told officers that she walked to his Roseville home, and the couple returned together to Galt. Weinrich left some time before his girlfriend called police and officers arrived, Uptegrove said.

Galt officers contacted Roseville police, who reached Weinrich at his home there and arrested him about 3 a.m., Uptegrove said.

The domestic violence charge stems from the allegation that Weinrich pushed his girlfriend to the ground, Uptegrove said. The kidnapping and false imprisonment charges stem from the allegation that he would not let her leave the car when she tried, according to the lieutenant.

Uptegrove said Galt police had never before been called to the couple's home.

Booking records indicate Weinrich is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Weinrich is the son of decorated police Sgt. Steve Weinrich, who is still with the department. The elder Weinrich was shot in the thigh in 1999 as he and other officers tried to arrest a parolee wanted in connection with a 35-day crime spree that included two murders.

That parolee, David Scott Daniels, was taken into custody and eventually was convicted of the two murders and the attempted murder of Weinrich, whose badge was cut by a bullet. In 2001, Daniels was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

November 20, 2009
Update: Elderly man found, doing well

From Bill Lindelof:

Sacramento police officials report that an elderly man who suffers from Alzheimer's disease has been located and is doing well.

Antonio Garcia, 79, who was last seen at 4:30 p.m. Thursday raking leaves in his front yard of his North Sacramento home, was found Friday, officials said.

November 20, 2009
Del Paso Heights apartment damaged by fire

From Kim Minugh:

Fire damaged a Del Paso Heights apartment Thursday evening, according to authorities.

No residents of the North Avenue complex were injured in the 5 p.m. blaze, said Sacramento fire Capt. Jim Doucette. One firefighter, however, might have suffered a fractured arm when he fell while battling the fire.

Firefighters arrived at the complex to find a downstairs unit engulfed in flames that were threatening the upstairs apartment, Doucette said. Crews extinguished the fire within minutes.

Doucette said the fire mostly was kept to the kitchen. Investigators believe the fire might have started by the stove and oven, Doucette said.

The lone occupant of the apartment was offered housing assistance from the American Red Cross, Doucette said.

November 20, 2009
Robber makes off with cash, lottery tickets in Woodland

By Bill LIndelof

A robber in Woodland made off with an undisclosed amount of cash and scratch-off lottery tickets this morning.

Woodland police said that a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and a mask held up the clerk at the AM/PM at 313 Main St. at about 3:30 a.m.

After the stick-up, instead of calling 911, the clerk called the store owner, delaying police response. Police eventually learned that the robber pointed a black, semi-automatic handgun at the clerk.

The clerk filled a plastic bag with a cash and another bag with the lottery tickets. The robber fled the store on foot.

November 19, 2009
Police officers who work with homeless people lauded at graduation

B&R.JPGFrom Kim Minugh:

Paul Sousa found himself Thursday night where he never thought he'd be: Sober, out of prison, telling a group of people about his "transformed" life - and thanking two police officers for their service.

Had anyone ever told the once-rebellious man with a "hatred" for authority that he'd do such a thing, he said, he would've told them, "You are high."

But on Thursday night, Sousa, who was celebrating his graduation from the Bishop Francis Quinn Cottages program, credited Sacramento police officers Mark Zoulas and Michael Cooper for being among the people who "saved me from myself."

Then the convicted felon with a new life handed a certificate to the two officers and embraced them.

Cooper and Zoulas (pictured left and right, respectively, in a 2007 Bee file photo), known by many as "Batman and Robin," were recognized at the graduation for their longtime work with Sacramento's homeless community. They were chosen to be award recipients by people graduating from the Quinn Cottages program, which helps once-homeless individuals find work, stable housing and sobriety, said Robert Tobin, president and chief executive officer of the umbrella Cottage Housing organization.

"Your compassionate professionalism brings a sense of safety, justice and civility to the streets of Sacramento and those living on them," reads a certificate given to the veteran officers.

The officers, in turn, lauded the program's graduates.

"You've become an example to us of what every human being can become," Zoulas told the crowd. "We need to double our efforts to find more housing and more programs" for the homeless, he said.

His longtime partner until recently, Cooper, said the recognition was an honor.

"If we've done anything to help people who come here ... then our careers have been successful," he said.

Zoulas is a 28-year veteran of the force and began working in the downtown area in January 2000. Cooper, a 19-year veteran, began working with Zoulas in 2003 but recently returned to patrol. While a team, the pair focused their efforts on the homeless community, separating what they refer to as "the sheep from the wolves" and working closely with advocacy groups.

The team has earned much praise from community groups over the years, and Zoulas said the recognition reminds them that their work can, and does, make a difference.

"It helps you take your job much more seriously, and try a little harder," he said. "It really does blow your mind to see how many people you've impacted."

November 19, 2009
Rockin PD: DNA match leads to arrest in suspected sexual assault

wiidanan ladd douglas.JPGFrom Hudson Sangree:

Rocklin police announced Thursday that a DNA match had led to an arrest in an alleged sexual assault that occurred nearly two years ago.

A news release provided these details:

On Jan. 1, 2008, officers responded in the early morning hours to a report of a sexual assault in the 5400 block of Quane Road.

The alleged victim, 27, was a man who had come to a party there on New Years Eve and decided to spend the night. He said he was fast asleep, when a man woke him up while sexually assaulting him.

The suspect had also been at the party and lived in the neighborhood, police said.

Detectives obtained DNA samples from both men, but the samples weren't processed until earlier this month.

A match led to the arrest of Ladd Douglass Wildenen (top left photo), 41, for suspicion of sexual assault and oral copulation, both felonies.

He was booked into the Placer County Jail, with bail set at $150,000.

November 19, 2009
Narcotics team: Meth lab discovered in Davis; three arrested

From Hudson Sangree:

Authorities announced Thursday they had discovered a methamphetamine laboratory and made three arrests at an apartment complex in north Davis.

According to a news release, the operation began as an investigation of a parolee selling drugs by the Yolo Narcotics Enforcement Team, a multi-agency task force.

About 6 p.m. Wednesday, officers arrested Brandon Lee Whitmore, 34, of Davis, as he tried to flee in his vehicle.

Officers searching Whitmore's apartment on Alvarado Avenue found loaded guns and a meth lab, according to the release. Teams were called in to safely remove it, and the apartment was deemed uninhabitable.

They arrested two other suspects: Carrissa Nicolay, 28, of West Sacramento and Carrissa Dawson, 24, of Woodland, the release said.

November 19, 2009
Sacramento driver faces prison for killing motorcyclist

From Andy Furillo

A motorist who crashed into a motorcycle rider and left him dying in the street last year is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 18 in Sacramento Superior Court.

William Lyons, 56, is facing a term of 12 years and eight months for felony hit and run, misdemeanor manslaughter and driving with a suspended license.

Lyons pleaded out to the charges last week in connection with the Aug. 25, 2008, death of Mike Winnett.

A popular blues harmonica player and recovering drug addict who had devoted his life to helping others get clean, Winnett, 46, was killed when Lyons - a long time offender with several previous felony convictions - ran a stop sign on Aug. 24, 2008, and hit Winnett's motorcycle at Madison Avenue and Lincoln Oaks Drive.

November 19, 2009
Pair get life in 2006 Sacramento robbery/murder

From Andy Furillo

Two convicted Sacramento murderers have been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Curtis Level Chapman, 21, and Richard Antonio Hundley, 20, received the terms from Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette on Monday for the Nov. 26, 2006, robbery and shooting death of David Joshua Barreda Jr., 33.

Marlette sentenced Chapman to an additional 25-to-life term for use of a firearm.

According to prosecutors, Barreda, a Vallejo resident, was robbed and killed at a house in unincorporated south Sacramento where the defendants had been staying. Barreda went to the house to visit a woman he had met on the Internet, his father said.

A third defendant in the case, Tammy Renee Turney, 49, is scheduled for trial on Jan. 21.

November 19, 2009
Letterman pokes fun at Mystery Cop from Sacramento

Editor's note: This is another report in an occasional series on unusual events or people found by The Bee's police reporters and editors.

From Kim Minugh

The Sacramento Police Department got a little national exposure Wednesday night as late-night talk show host David Letterman poked some fun at an (obviously off-duty) officer sitting in his audience.

Well, at least we think it's Sac PD that got the attention. The officer has yet to be identified, and will here on out be referred to as the Mystery Cop.

Letterman began the running joke early in his monologue, as he laughed about a clear curtain on his set that appears to have little function. He said the guy who sold show officials the curtain must have been a real scam artist, and quipped, "Thank God we've got the police looking into it!" as a cameraman panned to a smiling man in the audience.

A few minutes later, Letterman threw in a random reference to the officer, saying "This next item will make you wish you were a cop in Sacramento," prompting laughter from the audience. He went on to talk about scientists who have found evidence of heart disease in 3,000-year-old mummies.

The camera panned to Mystery Cop - who at this point appeared good-natured but a tad embarrassed. House band leader Paul Shaffer rubbed it in, exclaiming "There he is!"

Come forward, Mystery Cop! We'd love to hear about your experience.

Letterman's monologue can be viewed below.

November 19, 2009
Sacramento PD: Robbery suspect tries to set clerk on fire

From Kim Minugh

Sacramento police arrested a 39-year-old parolee-at-large Wednesday night after he allegedly tried to light a north Sacramento convenience store clerk on fire during a robbery.

Richard Guy Hamilton was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail early this morning on suspicion of assault and robbery as well as violating the terms of his parole, according to booking records. He is ineligible for bail.

About 7:40 p.m., a suspect entered a store on the 3600 block of Marysville Boulevard and squirted lighter fluid on the clerk, threatening to light him on fire if he didn't hand over cash, said police Sgt. Norm Leong.

The suspect then grabbed a lighter from the front counter and tried to ignite the soaked clerk, but was unsuccessful - the lighter needed to be filled with lighter fluid, Leong said. He ran out of the store, without any cash in hand, after another customer scared him off, the sergeant said.

The suspect fled in a waiting vehicle, and witnesses were able to provide police with a partial license plate number and a description of the suspect. Just before 4 a.m., officers spotted a car and driver matching those descriptions in the area of Marysville and Los Robles boulevards, Leong said.

The driver of that car was detained, but ruled out as a suspect. He told officers he had borrowed the car from a parolee-at-large named Richard Hamilton, who was at a nearby home and also matched the description of the assault suspect, Leong said.

Officers located and arrested Hamilton. In a lineup, witnesses positively identified Hamilton as the assailant, Leong said.

November 19, 2009
Woodland PD: Juvenile tries to shoot cops with arrows

Bee Staff

A juvenile threw a knife and tried to fire arrows at Woodland police officers and then challenged police to shoot him before he was subdued without injury, according to a Woodland PD news release.

The release gave this account:

At about 11:51 p.m. on Wednesday, police received a call from the mother of a 15-year-old male, who allegedly was intoxicated, out of control, and vandalizing their Eaton Court residence.

A second caller told police that the suspect, whose name is being withheld due to his age, was now breaking windows at the residence. According to the mother, who left the home and was at a neighbor's house, there was nobody else in the residence with the suspect.

Police arrived to find the suspect still in his home, throwing and breaking items, including windows, and yelling and screaming.

Police noticed drops of blood near the entryway of the home and fire and ambulance personnel were staged near the area as a precautionary measure.

Police made repeated attempts to communicate with the suspect, who threw a knife toward the broken-out front window and toward officers. The suspect then armed himself with a bow and arrow, which caused police to quickly retreat to positions of cover.

The suspect twice attempted to fire arrows from the bow but the arrows did not make it out of the house.

The suspect did not respond to police efforts to communicate with him.

At about 12:42 am, the suspect walked out of his home with his hands in the air, but still acting "very aggressive" toward police. The suspect yelled, "Shoot me," several times to police while walking directly toward one of the officers who was giving the suspect commands to get on the ground.

The officer yelled several more times for the suspect to get on the ground but the suspect ignored the commands and continued to advance on the officer, yelling and screaming at him. The officer fired his TASER stun gun, which immediately brought the suspect to the ground.

The suspect was handcuffed and then placed in a WRAP device, which helped to immobilize the suspect's body during transport in a police vehicle. The suspect was transported to the Woodland Memorial Hospital for a pre-booking medical clearance, and then transported to the Yolo County Juvenile Hall, where he was booked on several felony charges.

The only injuries sustained by the suspect were those caused by himself when he broke out the windows of the home, police said. No officers were injured during the incident.

November 19, 2009
Ask Sacto911: Sacramento PD lists daily crime reports online

Q: Does the Sacramento Police Web site provide a timely listing of all crime reports? I would like to know the specific location (or at least the street name) of the recent rash residential burglaries reported in my neighborhood. - Boogieman, Sacramento

A: You can find daily reports from Sacramento police officers at this site (this is not every call for service but it is the closest to what you want. The freshest information is about 24 hours old):

The Bee, television and radio stations and other media use these reports as a tip service to find interesting stories.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

November 19, 2009
Yolo DA: Man who killed couple in Davis denied parole

Bee Staff

A man who chased his ex-girlfriend into her Davis apartment, shot and killed her friend and then shot her several times through the heart in 1980 lost his bid for parole this week, according to Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig.

Daniel Wehner was denied parole by the full panel of eleven commissioners of the Board of Parole Hearings, Reisig said in a news release.

