Sacto 9-1-1
February 28, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What is status of photographer accused of secretly videotaping teen girl?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What is the current status of the criminal case against Ronald Buchanan Jr., the volleyball coach and photographer accused of videotaping teenage girls?
Submitted by: Concerned, Sacramento

ANSWER: Ronald Roy Buchanan Jr. is awaiting trial in Placer Superior Court.

February 28, 2013
Police report missing Fresno children found unharmed in Sacramento area

The Sacramento Police Department reports that seven siblings reported missing from their Fresno home and believed to have been abducted by their father have been found unharmed in the Sacramento area.

No further information was immediately available. Sacramento police said the Fresno Police Department is expected to release an update on the case.

The children, ages 5 to 12, were taken from their Fresno home when their mother and stepfather left them alone to go to a grocery store Saturday evening. The mother and stepfather told police that when they returned from the store, the children, along with their clothes in the home, were gone.

Fresno police were trying to contact the children's biological father, Xa Yang, who has been estranged from his family for three years. Investigators believed he lived in Sacramento.

February 28, 2013
Two barbershop shootout defendants plead guilty to manslaughter

Two of the six defendants in the shootout at a south Sacramento area barbershop that killed a young mother protecting her 2-year-old son admitted their guilt today to manslaughter charges.

Charles Barksdale, 31, and Dominique Marcell Lott, 29, entered their guilty pleas in Sacramento Superior Court and will be facing terms of 21 years in state prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett.

Triplett said prosecutors made the offer to Barksdale and Lott "after considering all of the facts, and trying to fashion an appropriate resolution in light of those facts."

Triplett said that Lott, who was armed during the shootout, and Barksdale, who acted as the getaway driver for one of the groups in the gang-related violence, likely would have required separate juries, which would have made it unlikely to try the six defendants in a single trial.

February 28, 2013
CHP offers 'Start Smart' traffic safety class for teenage drivers

The California Highway Patrol is offering a traffic safety class for teenage drivers and their parents or guardians.

The "Start Smart" program targets new or soon-to-be-licensed drivers 15 to 19 years old. The class is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. March 13 at the CHP Valley Division office at 2555 First Ave., Sacramento

The class will cover collision avoidance techniques, driver responsibility, collision trends, distracted driving laws, alcohol-related driving laws and the provisional license process. It will incorporate videos and classroom discussion, and participants will have an opportunity to ask questions of CHP officers.

February 28, 2013
South Lake Tahoe police identify pedestrian struck by SUV

A pedestrian who died Friday evening after he was struck by a vehicle in South Lake Tahoe has been identified by police as John Carleton, 51, a local resident.

Officers responded about 6:45 p.m. to 2681 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Police said Carleton was crossing the street when he was struck by an SUV. He was taken to Barton Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to a Police Department news release.

The driver of the SUV, Gregory Stearns, 49, also of South Lake Tahoe, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol with a suspended license.

Police said the cause of the collision remains under investigation pending autopsy results.

February 28, 2013
Electric shopping cart driver placed under arrest in Sonora

A man was arrested for traveling Sonora streets on a stolen electric supermarket shopping cart, police said.

Country singing great George Jones once related how his then-wife Tammy Wynette took his car keys away, so he headed down the road for a drink on his riding lawn mower. John Mathews, 77, didn't have a drink in mind when he was stopped at 1 a.m. Wednesday on Mono Way in the Toulumne County Gold Rush of Sonora on a motorized Safeway grocery cart.

Police said he told officers that the store had given him the cart, valued at $1,000, because he can't walk very well. Mathews couldn't supply the name of the employee who gave him permission to drive the cart off store property.

The officer contacted a Safeway representative who said Mathews did not have authority to take the cart off store property, and that employees were not aware it was missing, police stated in a press release.

The cart was returned to Safeway and Mathews was booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property.

February 28, 2013
Dukes of Hazzard-type chase in Yuba County

Two men in an SUV led the CHP on a Dukes of Hazzard-type chase Wednesday afternoon.

A California Highway Patrol officer noticed a driver in a 1999 Dodge Durango about 4:30 p.m. with no seatbelt on Arboga Road in Linda, Yuba County. When the officer activated his emergency lights to make a stop of the SUV, the driver hit the gas.

The SUV reached speeds of 70 mph on Arboga Road, north of Furneaux Road, with the CHP in hot pursuit before turning into a driveway. From there, the driver headed toward railroad ties that were piled against a chain link fence.

The driver ran over the ties and powered through the fence.

The two men in the SUV then bolted from their disabled vehicle and ran, jumping over fences to eventually escape officers. The driver was described as white, 20 to 25 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall and about 185 pounds.

The CHP is following up on leads to identify the driver and his passenger.

February 28, 2013
UPDATE: Missing North Highlands man found safe

John Killins.JPGThe Sacramento County Sheriff's Department reports that a North Highlands man who disappeared from his home Wednesday night has been found and is safe.

John Killins, 55 (pictured), who deputies say has a diminished mental capacity, had last been seen at 10 p.m. Wednesday at his North Highlands home in the 3600 block of Turner Drive.

Killins typically uses a bus pass to ride Regional Transit.

February 27, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to suspects in fatal shooting near Antelope park?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: On June 24, 2006, by a park in Antelope, a young man named Serge Zubenko was shot and killed in his own car. What happened to those who were involved?
Submitted by: Gemini21, Sacramento

ANSWER: Two men were sentenced to prison for the shooting death of 24-year-old Serge Zubenko.

February 27, 2013
Elk Grove police seek teen drivers for distracted driving program

The Elk Grove Police Department is seeking 100 teenage drivers to participate in a simulated distracted driving program intended to educate teens about driving safety.

The young drivers are sought to take part in the "3D: Distracted Driving Demonstration" program during the week of March 25-29. Twenty students per day, during two different time periods, will participate in the demonstrations on a closed driving course.

They will take part in several driving scenarios while performing another task, such as using a smart phone to text or talk, applying makeup, eating and reaching for items in the car, according to a Police Department news release.

A certified driving instructor from the Police Department will accompany each teenager as a passenger to ensure that the driver performs the tasks and to intervene if necessary to ensure safety.

February 27, 2013
West Sacramento man sentenced for 2010 gang assault

A West Sacramento man has been sentenced to 26 years and eight months in prison for a gang assault in which he struck a youth in the head with a hammer.

A Yolo County jury convicted Christopher Lee Castillo, 21, for his role in a March 2010 attack on two black juveniles. He was sentenced Friday by Yolo Superior Court Judge Stephen L. Mock.

The two victims and their family had been harassed by gang members during the two months before the assault, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. When the two victims went to confront the gang members, they were ambushed by numerous gang members armed with weapons and a pit bull. Castillo struck one of the victims in the head with a hammer, creating a deep gash, authorities said.

February 27, 2013
Placer detectives seek to identify Loomis burglary suspect

Barn Inside_2013-02-23.jpgPlacer County sheriff's detectives seek the public's help in identifying a burglary suspect whose image was captured on surveillance video in a Loomis barn early Saturday.

The man (pictured) is described as about 40 years old, weighing 150 to 180 pounds, with blond or gray hair. He wore black jeans, a black hooded sweatshirt with a brightly colored pattern on the front and black gloves.

He was seen on video walking through the barn on Creekside Lane in Loomis at 3:34 a.m., according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

Anyone who can identify the man is asked to call Detective Ryan West at (916) 652-2423. Those who wish to remain anonymous are asked to call Placer County Crime Stoppers at (800) 923-8191, or provide a tip online at Information leading to an arrest could earn the tipster a cash reward of up to $1,000.

February 27, 2013
Arraignment for ex-W. Sac police officer facing sexual assaults pushed to next week

By Darrell Smith

alvarez.jpgThe former West Sacramento police officer facing 35 counts of sexually assaulting women while on patrol will face a March 7 arraignment in Yolo Superior Court.

Sergio Alvarez, 37, made a brief appearance Wednesday afternoon at the courthouse in Woodland. He is being held in lieu of $29.3 million bail in Solano County custody on allegations including rape, sodomy and kidnapping of six women while on duty between October 2011 and September 2012.

Alvarez has been a member of the West Sacramento Police Department since 2007.

February 27, 2013
Coroner IDs boy fatally injured in Natomas hatchet attack

Phillip Raymond Hernandez, 36.jpgThe boy allegedly killed in a horrific hatchet attack in Natomas on Tuesday night has been identified as 9-year-old Matthew Hernandez.

Sacramento police allege that the boy's father, Phillip Raymond Hernandez, 36, is responsible. He was arrested on suspicion of murder after the boy was found with fatal blunt force trauma in the Natomas home they shared with Matthew's 12-year-old brother and an elderly woman, according to police.

Sacramento police said it is unclear what allegedly led Hernandez to harm his child.

February 27, 2013
Red Bandits operation targets gang members responsible for West Sac area burglaries

Arrests by state and Yolo County law enforcement officers could cripple street gangs who are thought to be responsible for dozens of home and car burglaries, West Sacramento police said.

The arrests stem from more than 80 home burglaries and 40 car burglaries starting in December in West Sacramento and the outlying region. Thirteen people were arrested.

In addition, three assault rifles, drugs, ammunition, body armor and four handguns were confiscated.

The operation was dubbed "Operation Red Bandits" because members of the burglary ring were identified as members of the Norteno street gang. The gang wears the color red.

The operation targeted gang members from 16 to 20 years old. The gang members supported their lifestyle through the selling of drugs and stolen property.

Those arrested face possession of narcotics, narcotics sales, burglary and violent crime charges.

"Today's operation will cripple these criminal street gangs and their criminal enterprise network," stated a press release.

February 27, 2013
Victims in fiery I-5 crash identified by coroner

The Yolo County sheriff's department has released the names of both drivers who died from injuries suffered in a fiery crash on Interstate 5 in Yolo County Saturday night.

The California Highway Patrol in Woodland was informed of a vehicle blocking a lane of northbound I-5, just south of County Road 8, about 11 p.m. Saturday. Officers enroute were told that a Honda Accord had collided with an Oldsmobile.

The crash caused the Honda to roll on top of the Oldsmobile and then both cars were engulfed in flames. The drivers of both vehicles died.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The sheriff's department said the driver of the Oldsmobile was Jorge Mora Arias, 40, of Woodland. The driver of the Honda was identified as Cheryl Ann Fortress, 34, of Paradise, Butte County.

February 27, 2013
Coroner identifies man killed in Meadowview gunfire

Homicide.jpgThe Sacramento County Coroner's office has released the name of a man killed in an apparent exchange of gunfire on a Meadowview street.

He was identified as Joseph McDowell, 20, of Sacramento.

According to Sacramento police, McDowell and possibly one other person approached a home in the 3500 block Reel Circle on foot shortly after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. An argument unfolded with one resident of the home, and gunfire was exchanged, said police Sgt. Matt Young said. Two of the men were struck.

February 27, 2013
Detective work leads to Auburn robbery arrest

The search of a Grass Valley home led to the arrest of a man for an Auburn convenience store stick-up.

Auburn police said a masked man armed with a gun held up the Auburn Gas & Food, 1110 High St., about 7 p.m. Feb. 7. The robber escaped with cash.

During an investigation following the robbery, Detective Dave Neher was able to identify a possible suspect and recover a firearm believed to have been used in the crime.

As a result of his investigation, Neher developed probable cause for a search warrant of a home in the 1400 block of Segsworth Way in Grass Valley. A search of the home on Tuesday turned up "items associated with the robbery," according to an Auburn police press release.

Jeremiah Navratil, 24, was arrested on suspicion of armed robbery and committing a felony while out on bail.

February 26, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to state employee accused of directing contracts to sister's firm?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: A while back, an employee for the California Department of Social Services was being investigated by the CHP for potentially funneling printing contracts to her sister. The employee's name was Christie Kaiser. There were several write-ups in The Bee, then nothing after that. What was the outcome?
Submitted by: AppleH, Sacramento

ANSWER: According to the California Fair Political Practices Commission's online records, Christie Kaiser was fined $400 in April 2010 for failing to disclose her husband's employer as a source of income on annual statements of economic interest.

Kaiser was a supervisor for the Department of Social Services records and forms management unit during a period when two companies owned by her sister -- and which also employed Kaiser's husband -- received 49 contracts worth more than $200,000 from the department, according to stories in The Bee. The contracts involved printing business cards, posters, pamphlets and other items. All but six of the deals, which began in 2004 and continued until January 2008 were approved without public calls for competitive bidding.

February 26, 2013
Sheriff's detectives seek identity of robbery suspects

Rob suspect ONE 13-25744-16.jpgRob suspect TWO 13-25744-19.jpgRob suspect THREE 13-25744-21.jpgSacramento County sheriff's detectives seek to identify a group of suspects wanted in connection with a series of robberies and a carjacking during the past month.

In each case, the suspects were described as white or Latino men in their 20s. They wore black ski masks or hooded sweatshirts pulled tight around their faces, as shown in the accompanying surveillance photos from a Feb. 4 robbery, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

The suspects have been linked to robberies at the Hoa Viet restaurant, 3110 Bradshaw Road, and the Star of Siam Thai Food, 6029 Greenback Lane on Jan. 31; Original Pete's Pizza, 4521 Gateway Park Blvd., Feb. 2; and Adalberto's restaurant, 5544 Watt Ave., Feb. 4.

February 26, 2013
Woodland police officer involved in collision responding to call

A Woodland police officer was involved in a collision this morning while responding to another officer's request for assistance.

The crash occurred about 6:56 a.m. as an officer driving a marked police sport-utility vehicle with activated emergency lights and siren responded to a report of an officer in need of assistance at an alarm call in the 100 block of West Court Street, according to a Police Department news release.

As the officer traveled westbound on Gibson Road through West Street, the police vehicle collided with a pickup truck northbound on West Street. After the vehicles struck each other, the police SUV crashed into the front yard of a home on the northwest corner of the intersection, and the pickup stopped in the roadway.

February 26, 2013
Grass Valley man arrested in Auburn armed robbery

A Grass Valley man was arrested today in connection with the armed robbery of an Auburn gas station and market earlier this month.

Auburn Gas & Food at 1110 High St. was robbed Feb. 7 by man wearing a mask who brandished a gun at a clerk and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Through an investigation, Detective Dave Neher was able to identify a possible suspect and recover the firearm used during the robbery, according to an Auburn Police Department news release.

February 26, 2013
Elk Grove man found dead after domestic fight, standoff

A 52-year-old Elk Grove man has been found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound following a report of domestic violence and a standoff with police.

Elk Grove police spokesman Officer Christopher Trim said officers were called to a home in the Laguna area about 11:44 a.m. regarding a domestic violence incident involving a husband and wife.

He said an argument between the two led to a physical fight during which the husband reportedly produced a handgun and put it two his wife's head. The couple's teenage son came to his mother's defense, fought with his father and managed to take the handgun away from him, Trim said. The teenager and his mother then fled the house, taking the handgun with them, and called police.

February 26, 2013
Man sentenced to prison for embezzling from Davis firm

A Brentwood man has been sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling from his employer, a Davis-based firm.

Benjamin Chaney, 33, was convicted in January of grand theft, embezzlement, one "aggravated white collar crime" enhancement, and two counts of state income tax evasion relating to theft from his employer, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. He was sentenced Friday by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock.

Chaney had been employed as chief financial officer for Harper Model Home Maintenance, a company owned by his former mother-in-law and father-in-law. Between 2003 and 2007, he embezzled more than $300,000 from his employer by paying his personal expenses with corporate funds and altering the records to cover the fraud, officials said.

February 26, 2013
Fair Oaks man sentenced for distributing child pornography

A Fair Oaks man has been sentenced to eight years and 10 months in prison for distributing child pornography.

Clifford Donald Wells, 56, will also be subject to 10 years of supervised release following his time in prison, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez.

According to court records, Wells maintained a collection of approximately 6,000 videos and 60,000 still images depicting minors engaged in various types of sexually explicit conduct. He shared and posted the images from his computer to others on the Internet.

February 26, 2013
CHP to recommend charging motorist, bicyclist in Rio Linda collision

The California Highway Patrol announced that it will recommend charges against both a truck driver and a bicyclist involved a collision that seriously injured two teenagers in Rio Linda last week.

The driver of a Ford truck involved in what was reported as a hit-and-run collision has come forward and given a statement to CHP investigators.

The 35-year-old Rio Linda resident, whose name has not been released, and his counsel have cooperated with officers investigating the collision, which occurred about 10:22 p.m. Thursday on Dry Creek Road just north of Elkhorn Boulevard, according to a CHP news release.

February 26, 2013
Update: One dead, another injured in Meadowview shooting

Homicide.jpgOne young man is dead and another injured after the two apparently exchanged gunfire following an altercation on a Meadowview street, according to Sacramento police.

The dead man was only identified as being in his 20s. The wounded man, also in his 20s, suffered non life-threatening injuries, said police Sgt. Matt Young.

According to police, the man who was killed and possibly one other person approached a home in the 3500 block Reel Circle on foot shortly after 11:30 a.m. An argument unfolded with one resident of the home, and gunfire was exchanged, Young said. Two of the men were struck.

Sacramento police responded to the scene after callers reported shots heard in the area and one person seen lying in the street. Officers located the two victims in the area of Reel Circle and Detroit Boulevard. One victim was pronounced dead at the scene and the other was taken to a local hospital.

Nearby Susan B. Anthony Elementary School was locked down for about an hour, but no injuries or incidents were reported on campus.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kim Minugh, Sacramento Bee.

February 26, 2013
Lost motorists get carjacked in Meadowview

Two people who got lost in Meadowview were carjacked on Monday.

Sacramento police reprt that the male driver and a passenger in a rental car lost their way about 5:30 p.m. Monday near Carella Drive and Amherst Street. While checking their cell phones for directions, they were approached by two armed robbers.

The robbers made the victims get out of their car and hand over their wallets before driving off in their rental car.

February 26, 2013
Auburn police book teen on arson charge after grass fire at school

Auburn police have arrested a teen for allegedly setting a grass fire at a school.

The grass fire set on September 18 also damaged some planters and a lattice structure at Skyridge School, 800 Perkins Way, police said.

A school resource officer on Monday arrested the 14-year-old boy for setting the fire. Police said the teen showed remorse and confessed to events that led up to the fire.

He was booked into Placer County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of arson and other unrelated charges.

February 26, 2013
Learjet lands safely at Sac International after false alarm

A Learjet that reported problems with its landing gear was able to land safely at Sacramento International Airport this morning.

An airport spokeswoman said the pilot reported that an indicator light in the cockpit showed that the wheels were not locked in place. However, it turned out that the indicator light was instead malfunctioning.

The landing gear was down and the plane was able to land safely. The three people onboard walked off safely.

February 26, 2013
Metro Fire halts spread of garage fire in Rio Linda

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District crews last night worked to put out a garage fire in Rio Linda, preventing spread of the blaze to the living quarters of a home.