Wehner was 26 when he killed Robin Ehlman, 20, and her friend John Manville. In 2006, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger overturned a decision to parole Wehner, saying the details of the "terrifying incident" indicate Wehner is too dangerous to be released from prison, The Bee reported.

Wehner had been stalking Ehlman and physically abused her during their relationship, causing her to lose consciousness after choking her on at least one occasion, Reisig said.

On June 19, 1981, Wehner was sentenced to 27 years to life for the murders, Reisig said.

A court appointed psychiatrist interviewed Wehner's family prior to the sentencing hearing, Reisig said.

Family members described him as "irresponsible," having an "explosive temper," and "violent." "He had a winning personality and charmed older people but had not an ounce of sincerity." Wehner's family described Robin as "soft and gentle," Reisig said.

Reisig gave this account of the events leading up to the decision to not parole Wehner:

At a Sept. 10 parole hearing, the two commissioners were unable to agree on whether or not to give Wehner a parole date. This split decision resulted in a hearing this week before the full panel.

A heavy hitter lineup spoke against Wehner's release at the hearing.

Those included two of John Manville's sisters; Robin Ehlman's father, younger sister and niece; Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven; Davis Police Chief Landy Black; and District Attorney Investigator John Updergraff who was a Davis police officer on his first week on the job at the time of the murders.

Police Chief Black said that Wehner's "release will do nothing but raise the fears of citizens seeking the solace of peace, order, and justice in their communities and will only degrade their sense that justice prevails."

Investigator Updergraff recalled these murders as being the most gruesome he has seen in over 30 years of law enforcement. When he arrived at the apartment, Manville was not yet dead. The man's dying sounds left an indelible impression on him, he said.

Robin Ehlman's younger sister Tracy Haynes told the commissioners: "It is too late to save my sister Robin or John even though we desperately tried. Now it is about protecting my own children and society. You have no idea the type of individual you are dealing with but I do. Please don't let us down again. Let's learn from our mistakes the first time around and keep the rest of my family, especially my children, and the rest of society safe from Mr. Wehner."

Reisig said that "We will continue to do everything we can to support the Ehlman and Manville families."

Wehner will be eligible for parole consideration again in three years, Reisig said.

November 19, 2009
Ask Sacto911: Angry son sent to prison in Natomas slaying

Q: What happened to the suspects in the September or October 1993 shooting or stabbing death of by a man that was set up by the son of the victim's girlfriend? - Bob, Sacramento

A: On Sept. 25, 1993, Apolinar Martinez, 28, was stabbed eight or nine times and shot once in the head after assailants jumped him, gagged him and bound him with duct tape when he entered his Natomas apartment, The Bee reported.

Martinez's attackers included his girlfriend's son, who was angry because he believed Martinez had beaten her, police said.

However, the girlfriend had not filed police complaints against Martinez in the past, records showed.

The girlfriend's son, Marcos Gonzalez, then 21, was convicted of murder and given a 15-years-to-life sentence on Feb. 24, 1995, Sacramento Superior Court records show.

Jesus Orona, then 18, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison on June 12, 1997, court records show.

Francisco Orona, then 19, pleaded no contest to a murder charge and was sentenced to 15-years-to-life in prison on Sept. 6, 1996, court records show.

The Bee did not report the relationship, if any, between the Orona suspects.

A 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old youth boy also were arrested in the case. The Bee could not find any records indicating that those two were ever charged in the case.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

November 19, 2009
Crime Alert: Suspected parole violators wanted

DEWITT, Joseph 11-16-09.jpg GUERRERO, David M. 11-16-09.jpg MARTINEZ, Peter 11-16-09.jpg MONTGOMERY, William 11-16-09.jpg

The California Department of Corrections is seeking four suspects -- (photos, from left) Joseph Dewitt, David Mario Guerrero, Peter Martinez and William Montgomery -- wanted on no-bail felony warrants for reportedly violating their parole, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

DeWitt, also known as Joe Dewitt, Michael Dewitt and Nelson Dewitt, is described as age 44, 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 205 pounds with black hair and brown eyes and tattoos on his left arm and left shoulder. According to authorities, he was last known to live in the 9900 block of Lincoln Village Drive in Rancho Cordova.

* * *

Guerrero, who has tattoos on his chest and left and right arms, is described as age 35, 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 270 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. According to authorities, he was last known to live in the 4500 block of 65th Street in the Tahoe Park area of Sacramento.

* * *

Martinez, also known as Arthur Selgado, is described as age 42, 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 230 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Considered armed and dangerous, he was last known to live in the 2100 block of 57th Avenue in the Golf Course Terrace area of Sacramento, officials said.

* * *

Montgomery, also considered armed and dangerous, is described as age 46, 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 156 pounds with blond hair and hazel eyes. He has scars on forehead, left arm, left and right eyes, and tattoos on his abdomen, back, right arm and upper right arm, authorities report.

He is a transient who was last known to live in the Sacramento area, officials said.

Anyone with information about Dewitt, Guerrero, Martinez or Montgomery 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.

November 18, 2009
Rocklin woman gets 1 year in jail for embezzling $47,000

Keate.jpgFrom Kim Minugh

A 24-year-old woman who worked as a dental office manager in Roseville will serve a year in jail for embezzling more than $47,000 from the business and its patients, according to the Placer County District Attorney's office.

Holly Ann Keate (photo left) of Rocklin also must serve five years of probation and pay back the embezzled money, a judge ordered last week, according to a news release from the DA's office.

In September, Keate pleaded no contest to a charge of grand theft by embezzlement, the release states.

Keate embezzled the money between Aug. 15, 2008 and Jan. 22, 2009. Her former employer, Dr. Thomas Schlehofer, wrote in a letter to the judge that Keate deceived people "with her power of authority over patients," according to the news release, and "abused her managerial position with malicious neglect of patients, their personal files, their credit cards and their cash."

She also preyed on senior citizens without insurance, Schlehofer wrote to the judge, according to the release.

Keate used the money for vacations, laser treatment and elective plastic surgery, the release states. She was arrested at Sacramento International Airport just before boarding a plane headed for Hawaii.

November 18, 2009
'America's Most Wanted' credits feds, Sacramento officers

From Kim Minugh

The folks at America's Most Wanted are giving due credit to federal officials and Sacramento police officers - and their "canine heroes" - after picking up a suspect wanted for three Berkeley murders who's been on the lam since May.

They did so after taking a jab at the suspect himself, who, the AMW folks point out, apparently didn't have the smarts to stay underground after his mug was plastered over national television earlier this month.

"You'd think since he appeared on AMW, triple-murder suspect Rafael Campbell should've laid low," states text posted on the AMW Web site. "However, he couldn't outrun the efforts of a large task force and two canine heroes when they tracked him down in Sacramento, Calif."

In May, the 25-year-old Campbell and three other suspects allegedly gunned down 25-year-old C.J. Davis and slammed their getaway car into two more victims. Killed were 26-year-old Todd Perea and 41-year-old Floyd Ross, according to the AMW Web site, the details of which were confirmed by federal officials Tuesday.

The violence apparently stemmed from a dispute between Campbell's gang, "N.S.O." or "North Side Oakland," and a member of Davis' family, investigators said.

A fugitive task force including U.S. Marshals, assisted by Sacramento police officers, went to an apartment complex in Natomas on Tuesday in search of Campbell. When he found out the authorities had come calling, Campbell jumped from a balcony and took off through a nearby field, Sacramento police said. It was his second fast break from the law in a week: He apparently outran the task force in Hayward last week, jumping from a balcony, scaling a razorwire fence and disappearing, according to authorities.

This time, though, Campbell didn't get far. Sacramento police K9s Angus and Sonic caught up to him, ending a six-month manhunt. He was taken into custody without further trouble - and with a couple dog bites, police said.

For more details, click here.

November 18, 2009
Yolo County getting federal money to fight child porn

From Bill Lindelof:

The Yolo County District Attorney announced his office will receive nearly $300,000 from the federal government to fight child pornography.

The DA will get $290,180 over two years for computer equipment and to pay for an investigator.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig welcomed the grant, especially in light of Yolo County's tight budget.

"We now have the resources to focus our efforts on the source -- those who make, distribute and receive these horrendous images," said Reisig in a press release.

November 18, 2009
Man arrested in Oak Park fatal shooting

From Bill Lindelof:

Sacramento police have arrested a man in connection with a homicide over the weekend in Oak Park.

Police arrested Eugene Edward Walls Jr., 35, of Sacramento on suspicion of shooting Shedrick Letronn Cotton, 35, of Union City on Saturday night.

Sacramento police officials said Cotton's body was found on the front lawn of a house in the 4000 block of 32nd Street about 11:15 p.m., about 10 minutes after officers were alerted to shots fired in the area.

Cotton suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Detectives said there was a loud party going on nearby, but it was not known if the party was related to the shooting.

Sacramento police said this morning that a search warrant executed as part of the homicide investigation at Walls' residence resulted in the discovery of ammunition. Walls was prohibited from having ammunition because of a prior conviction.

Walls was stopped Tuesday at Fruitridge Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of the ammunition. After additional police work, detectives added suspicion of homicide charges and booked Walls into Sacramento County Jail.

November 17, 2009
No more warnings; seat-belt law will be strictly enforced

Bee Staff

From Roseville to Sacramento to Elk Grove, law enforcement officers are warning motorists that enforcement of seat-belt laws will be strict this month.

The Click It or Ticket campaign will be Nov. 17-30, numerous agencies have announced.

Officers will be out in force looking for anyone - driver, passenger or child - not properly restrained, they warned.

More than 175 local law enforcement agencies statewide and the CHP will be participating in this year's Click It or Ticket mobilization.

Funding to support California's Click It or Ticket campaign was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

November 17, 2009
Cops: 'America's Most Wanted' fugitive arrested in Sacramento

From Kim Minugh

A man suspected of killing three men during a violent spree in Berkeley earlier this year - and featured on "America's Most Wanted" TV show earlier this month - was arrested today in Natomas, according to authorities.

With the help of Sacramento Police Department officers and K9s, U.S. marshals took Rafael J. Campbell, 25, into custody at an apartment complex on Natomas Central Drive, according to officials from both agencies.

It's unclear why Campbell was in the Sacramento area, said Lenny Boyer, acting U.S. marshal for eastern California.

Berkeley police have been searching for Campbell since May, when he and three other suspects allegedly took three lives in a matter of minutes, according to the America's Most Wanted Web site. Boyer confirmed the details of the show's Web site.

The violence began when Campbell and another suspect allegedly fatally shot 25-year-old CJ Davis in Berkeley. The two suspects fled in a car with two other unidentified suspects, and, after leading officers on a seven-minute pursuit, crashed into a motorist and a pedestrian, according to the show's Web site. Killed in the collisions were 26-year-old Todd Perea and 41-year-old Floyd Ross.

Campbell and the other three suspects are members of the "N.S.O." - or North Side Oakland - gang and apparently killed Davis, the first victim, while trying to retaliate against a member of Davis' family, investigators said.

Campbell is wanted on three counts of murder, investigators said.

For more details, click here.

November 17, 2009
Sacramento jury finds man guilty of stabbing fetus to death

From Andy Furillo

A Sacramento Superior Court jury has found Daniel Ray Poplin Jr. guilty of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his girlfriend's fetus.

The jury returned the verdict on Friday against the 32-year-old defendant for the Dec. 31 stabbing in which he killed the 27-week-old fetus.

Deputy District Attorney Noah Phillips said that Poplin stabbed his pregnant girlfriend in the abdomen with a butcher knife because he thought she had been impregnated by another man.

Judge Greta Curtis Fall scheduled Poplin's sentencing for Dec. 11.

November 17, 2009
Man sentenced for Sacramento murder in running teens off road

From Andy Furillo

A judge today sentenced Tyrone Adam Palmer to 22 years and four months to life in prison for running a car with three teenaged girls off the road two years ago, killing one, leaving a second in a persistent vegetative state and severely injuring the third.

Palmer (photo bottom right), who was convicted of second-degree murder last month by a Sacramento Superior Court jury, tearfully apologized to the mother of Kailey McGagin (teen at far right in photo at bottom), the 17-year-old girl who died in the Oct. 13, 2007, hit-and-run on Winding Way in Carmichael, but then told Judge David De Alba that he never knew the girls' car crashed.

The apology came when Kailey's sobbing mother, Erin McGagin, told the court that "I just want him to remember" what he did," to which Palmer turned around and sobbingly replied, "I'll never forget. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about it. I'm so sorry."

The defendant's apology at first prompted Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi to tell the court that "I give Mr. Palmer and lot of credit" and that "I respect" the defendant for what appeared to be a heart-felt remark.

"It's something a lot of victims never get to see or hear," Grippi said.

Then, when the judge asked Palmer if there was anything he wanted to say directly to the court, the defendant sought to profess his innocence to the murder conviction, saying "I never saw them crash" and that he wasn't aware that anybody died until he heard it on the TV news the next day.

"It happened behind me," Palmer said.

As soon as Palmer finished, the prosecutor told De Alba, "I spoke too soon about my respect for Mr. Palmer. He came back to the same resounding theme that it's not his fault," Grippi said.

The prosecutor said that a friend of Palmer's rebutted the claim that he didn't know anything about the crash that he told the friend about it that night before it was ever on the news.