Firefighters were called about 7:30 p.m. to the residence in the 6900 block of Shady Woods Way where a garage was burning. Crews attacked the blaze from the garage side door, extinguishing the fire.

Some firefighters also made a search of the home to make sure the residence was empty.

The garage sustained significant damage, according to a fire department press release. A malfunctioning clothes dryer in the garage was suspected to have caused the fire.

February 25, 2013
West Sacramento Police officer in custody in sex assault, kidnap charges

alvarez.jpgA West Sacramento police officer has been arrested for investigation of assault and kidnapping charges involving a half dozen women in the West Capitol Avenue area, the department announced today.

The department called an unusual 7 p.m. press conference to announce that Officer Sergio Alvarez (left), who had been with the city of West Sacramento since 2007, allegedly had carried out the acts while performing uniformed patrol duties.

The investigation identified six female victims ranging in age from 20 to 47 years old, police said.

February 25, 2013
Sacramento police arrest roommate on suspicion of homicide

Sixto Rosas.JPGA fight between friends ended violently with a deadly stabbing in southeastern Sacramento on Sunday.

Sacramento police said that at about 11 p.m. Sunday they were called to the 7700 block of 32nd Avenue near Fruitridge and Power Inn roads where a 30-year-old man had been stabbed.

The man, who has not yet been identified, later died at a hospital.

Officers learned that there had been a fight between roommates. During the fight, the victim was stabbed by his roommate with a kitchen knife.

Officers detained the roommate, who remained at the residence after the fight. The roommate, Sixto Rosas, 36, was arrested on suspicion of homicide after being questioned by homicide detectives.

February 25, 2013
Two die in fiery crash on Interstate 5 north of Woodland

Two drivers died from injuries suffered in a fiery crash on Interstate 5 in Yolo County Saturday night.

The California Highway Patrol in Woodland was informed of a vehicle blocking a lane of northbound I-5, just south of County Road 8, about 11 p.m. Saturday. Officers enroute were told that a Honda Accord had collided with an Oldsmobile.

The crash caused the Honda to roll on top of the Oldsmobile and then both cars were engulfed in flames. The drivers of both vehicles died.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Yolo County Sheriff's Department said the driver of the Oldsmobile was Jorge Mora Arias, 40, of Woodland.

The Honda driver was a 34-year-old Willows, Glenn County, woman. Her name has not yet been released.

February 25, 2013
SacMetro fights three apartment house fire overnight

Sacramento Metropolitan fire district personnel responded to three separate apartment house blazes last night.

The first occurred about 4 p.m. in the 2500 block of Edison Avenue in Arden Arcade, the second an hour later in the 3800 block of Little Rock Drive near Antelope Road and the third began at around 8 p.m. in the 4900 block of Little Oak Lane in North Highlands.

The fire on Edison Avenue involved an apartment oven. It was contained to the kitchen, according to a fire department spokesman.

February 24, 2013
Police: Arrested woman had two warrants, no firearm

VENEGAS, TAMMY-41.jpgSacramento Police said they arrested a woman in possession of a replica handgun Saturday night.

Police were called to the 400 block of Harding Avenue, near the American River Parkway, to investigate a suspicious man loitering in the area. When they made contact with the man he reported having seen someone armed with a gun.

The police found Tammy Venegas, 41, hiding nearby with a fake gun. She was arrested after officers found she had two outstanding arrest warrants for robbery.

February 24, 2013
Man allegedly tries to spring friend from police custody

Sacramento police say they weren't fooled by a man's attempt to help another man escape custody Saturday night.

Officers went to vacant property in the 2200 block of 19th St. about 10:25 p.m., in response to reports of two people causing a disturbance. When they got there Merhdad Monadjem, 49, was taken into custody on outstanding warrants.

Meanwhile, the other man, Robert Black, 47, reportedly told officers that a stabbing was happening around the corner. Monadjem tried to flee during Black's attempt to distract the officers, according to police reports.

Monadjem was quickly apprehended and arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest and for outstanding warrants.

Black also was arrested on suspicion of attempting to help Monadjem escape from police custody, falsely reporting an emergency and resisting arrest.

February 24, 2013
Officers fatally shoot Stockton driver in his car

A driver was shot and killed by law enforcement officers on a Stockton street Saturday night, after he allegedly tried to back the car into officers while they stood outside the car, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office.

The car was believed to be connected to an armed robbery in Stockton Friday afternoon, sheriff's officials said.

Members of the San Joaquin County Gang Task Force stopped a car in the 200 block of S. Adelbert Avenue about 9 p.m., after they noticed it matched the description of a car involved in an armed robbery on Cardinal Avenue a day earlier.

February 23, 2013
Assault weapons, drugs seized in Gold River arrest

By Sam Stanton

Holsey mugshot.jpg

Sacramento sheriff's detectives seized a dozen machine guns, as well as drugs and child pornography early today in the arrest of a 47-year-old man in the Gold River area, a department spokesman said.

Detectives acting on a tip arrested Jack Craig Holsey after discovering he was in possession of what Sgt. Jason Ramos described as a dozen machine guns he was not authorized to possess.

Holsey was booked into the Sacramento County Jail just before 6 a.m. today and held on $75,000 bail. He faces charges that include unlawful possession of assault weapons and possession of a controlled substance while possessing a loaded firearm, Ramos said.

February 23, 2013
Crackdown on cell phone use by drivers starts Monday

By Sam Stanton

Law enforcement agencies in the Sacramento area will launch a new crackdown that targets drivers who are using hand-held cell phones to make calls or text over the next two weeks.

The effort begins Monday and runs through March 10, according to the Sacramento Police Department, which said it is working with three dozen area agencies to find drivers using their handheld devices and issue tickets to them during a series of saturation patrols.

"The effort is a special federally funded pilot program using the region to test tactics that may be employed nationally in the future," the department said in an announcement issued today.

February 23, 2013
Davis woman forced into own apartment and raped by two men

A woman leaving her apartment was forced back in and raped by two men, Davis police said.

The rape occurred around 5:00 a.m. Thursday, as the woman was leaving her apartment at the 4500 block of Alhambra Dr. Two men grabbed the victim, forced her inside and took turns raping her, according to reports.

The woman described the men as Caucasian, one with black hair and the other with brown hair. Emergency personnel treated the woman for injuries. The victim waited nearly eight hours before reporting the crime to police.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the Davis Police Department's Sexual Assault Unit at (530) 747-5400.

February 23, 2013
South Lake Tahoe man killed after being struck by SUV

A man is dead after being hit by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol, South Lake Tahoe police said.

The fatality occurred Friday evening shortly before 7 p.m. in the 2600 block of Lake Tahoe Blvd., when a 51-year-old male pedestrian was crossing the street and was struck by a black SUV, authorities said. Emergency personnel transported the unconscious man to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police are not releasing his name at this time.

The driver of the SUV, Gregory Stearns, 49, of South Lake Tahoe was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and with a suspended license, according to reports. Police are still investigating the incident but said the pedestrian may have also been intoxicated.

February 23, 2013
Man arrested on suspicion of DUI after leading police on chase

A man allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol was arrested after he led police on a chase, authorities said.

While Citrus Heights police were conducting a DUI checkpoint on Friday at Greenback Lane and Birdcage Drive, officers noticed a reckless driver around Sayonara and San Simeon Drives, according to reports.

Police attempted to stop the driver, but he refused to stop. The suspect, later identified as 25-year-old Michael Ballard, allegedly led police on a chase toward the DUI checkpoint, driving the wrong way on Greenback Lane and striking the center divider.

Ballard's vehicle eventually became disabled, and he fled on foot, police said. Moments later, he was apprehended and arrested on suspicion of multiple violations, including driving under the influence.

February 22, 2013
UPDATE: Nine people injured in four-vehicle collision in Elk Grove

Nine people were taken to local hospitals this evening following a four-vehicle collision at Laguna Boulevard and Neosho Drive in Elk Grove.

Detective James Kang of the Elk Grove Police Department said the crash occurred about 8:30 p.m. Investigators are interviewing witnesses and trying to piece together what happened. But Kang said it appears a vehicle westbound on Laguna Boulevard overcorrected and went into the eastbound lane, striking an sport-utility vehicle and causing it to overturn.

Kang said a woman and four children age 7 to 14 were were in the SUV and were taken to local hospitals, along with occupants of other vehicles involved. He said none appeared to be seriously injured.

February 22, 2013
Two men accused of stealing copper from Rancho Cordvoa businesses

Two men were arrested early today in Rancho Cordova, accused of stealing copper wire from several businesses.

John Whitlock, 30, and Casey Solano, 24, were booked into Sacramento County Jail with bail set at $20,000 each.

Rancho Cordova police officers responded to the 9900 block of Horn Road about 4 a.m. after a security guard reported that two men were on the roof of a business. When police arrived, the two suspects, later identified as Whitlock and Solano, ran from officers, according to a Police Department news release.

February 22, 2013
Three arrested, property recovered in Placer County burglaries

lewis trevor charles (1).jpgburns richard e.jpgcox mark.jpgPlacer County sheriff's deputies are looking for the owners of property found during the arrest of three burglary suspects in Loomis early this morning.

About 4 p.m. Thursday, homeowners in the 7500 block of Barton Road called 911 when they saw individuals attempting to steal property in front of the home. When deputies arrived, the suspects were gone, but based on the description of the individuals and their vehicle, deputies believed they knew the suspects.

Photo lineups were conducted and the victim's recognized the suspects, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

February 22, 2013
Grant to promote aggressive DUI prosecution in El Dorado County

Motorists arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in El Dorado County will face specially trained prosecutors, thanks to a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

The $313,325 grant to the District Attorney's Office will fund a "vertical prosecution" team that will work on DUI cases from arrest through sentencing, according to District Attorney's Office news release.

"The new vertical prosecution team will aggressively investigate and prosecute the most serious DUIs in our county in order to properly punish DUI offenders, and ultimately, to save lives and make the roads a little safer for the residents of El Dorado County," District Attorney Vern Pierson said in written statement.

February 22, 2013
Man given 14-year sentence for distributing child pornography

A man who spent time at a Rancho Cordova residence has been sentenced in federal court in Sacramento to 14 years and two months in prison for distributing child pornography.

Joseph Cantrelle, 61, who lived most recently in Vacaville, also will be subject to 10 years of supervised release following his prison term, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell.

According to court documents, law enforcement agents searched residences where Cantrelle stayed in Napa and Rancho Cordova. They found that Cantrelle maintained on his computer a collection of approximately 561 videos and 4,079 still images depicting minors engaged in various types of sexually explicit conduct. He shared and posted the images from his computer to others on the Internet.

February 22, 2013
Teenagers injured in hit-and-run collision in Rio Linda

Two teenagers were hospitalized with major injuries Thursday night after they were struck by a truck while bicycling and skateboarding along Dry Creek Road in Rio Linda.

The 17-year-old boys, one on a bicycle and the other on a skateboard, were traveling together on the east side of Dry Creek Road, north of Elkhorn Boulevard, about 10:22 p.m. They were riding southbound in the bike lane when a Ford truck northbound on Dry Creek Road traveled into the bike lane. The truck struck both boys and continued north on Dry Creek, failing to stop at the scene, according to a California Highway Patrol news release.

Both boys were transported to Mercy San Juan Medical Center with major injuries.

February 22, 2013
Law enforcement to crack down on Sacramento's distracted drivers

By Tony Bizjak

Law enforcement in the Sacramento region will launch a second round of targeted ticketing of distracted drivers next week, the state Office of Traffic Safety says.

The focus on drivers who talk on handheld cell phones or text is part of a $600,000 federal experiment to see if a series of focused ticketing events, along with public awareness announcements, succeeds in reducing the number of distracted-driving crashes on the road.

The targeted enforcement period will run from Monday through March 10. The California Highway Patrol and 37 local police agencies will participate.

February 22, 2013
Hearing delayed for former Creative Frontiers principal accused of molestation

A preliminary hearing on child molestation charges against a former private school principal has been rescheduled for next week.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael A. Savage had been set today to hear the evidence investigators have gathered on Robert Benson Adams of the Creative Frontiers school in Citrus Heights. Savage, however, disqualified himself "out of an abundance of caution," he said, because he had signed the search warrants investigators served on Adams at the time of his Sept. 7, 2011 arrest.

Court officials then sent the case to Judge Kevin J. McCormick, who set the hearing for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. McCormick also set aside next Friday for the hearing if Deputy District Attorney Kevin Jones and defense attorney LInda Parisi do not finish it by then.

Adams, 61, is facing six felony child molestation counts and one misdemeanor count of annoying or molesting a child in an investigation into allegations that stretched back to 1996. He had run Creative Frontiers, which features K-6 and preschool programs, since 1975.

February 22, 2013
South Lake Tahoe police: Texting, drinking led to crash

Screen shot 2013-02-22 at 11.37.32 AM.pngSouth Lake Tahoe police allege that distracted and drunken driving may have caused a man to plow into two parked cars last night.

Law enforcement received numerous 911 calls about 8:20 p.m. Thursday reporting that a car had crashed in front of a house in the 2500 block of Fountain Drive. A California Highway Patrol officer was nearby and responded.

He detained Christopher Catterson, 27, of South Lake Tahoe. A police press release said Catterson was running from the scene when he was stopped.

February 22, 2013
Sacramento police release photos of north-area robbers


Sacramento police have released security video images (above) of robbers who held up three businesses this week and assaulted employees during the crimes.

The first robbery by the three suspects occurred about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at a restaurant in the 3800 block of Willow Street in Del Paso Heights. Two employees of the restaurant were attacked by the armed suspects.

The second robbery occurred at 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, at a nearby liquor store in the 2600 block of Northgate Boulevard in the Gardenland neighborhood. The armed robbers again assaulted employees before taking cash and running away.

February 22, 2013
Folsom police seek help in identifying stabbing video subjects

Att Murder Feb 2013.JPGFolsom police need help in identifying two people wanted for questioning in a stabbing at an apartment complex.

Police said that shortly before midnight Feb. 15 a fight broke out at a party at the Forestwood apartment complex, 9483 Greenback Lane. Detectives believe the fight may have been gang-related.

One person was stabbed multiple times, police said. The incident was caught on security video.

Detectives are asking for the public's help in identifying the man and woman in the video.

February 22, 2013
Tow vehicle fuel leak prompts short evacuation of Sac International Airport employees

No flights were reported delayed at Sacramento International Airport this morning when a luggage towing vehicle leaked fuel, requiring employees to temporarily vacate an area.

The leak occurred on a luggage tow, the motorized vehicle that shuttles luggage to and from airplanes. The leak caused the smell of gas in the baggage claim area in the basement of Terminal B.

Employees were evacuated and doors were opened to ventilate the area. Once the smell had left the area, employees were allowed back in.

Baggage screening operations were interrupted for a few minutes at about 8 a.m. No passengers were evacuated, an airport spokeswoman said.

February 22, 2013
Folsom and Roseville police team up to thwart home burglary

Folsom police were waiting when suspected car burglars tried to become home burglars.

On Feb 15, a Folsom woman parked her car in Roseville in the 1000 block of Orlando Avenue and placed her purse in the trunk. Burglars broke into the car, rummaged through her glove compartment, taking her vehicle registration, and popped the trunk lid to take her purse.

Thinking ahead, Roseville police called their colleagues in Folsom to ask that they check on the woman's home, since her address was now known by the car burglars. Folsom police watched her home and met the two suspected burglars as they arrived at the residence, according to Roseville police public safety report.

February 21, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Has anyone been arrested in shooting death of Rancho Cordova teen?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Has anyone been arrested in connection with the shooting death of Jorden Benedict last April in Rancho Cordova?
Submitted by: Just Curious, Rancho Cordova

ANSWER: Investigation of the case remains open, but no arrests have been made, according to Sgt. Jason Ramos, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department spokesman.

February 21, 2013
Boy, 12, credited with saving family, aiding firefighters

A 12-year-old boy who put into practice the fire safety lessons learned in school is credited with saving his family and assisting firefighters.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District crews were dispatched to a structure fire at 11:30 this morning in the 6200 block of Watt Avenue in North Highlands.

While firefighters were en route, the youth, Edward Tapia, got his family safely out of the house.

February 21, 2013
Excavation in search for murder victims yields no human remains

By Kim Minugh

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced today that no human remains were found during a more than monthlong excavation of an abandoned well site in Linden.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Herb Brown said during a news conference that investigators had reached out to Wesley Shermantine as recently as this week in an effort to locate the remains of victims of Shermantine and fellow convicted murderer Loren Herzog. Brown said Shermatine, through an attorney, refused to cooperate.

Shermantine pointed investigators to the most recent dig site.

February 21, 2013
Sacramento County Sheriff's Department seeks volunteers

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is accepting applications from men and women interested in joining its VIPS -- Volunteers in Partnership with the Sheriff -- program.

VIPS members assist the department with a variety of duties, such as writing crime reports, performing residential security checks and assisting with neighborhood association groups. Volunteers are asked to commit to at least four hours per week, or 16 hours per month.

Applications are available online at For additional information, call Deputy Stephanie Landry, VIPS coordinator, at (916) 874-4101, or email

February 21, 2013
Man convicted of three south Sacramento sexual assaults

A 42-year-old man has been convicted of sexually assaulting three women in the south Sacramento area in November and December of 2011.

A Sacramento County jury convicted Ladell Lamont Sanders of six charges, including forcible sexual intercourse and forcible oral copulation, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

The assaults occurred Nov. 15, Dec. 10 and Dec. 13 of 2011. Sanders threatened each victim by stating that he had a gun or by displaying a gun, officials said. He then drove the victims to remote areas where he sexually assaulted them. After the assaults, he fled, leaving the victims stranded in the remote area.

February 21, 2013
Missing south Sacramento teenager reunited with family

Christian McDaniel.jpgA teenager who went missing from his south Sacramento home Feb. 6 has been found safe.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department reported today that Christian McDaniel (pictured), 16, has been reunited with his family.

McDaniel had been considered at risk because of an unstable emotional condition and his family had feared he might be suicidal, sheriff's officials said.

February 21, 2013
Sacramento police seek information on Monday morning fight

Fight vehicle.jpgFight Fight.jpgFight necklace.jpgThe Sacramento Police Department seeks the community's help in identifying people involved in a fight early Monday at 22nd and K streets.

Police were called to the area at 12:11 a.m. regarding a fight between an African American woman and several other people. When officers arrived, all the people involved had left the scene.

A silver chain with a glass butterfly pendant (pictured) was recovered in a canvas of the area, according to a Police Department news release. Witnesses reported seeing all the subjects leave in a light blue older model compact car (pictured) with a right brake light that was out.

February 21, 2013
Two die when pickup rolls into Butte County canyon

Two people died Wednesday when a driver became distracted on a mountain road and his pickup tumbled down a canyon wall in Butte County.