Grippi said Palmer's friend told investigators that the defendant commented that the girls "were screwing with him and they got into a wreck or something."

"For him to make this statement now is hard to take," Grippi said.

Palmer, 40, gave chase to the girls' car after one of them threw an egg at him while he was in the process of stealing a license plate off a utility trailer. The girls had just dropped off a friend at her Carmichael residence in the pre-dawn hours after a night of partying and drinking.

Seychelle Curry (middle teen in photo), the driver of the car, was left in a comatose state as a result of the crash. The other passenger in the car, Valerie Schmidt (teen at left in photo), now 19, sustained two broken legs and severe facial cuts.



November 17, 2009
Ask Sacto911: Sacramento/Davis restroom slayer on death row

Q: What happened to the man who used a hammer to kill a UCD doctor in the hospital restroom in 1985? Anonymous, Sacramento

Jeffrey Gerard Jones is on death row, according to state Corrections Department records.

Jones, now 50, received the death sentence for two fatal hammer attacks in Sacramento and Davis restrooms in 1985, apparently believing doctors had implanted a drill bit in his ear that made him hear voices.

Dr. Michael Corbett and Harry Dong died after Jones bludgeoned them in men's rooms at the Sacramento Medical Center and Sutter's Fort, respectively. A third man was partially paralyzed after an attack at the Medical Center.

Jones also confessed to the hammer slaying of Fred Morris in a University of California, Davis, restroom and was given an additional sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

Jones had a history of mental treatment for paranoid, but was found competent to stand trial.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

November 16, 2009
Placer County sheriff's deputy arrested on suspicion of DUI

CALIGUIRE.jpgFrom Chelsea Phua:

A Placer County sheriff's deputy has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level about four times the legal limit, authorities said.

Deputy John Caliguire (left photo) was arrested about 9 a.m. Nov. 7, after someone called authorities to report that a driver was unable to stay in lane in the area of Sunset Boulevard and Topaz Avenue, Rocklin police Sgt. Tom Dwyer said.

By the time officers arrived, the driver had stopped near Coppervale Drive and got out of his Dodge pickup truck, which was rolled up on a portion of the curb, Dwyer said.

According to a police report, Dwyer said the driver, identified as Caliguire, had a "strong odor of alcohol beverage emitting from his person" and had slurred speech - signs of alcohol intoxication. Officers administered a field sobriety test, which Caliguire failed, Dwyer said.

When officers tested him twice using a preliminary alcohol screening device, Rocklin Police Sgt. Chad Butler said Caliguire registered a 0.31 blood-alcohol level the first time and 0.33 the second time.

Sheriff's department spokesman Lt. Jeff Ausnow said the department is aware of Caliguire's arrest.

"We are monitoring his criminal case and an internal investigation may be pending," Ausnow said. "The Placer County Sheriff's Department takes drunk driving very seriously and a violation of this law would be unacceptable behavior for a member of our department."

Caliguire has been working for the sheriff's department for eight years. Ausnow said Caliguire remains on active duty during the investigation, but isn't on a patrol assignment.

November 16, 2009
Man admits burning wine storage facility; 6 million bottles destroyed

By Denny Walsh

Businessman Mark C. Anderson admitted in Sacramento federal court today setting a fire that burned 6 million bottles of some of California's best wines.

Anderson pleaded guilty to arson resulting in injury to two firefighters, interstate transportation of stolen property, mail fraud, use of an alias as part of a mail fraud scheme, and income tax evasion.

The 61-year-old Anderson, who was scheduled to go on trial Tuesday, changed his mind in return for an assurance by Assistant U. S. Attorney R. Steven Lapham that he will recommend a prison term of 15 years and 8 months - the bottom of the advisory guidelines range. The arson count alone carries a statutory maximum 40 years.

Anderson is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 26.

He operated a wine storage business, first in Sausalito and then in Vallejo. He torched a massive above-ground bunker on the decommissioned Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, where the products of more than 100 Napa Valley wineries were stored. He had rented space there until his eviction some months before the October 2005 fire.

There has been speculation that Anderson burned the bunker to cover his tracks on sales of clients' wine without their permission. Charges are pending against him in Marin Superior Court in connection with that matter.

Lapham said Anderson's motive for the arson was not clear to him and defense attorney Mark Reichel would not discuss it.

November 16, 2009
'K-9 Bandit' snares suspect after helicopter pursuit

From Bill Lindelof

Different facets of police work -- foot pursuit, helicopter search and police dog capture -- came into play over the weekend to arrest a parolee who police said ran from them.

Sacramento police said Stephen Barros, 43, fled on foot when an officer tried to speak with him early Saturday morning near El Camino Avenue and Empress Street in North Sacramento.

Barros was halfway over a fence when the officer grabbed him. To get away, Barros kicked the officer in the chest, police said.

At that point, police surrounded the immediate area and began a search. From the air, the police department's helicopter crew zeroed in on a "hot spot" in a Dumpster within the perimeter.

The heat-sensing device aboard the helicopter picked up a live object inside the bin.

Officers converged on the garbage bin and announced that if anyone inside did not come out, a police dog would be used to search the trash container. Hearing no response, "K-9 Bandit" entered the Dumpster where Barros was found.

Barros was arrested on suspicion of violation of parole, battery against a peace officer and resisting an officer.

November 15, 2009
Authorities investigate burning of Justice Department letter at Carmichael Islamic center

From Hudson Sangree:

Authorities are investigating an incident Sunday in which someone set fire to a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice that was attached to a Carmichael Islamic center that federal prosecutors have moved to seize.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District spokesman Christian Pebbles said the fire may have been set by someone who was walking down the street. Or the incident may be "more significant," given the surrounding circumstances, he said.

Investigators are continuing their work but have little evidence so far, he said.

Pebbles said he didn't know what was in the burnt letter but knew it was from the Justice Department.

The Qoba Foundation Islamic Center, on Marconi Avenue, is one of eight properties nationwide, including several other mosques, that the government is moving to seize.

Federal prosecutors allege that the New York-based Alavi Foundation, which owns the center and the other properties, is a front for the Iranian government and for years has funneled money to Iran from its financial holdings in the United States.

Members of Qoba told The Bee this week they know little about the Alavi Foundation, and the house of worship is merely a tenant.

November 15, 2009
Updated: Arraignment set for Sacramento woman arrested in daughter's drowning

From Bill Lindelof:

A 31-year-old Sacramento woman arrested Sunday on suspicion of drowning her 3-year-old daughter will make her initial appearance in court Tuesday.

Anul Malik Ram was booked into Sacramento County jail on suspicion of murder, according to jail records. The U.S Border Patrol also placed a no-bail hold on the Pocket area neighborhood woman.

She is scheduled to appear in Department 61 of Sacramento Superior Court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Police said they received a call at 1:19 a.m. Sunday from a father asking for a welfare check on his two children, a 7-year-old son and the daughter. Both had been picked up from his home by their mother, his estranged wife, police said.

At 1:50 a.m., the father called back and said he believed his wife may have killed their daughter.

When police arrived at the mother's apartment on the 7300 block of Greenhaven Drive, they found the child, who was unresponsive. An officer began CPR until medical personnel arrived.

The girl was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

The boy was unharmed, police said. He was not placed in protective custody, but it was unclear late Sunday whether he had been reunited with his father, said police spokesman Konrad von Schoech.

Investigators were still trying to determine a motive, von Schoech said. He said police had been called to the Greenhaven Drive apartment earlier this year, but would not say for what.

Ram, at Sacramento County jail, declined interview requests. Ram's estranged husband could not be reached.

November 15, 2009
Sacramento police investigate Saturday night homicide in Oak Park

From Loretta Kalb:

A 35-year-old Union City man shot to death late Saturday night in Oak Park was identified Sunday as Shedrick Letronn Cotton.

Sacramento Police officials said Cotton's body was found on the front lawn of a house in the 4000 block of 32nd Street about 11:15 p.m., about 10 minutes after officers were alerted to shots fired in the area.

Cotton suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Detectives said there was a loud party going on nearby, but it was not immediately known if the party was related to the shooting.

Police urged anyone with information to contact Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP or text in a tip to 274637 (CRIMES). Enter SACTIP followed by the tip information. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

November 14, 2009
North Highlands man arrested in 2 fires

william wayne ashton (11-21-72).jpgFrom Dale Kasler

A North Highlands man was arrested today in connection with two arsons at the same location 36 hours apart.

William Ashton (see photo), 36, was being held late Saturday at the Sacramento County jail in lieu of $330,000 bail after being charged with two felony counts of arson.

Capt. Christian Pebbles, spokesman for the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, said Ashton was arrested at 5:05 p.m. in connection with two arsons at 3430 Freedom Park Drive.

November 14, 2009
Young woman arrested after south-area carjacking

From Cathy Locke:

An 18-year-old woman is in Sacramento County Jail and a man is being sought following an early-morning carjacking.

mariah cornelius (7-25-91).jpgSgt Tim Curran, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department spokesman, said a security guard at the Safeway store at Elk Grove Florin and Calvine roads reported the incident at 12:51 a.m.

A security guard told deputies that he saw and a man and woman approach a van. Inside the van were a 52-year-old man and his 5-year-old son who were waiting for someone who was inside the Safeway.

The guard said the male suspect assaulted the man in the van, forced him out of the vehicle, and then drove off in the van, apparently unaware that the child was inside.

When the carjacker noticed the child, he abandoned the van about 100 yards from the store and is believed to have left the area in a dark blue Honda.

Curran said the child was not harmed. The father complained of chest pains and was taken to a hospital, but he has been released.

Using a partial license plate number, deputies traced the vehicle the woman was in to the 7600 block of Center Parkway. There they arrested Mariah Cornelius (left).

Curran said she was booked into Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of carjacking, kidnapping during the course of a carjacking and felony child endangerment.

A search continues for the male suspect.

November 13, 2009
Amnesty program offered for those needing to complete work projects

From Chelsea Phua:

Those who face arrest because they fail to complete their work project sentences are being offered a second chance in an amnesty program that Sacramento County Sheriff's officials said are designed to keep the scofflaws out of jail during the holiday season.

"The program has been developed for those who want to return to work project to finish their court-ordered commitment instead of risking the possibility of spending the holidays in jail, away from their families," department spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said in a news release.

The amnesty period runs from Monday to Dec. 18.

Work project offenders are to report to the Work Project office between 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 700 N. Fifth St., Sacramento during the amnesty period.

Eligible individuals may have their application fee waived or make payment arrangements.

Those who fail to take advantage of the program are subjected to immediate arrest and incarceration.

For more information about the program, call (916) 874-1402, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

November 13, 2009
Bank robbery suspects arrested in Gold River area

From Chelsea Phua:

Sacramento County authorities on Friday arrested two men suspected of robbing a bank in the Gold River area.

The first suspect, Jason Brown, 27, was arrested after a citizen waved down a Sacramento County Sheriff's deputy who was driving through a shopping center about 11:50 a.m., authorities said. The citizen told the deputy that a bank at 11200 Gold Express Drive was being robbed.

As the deputy approached the bank, she saw one of the suspects leave the bank and get into an awaiting car. A pursuit ensued and ended at a dead end on Buckeye Hill Court. Brown was arrested there while the other suspect, Timothy Morris, 38, fled, authorities said.

Agencies, including the Rancho Cordova Police Department, the California Highway Patrol and the Sacramento Police Department, which provided helicopter assistance, joined the search for Morris, authorities said.

At about 12:10 p.m., a sheriff's deputy and his canine partner tracked Morris to a home in the 11400 block of Tunnel Hill Way in Gold River (an earlier report listed an incorrect address). Authorities said Morris had entered the home and threatened the owner, but did not harm the person. When he spotted deputies, Morris attempted to flee, authorities said, but was taken in custody outside the home.

Investigators recovered money and other items of evidence taken in the bank robbery. The men face possible charges of robbery, burglary and false imprisonment, authorities said.

November 13, 2009
Dog owners sought after man bitten near Broderick Boat Ramp

Bee Staff

The Yolo County Animal Control Services is asking for the public's help in finding a dog that bit a man before the victim has to undergo rabies treatment.

The 48-year-old victim was bitten by a dog while walking near the restroom at the Broderick Boat Ramp in West Sacramento at about 10:30 a.m. Nov. 7, according to a news release.

The dog that bit him is described as a large adult German shepherd/pit-bull mix, with a black body and tan snout. The dog is likely female, was wearing a collar with an attached (possibly green) leash, and is possibly named either Roxy or Jasmine.

The dogs' owners, a man and a woman, left the scene shortly after the victim was bit without giving information about themselves, the release states.

The man is described as being white, about 40 to 45 years of age, approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, average build and weight, and unshaven. He was wearing blue jeans, a green T-shirt, a cap and had a bicycle with him.

The woman is described as white, about 40 years old, approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, average build and weight, shoulder-length blond hair, and is possibly named Melissa.

The couple also had another dog with them which is described as a large adult black Labrador retriever, solid black in color, likely female, and wearing a collar with an attached (possibly green) leash. This dog was also possibly named either Roxy or Jasmine.

The couple may be homeless and living near the Broderick Boat Ramp.

Anyone who has information about the incident, the dogs or the couple are asked to contact Yolo County Environmental Health, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (530) 666-8646 or (916) 375-6475, or at Yolo County Animal Control Services 24-hour number, (530) 668-5287.

Callers can remain anonymous.