California Highway Patrol units arrived at the scene of the 3:30 p.m. accident in the Concow area, east of Paradise, about 5:30 p.m. The injured survivors of the crash had to climb back up to the road and hail a passerby who then summoned the CHP and medical aid to the remote location.

Charles Taylor, of Chico, 19, the driver of the pickup, told the CHP that he and three friends were traveling westbound on a narrow, dirt portion of Concow Road when he became distracted while talking to his passengers and briefly took his eyes off the road.

February 20, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to man accused of stealing from elderly person?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What ever happened to David Louie Weiss? He was wanted by Sacramento most wanted for stealing from an elderly person. He had a $250,000 felony bail. I read he was arrested, but was he sentenced?
Submitted by: Shell, Roseville

ANSWER: According to Sacramento Superior Court online records, a complaint was filed in November 2008 charging David Louie Weiss with two felony counts of theft from an elderly dependent adult.

The records show, however, that the charges were dismissed in June 2010.

Have a Sacto 911 question? Submit it here.

February 20, 2013
UPDATE: Missing Arden Arcade woman hit by light-rail train

A woman who had been reported missing from her Arden Arcade residence since Tuesday night was injured when she reportedly walked into the path of a light-rail train this evening.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department identified Alice Alspektor, 66, as the woman struck by a train at the Watt/I-80 station about 6:40 p.m. She had last been seen in the 3900 block of Edison Avenue about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

RT spokeswoman Alane Masui said witnesses reported that the woman intentionally walked into the path of an oncoming train, which was coming from downtown Sacramento, and became trapped beneath the train.

February 20, 2013
Pursuit ends with four arrests in Citrus Heights burglary

Padilla, Samantha image (1).pngReyes, Michael image.pngStacey Brown image.pngFigueroa,  Williamimage.pngFour Fresno County residents were arrested in Citrus Heights early this morning after police received reports of several people removing property from a local business.

Officers responded to the 7200 block of Auburn Boulevard about 4:45 a.m. As they arrived at the scene, the suspects drove away from the business in what was later determined to be a stolen U-Haul box van, according to a Police Department news release.

Officers tried to make a vehicle stop, but the van sped off and police gave chase. The pursuit ended when the U-Haul driver tried to ram apartment complex security gates on Auburn Oaks Court, police said.

February 20, 2013
Police seek help locating missing Tahoe Park man

MP+-+Mark+Lauchli.bmpSacramento police seek the public's help in locating a 59-year-old man who has been missing for more than a week.

Mark Lauchli (pictured) was last seen Feb. 12 at his home in the 6900 block of McQuillen Circle in the Tahoe Park area. He left a note saying that he was going to the American River, according to a Police Department news release.

Family members thought he might have been going to the Howe Avenue Bridge. Police said his vehicle was found near La Riviera Drive and Howe Avenue the same day.

February 20, 2013
Sacramento police arrest suspects in jet ski theft

PERFETTO,+ANTHONY-52.jpgSacramento police have arrested two people in connection with the theft of jet skis and a trailer last month.

Anthony David Perfetto (pictured), 52, was arrested Friday after he was located in another Northern California jurisdiction, according to a Police Department news release. Chanel Duplessis, 25, was taken into custody today.

The theft occurred Jan. 20 in the 8000 block of Folsom Boulevard. The owner of the jet skis and trailer walked out to discover her property missing shortly after 9 a.m. She followed a trail of water to a nearby gas station, where she confronted and fought with the suspects until she was able to get her trailer unhitched from their vehicle, described as a red Chevy Blazer.

February 20, 2013
Father, son plead no contest to 2010 Land Park home killing

A father and a son pleaded no contest today to killing a man in their Land Park home two years ago.

Christopher William Koppe, 56, and his son Nicholas Tyler Koppe, 23, entered the pleas in the Feb. 8, 2010, stabbing death of Keenan Jon Slotty, 24, in the residence in the 2700 block of Muir Way.

Authorities said the defendants and the victim were all believed to be alcohol and methamphetamine abusers and that the killing resulted from a dispute that arose between the Koppes and Slotty.

February 20, 2013
Placer County enforcement effort to target distracted drivers

The Placer County Sheriff's Office will provide stepped-up enforcement of cell phone laws Monday through March 8.

The enforcement effort is part of a special federally funded pilot program using the region to test tactics that may be employed nationwide in the future, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

Deputies will be out in force in Colfax, north Auburn and Loomis to issue tickets to drivers using hand-held cell phones or texting.

February 20, 2013
Woodland man arrested after driving vehicle through storefront

A Woodland man was arrested this morning after driving his vehicle through a glass storefront.

Officers were dispatched to a business in the 1200 block of East Main Street about 7:30 a.m. After driving his vehicle into the building, Dennis Cortopassi reportedly entered the business and began throwing items from displays, according to a Police Department news release.

When officers arrived, they located Cortopassi outside the business. He is alleged to have intentionally driven the vehicle through the storefront.

February 20, 2013
Citrus Heights man accused of credit card scam

A Citrus Heights man was arrested today, accused of participating in a credit card fraud scheme and money laundering activities.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento on Thursday returned a 36-count indictment against Oganes Serobyan, 40. The indictment was unsealed after his arrest today. He is to be arraigned Friday, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to the indictment, in November 2009, Serobyan established a sham business, Link & Work Holdings LLC, which purported to sell "e-books" online. Between November 2010 and May 2011, the company is alleged to have unlawfully obtained American Express charge card numbers and made tens of thousands of unauthorized charges on them that were ultimately credited to Link & Work Holdings' bank account.

February 20, 2013
Woman reported missing from Arden Arcade home

Alspektor,+Alice.jpgThe Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is asking the public's help in locating a woman who went missing from her Arden Arcade home Tuesday evening.

Alice Alspektor (pictured), 66, was last seen in the 3900 block of Edison Avenue about 9:30 p.m. She is considered at risk because she has been diagnosed as bipolar and having dementia, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

She is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing about 160 pounds, with brown hair, hazel eyes and a medium complexion. She was last seen wearing a brown, fleece zip-up jacket with a fur-lined hood.

Anyone with information regarding Alspektor's whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff's Department at (916) 874-5115.

February 20, 2013
CHP issues 'Silver Alert' for missing Citrus Heights woman

A Silver Alert has been activated for am 89-year-old woman missing from Citrus Heights.

The woman, Evelyn Nash, possibly has early onset of dementia, according to a news release from the California Highway Patrol's Emergency Notification and Tactical Alert Center.

She was last seen about 3:45 a.m. last Wednesday in the Citrus Heights area. According to the release, she was driving a gray, two-door Cadillac CTS with possible damage to the driver's door and a California license plate of 5LLT084.

February 20, 2013
Sacramento man, 71, gets 24 years for child porn conviction

A Sacramento man was sentenced today by a federal judge to 24 years in prison for child pornography and sex tourism.

James E. Johnston, 71, was convicted in May by a jury to conspiring to produce child porn, two counts of receiving child pornography, possession of child pornography, and "traveling in foreign commerce" with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

Judge Morrison C. England Jr. said at sentencing that Johnston's crime, and the need to deter others, warranted the lengthy sentence.

February 20, 2013
One last cigarette before heading for Sacramento jail

A motorist was carted off to jail after she insisted on smoking a cigarette instead of exiting her vehicle at the request of an Elk Grove police officer.

Elk Grove police said they stopped Jade Edwards Mainor, 22, of Sacramento in the early morning hours on Sunday at Calvine Road and Sheldon North Drive for a vehicle code violation. A check of records told the officer that Mainor had an active warrant for her arrest and that she was driving on a suspended license.

A police watch summary indicates that the officer told her to get out of vehicle, but she insisted on smoking a cigarette. The officer was having none of that.

Mainor was removed from the vehicle and taken to the ground. Shortly after that, she was taken to jail where she was booked on suspicion of resisting arrest, the active warrant and a vehicle code violation.

February 20, 2013
Sacramento Police: 3 school lockdowns lifted after hoax shooting call

Three Meadowview schools were placed on lockdown this morning after a prank caller reported a shooting in the area, according to Sacramento police.

The report was determined to be unfounded and police have lifted the lockdowns at Luther Burbank High School, Rosa Parks Middle School and Mark Hopkins Elementary.

Sacramento police Officer Doug Morse confirmed the call appears to be a hoax played by a child. Police are still trying to identify and locate that caller, who told dispatchers there had been a shooting near one of the three schools, Morse said. The other two schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution.

The call drew a large police response, including from outside agencies, before officers determined a shooting had not taken place. Morse described the hoax as a serious offense and that the caller could face charges of making a false police report.

"Law enforcement, teachers and parents alike are all very aware of the recent gun violence," Morse said. "Situations and reports like these are taken very seriously."

February 20, 2013
Employees assaulted in string of Sacramento robberies

Three robbers went on a crime spree last night, holding up a trio of businesses and roughing up employees in the process.

The robbers escaped even though Sacramento police flooded the area with officers around Northgate Boulevard following the second stick-up.

The first robbery occurred about 8:30 p.m. at a restaurant in the 3800 block of Willow Street in Del Paso Heights. Two employees of the restaurant were physically assaulted by the armed suspects.

February 20, 2013
I Street Bridge closes for about an hour after icy crash

A rare closure of the I Street Bridge occurred this morning due to ice on the trusty old span.

About 7 a.m. today West Sacramento police closed the bridge that crosses the Sacramento River between downtown Sacramento and West Sacramento after vehicles slid out of control and collided head-on.

"Two cars hit the black ice," said Lt. Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento police.

The bridge opened again about 8 a.m. when the sun warmed the pavement enough to melt the ice away.

February 20, 2013
Temporary closure of Highway 65 off ramp on Thursday

Placer County residents are advised that an off ramp from Highway 65 will be closed for about an hour on Thursday.

Caltrans reports that the southbound exit from Highway 65 to Ferrari Ranch Road in Lincoln is scheduled to be closed from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday for electrical work. Southbound motorists will be directed by message board to the next exit, Twelve Bridges Drive.

February 20, 2013
DUI suspected in fatal weekend crash on Garden Highway

The California Highway Patrol believes that alcohol may have played a part in a crash that killed a Sacramento driver.

Joshua C. Hanson, 37, was driving on the Garden Highway about a mile west of Power Line Road about 8 p.m. Saturday when he failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway. His pickup truck traveled down a grassy embankment, hit metal gate posts and then overturned several times.

The truck then struck a tree and came to rest on the passenger side. Hanson was taken to UC Davis Medical Center where he died from his injuries.

Two passengers suffered minor-to-moderate injuries. Alcohol is suspected to be a contributing factor in the crash, according to a CHP press release.

February 19, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to suspect in copper wire thefts?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What happened to Ronald F. Schmidt, who was arrested for copper theft? The last story I read about him being arrested in January 2012. Was he convicted for any of the crimes in which he was originally arrested?
Submitted by: Productive Citizen, Sacramento

ANSWER: Ronald F. Schmidt and a co-defendant, Kenneth Thomas, pleaded no contest to grand theft charges.

February 19, 2013
Teens arrested after guns found at two Natomas Unified schools

Police credit alert school employees with the arrest of two teenage boys after loaded guns were found today at two schools in the Natomas Unified School District.

The two incidents, one at Discovery High School and the other at Natomas Middle School, do not appear to be related, said Sacramento police spokeswoman Officer Michele Gigante.

Officers were called to Discovery High School, a continuation school at 3400 Fong Ranch Road, about 10:10 a.m. Gigante said a 16-year-old student had been called to the principal's office on an administrative matter. Before he went to the office, he dropped off his backpack in the library. That attracted the attention of a school employee, who checked the backpack and found a loaded handgun.

February 19, 2013
Sacramento police investigate 36-year-old homicide in Oak Park

Sacramento homicide detectives are investigating the death of a 62-year-old man who was shot during a robbery in Oak Park almost 36 years ago.

Walter Johnson died in a local hospital Monday as the result of medical complications traced back to paralysis he suffered when he was shot in April 1977, said police spokeswoman Officer Michele Gigante.

At 3:48 a.m. on April 9, 1977, Johnson was sitting in his car parked on San Carlos Way near 13th Avenue when a red or brown Ford Pinto stopped in the roadway, Gigante said.

February 19, 2013
Arson in garage at Woodland home under investigation

Woodland police and fire officials are investigating as arson a fire that damaged a garage at a home this morning.

Officers were dispatched about 7 a.m. to a residence in the 1400 block of Crystal Springs Drive for a report of arson. It was determined that sometime Sunday evening or early this morning an incendiary device was placed in the garage, according to a Police Department news release.

The device completely burned a car in the garage and caused moderate damage to the garage itself, police said.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information regarding the case is asked to call the Woodland police Department at (530) 661-7800.

February 19, 2013
UPDATE: Southbound I-5 reopens following big-rig crash in Elk Grove

Southbund Interstate 5 through Elk Grove has reopened following a nearly three-hour closure after a big-rig truck and trailer overturned north of Laguna Boulevard early this afternoon.

The truck with a 53-foot trailer loaded with PVC piping supplies for pools overturned about 2 p.m. Initial statements from witnesses indicated that the big rig was traveling in the slow lane when it drifted toward the center lane, then back toward the roadway shoulder, according to a CHP news release.The truck and trailer both overturned, blocking all three lanes of southbound I-5.

Although it was raining when the collision occurred, it has not been determined whether weather was a factor, officials said.

The 54-year-old driver, whose address was listed as Stockton, suffered cuts and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

February 19, 2013
El Dorado Hills teen dies in Sierra sledding accident

Dylan Ridolfi.jpgAn El Dorado Hills teen on a family outing died on Sunday in a Sierra sledding accident.

Dylan Ridolfi, 15, an offensive lineman on the unbeaten Oak Ridge High School freshman football team, was sledding with about 10 family and friends at Mt. Rose Sunday afternoon when the accident occurred.

Football was a passion for the teen, who stood 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 240 pounds. He also had a soft spot in his heart for kids, invariably being drawn to the smallest in the room at gatherings.

February 19, 2013
Coroner IDs man shot during alleged robbery attempt at Rosemont store

The man fatally shot by a Rosemont store employee during an alleged robbery attempt has been identified as 30-year-old Derick Hunter of Citrus Heights, according to the Sacramento County Coroner's Office.

Hunter was shot after allegedly walking into a Metro PCS store on Folsom Boulevard, armed, about 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Two employees were in the store at the time, and one of them shot Hunter, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

The employee then left the gun on the counter, waited for authorities outside and told investigators he shot the man during a robbery attempt. Based on an initial investigation, sheriff's deputies believe the shooting was justifiable and both employees were released after questioning.

February 19, 2013
Coroner IDs man fatally shot by Rancho Cordova police

By Kim Minugh, Bill Lindelof and Dan Hill

Law enforcement officials say that the man killed in Rancho Cordova on Monday by Rancho Cordova police was shot after hitting officers with inordinate strength.

A press statement by the police department said that the man was large of stature and had begun to overpower the officers when one of the officers drew his service handgun and shot him at least one time in the upper body.

The officers immediately called for medical assistance, but the man later died. He was identified this morning as 35-year-old Paul Tereshchenko of Sacramento.

February 19, 2013
Sacramento woman killed in weekend rollover crash is identified

The name of the 18-year-old Sacramento woman who died in a single-car rollover accident in Natomas late Sunday night had been released by the Sacramento County Coroner's office.

She was identified as Liana Kotsura of Sacramento.

At 11:10 p.m., a red 1998 Acura sedan being driven by Vladimir Sushinskiy, 18, of Sacramento, was traveling along eastbound Interstate 80, merging to southbound Interstate 5 at a high rate of speed, said California Highway Patrol Officer Lizz Dutton.

February 18, 2013
Deranged man killed in fight with Rancho Cordova police at home, deputies say

By Dan Hill

A man was killed in a scuffle with Rancho Cordova police officers investigating a domestic disturbance Monday, authorities said.

Sacramento County Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Ramos said the shooting occurred in the 3400 block of Nut Plains Drive at about 5 p.m. Monday.

Ramos said the Rancho Cordova Police Department had received a call from a family member saying the suspect was "acting erratically and exhibiting bizarre behavior."

The two officers entered the home and encountered the suspect in a bedroom. Ramos said the officers reported he was acting strange and saying things that didn't make sense.

February 18, 2013
Driver in rollover crash that killed teen in Sacramento is identified

By Anne Gonzales

An 18-year-old Sacramento woman died and three other teens were injured in a single-car rollover accident in Natomas late Sunday night, according to California Highway Patrol.

At about 11:10 p.m., a red 1998 Acura sedan being driven by Vladimir Sushinskiy, 18, of Sacramento, was traveling along eastbound Interstate 80, merging to southbound Interstate 5 at a "high rate of speed," said Lizz Dutton, a CHP spokesperson.

Sushinskiy lost control of the car, sending it careening off of the north roadway edge of the transition road, Dutton said. The car raced up and over a guardrail and flipped over, coming to rest on its roof in the westbound lane of the I-80 interchange.

February 17, 2013
Police investigate shooting at Rosemont cell phone store

An employee allegedly shot and killed a suspected armed robber Sunday afternoon at a Metro PCS store in Rosemont Sunday afternoon.

There were two employees and no customers in the store when the shooting occurred on the 8900 block of Folsom Boulevard around 3:00 p.m., Sgt. Jason Ramos said.

One of the employees called 911 and said he shot a gunman who was trying to rob the store, Ramos said. Deputies found a man with upper body gunshot wounds lying in the back of the store, and paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene, Ramos said.

February 17, 2013
Robbers tricking residents to get into homes, police say

Helen Costello, 43.jpg

Shirley Costello, 22.jpg

By Anne Gonzales

Sacramento police issued a community alert about a recent rash of home-invasion robberies that prey primarily on the elderly.

The advisory says the suspects usually work in groups of two or four. Once inside, they allegedly distract the residents and steal from the house.

Two women have been arrested, while at least two suspects are still at-large.

On Jan. 21, two women knocked on the door of a house in the 6200 block of 2nd Avenue and asked if their young child could use the bathroom. The resident was hesitant to open the screen door, but the two women walked inside, brushing her to the side, according to reports. Two men also reportedly came inside the home and started talking to the resident, telling her they were former neighbors.

The resident was suspicious and called her son on a house intercom. The group left the house and drove away. The victim reportedly found money missing from her purse.

While police were investigating the alleged robbery, another call for a similar incident was reported. Two women and two men had reportedly knocked on a door using a different ruse, but the resident didn't open the door.

Police found the suspects' vehicle and arrested a mother and daughter, Helen Costello, 43, and Shirley Costello, 22, on suspicion of robbery, burglary, conspiracy and child endangerment. The 3-year-old boy was released to a family member.

The women are in custody in the Sacramento County Jail.

Police said similar incidents have been reported in the 4800 block of Perry Avenue; the 4600 block of Fruit ridge Road; the 3300 block of 63rd Street; the 3900 block of Mack Road; and the 10 block of Maple Drive between Dec. 29 and Jan. 21.