November 13, 2009
Ask Sacto911: Convicted killer back in Sacramento County jail

Q: I've noticed Moses Valdez is in the county jail on new charges. How is he free after he killed two men on July 4, 1993? Senior, Sacramento

A: Valdez, now 32, was paroled from an 18-year prison sentence he received on Oct. 13, 1995 after pleading guilty to counts of voluntary manslaughter, court records show.

Valdez, who was 16 when he shot and killed two men as they sat in their car, was eligible for parole at age 25, The Bee reported.

Valdez was convicted for the 1993 slayings of Christopher Dominguez, 19, and Christopher Jiminez, 24.

Valdez claimed the men were about to run him over in the 3700 block of 21st Avenue off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and that he fired in self-defense. The prosecution said the shootings resulted from an argument over a girl.

Jail records show Valdez is being held without bail on suspicion of evading a police officer and driving in a reckless manner. He also is being held on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon with the likelihood of causing great bodily harm.

The Bee could not determine the details of the case against Valdez.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

November 13, 2009
Suspect booked for murder in Sacramento bus-stop shooting

clip_image002.jpgjackson.jpgFrom Kim Minugh

Sacramento police have booked a 48-year-old transient woman on suspicion of murder after the man she allegedly shot at a bus stop last year died last month, according to authorities.

Audrey Anne Jackson, photo, already was in custody for the Sept. 22, 2008 shooting of 54-year-old Francisco Salvador Perez in downtown. She was charged with attempted murder last fall, but now faces a murder charge after Perez died Oct. 27 at the age of 55.

Doctors said Perez, who had cerebral palsy when he was shot, succumbed to complications from his original gunshot wounds.

Jackson is expected to be in court Monday.

Police allege that Jackson shot Perez after he refused to give her money as he waited at a bus stop.

In a jailhouse interview with The Bee last fall, Jackson said she "didn't want to kill him," but that she felt threatened by him. However, her explanation of that threat did not match police and witness accounts of the altercation.

November 13, 2009
Sacramento PD: Fire reveals children living amid garbage, pot

From Kim Minugh

A kitchen fire led to the discovery of what were described as "uninhabitable" living conditions for a young boy in a Sacramento home, according to authorities.

Firefighters responding to a fire on the 7900 block of La Riviera Drive about 6 p.m. Thursday found a dirty home cluttered with clothes, food and garbage, according to a Sacramento police report. One toilet wasn't working, and marijuana was found in several places accessible to a 21-month-old boy living there, the report states.

The boy and his mother were home at the time of the fire. She told firefighters that she forgot about food on the stove, causing a small fire, according to the report.

Firefighters called police, who arrested the mother, 24-year-old Sarah Krtil (photo below left), and the boy's father, 32-year-old Chris Guerrero (photo below right), on suspicion of felony child endangerment, said police Sgt. Norm Leong.

Guerrero was not at home at the time of the fire, but was contacted at work and arrested because of the condition of the home, according to police. Child Protective Services also were notified.

Jail booking records indicate the couple has been released from custody.



November 13, 2009
Sacramento DA: Woman gets jail over work-injury claim

Bee Staff

A woman, who claimed disability payments for a work-related back injury, will be going to jail after she was caught on camera doing a variety of tasks, including lifting items, according to Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully.

Diane Lynn Hunter was sentenced to five years formal probation and six months in the Sacramento County jail after pleading guilty to felony charges of workers' compensation fraud, insurance fraud and attempted perjury, Scully said in a news release.

Hunter also was ordered to repay the insurance company $29,225, Scully said.

Here's the chain of events leading to Hunter's guilty plea as laid out by Scully:

In May of 2007, the defendant, who worked as a Wal-Mart cashier, and claimed to have hurt her lower back while lifting a heavy object as a cashier at a Walmart store.

After filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits, Hunter failed to inform her doctors about a previous motor vehicle accident and previous surgeries.

She was also videotaped on numerous occasions shopping, walking, sitting and lifting items for several hours at a time without signs of injury.

Hunter's sentence "is justice served with repayment to the insurance company for the administration and investigation expenses of the fraudulent case and county jail time for the offender," said Supervising Deputy DA Kelly Lynn Mulcahy.

Mulcahy also praised the work DA Investigator Cristina Tanghetti on the case.

November 13, 2009
Citrus Heights PD gets $214,000 grant for DUI enforcement

Bee Staff

The Citrus Heights Police department will cast a stronger net for DUI drivers, thanks to a $214,276 federal-state grant.

"This grant will enable us to increase our DUI enforcement efforts and improve roadway safety in our community," said Citrus Heights Police Chief Chris Boyd.

The increased traffic enforcement will include DUI and driver's license checkpoints and DUI saturation patrols, according to a news release.

November 13, 2009
CHP cadets to help at Sacramento hospital, Habitat for Humanity

Bee Staff

More than 100 cadets from the California Highway Patrol Academy will be donate time to do various tasks Saturday at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Northern California, and to the Sacramento Habitat for Humanity

At the hospital, cadets will hang outdoor holiday lights, refinish play structure, clean drains, paint and spruce up outdoor areas, the release states.

At Habitat for Humanity projects in three locations in Sacramento, cadets will back fill retaining walls and drainage, pour concrete slabs, dig trenches and re-grade streets, among other chores.

November 13, 2009
Ask Sacto911: Killer of CHP officers still in prison

Q: What happened to Luis Rodriguez Jr. who killed two California Highway Patrol officers along I-80 in 1978? Anonymous, Davis

A: Luis V. Rodriguez Jr., now 54, is serving a life sentence with no parole after being convicted in 1981 for the 1978 murders of California Highway Patrol officers William "Mike" Freeman, 35, and Roy P. Blecher, 50, after he was stopped on Interstate 80.

His companion, Margaret Klaess, served two years in prison for aiding and abetting Rodriguez and later testified against him.

Rodriguez's seven-month trial turned into a 16-year ordeal, including a number of appeals based on the claim that juror misconduct and a judge's pressuring of the jury deprived him of a fair trial, The Bee reported.

His only success, however, was getting his death sentence reduced to life without parole.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

November 13, 2009
Natomas snapshot: Car thefts mostly increase; business burglaries decrease

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

The attached crime stats for Natomas compare certain crime categories for October 2009 to October 2008. They also have the year-to-date statistics. These are preliminary crime statistics and are subject to slight changes ... but they are good for observing trends and if they do change, it would be only slightly. Below are some of the notable statistics in the report:

Police Beat 1A (North Natomas)
Residential Burglaries stayed the same (18 to 18). They have gone down or stayed even for four months in a row.
• Business burglaries went down 30% (10 to 7)
• Vehicle burglaries went up 59% (22 to 35). They have gone up 4 months in a row.
• Stolen cars went up 30% (20 to 26).
• Robberies unspecified went down 66% (3 to 1). They are down 48% for the whole year.

Police Beat 1B (South Natomas)
• Residential burglaries went up 35% (14 to 19). They have gone up 2 months in a row.
• Business burglaries went down 62% (8 to 3).
• Vehicle burglaries went down 50% (28 to 14).
• Stolen cars went up 36% (11 to 15).
• Robberies unspecified went down 30% (10 to 7). They are down 29% for the whole year.

Police Beat 1C (Northgate/Gardenland)
• Residential burglaries went down 26% (15 to 11). This is the first time in four months these went down.
• Business burglaries went down 50% (4 to 2).
• Vehicle burglaries went down 55% (9 to 4)
• Stolen cars went down 61% (13 to 5). This is the first time in four months they went down.
• Robberies unspecified went up 66% (3 to 5).

For more Natomas crime statistics, click crimestatsdist1oct2009.xls

November 12, 2009
Foothill Farms man arrested; suspected of assualting, kidnapping woman

From Chelsea Phua and Bee staff:

Placer County sheriff's officials have arrested a Foothill Farms man suspected of assaulting and kidnapping a Roseville woman, then stealing her vehicle Thursday morning in south Placer County.

Detectives arrested Rick Anthony Cooley, 31, about 8:30 p.m. Thursday on Elkhorn Boulevard, said Lt. Jeff Ausnow.

Authorities said that Cooley was involved in a minor traffic accident with the victim on Vineyard Road in unincorporated Roseville about 7 a.m. After she got out of her car, Cooley struck her with his fists and pushed her back into her vehicle, they said.

Authorities said for unknown reasons, he then drove the woman in her vehicle around Placer and Sacramento counties for several hours. About 10 a.m. the man dropped the woman off in the area of Duffy Lane and PFE Road, and she called authorities.

The victim received facial lacerations. She was treated for her injuries and released.

Cooley was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, carjacking, robbery and assault.

He will be booked at the Placer County Main Jail and bail will be set at $200,000, Ausnow said.

November 12, 2009
Sacramento jury convicts man of first-degree murder

From Andy Furillo:

A Sacramento jury today convicted Kevin Wayne Dunigan of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Gary Patrick Veirs some 14 years ago in the Meadowview neighborhood.

It took the panel less than a day of deliberations before it came back with the verdict on Dunigan, who represented himself in the Sacramento Superior Court case and stunned jurors with his account in his closing argument that "I've been running the country" during the presidency of George W. Bush.

Sacramento police detectives arrested Dunigan, who had been incarcerated in Pelican Bay State Prison, when DNA he submitted while he was locked up matched the genetic material taken from inside the victim's fingernails following his Aug. 28, 1995, death.

Investigators said Dunigan, now 46, and Veirs, 34, fought after the defendant insulted the victim's girlfriend.

November 12, 2009
Update: Police seek 4 suspects in killing near Sacramento High

By Anna Tong and Kim Minugh

Sacramento detectives continue to pursue leads on three suspected assailants and their getaway driver wanted for Thursday morning's Oak Park homicide.

Sacramento police Sgt. Norm Leong did not release further information this morning because the investigation is ongoing.

At about 8:15 a.m. Thursday morning, Donald w. Kirby, 47, was gunned down in his apartment building on the 3300 block of V street, within a block of Sacramento Charter High School.

Witnesses told police the four men fled in a gold-colored Chevrolet that was waiting in an alley behind the apartment building, said Sacramento police Sgt. Norm Leong.

Police described the suspects only as black, in their 20s and were wearing hooded sweat shirts.

Police arrived at the apartment building after receiving calls reporting shots fired. They found the Kirby on the floor of his second-story apartment with a fatal gunshot wound to the upper body, Leong said.

Leong said Thursday there was no evidence that anyone forced their way into the apartment. Detectives have not determined a motive in the killing and do not yet know whether the killers stole anything from the apartment, he said.

Sacramento Charter High had heightened security Thursday but was at normal security levels today, Principal P.K. Diffenbaugh said.

November 12, 2009
Citrus Heights PD plans Madison Avenue DUI check

Bee Staff

Citrus Heights police officers will be running a DUI and driver's license checkpoint Saturday on Madison Avenue, a police spokesman said.

The checkpoint will be from 7:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. on Madison, east of San Juan Avenue, said Sgt. Joshua McVay.

The checkpoint is one in a series throughout the Sacramento region that are being funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

November 12, 2009
Lockdowns lifted at two Valley Hi area schools

From Kim Minugh

Lockdowns at Samuel Jackman Middle and Prairie Elementary schools are being lifted as Sacramento police continue their search for suspects wanted in connection with a shooting in the Valley Hi area.

Two people reported being shot at, but no one appears to have been hit by the gunfire, reported about 12:30 p.m. on Amblebrook Way, said police Sgt. Norm Leong.

The suspects are described as two black men in their late teens or early 20s, and at least one of them had long dreadlocks, Leong said. They were seen fleeing in a blue vehicle, although it's not clear yet whether the shots were fired from inside the car.

The schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution while officers scoured the area; however, officers determined no threat to the campuses existed and the lockdowns were lifted after about an hour.

November 12, 2009
DUI checkpoint set for Roseville on Friday

From Anna Tong:

A DUI checkpoint will be conducted in Roseville starting at 8 p.m. Friday.

The checkpoint will be at Washington and All American Boulevards, and will last until about 2 a.m.

Drivers will be checked for signs of impairment and valid driver's licenses.

Law enforcement agencies in Placer County regularly conduct DUI checkpoints, said Todd Rayback of the Lincoln Police Department. A checkpoint in October in Rocklin netted one drunk driver and three towed vehicles, he said.

Officers from the California Highway Patrol, Placer County Sheriff's Depart, Auburn, Rocklin, Roseville and Lincoln police departments, and the California Parks Department are participating.

November 12, 2009
Ask Sacto911: Greenhaven Rapist did time; living in Sacramento

Q: What happened to the "Greenhaven Rapist", Rick Sasaki, who committed multiple rapes in Sacramento's Greenhaven area in 1982? Anonymous, Sacramento

A: Sasaki, now 51, completed his 16-year prison sentence in 2000 and was living in Sacramento County as a registered sex offender, according to prison records and the California Attorney General's Office. The Bee could not confirm that he is living at the address listed as his residence, however.

Sasaki received the maximum prison terms for two "vicious and violent" sexual attacks in 1982, The Bee reported when Sasaki, then a 25-year-old salesman, was sentenced on Jan. 5, 1984.

Sasaki, a 1976 graduate of McClatchy High School, also admitted - but did not plead guilty to - a third assault in 1982 on a woman in the Greenhaven area. He also was a suspect in an attempted sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl in March 1983.