Suspects in these incidents have been seen driving a white van, and a gray four-door car. Neighbors are asked to report any suspicious activity or vehicles to police.

Police launched a "reverse 911," or automated phone call service recently with an alert to residents in targeted neighborhoods.

Police spokeswoman Michele Gigante asked residents in these neighborhoods to be on alert for strangers who come to the door and ask to get into the back yard to check water or electric connections, ask about nearby homes for sale, say they are former neighbors or ask to use the bathroom or phone.

"If someone comes to your door that you do not know or you do not feel comfortable with, close and lock your doors immediately," Gigante said. "If you feel you are in danger or they are trying to get into your home, dial 911 immediately."

February 17, 2013
Police book two suspects into jail on stolen gun charges

Two men were booked into the Sacramento County jail on gun related charges early Sunday after police said the suspects tried to ditch the evidence.

Police reports said officers approached a vehicle parked at a gas station in the 2400 block of Del Paso Boulevard at about 1 a.m., and made contact with two men seated in the car. The passenger attempted to discard a handgun while officers were talking with them, police said.The officers took both occupants into custody and reported finding a stolen loaded gun under the car.

A search of the inside of the car revealed a second loaded handgun under the passenger seat, police said.

The driver, Benjamin Baena, 21, and his passenger Francisco Oliva, 20, were both arrested and booked on multiple gun charges, police said.

February 17, 2013
Man, 21, found dead in car, Sacramento police say

By Anne Gonzales

A 21-year-old man was found dead in his car Saturday afternoon in the 900 block of 3rd Street.

Sacramento police officers said they responded to a parking lot of a business about 2 p.m., and found the deceased male inside his car. Officers said an initial investigation found no signs of foul play.

The Sacramento County Coroner's Office has not released the name of the man.

February 17, 2013
Sacramento police raid home, find 200 marijuana plants inside

By Anne Gonzales

A pot-growing operation was discovered in a home by Sacramento police Saturday.

Police were tipped by a neighbor that marijuana was being grown in a residence in the 5400 block of Boswell Drive. When police arrived at the house about 10 a.m., they found about 200 marijuana plants inside, according to police reports.

Police got a search warrant and seized the evidence. No arrests have been made, but an investigation is in process, they said.

February 15, 2013
Sacramento man arrested in 4-month-old nephew's death

LILLY,+WILLIS+-27.jpgSacramento police have arrested a 27-year-old man in the death last month of his infant nephew.

Willis Lilly (pictured) was taken into custody Thursday and booked into Sacramento County jail on suspicion of murder.

About 7 a.m. Jan. 11, police were called to the 7800 block of Summersdale Drive in the south Sacramento area by Sacramento Fire Department personnel who were administering medical aid to an unresponsive 4-month-old boy, Demosphesis King. This child was transported to an area hospital where he died, according to a Police Department news release.

February 15, 2013
Four indicted for growing marijuana in Sacramento, Elk Grove houses

Four people have been indicted for growing marijuana in seven houses in Elk Grove and Sacramento.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento returned a two-count indictment Wednesday, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. Charged with crimes related to cultivating marijuana in the houses are Zhiqiang Liu, 59, of Oakland; Shihong Chen, 47 and Qinghong Li, 44, both of San Francisco; and Jun Mou Peng, 39, whose city of residence was not listed.

According to court documents, on Jan. 30, law enforcement agents conducted searches and seized 2,912 marijuana plants, approximately 100 pounds of processed marijuana and more than $4,000 in cash. Agents found the defendants in grow houses and arrested them.

February 15, 2013
Man sentenced for purse snatchings targeting older women

A 50-year-old man has been sentenced to 17 years and four months in prison for snatching purses from several elderly women in the Arden area last summer.

Haywood Luster last month pleaded to three counts of robbery with an elder victim enhancement, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

In summer 2012, Luster robbed seven women ranging in age from 76 to 93. He followed the women home from two grocery stores in the Arden area. When the women began taking groceries into their houses, he struck them from behind and stole their purses, authorities said.

February 15, 2013
Galt man admits torching problem-prone car to collect insurance money

A Galt man has admitted to destroying his car with intention of collecting the insurance money.

Anthony Arinaga, 34, admitted to a felony charge of vehicular arson with the intent to defraud his auto insurance company, a strike under California's Three Strikes Law, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Arinaga had a vehicle that needed frequent and costly repairs, so he and a friend decided to destroy the car, authorities said. Arinaga planned to file a false stolen vehicle report with police and a false insurance claim.

February 15, 2013
Placerville man pleads guilty in marijuana trafficking conspiracy

A Placerville man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Sacramento to participating in an interstate marijuana distribution conspiracy.

Dylan Hudson, 26, admitted to conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, Hudson was in charge of an interstate marijuana trafficking conspiracy. More than 1,100 pounds of processed marijuana, along with more than $329,000 in cash and eight firearms were seized during the investigation, authorities said.

February 15, 2013
Man convicted of murder in 2011 south Sacramento shooting

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Richard Tyrell Carter of second-degree murder in the Oct. 11, 2011, shooting death of Kevin Kent Burks in the city's south area.

Carter, now 18, is facing an 80-year to life prison term at his scheduled March 7 sentencing in front of Judge Timothy M. Frawley. Along with 15 years to life for the second-degree murder conviction, jurors also found that Carter used a handgun -- never recovered -- which will add a 25-year to life term under the state's "10-20-Life" law. That 40-year to life sentence would then be doubled under the "three-strikes" law because Carter has a prior robbery conviction.

According to Deputy District Attorney Eric Kindall's trial brief, Carter had been playing dice in the street in front of a house on Decathlon Circle, near Mack Road and Franklin Boulevard. Burks, 51, drove his truck up to the house at 11:20 p.m. and was shot and killed when he stepped into the street.

Kindall said in the brief that Carter was "antsy" that a drive-by shooting was about to occur. The evidence at trial showed that Burks was unarmed. The prosecutor's brief said Burks drove into the neighborhood to visit with a friend or possibly to buy drugs. Investigators found four grams of methamphetamine, an ounce of marijuana, a scale, $7,500 cash and two marijuana plants at the house on Decathlon Circle.

February 15, 2013
Burglar steals money from mosque in Davis

islamic.jpgThe Islamic Center of Davis was broken into on Tuesday with the burglar making off with money from donation boxes.

Police said a man entered the mosque, 539 Russell Blvd., about 1:50 a.m. Tuesday through an unlocked window and took the money from the donation boxes. At one point, the burglar is seen on video leaving the mosque and then parking a white four-door sedan on the west side of the house of worship.

The suspect then re-entered the mosque and before finally exiting and driving away in the white car.

Davis police described the man as white or Hispanic, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 165 pounds.

He was wearing a dark-colored baseball cap, a light-colored zip-up sweatshirt, blue jeans and he carried a black backpack.

PHOTO CAPTION: A video image of the suspect from the Davis Police Department

February 15, 2013
Vandal slashes tires on 14 vehicles in Woodland

Woodland police are asking for help in finding the person who slashed tires on 14 vehicles.

Officers were dispatched to Cross Street and Fourth Street about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday where it was reported that two vehicles had their tires cut by a vandal. Once on the scene, officers found 14 vehicles in the area had one or more slashed tires.

Police set the overall estimated cost of tire damage at $7,000. Anyone with information is asked to call the police at (530) 661-7800.

February 15, 2013
Teen pistol-whipped in Elk Grove park during Craigslist phone-sale meeting

A Craigslist meet-up in an Elk Grove park to purchase an iPhone ended with the prospective buyer being pistol-whipped.

Elk Grove police said that the 17-year-old responded to a Craigslist ad to purchase an iPhone 5. He agreed to meet the seller about 5 p.m. Wednesday at Miwok Park, which is near Big Horn Boulevard and Village Tree Drive.

After inspecting the phone, the teen declined to purchase it from the seller, a man in his 20s. About that time, another man, armed with a handgun, emerged from a nearby restroom. When the teen tried to run, he was hit in the back of the head with the handgun by the second man.

The teen suffered a cut. The suspects drove away in a black 2003 or 2004 Ford Focus with chrome rims.

The first man was described as a black man with facial scars, short hair and a cast on his right arm. The man with the gun was described as a black man in his 20s, bald, with facial scars and about 5 feet 5 inches tall with a medium build.

February 15, 2013
Highway 70 re-opens after four-hour closure

Highway 70 north of Marysville has re-opened after a big rig crash closed the route earlier this morning.

The big rig overturned this morning on Highway 70 at Old Highway at about 5:30 a.m. The highway re-opened about 9:45 a.m.

Roadside signs directed traffic around the closure. Pacific Gas & Electric crews had to called to repair downed power lines caused by the accident, which involved only the big rig.

February 14, 2013
Help sought to locate teen missing since last week

Christian McDaniel.jpgThe Sacramento County Sheriff's Department seeks the public's help in locating a 16-year-old boy who went missing from his residence last week.

Christian McDaniel (pictured) was last seen at his home in the 9000 block of Chantal Way in south Sacramento County about 11 p.m. Feb. 6. He is considered at-risk because of an unstable emotional condition and may be suicidal, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

McDaniel is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing approximately 235 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, gray sweat pants, a red baseball cap, and red-and-white tennis shoes.

Anyone with information regarding McDaniel's whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff's Department at (916) 874-5115.