He dropped a knife given to him at the supermarket where he once worked during a fifth attempted attack in 1983 as the victim fought him off.

The knife eventually led investigators to Sasaki and fingerprints connected him to one attack.

Police narrowly missed catching him after he assaulted his first victim when he jumped out a second-floor apartment window as officers burst through the front door, called by a concerned neighbor of the victim.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

November 11, 2009
Officer and Blitz, Sacramento police K9 team earn top honors

jaz.jpg partner.jpg

From Chelsea Phua:

For the third consecutive year, Sacramento Police Officer John Azevedo and his canine partner, Blitz (top left photo), have won the "Top Dog" award in the Western States Police K9 competitions, department officials said.

Avezedo also partnered with fellow officer Steve Thomson (top right photo) to win the K9 team award, according to a news release.

Thomson and his canine partner, Crash, participated for the first time in the competition, which includes events testing agility obedience, search and protection.

November 11, 2009
Kennedy High student suspected of breaking into school's computer system

From Chelsea Phua:

Sacramento police are questioning an 18-year-old Kennedy High School student suspected of breaking into the school's computer system.

Kennedy High School and Sacramento City Unified School District officials informed police Tuesday afternoon that they believe they "had a computer intrusion into their system," said Sgt. Norm Leong, police spokesman.

Leong said the police's high-tech unit and school's information technology staff are examining what information was accessed and how much of it could have been compromised.

Leong said the student has not been arrested and is cooperating with authorities, who have not yet determined a motive.

The school's IT staff had noticed unusual activities on the system and traced them to the student, Leong said.

"We are working closely with the police," said Maria Lopez, the school district's spokeswoman.

Lopez said the school principal, Felisberto Cedros, will communicate with parents as needed.

Reached by cell phone Wednesday night, Cedros said he can't divulge details, but acknowledged that no personal information such as credit card or Social Security numbers have been compromised.

"The kid didn't get anywhere beyond school issues," Cedros said, declining to elaborate further.

November 11, 2009
Memorial dedication planned Thursday for sheriff's deputy

LCmem.jpgFrom Kim Minugh:

Members of the public are invited to attend a dedication Thursday morning of a memorial for Sacramento County sheriff's Deputy Larry Canfield (left photo), who died in an on-duty traffic collision one year ago Thursday.

The ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. at Coloma Road and Sierra Madre Court in Rancho Cordova, where Canfield collided with a car while pursuing a speeding motorist the afternoon of Nov. 12, 2008. At the time, Canfield was assigned to the Rancho Cordova Police Department's motorcycle unit.

The memorial was envisioned by Canfield's widow, Michelle Canfield, and built by his family and friends, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Canfield, a 13-year veteran of the department and second-generation sheriff's deputy, was 43 years old when he died. He is survived by his wife, the couple's two young boys, and other family members.

Parking for the ceremony will be available at St. John Vianney Church, 10499 Coloma Road, Rancho Cordova.

November 11, 2009
Cops: Sacramento woman arrested in stabbing of close friend

From Kim Minugh

A south Sacramento woman who was stabbed this morning allegedly pepper-sprayed her assailant - who turns out to be a "close friend" of hers - before the friend took a knife to her leg, according to authorities.

The fight apparently followed a long night of drinking by the two women at a Stockton Boulevard apartment complex, said Sacramento County sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran. At one point in the early morning, the victim, intoxicated, pepper-sprayed her close friend, 21-year-old Daveena Lee Whitefrost, also intoxicated, and "it went down from there," Curran said.

The victim ended up with a life-threatening stab wound to the leg. She showed up at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center, whose staff alerted the Sheriff's Department. The victim remains there this afternoon.

Deputies arrested Whitefrost today on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Curran said. She is being held at the Sacramento County Main Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail, according to booking records.

Curran said the stabbing victim, who lives at the apartment complex where the violence occurred, does not face arrest upon her recovery.

November 11, 2009
Sacramento deputies: Ringtone said, "Arrest me now"

Bee Staff

Unfortunately for a cell-phone theft suspect, a Sacramento County Sheriff's deputy knew his number.

A recently released crime summary gives this account:

A male caller made arrangements over the phone to return a stolen cell phone to the phone's user for an unspecified amount of cash.

However, the victim and her family also called sheriff's deputies, who also attended the meeting at about 9 p.m. Saturday in the area of Stockton Boulevard and 14th Avenue.

The suspect denied knowledge of the meeting or anything else to do with the stolen cell phone. However, a deputy dialed the phone's number and deputies heard ringing coming from the suspect's person.

Jailed on suspicion of receiving stolen property and robbery was Keith Elgy, 41, according to the crime summary. Jail records show Elgy still in custody on a no-bail parole violation hold.

For a similar recent story in this area, click here.

November 11, 2009
Teen suspected in McClatchy High donations scam

From Kim Minugh

Sacramento police are considering the arrest of an 18-year-old man who appears to have been fraudulently soliciting donations for a McClatchy High School scholarship fund.

Officers contacted the man, who has not been identified because he has not been arrested, after a skeptical Land Park resident began questioning the man, said police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong.

The man said he was selling subscriptions to the San Francisco Chronicle to benefit a McClatchy High scholarship fund, Leong said. Residents could either buy the subscriptions or he would take their donation directly, he told neighbors.

But when the curious resident asked for proof of his connection to McClatchy High, he couldn't produce any, Leong said. The resident then called police, who questioned the man.

He couldn't provide proof or school identification, Leong said. Paperwork in his possession showed he had been running the scam for several days and had collected as much as $150, Leong said.

Officers contacted victims, but they declined to pursue prosecution - that is, until officers released the man and he apparently continued the scam, Leong said. The investigation continues, and the man faces potential charges of theft or fraud, Leong said. Officers also confiscated the paperwork and the $60 in cash the man had on him.

Such solicitations are not unusual, Leong said, and police generally discourage residents from giving any cash or checks to people who go door-to-door.

Residents can ask for identification or proof of a connection to an organization; however, Leong said, "there's no good way to know for sure."

"Best bet is to not give money to people you don't know," he said.

Anyone who sees a man claiming to be working on behalf of the McClatchy High fund - or any other solicitor who appears suspicious - is asked to call police at the department's non-emergency line, (916) 264-5471.

November 11, 2009
Davis sex assaults by motorcyclist

Davis police are searching for a motorcyclist accused of riding up beside female cyclists and pedestrians and sexually assaulting them before speeding off to avoid detection.

Six attacks have been reported since late October, with the assaults concentrated around Sycamore Lane in west Davis, police Sgt. Paul Doroshov said. The most recent was reported around noon Sunday by an 11-year-old girl who was riding a skateboard, he said.

Victims said they were walking or riding bicycles when the attacker rode up and slapped or groped their buttocks, Doroshov said. None got a good look at the assailant, who is believed to be male, but said he wore a dark jacket and a helmet that covered his face and sped away on a dark sport or touring motorcycle, the sergeant said.

Police are actively investigating the complaints and urge anyone who has been attacked or witnessed an attack to call (530) 747-5400.

"This is pretty traumatic to the people who experienced it," Doroshov said. "We definitely want to put a stop to it."

November 11, 2009
Vacaville man convicted of passing bogus checks at Cache Creek Casino

By Robert D. Davila

A Vacaville man has been convicted of two felony counts for trying to cash fraudulent traveler's checks at Cache Creek Casino.

A Yolo County Superior Court jury found Theron Daniel Wharton II, 39, guilty Thursday of passing a fictitious check and second-degree burglary, according to a statement by District Attorney Jeff W. Reisig. Wharton faces a possible three years in prison at sentencing Dec. 17, the statement said.

Wharton tried to cash the checks Oct. 31, 2008, at Cache Creek Casino but was told there would be a wait while cashiers verified the checks, the statement said. He left the casino, but his driver's license and the checks had been left behind, Reisig said.

November 11, 2009
Ask Sacto911: Mysterious death of 14-year-old unsolved

Q: Can you tell me what happened to Martha Negrete? They found her bones in a field and she was last seen Feb. 28, 1979. Michelle, Sacramento

A: The death of Martha Negrete remains a mystery.

The skeletal remains of the 14-year-old McClathy High School student were found Jan. 31, 1980, among weeds near Pocket Road by a boy walking his dog, The Bee reported.

Negrete was reported missing almost a year before the remains were found. A Sacramento Police Department spokesman said her death was being investigated as a homicide.

A grammar textbook from McClatchy High with Negrete's name written on a pager was found next to the remains. A ring found on the body was identified by a member of the girl's family.

Negrete's mother reported her daughter missing on Feb. 28, 1979, after had had been notified by a school official that the girl failed to attend classes that day.

A friend reported seeing the girl near the school on Feb. 28. Negrete said she was going to see someone who lived on Stockton Boulevard, according to a police report.

For a complete list of questions answered by Sacto911, click here.

November 11, 2009
Suspect, 18, arrested in road-rage incident in Roseville

aflague_kiefer.jpgFrom Chelsea Phua:

Roseville police have arrested an 18-year-old man who allegedly fired a pellet gun in a road-rage incident Tuesday afternoon near Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

No one was hurt in the incident, authorities said.

Lt. Ned Rosenbrook said Kiefer Aflague of Roseville was arrested on misdemeanor charges of brandishing a pellet gun and shooting at a moving vehicle. Aflague had a passenger, who was not arrested, Rosenbrook said.

About 4 p.m., the victim, a 20-year-old man, pulled out from a side street and into traffic at Secret Ravine Parkway and Alexandra Drive, unaware that he had cut off Aflague, who was speeding in a white 1992 Mazda pickup truck, Rosenbrook said.

Aflague then allegedly followed the victim, who was driving a four-door sedan, to the Galleria at Roseville mall. At Galleria Circle and Antelope Creek Drive, Rosenbrook said, Aflague pulled out the replica gun and fired three shots. The weapon was initially reported to be a handgun.

The victim called police to report the incident. Later, police returned to the hospital area, spotted the truck in front of a house on Grasmere Circle and found Aflague inside the house.

November 11, 2009
Sex offender convicted of Sacramento, Sonoma rapes

By Robert D. Davila

A registered sex offender has been convicted of multiple counts of kidnapping and rape in violent attacks on women in Sacramento and Sonoma counties in 2007, officials said.

Deverick Lockett was found guilty Tuesday in Sacramento County Superior Court, according to a statement by the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office. He faces a possible punishment of 94 years to life in prison at sentencing Dec. 8.

Lockett was convicted of attacking a 22-year-old woman who stopped at a Rohnert Park gas station around 1 a.m. Sept. 20, 2007. She was attacked from behind as she got into her car, beaten unconscious and carried to a trash bin area, where she was raped. She suffered six facial fractures in the attack, the statement said.

Three days later, a Carmichael woman returning to her apartment after working a graveyard shift was attacked in the parking lot, beaten and carried to a laundry room. A neighbor who saw the abduction came to her rescue, but she suffered injuries requiring 50 stitches in her face, officials said.

A shirt that was caught on a fence as the attacker fled provided DNA matching the Sept. 23, 2007, attack to Lockett, who is a registered sex offender, the DA's statement said. During his prosecution for the Carmichael crime, a hit from a national DNA database of criminals also matched Lockett's DNA to the Rohnert Park attack, the statement said.

November 11, 2009
Crime Alert: Authorities seek suspected sex offenders

TORRES, Juan 11-09-09.jpgThe California Department of Corrections and Sacramento Police Department are seeking two suspects wanted on felony warrants for reportedly failing to register as sex offenders ($20,000 bail) and violating parole (no bail), Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Juan Torres (left photo) is described as age 40, 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 172 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He is also known as Juan Soto Torres, Juan Torres Soto and Juan Soto.

According to authorities, he was last known to live in the 5900 block of Sampson Boulevard in the Fruitridge area of Sacramento.

• • •

DICKSON, Robert 11-09-09.jpgRobert Morris Dickson (right photo) is described as age 41, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 145 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. old white male. He is 5' 8" tall and weighs 145, with brown hair and brown eyes. He is also known as Robert Morriss Dickson and Bobby Dickson.

He was last known to live in the Sacramento area, authorities said.

Anyone with information about Torres or Dickson 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.

November 10, 2009
Two teens cited for tagging in Rocklin

From Chelsea Phua:

Rocklin police cited two teenage boys for recent vandalism in the city after spotting them acting suspiciously Friday night behind a supermarket on Stanford Ranch Road.

According to a news release, a police officer saw three 14-year-old boys behind the Save Mart after the football game between Del Oro and Rocklin high schools. He noticed fresh tagging in the immediate area, contacted the three teenagers and found out that two of them were responsible for the graffiti in other parts of the city, including the Park Drive and Johnson-Springview Park areas.

The two boys were cited for vandalism and possessing instruments for graffiti, and released to their parents. They have a future court date in juvenile court.

November 10, 2009
Transient arrested; suspected of robbing, beating Auburn man

wright jason.jpgFrom Chelsea Phua:

Placer County Sheriff's deputies on Monday night arrested a 30-year-old man accused of robbing and beating an Auburn man, then stealing the 59-year-old victim's keys to burglarize his home.

Authorities said deputies spotted Jason David Wright (left photo), also known as Jason Gomez, at the Olive Apartments on Luther Road in Auburn about 9 p.m. Wright, a transient, ran off, but was found a shortly after by a deputy and his K9 dog.

Authorities said Wright allegedly assaulted the victim Saturday night on Park Drive. The victim lost consciousness and told deputies that the last thing he remembered was the suspect asking him for a cigarette. He later regained consciousness and was able to walk home, but said he had pain to his face and hip. He was treated at a local hospital.

The victim also told deputies that his keys were missing from his pocket and a gold chain was missing from around his neck. When he arrived home, his front door was unlocked and many items was missing, including a laptop computer, an electric guitar and other items worth a total estimate of $4,750.

Wright was charged with robbery, burglary and battery with great bodily injury. He is being held at the Placer County jail on a $220,000 bail and a parole hold.

November 10, 2009
Cops investigate synagogue vandalism as possible hate crime

From Kim Minugh and Pete Basofin

Detectives from four agencies are investigating whether vandalism reported at a Carmichael synagogue this morning was a hate crime, according to authorities.

Officials at Congregation Beth Shalom on El Camino Avenue contacted the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department about 10:40 a.m. to report that racist symbols and messages, including a swastika, had been spray painted on the sanctuary, said sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran.

The vandalism included the "SS" lightning bolts - the symbol of the Nazi security forces; a swastika and the message "Kristallnacht still lives," Curran said.

"Kristallnacht," meaning "Crystal night" or "the Night of Broken Glass," refers to an event 71 years ago today in which the German Nazis attacked Jewish people and businesses across Germany. Over the course of two days, more than 1,000 synangogues were damaged, at least 91 Jews were killed and some 30,000 Jewish men arrested. The men were sent to concentration camps that had been newly expanded for the influx of prisoners.

In the attack on Congregation Beth Shalom, bushes lining the exterior of the sanctuary also had been burned, although Curran said detectives believe the fire was set to burn down the synagogue's sign and not the entire building.

Curran said the vandal - described as a man wearing dark clothing - was caught on surveillance video about 1 a.m., but the images reveal no other distinguishing characteristics.

The incident is being investigated by the Sheriff's Department as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District's arson team and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Curran said. Detectives will determine whether the act was a hate crime, and which agency will take the lead in the investigation, Curran said.

No suspects have been identified, and no witnesses have been found, Curran said.

Congregation Beth Shalom was one of three Sacramento-area synagogues targeted by two arsonists in 1999. Benjamin Matthew Williams, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, and his brother, James Tyler Williams, pleaded guilty in September 2001 to setting the fires, which caused almost $3 million in damages. They were sentenced to 30 years and 21 years and three months, respectively, in federal prison for the crimes.

Benjamin Williams committed suicide in his jail cell in 2002 as he and his brother awaited trial in connection with another case - the murders of a gay couple in Happy Valley two weeks after the synagogue fires.

James Tyler Williams remains in prison after being convicted of the murders, as well as the fire-bombing of an abortion clinic in Sacramento, according to media reports.

November 10, 2009
Woman pleads guilty in disability payment racket

From Robert D. Davila:

A former California Employment Development Department worker has pleaded guilty to defrauding the state of more than $110,000 by approving false disability claims for friends.

Audrey Renee Bell of Pacoima entered the plea Monday in Sacramento federal court after the government rested its case in a two-week jury trial, a news statement from U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner states. Sentencing by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton is set for Jan. 20.

Trial evidence showed Bell entered false information into EDD computers between July 2003 and January 2006 to approve disability insurance benefits for claims submitted by friends, the statement said. Besides getting a cut of the benefits, she paid a chiropractor to certify her friends as disabled, officials said.

Bell, 49, faces a possible maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for mail fraud, although the judge will determine punishment after considering federal sentencing guidelines, officials said.

November 10, 2009
Crash in Fair Oaks follows high-speed chase

From Bob Davila:

Citrus Heights police arrested a driver who this morning led officers on a high-speed chase that ended when he crashed his 1995 Saturn into an oleander bush on San Juan Avenue in Fair Oaks.

"No injury to the driver, moderate damage to the car, major damage to the oleander bush," Sgt. Lee Herrington said.

An hour before the chase, a motorist flagged down a Citrus Heights officer to ask for directions before being sent on his way, Herrington said.

At 4:10 a.m., another officer spotted the same car driving without headlights on Auburn Boulevard. The officer tried to stop the car, launching a chase on Auburn Boulevard that continued southbound on Sylvan Road and San Juan Avenue through several red lights before ending in Fair Oaks. One officer reported the chase reached 90 mph, although it wasn't clear if that was the speed of the police or the suspect, Herrington said.

The driver was identified as James Mandeville, 48, of Lincoln. He was arrested on suspicion of felony evading officers, driving under the influence and parole violation, Herrington said. No other occupants were in the car.

November 9, 2009
Open front door report yields pot-growing operation find in El Dorado Hills

From Cathy Locke:

A report of an open front door at an El Dorado Hills residence led to the discovery of a large indoor marijuana-growing operation.

El Dorado County sheriff's deputies responded about 8 a.m. Saturday to a report that the front door of a house in the 300 block of Arches Avenue was open and nobody appeared to be home. The caller also reported a trail of potting soil and marijuana leaves extending from the house into the driveway, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

Deputies reported that the front door appeared to have been kicked open. Inside they found a marijuana-growing operation and summoned detectives. Approximately 260 marijuana plants were found along with a sophisticated growing system, including grow lights and room ventilation, according to the news release.

Sheriffs officials said the plants seized had an estimated street value of $250,000.

The people responsible for the operation are believed to have illegally bypassed the residence's power meter, avoiding an estimated $6,000 in monthly utility charges.

An investigation is under way to identify the growers. No arrests have been made.

November 9, 2009
Man who slugged UCD employee after botched burglary sentenced to prison

From Kim Minugh:

A 21-year-old San Francisco man faces almost six years in prison after he broke a UC Davis bookstore employee's jaw during a botched burglary, according to authorities.

On Friday, Yolo County Superior Court Judge Paul K. Richardson sentenced Fernando De Vizcarra to five years and eight months for the December 2008 incident, according to a news release from the office of District Attorney Jeff Reisig. He refuted the defense's claims that De Vizcarra acted in self defense, instead describing the defendant's action as a "sucker punch," the release states.

The day of the burglary, De Vizcarra and an accomplice pocketed some items at the UC Davis bookstore and were trying to leave when they were interrupted by bookstore employees. At one point, De Vizcarra attacked one employee from behind and, when the employee looked away, punched him in the jaw, according to the release. The employee's jaw was broken in two, the release states.

Nonetheless, the employee continued to struggle with De Vizcarra and held him until bystanders could help him, according to the release.

A jury convicted De Vizcarra of three felonies in August.

November 9, 2009
Sheriff's Northwest service center moves to McClellan Air Park

From Kim Minugh:

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department has relocated its Northwest Area Service Center from Watt Avenue to McClellan Air Park, authorities announced today.

The new service center is at 2345 Dean St., Modular A, inside the park and will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The center - designed to serve the communities of Rio Linda, Elverta, Antelope, North Highlands and Foothill Farms - will be staffed by an office manager, a crime prevention specialist and volunteers.

According to the Sheriff's Department, residents can visit the center to: file reports of non-violent crimes (those that are not in progress); obtain fingerprints for job or volunteer applications; and learn about public safety and crime prevention. Residents also can speak with the crime prevention specialist about organizing neighborhood or business watch programs.

For more information, call the service center's office manager, Kristen Smith, at the service center's new phone line, (916) 646-1006, or visit

November 9, 2009
Suspected wedding crashers not welcome at Natomas hotel

From Kim Minugh:

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn might have been proud - at least before the cops showed up.

Two men - not the celebrity duo - were assaulted Saturday night after they apparently crashed a wedding reception at a Natomas hotel, according to police.

Officers responded to the hotel on Duckhorn Drive after getting calls of a large fight in the lobby. They located two victims, one of whom was injured, said police Sgt. Norm Leong.

It's unclear exactly what happened, Leong said, but it appears the two men tried to enter the wedding reception without having been invited. One victim told police they showed up to get keys from somebody at the party, Leong said.

That victim appeared to be intoxicated, Leong said.

November 9, 2009
Kings' Nocioni's DUI arraignment set for Dec. 21

From Andy Furillo:

Sacramento Kings forward Andres Nocioni has been scheduled for a Dec. 21 arraignment in his drunken driving case, a district attorney's spokeswoman said today.

No criminal complaint has yet been filed by prosecutors, Sacramento district attorney's spokeswoman Shelly Orio said.

Nocioni, 29, was arrested Thursday morning on L Street in downtown Sacramento by a police officer who reported that the basketball player's vehicle was weaving.

November 9, 2009
No autopsy planned for Elk Grove crash victim

From Robert Davila:

No autopsy is planned for a 19-year-old man who died early Sunday after his car hit several trees at Shana Way and Whitelock Parkway in a residential area of south Elk Grove, the Sacramento County Coroner's Office said today.

The driver was identified as Braeshaun Marcel Whaley. No other occupants were in the car.

Officers who responded to a call at 1:32 a.m. Sunday found the driver semi-conscious and pinned inside the Chrysler PT Cruiser, a news release from the Elk Grove Police Department states. The victim was extricated and taken to an area hospital but died at 5:42 a.m. Sunday, police said.

The crash remains under investigation today, Elk Grove police Officer Chris Trim said. A coroner's office employee said no autopsy was planned and the cause of death would be determined by a private physician.


November 7, 2009
Update: Missing guide dog puppy found, Fox 40 reports

Bee Staff

"Gannon," a puppy being raised to become a guide dog, has been found, according to Fox 40 News.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind earlier Saturday reported the dog missing.

The 3-month-old Labrador retriever, raised and trained by a Lodi family to become a guide dog, went missing Oct. 30.

Circumstances of the dog's return were not immediately available.

November 7, 2009
Sacramento kidnap suspect held on $1 million bail

From Darrell Smith:

A man is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, elder abuse and false imprisonment, according to Sacramento County Sheriff's information.

Marcus Leewayne Barrie, 19, was arrested by Sacramento police and booked into the jail late Friday. He faces a Tuesday afternoon court date on the allegations in Sacramento County Superior Court, but little else is known about the case.

Police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said today that Barrie's arrest stemmed from a robbery last week and that officers still are investigating.

November 7, 2009
Woman struck, killed on Capital City Freeway

From Darrell Smith

A 36-year-old woman was struck and killed on the Capital City Freeway early Saturday as she tried to retrieve boxes that had spilled from the pickup truck in which she was riding, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The woman, who has not been identified, was a passenger in the truck traveling north near Watt Avenue about 7:18 a.m. After the truck lost part of its improperly secured load, the driver stopped at the side of the road and the woman walked into the slow No. 3 lane to pick up the boxes, said CHP Officer Lizz Dutton.

She was struck by a Mitsubishi Eclipse and thrown into another lane of traffic, where she was again struck by several vehicles, Dutton said.

The incident forced a portion of the roadway to be closed for approximately two hours.

The driver of the Eclipse was not injured, Dutton said.

November 6, 2009
Two people shot during attempted robbery in Foothill Farms

From Chelsea Phua:

Two people were shot Friday night in the Foothill Farms area after resisting a robbery attempt, Sacramento County Sheriff's officials said.

Both are expected to survive, department spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said.

Curran said shortly before 7 p.m., the victims were hanging out with a group of friends in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 4400 block of Oakhollow Way.

Three men - two wearing dark hooded sweatshirts and one with a white hooded sweatshirt - approached them. One of them pulled out a handgun and demanded money.

The victims put up a fight, and the robbers started running away. As they ran, one of them turned around, fired three shots, striking one victim twice in the lower body and another once in the upper body.

The robbers fled and are still at large, Curran said.

November 6, 2009
Men arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, assault at Red Hawk Casino

Madrigal.jpg santiago.jpg mora.jpg

From Chelsea Phua:

Authorities in three Northern California counties, including Sacramento and El Dorado, on Friday arrested several people they say hit a man and kidnapped a woman at Red Hawk Casino.

Three of those arrested -- Jesse Madrigal (top left photo), Steven Santiago (center photo) and Ricky Mora (right photo) -- are from Sacramento County, according to a news release by the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office. El Dorado sheriff's spokesman Lt. Bryan Golmitz said the men were arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment and assault with a deadly weapon.

Two others, Stephen Lizotte and Ernie Lizotte, are from Riverbank in Stanislaus County. It was not specified what they were charged with.

Golmitz said he was informed later that two more people connected to the incidents were arrested, but said he did not have their identities as of Friday evening.

Authorities said the men belonged to a large group of men and women who confronted two men and a woman at the casino, asking them if they belonged to a gang.

The two men who were confronted denied any gang affiliation and investigators said they did not have gang ties. One of the men from the larger group allegedly also made threats to sexually assault the woman in the smaller group, which caused her to become angry and attack that man. One of the men from the smaller group tried to break up the fight, and was punched and hit with a beer bottle, authorities said.

Red Hawk Casino security eventually separated the groups.

Some members of the larger group later went inside an elevator, where they confronted a woman who had not been involved in the first incident. They told her that she was going to get them out of the casino with her vehicle and they would let her go once they were on the highway, authorities said.

The group allegedly forced her to through the casino floors and to the garage, where she escaped and contacted casino security guards, then sheriff's deputies.

El Dorado County sheriff's detectives were able to identify six of the men from surveillance video.

SWAT members from El Dorado County sheriff, Folsom Police, Sacramento County Sheriff and Stanislaus County sheriff departments on Friday served search warrants at four locations. They seized several guns, gang-related items, ecstasy, marijuana and a large amount of money during the search.

November 6, 2009
Officials shoot, kill two rampaging pit bulls in neighborhood

From Chelsea Phua:

Two dogs that authorities said "went on a rampage" Friday near an elementary school in a Sacramento County neighborhood were shot and killed by Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies.

Ruben Hernandez, supervising animal control officer of the county's Animal Care and Regulation Department, said his officers and sheriff's deputies decided to shoot the pit bulls, who bit at least two people and led authorities on a 20-minute chase near Whitney Avenue Elementary School.

The school was on lockdown during the search and shooting of the dogs, authorities said.

The two men who were bitten were treated at hospitals for their injuries, which Hernandez said were not severe.

Hernandez described the incident as "unusual" and "extreme," because the dogs attacked someone without being provoked. One of the victims was working in his yard when attacked, Hernandez said.

"They were unusually aggressive," Hernandez said, adding that witnesses reported that "these dogs just went on a rampage."

Authorities initially received reports that four people were bitten by three pit bulls, but say they did not see the third dog despite searching the neighborhood and talking to residents, and can't confirm if more people were hurt.

Hernandez said his officers arrived at about 12:10 p.m. to find firefighters helping one victim. Firefighters pointed out where the dogs went, which helped the officers and deputies to find two dogs near Robertson and Eastern avenues.

They gave chase and eventually ended up in the back yard of a property on Green Crest Court, where they thought they could capture the dogs. But the dogs kept charging at the deputies and animal control officers, who exhausted all means of trying to trap the animals, Hernandez said.

The officers and deputies noticed a greenbelt adjacent to the property and a possible escape route for the dogs.

"We didn't want to take the chance of losing the dogs to the green belt area and possibly posing a future risk to anybody that may be walking in the area," Hernandez said.

One dog was shot at Green Crest Court, and another one, which ran to the elementary school, was shot there, Hernandez said.

Authorities advise residents to always report a stray dog to the department at (916) 368-7387.

November 6, 2009
2 Sacramento men get life for beating to death woman, 90

Bee Staff

A Sacramento Superior Court judge on Friday sentenced two men to life in prison without the chance of parole after they were earlier convicted of beating to death a 90-year-old woman.

Judge Maryanne G. Gilliard gave the sentences to Daniel Alan Russell, 19, and Calvin Eugene Pearson, 20, who were convicted by separate juries on Sept. 22 of the first-degree murder of Marie Oliver.

The pair broke into the churchwoman's three-bedroom home in North Sacramento on April 15, 2006.

The two of them beat and kicked her and broke her nose, cheekbones, eye socket and two of her ribs, before rifling through her home for money, jewelry and other valuables, court testimony established.

They spent the cash on beer and hamburgers and clothing, and Russell intended to use some of his loot to buy his girlfriend a tattoo, he told investigators.

Russell's Sacramento Superior Court jury deliberated for a little more than two hours before finding him guilty. It took Calvin Eugene Pearson's panel a little closer to three hours before returning an identical verdict against him.

The two also were convicted of burglary and robbery.

Videotaped interviews of the two defendants helped establish their guilt. Forensic evidence also placed their DNA inside the woman's ransacked house, while her blood was found on assorted articles of their clothing and footwear.

November 6, 2009
Suspect wanted for allegedly killing husband, running over grave

From Bill Lindelof

The FBI's Sacramento office has added a Plumas County woman wanted on suspicion of killing her husband and running over his grave to its list of fugitives on the department's Web page.

Nazira Maria Cross, 43, is wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with the killing of her husband last year at their home in rural Plumas County.

The FBI alleges that she poisoned her husband, and, while he was near death, drove him to Nevada. After he died, Cross is suspected of burying his body on his ranch in Lovelock.

She is also reported by authorities to have repeatedly driven over his grave. On March 25, 2009, a criminal complaint was filed in Plumas Superior court, charging Cross with murder.

Cross, a professor, is 5-feet, 6-inches tall and 150 pounds. Cross, a native of Costa Rica, has ties to Reno, Costa Rica and Peru.

For more details, click here.

November 6, 2009
Cops: Truckee residents give burglary suspect the boot

Bee Staff

Residents in a Truckee home booted a burglary suspect out the door and almost into the arms of police officers, according to a Truckee Police Department news release.

Occupants of a residence in the 15000 block of Glenshire Drive confronted a stranger who had entered through an unlocked door around 1 a.m. Sunday, the release states.

A struggle followed with stranger being evicted and the door locked behind him, the release states.

Responding officers found Mario Alberto Gonzalez, 25, of Truckee walking nearby and arrested him, the release states.

At the jail, officers said they found an MP3 player on Gonzales that was stolen from a vehicle in the residents' driveway.

Gonzalez was booked on suspicion of burglary, prowling and giving a false ID to officers, the release states. He is being held without bail for violation of probation, the release states.

November 6, 2009
Placer County judge orders 4 pit bulls destroyed after attack

Bee Staff

A Placer County Superior Court judge has ordered the killing of four pit bulls which mauled a teen, according to the Auburn Police Department. The judge called the owners' negligence "simply astonishing."

Judge Joseph O'Flaherty also banned owner Daniel Coverston from "owning, possessing, controlling or having custody of any dog for three years" in Placer County or Auburn.

The 17-year-old victim suffered major but not life-threatening injuries, the judge's ruling and media reports indicated.

The ruling issued on Thursday also found that Coverston was aware of the danger that the dogs posed and failed to protect the community from such an attack.

In his ruling, the judge said Coverston showed "no detectable emotion or remorse" in his testimony and was "clueless" to the danger he caused by not properly securing his animals.

The Bee was unable to contact Coverston.

However, the Auburn Journal newspaper reported that Coverston's attorney said his client was "remorseful for what the dogs did. He wishes he would've put other security measures in place that would've helped them from getting out."

To read that account, click here.

Coverston can appeal the ruling, according to a release from the Auburn Police Department.

The attack, which the judge called "unprovoked," happened on Sept. 16 as the victim was standing in a parking lot of Big O Tires in the 900 block of Lincoln Way, waiting to dine with his parents, the ruling states.

The four pit bulls, roaming the street, knocked the teen down "biting him numerous times on both his upper and lower body," the release states.

The teen was saved from further injury by an employee of Big O Tires, who drove off the animals, armed only with a wrench, and the employee's girlfriend, who pulled the victim into a vehicle, the ruling states

"The City of Auburn recognizes the outcome of this proceeding will no doubt be met with mixed emotion," Police Chief Valerie Harris said in a prepared statement. "We can all agree the injuries suffered by the victim deserve our empathy and express the highest appreciation for two courageous individuals that came to the aide of the teen. The directive to destroy the animals is necessary to ensure the highest degree of public safety within the Auburn Community.

"The Auburn Police Department will work closely with the City Attorney to determine all procedural requirements that must be met prior to the destruction of the animals as directed by the court. The City is also mindful of Mr. Coverston's rights to appeal this decision..."

November 5, 2009
Jury acquits Sacramento man in friend's fall/drowning

From Andy Furillo

A 22-year-old man was acquitted today of involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of his friend and fellow student at an auto mechanics school who fell off the I Street Bridge last year and drowned in the Sacramento River.

Prosecutors said that the defendant, Richard David Froemke, enticed Robert Rodriguez, 20, to walk off the bridge and trespass with him onto an 18-inch catwalk that extended off the bridge. The two had been drinking on the evening of Rodriguez' April 10, 2008, death.

Froemke never reported the incident to the police.

It took jurors less than a day of deliberations to acquit Froemke of the involuntary manslaughter. They convicted him, however, of trespassing onto the catwalk, and Judge Michael W. Sweet set a Nov. 13 sentencing date on that charge.

November 5, 2009
Pair convicted in Sacramento drive-by slaying of bystander

From Andy Furillo

A Sacramento jury today convicted two suspected gang members of second-degree murder in the drive-by shooting death of an innocent bystander on Sacramento's north side nearly four years ago.

Dontae Sultan Stirgus, 22, and Tommie Hall, 23, will face sentences of 21 years to life in prison at their scheduled Dec. 7 sentencing in Sacramento Superior Court.

They were accused of gunning down Donikos Kantrell Jones, 23, as he stood in the front yard of his cousin's house in the 1300 block of Longshore Court on Dec. 23, 2005. Jurors also found a special circumstance allegation to be true that they were involved in the drive-by shooting with the intent to inflict great bodily injury on their victim.

A plumber who had hoped to become a firefighter, Jones had just come back from buying his wife a Christmas present when he was shot and killed.

"He just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time," Deputy District Attorney Leslie Monahan said.

Prosecutors said Stirgus had been involved in an argument on the street a little while before the 8:57 p.m. killing, which provoked one of his antagonists to fire a gun into the air. Stirgus then promised to return, according to a police summary of the case, with one witness saying that he said, "We'll be back, and it's curtains for anyone who is outside."

Sturgis left, then returned in another car with Hall, as well as a third passenger, prosecutors charged. Monahan said investigators were never able to determine who it was that fired the gun that killed Jones.

November 5, 2009
Greenhaven, Pocket burglaries boost police scrutiny

From Bill Lindelof:

A rash of burglaries in the Greenhaven and Pocket neighborhoods have neighbors and police on alert.

Between Oct. 27 and Monday Sacramento police have responded to 15 home burglaries in the south Sacramento neighborhoods. The suspects mostly enter the homes through side garage doors but in some instances have broken in through windows.

The burglaries have occurred from as early as 6:30 a.m. to as late as 10:40 p.m. Police are urging residents to be vigilant and report suspicious activity.

Descriptions of suspects provided by police are of a dark-skinned male, 5-feet, 10-inches and 200 pounds and an African American male, about 17 years old with a skinny build.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.

November 5, 2009
Traffic-safety programs earn honors for police agencies

From Bill Lindelof:

Law enforcement agencies throughout the state have been honored for excellence in community traffic safety.

The California Law Enforcement Challenge honors are presented each year to agencies that compete against similar-sized departments. The honored agencies demonstrated the most effective safety programs, a California Highway Patrol news release states.

The Napa Police Department took top honors, earning the Commissioner's Award in the local agency category. In the CHP category, the Auburn-area CHP office received the Commissioner's Award for overall excellence.

"I'm proud of all of our employees and the work that they do, but a special thank-you to the Auburn-area office," said Commissioner Joe Farrow.

Other awards went to Petaluma police for impaired driving prevention, Bakersfield police for underage alcohol prevention, Livermore police for child passenger safety, Ontario police for speed awareness, San Francisco for bicycle-pedestrian safety, Ripon police for technology, Lake Elsinore police for first-time entry and El Cerrito police for commercial vehicle.

CHP recipients of awards were the Quincy-area office for impaired-driving prevention, Moorpark for underage alcohol prevention and San Jose for child passenger safety and speed awareness programs.

November 5, 2009
Kings forward Nocioni arrested on DUI

From Bill Lindeof:

Sacramento Kings forward Andres Nocioni has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

Nocioni, 29, was arrested by Sacramento Police and booked into Sacramento County Jail at 3:30 this morning, according to a Sacramento County Jail Web site.

A Sacramento police spokesman said that at about 2 a.m. an officer noticed a motorist southbound on 15th Street near L Street whose vehicle was weaving within its lane. The officer stopped the car near Ninth and L streets.

The officer noticed that there was an odor of alcohol when speaking with the driver. Nocioni was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

For more on this developing story, click here.

November 5, 2009
Alleged rape of two teens leads to four Yuba City arrests

From Bill Lindelof:

Four people have been arrested in connection with the alleged rape of two girls in the Yuba City area.

The Sutter County Sheriff's Department was contacted by a 16-year-old girl on Oct. 27 who told deputies she had been raped at a residence two months ago.

Detectives investigated and determined the girl, who was 15 years old at the time, and a 14-year-old, had been raped.

The department's investigation led to the arrest of a woman and three men. They are:

• Mario Alberto Garcia (photo top left), 20, of Yuba City, on suspicion of furnishing minors with marijuana.

• Lisa Marie Rathbun (photo top right), 18, of Linda, on suspicion of annoying and molesting a minor and furnishing minors with marijuana.

• Paul William English (photo bottom left), 20, of Marysville, on suspicion of rape.

• Jason Scott Loddesol (photo bottom right), 22, of Yuba City, on suspicion of rape and furnishing minors with marijuana.

An ongoing investigation may lead to more arrests, a sheriff's department news release states. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at (530) 822-7307.




November 5, 2009
Crime Alert: Suspect sought on drug charges

BAKER, Anji 10-26-09.jpgThe Sacramento Police Department is seeking Anji Baker (left photo) on a $100,000 felony warrant for suspicion of possessing or purchasing cocaine for sale and possessing controlled substances for sale, Sacramento Crime Alert officials report.

Baker, who authorities said is on formal searchable probation, is described as age 25, 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 170 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

He was last known to live in the 2200 block of Edison Avenue in the Arden Arcade area of Sacramento, officials said.

Anyone with information about Baker 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.

November 4, 2009
Suspected counterfeit printing operation busted; six arrested

casey.jpg jpena.jpg cosme.jpg nunez.jpg sanders.jpg mac.jpg

From Chelsea Phua:

Placer County Sheriff's officials arrested several people suspected of running a counterfeit currency printing operation in Loomis.

It's the second counterfeit currency operation busted in Placer County in the past week, detectives said.

In the latest incident, authorities say the suspects were arrested at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at a residence in the 3300 block of Auburn Folsom Road, where authorities say they have been running their operation since March.

Detectives investigating counterfeit currency passed at Target retail stores in Placer County obtained images of the suspects from video surveillance tapes. Investigators were able to identify the suspects and determine where they live.

During a search of the residence, detectives found the operation being conducted in two rooms. Detectives found $100-, $50- and $20-dollar counterfeit bills.

Authorities said six people lived at the residence and played an active role in producing and passing the counterfeit bills.

According to a news release, they are: (top photos, from left) Michael Patrick Casey, 37; Jorge Luis Pena, 53; Mark Randall Cosme, 23; Benjamin Marin Nunez, 37; Etta Sanders, 38; Tracy Irene McCormick, 33.

Two other suspects at the Loomis address were taken into custody for warrants not related to the counterfeit operation. They are (not pictured): Daniel Kral, 36, of Loomis and Stacy Lee Brady, 33, of Sacramento.

November 4, 2009
Prison guard arrested; suspected of bringing drugs, weapons into facility

domingo garcia (11-12-69).jpgFrom Chelsea Phua:

A state correctional officer is accused of bringing drugs and weapons into a correctional facility, illegal communication with an inmate and conspiracy, authorities said.

George Kostyrko, a spokesman for the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Domingo Garcia (left photo), 39, was arrested Monday by the department's internal affairs investigators.

Sacramento County Sheriff's department spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said Garcia was booked on four felony charges.

Online jail records show that Garcia was released Tuesday from custody.

Kostyrko said Garcia is a nine-year veteran with the corrections department whose current assignment was in a more restricted area for prisoners at California State Prison, Sacramento. He has been placed on administrative leave, officials said.

November 4, 2009
Sacramento County sheriff's deputy shoots attacking dog

From Chelsea Phua:

A Sacramento County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed a dog Wednesday afternoon in the Fruitridge Pocket neighborhood of Sacramento County, a department spokesman said.

The incident happened around 4 p.m. in the 4800 block of Del Norte Boulevard, spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said.

The deputy was assisting Child Protective Services on a call at a house across the street from where the dog lives, Curran said.

The dog ran at the deputy, who then fired at it, Curran said.

Authorities on Wednesday evening said they did not have details of the dog's breed or whereabouts just before the attack.

Annie Parker, spokeswoman for the county's department of animal care and regulation, said more information might be available Thursday.

Animal care officials were on their way to pick up the dog Wednesday evening, Parker said.

November 4, 2009
Galt man wanted in Halloween night slaying in custody

From Kim Minugh

The Galt man wanted in connection with a Halloween night homicide in Acampo has been arrested and booked into the San Joaquin County jail, according to booking records.

San Joaquin County sheriff's deputies sought 22-year-old Anthony Adell Hubbard in the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Adam Mariano Campa, also a Galt resident.

Campa's body was found Saturday night lying in the street with multiple gunshot wounds on the 5800 block of East Jahant Road, according to authorities. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses at a south Sacramento County party reported seeing Hubbard and Campa at the party before the homicide, and then Hubbard after the homicide, according to Sacramento County sheriff's officials. Sometime after his return to the party, shots were fired outside the home where the party was being held, though the shooter was not found.

November 4, 2009
Yolo County man convicted of assault - even after victim recants

Bee Staff

A Yolo County man was sentenced Tuesday for beating the mother of his child, even after the woman recanted at trial and pleaded with a juror on MySpace to acquit him, prosecutors said.

Miguel Dagoberto Lopez, 24, received a three-year sentence for attacking Angela Gonzales, Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig said in a news release.

Gonzales originally told police Lopez hit her in the face and repeatedly slammed her head against the floor of their apartment, he said.

During the trial, she testified she had lied to police because she was angry with Lopez, according to the press statement.

Prosecutors introduced evidence showing she had sought a restraining order two weeks before the incident and that there had been prior domestic violence.

Gonzales allegedly contacted a juror through MySpace and pleaded for an acquittal, prosecutors said.

Jurors convicted Lopez in August, after the juror she contacted was replaced, the news release said.

Gonzales now faces felony charges of jury tampering.

November 4, 2009
West Sacramento homicide victim identified

From Bill Lindelof

The Yolo County Coroner on Wednesday identified a man killed by gunshot as Gidd Gomel Robinson IV, 28, of West Sacramento.

Police said that for unknown reasons Christopher Allen Smith, 29, of West Sacramento became involved in an altercation with Robinson and shot him Tuesday about 12:30 p.m.

According to a department news release, police responded to a call of a man down in the 400 block of Jasmine Avenue and found Robinson with a gunshot wound in his abdomen.

Robinson was taken to UC Davis Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses gave a detailed description of the suspect's vehicle and direction of travel. Yolo County Sheriff's deputies spotted the vehicle and stopped the suspect, who surrendered without incident, police said.

November 4, 2009
Sac PD: Driver holding beer gives off-duty cop a rough ride

From Kim Minugh

When an off-duty Sacramento County sheriff's deputy approached a driver who appeared to be unnecessarily angry, he found the driver to be holding a can of beer. Trouble ensued.

The deputy was driving on Garden Highway about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when construction crews stopped traffic temporarily, said Sacramento police Sgt. Norm Leong. He noticed that the driver in the car behind him seemed unusually worked up, yelling at construction workers, Leong said.

The deputy got out of his car and, as he identified himself to 27-year-old Erick Herrera, he noticed Herrera had a beer in his hand, Leong said. Herrera then threw his car in reverse and attempted to flee from the deputy, who grabbed onto the car and was dragged about 50 feet, Leong said.

Herrera finally stopped when the deputy, who suffered minor injuries, ordered him to do so at gunpoint, Leong said. Herrera was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence with injury and assaulting a police officer, he said.

Herrera is being held at the Sacramento County Main Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to booking records.

November 4, 2009
Suspect in car-theft attempt gets beating in lieu of vehicle

A Sacramento County man beat a vehicle-theft suspect right into a hospital bed, but may only be still walking around today because the second suspect was armed with a BB gun and not a more lethal weapon.

Here's how the events transpired, according to a Sacramento County Sheriff's Department report:

At about 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 in the 7600 block of Pickoi Circle, one suspect entered a vehicle and was peeling off the steering column in preparation for a theft while a second suspect stood watch, armed with a BB gun.

A 23-year-old man who lived at the residence where the vehicle was parked, spotted the activity. He interrupted the theft attempt and the suspects fled, with the man in pursuit.

He caught one of the suspects and they fought. The man was getting the better of the fight, when the second suspect returned and shot him "several times" with the BB gun. That didn't stop the man from continuing to beat the suspect.

The second suspect then fled just before deputies arrived.

The man was taken to a hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The suspect - Cuong Saechao, 18 - was arrested on suspicion of assault and attempted theft but had to be hospitalized with injuries he suffered in the fight, the report states.

November 4, 2009
CHP officer pulls Sacramento man from burning car

From Bill Lindelof:

A California Highway Patrol officer pulled a Sacramento man from his burning car today then arrested him for suspicion of driving under the influence.

The CHP said that a Solano County-area motorcycle officer entering Interstate 80 from Interstate 505 between Dixon and Vacaville noticed a speeding westbound car weaving through traffic at about 7:40 p.m.

The car exceeded 100 mph as it approached the Davis Street off-ramp in Vacaville, a CHP press release states. As the driver tried to change lanes one more time, his car struck the rear of another vehicle.

That car, driven by suspect Jericho Lopez, 28, of Sacramento, skidded into the freeway center divider then struck a sound wall on the right side of the roadway.

Lopez' car burst into flames, and the officer pulled him from his car, which became engulfed in fire. Lopez was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, complaining of pain after he was arrested.

The driver of the car hit by Lopez's vehicle declined treatment. The accident is under investigation.

November 4, 2009
Placer County honors 2 deputy DAs for murder conviction

Bee Staff

Suzanne Gazzaniga and David Tellman, both senior deputy district attorneys for the Placer County District Attorney's Office, have been honored as the county's "prosecutors of the year."

Earlier this year they were named California's top prosecutors by the California District Attorney's Association.

Gazzaniga and Tellman won the state and county awards for gaining a conviction in a 26-year murder mystery in which the defendant was a retired Placer County sheriff's sergeant, according to a news release from the DA's office.

The defendant, Paul R. Kovacich, Jr., was convicted for the 1982 murder of his wife, Janet, whose body was never found. In 1995, the top of her skull was found in a dry lakebed at Lake Rollins near Colfax.

Auburn police interviewed Kovacich several times within the first year of his wife's disappearance, but he was not charged with a crime because of lack of evidence. There were no witnesses to her disappearance or suspected murder, the release states.

When the skull portion was found 13 years later, it appeared to have a bullet hole in it. In 2003, Auburn police conducted follow-ups on interviews from the 1980s. By early 2007, new DNA techniques allowed investigators to establish that the partial skull was that of Janet Kovacich.

Paul Kovacich was indicted on a murder charge and the case went to trial on Oct. 6, 2008, with Gazzaniga and Tellman as prosecutors working largely with circumstantial evidence in the effort to convict him, the release states.

On Jan. 27, 2009, a jury came back with a guilty verdict against Kovacich for first-degree murder. The jury also determined that he used a firearm.

Kovacich, 60, is now serving a state prison sentence of 27 years to life.

Placer County District Attorney Brad Fenocchio called Gazzaniga and Tellman "remarkable attorneys" who "brought their unique skills, intellects and sheer courtroom mastery together in order to reach back in time and hold accountable someone who sought to escape justice."

Speaking at the awards ceremony at a county Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor F. C. "Rocky" Rockholm, a former police officer, noted the difficult work the prosecutors performed on such an old case to win the conviction.

"You did an outstanding job," he told them.

Gazzaniga, a 13-year veteran prosecutor in Placer, is a graduate of Del Oro High School in Loomis and of UCLA. She received her law degree from Southwestern University School of Law, the release states.

In 2005, Gazzaniga won the Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award for prosecution of elder abuse crimes.

Tellman, a 15-year member of the Placer district attorney's office, is a graduate of Colfax High School and the University of California at Santa Barbara. His law degree is from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, the release states.

In 2006, he was named regional prosecutor of the year for Central California by the California Narcotics Officers Association.

Last week, Tellman and co-prosecutor Doug Van Breemen gained a first-degree murder conviction against two men in a drug-related case in which the victim was tortured and murdered in 2006, the release states.

One defendant faces a sentence of life in prison without parole while the other is facing a prison term of 25 years to life, the release states.

November 4, 2009
Weapon in fatal Nevada County hunting accident to be tested

From Bill Lindelof:

The rifle that discharged and killed a 12-year-old boy in a weekend Nevada County hunting accident has been sent to a lab for testing.

"There is no indication that this is anything other than a tragic accident," said Detective Sgt. Steve Tripp with the Nevada County Sheriff's Department.

Hayden McCleran died Saturday when he apparently accidentally shot himself during a hunting accident off North Bloomfield Road near Lake City Road in the woods on the outskirts of Nevada City.

The boy had been hunting with family members when his rifle fired, hitting him in the chest. He was separated from his fellow hunters when the weapon discharged.

The boy was in a stationary position, perhaps 200 feet from other hunters and out of sight, Tripp said.

Following standard procedure, detectives sent the rifle to the state Department of Justice firearms laboratory. It will be checked for possible malfunctions as experts "try to determine how this thing could have accidentally fired," Tripp said.

The boy had taken hunter safety classes, and "the family did everything they possibly could to be safety conscious," Tripp said.

Tripp said that since the boy was unseen when the gun went off, "We may never know what happened."

November 3, 2009
West Sacramento police arrest homicide suspect

From Chelsea Phua:

West Sacramento police arrested a 29-year-old man Tuesday on suspicion of murder.

Police said that for unknown reasons, Christopher Allen Smith, a West Sacramento resident, became involved in an altercation with the man he allegedly shot and killed about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Authorities have not released the victim's identity pending notification of next-of-kin.

According to a department news release, police responded to a call of a man down in the 400 block of Jasmine Avenue and found the victim with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. The victim was transported to UC Davis Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Witnesses gave a detailed description of the suspect's vehicle and direction of travel. Yolo County Sheriff's deputies spotted the vehicle and stopped the suspect, who surrendered without incident, police said.

November 3, 2009
Hypodermic needle reported in child's Halloween candy bag in Roseville

From Chelsea Phua:

Someone placed a hypodermic needle inside a child's candy bag in Roseville on Halloween night.

Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said the department is investigating the incident as a child endangerment case and not identifying the child or the parent.

The child was trick-or-treating on Mt. Tamalpais Drive in a neighborhood north of Blue Oaks area at about 7 p.m. Saturday, Gunther said.

The child's parent discovered the needle while going through the candy bag on Sunday and reported it to police.

The needle was still in its wrapper and no one else has reported similar incidents, Gunther said, adding that the president of the area's neighborhood association sent out an e-mail to inform residents about the case.

"It appears to have been an isolated incident," she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the department at (916) 774-5070 or Roseville Crime Stoppers at (916) 783-7867.