February 14, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to man arrested following slaying of white supremacist leader?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What happened to the guy that was arrested for the killing of the leader of the white supremacist group?
Submitted by: Janice, Sacramento

ANSWER:No one has been charged in the March 2011 shooting death of white supremacist David Austin Lynch at his Citrus Heights home.

February 14, 2013
Firefighters plan safety fair, fundraising in Citrus Heights

The intersection of Sunrise Boulevard and Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights will serve as a fundraising hub for firefighters who will ask passing motorists to help fill their boots to aid burn survivors.

This year's "Fill the Boot" drive in Citrus Heights is scheduled Friday through Monday. Firefighters will be on hand to collect donations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.

A free safety fair also is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday outside at Sunrise Mall.

February 14, 2013
Tool theft delays Sacramento Habitat for Humanity project

Construction of a new home for a needy family has been delayed following the recent theft of equipment from a Sacramento Habitat for Humanity job site.

The tools, valued at more than $2,800, were taken from a locked storage container on property at 1017 Frienza Ave. in North Sacramento sometime between Feb. 2 and Feb. 5. They included a yellow 6000W generator valued at $2,100, a skill saw, a cordless drill set and various other items.

Laine Himmelmann, development coordinator, said the tools were stored on site because they were needed in construction work over the next two weeks. Someone broke the lock, which was concealed inside a metal chamber on the front exterior of the container, to steal the tools.

February 14, 2013
Folsom police seek suspect in Wednesday bank robbery

Folsom police seek to identify a man who robbed a Wells Fargo Bank on Wednesday afternoon.

The man entered the bank at 13389 Folsom Blvd. at 4:11 p.m., brandished a gun at employees and left with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to a Police Department news release.

The man was described as black, in his early to mid-20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a thin build and no facial hair. He was reportedly wearing blue jeans with a blue denim jacket over a gray hooded sweatshirt.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Detective Tim Galovich at (916) 355-7241, or email

February 14, 2013
Police arrest two women accused of Rocklin burglaries

Two women were arrested this morning, accused of several burglaries in Rocklin.

Jill Joyce Hanoum, 34, of North Highlands and Danielle Marie Zunino, 28, of Sacramento were taken into custody when police stopped their vehicle as it was leaving the area of an early morning theft.

The Rocklin Police Department's communications center received a call at 4 a.m. reporting that a resident of the Sunset Summit apartment complex at 2151 Sunset Blvd. had interrupted a theft of property from a vehicle. The person provided a description of the suspects and their vehicle, which was relayed to responding officers, according to a Police Department news release.

February 14, 2013
Pilot who died after plane lost wing and crashed near Winters is identified

Staff and wire reports

WINTERS - Authorities say one person is dead after a small plane lost a wing and crashed just feet from a Northern California freeway.

California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Parker says witnesses told authorities that after the single-engine plane lost the wing, the rest of the plane went into a spiral.

Parker says the plane crashed about 30 feet off the side of Interstate 505, while the wing of the plane landed in the center divider of the freeway.

The pilot - the only person on board - was killed in the crash. The pilot was identified today as Jeffrey Sharman, 68, of Vacaville.
There were no injuries to anyone on the ground.

The crash took place around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday near Winters, a rural community on the Solano County-Yolo County line, about 30 miles west of Sacramento.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the plane was an experimental Avions Fairey Tipsy Nipper T-66.

Staff writer Bill Lindelof contributed to this AP report.

February 14, 2013
Second man in North Natomas standoff identified

The name of the second man arrested after a standoff in the North Natomas area last night was released today by Sacramento police.

The standoff ended after two men who had been holed up inside a condominium surrendered to law enforcement officers.

Sacramento County sheriff's detectives tracked a wanted parolee, identified today as Kiyen Matthews, 33, to the unit in the 2100 block of Club Center Drive about 3:30 p.m.. When he refused detectives' orders to come out of the residence, they called for assistance from the Sacramento Police Department's SWAT and hostage negotiations teams.

February 14, 2013
Sketch of intruder who sexually assaulted south Sacramento County woman is released

sketch rape.JPGAuthorities have released the sketch of an intruder who sexually assaulted an elderly woman last week at her home in southern Sacramento County.

The suspect entered the woman's apartment in the 4900 block of El Paraiso Avenue, near Lemon Hill Avenue and 44th Street, about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday. The woman tried to flee, but was overpowered and sexually assaulted.

The assailant then took money and other possessions from the woman before fleeing the apartment.

He is described as a thin, black male, between 17 and 19 years old, about five feet 9 inches tall. He was wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and a short-sleeved white t-shirt with black horizontal stripes.

Anyone who knows the identity of the suspect is asked to call the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Sexual Assault Bureau at (916) 874-5070.

February 14, 2013
Elk Grove police seek help in identifying tanning salon robbers

suspects EG.jpgElk Grove police are seeking the public's help in finding two robbers of a tanning salon.

Police said that about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday officers responded to California Sun, 8475 Elk Grove Florin Road, about a robbery. Two men, one armed with a handgun, entered the business and removed money from the cash register.

The two then fled on foot from the business.

One suspect is described as a thin black man in his mid-twenties, about 5 feet 11 inches tall. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and gray jeans.

The other robber was also black, had a medium build -- and was about the same height and age as his accomplice. He was wearing a gray and white striped hooded sweatshirt, a black ski mask and tan khaki pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call Elk Grove police at (916) 478-8060.

February 14, 2013
Sacramento ICE sends wanted former police officer back to Peru

ICE.JPGSacramento-based immigration enforcement officers have deported an ex-Peruvian police officer wanted in his home country for weapons trafficking.

Hector Antonio Liontop-Novoa, 51, was taken back to Peru on a commercial aircraft and handed over to Peruvian authorities by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers on Wednesday.

Peruvian authorities say that in July 2000, while Liontop-Novoa was serving as a Peruvian National Police captain, he supplied governmental small arms to a criminal or terrorist organization. The weapons were said to be used in an armed assault that occurred in Peru a month later.

Liontop-Nova entered the United States on a visitor's visa and received an extension to remain in the country only through Sept. 2001. He was captured on May 17, 2011 in Stockton.

His repatriation is the culmination of a nearly two-year effort by ICE after Liontop Nova appealed his deportation, according to an ICE press release.

PHOTO CAPTION: Hector Llontop-Novoa, 51, is flanked by two Sacramento-based officers with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations who escorted him back to Peru. The photograph was taken at Sacramento International Airport just prior to Liontop-Novoa's deportation to Peru for weapons trafficking. ICE

February 13, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Was anyone arrested in Del Paso Heights woman's 1993 shooting death?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Was anyone ever arrested or convicted of the killing of Lori Savala in 1993?
Submitted by: Nmresident, Clovis, N.M.

ANSWER: Luther Dion Foster was arrested in the May 1993 shooting death of 20-year-old Lori Savala, but there is no indication in Sacramento Superior Court online records that he was formally charged with the homicide.

February 13, 2013
Sacramento police offer driver safety class for teenagers

The Sacramento Police Department is offering a free driver safety class for teenage drivers and their parents or guardians.

The "Start Smart" class is free and open to drivers age 15 to 19.

The next class is scheduled from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Hall of Honor at the Public Safety Center, 5770 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento. Teen participants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

February 13, 2013
Man sentenced to prison for 2004 Oak Park murder

A man convicted of a 2004 Oak Park murder has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, plus one year for use of a deadly weapon.

Ignacio Bulahan, 37, was convicted last month of first-degree in death of Thyotis Jackson, 22.

The murder was unsolved until 2010, when an individual came forward with information that assisted the Sacramento Police Department in linking the murder to Bulahan, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

According to testimony at trial, Jackson was a cross-dressing prostitute whom Bulahan had propositioned outside a store on Broadway near First Avenue. A dispute arose when Jackson informed Bulahan that he was a man, and Bulahan slashed Jackson's throat during the fight.

February 13, 2013
UPDATE: North Natomas standoff ends with surrender of two suspects

Daniel+Wilson,+28.jpgA standoff in the North Natomas area ended after two men who had been holed up inside a condominium surrendered to law enforcement officers.

Sacramento County sheriff's detectives tracked a wanted parolee to the unit in the 2100 block of Club Drive about 3:30 p.m. He was described as a man in his 30s. When he refused detectives' orders to come out of the residence, they called for assistance from the Sacramento Police Department's SWAT and hostage negotiations teams.

Sacramento police spokeswoman Officer Michele Gigante said a woman who came out of the unit about 3:45 p.m. verified that the man detectives were looking for was inside, along with another man. Gigante said it was believed the men were armed.

February 13, 2013
Simulator to demonstrate dangers of texting while driving

A car simulator in which drivers can safely experience the dangers of texting while driving will be at Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs on Thursday.

The simulator, provided by AT&T, is part of a joint effort by the telecommunications company and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson to educate young drivers about the dangers of texting and driving, according to a District Attorney's Office news release. The simulator will be on campus from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

AT&T's national "It Can Wait" campaign encourages motorists to take the "No Texting and Driving" pledge. More than 1.2 million people have pledged never to text and drive as a result of the campaign.

Drivers can learn more about the It Can Wait campaign and download the AT&T DriveMode mobile app, intended to curb the urge to text and drive, at

February 13, 2013
Fugitive headed back to prison for hoax bomb threats

A federal fugitive who made hoax bomb threats, claiming that letter bombs were going to be delivered to residences in Rocklin and Auburn, has been sentenced to three years and five months in prison.

Stephen J. Isoczky Jr., 60, of Los Angeles was sentenced today in federal court in Sacramento by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller for making bomb threats and lying to federal agents, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He will be subject to three years of supervised release following his time in prison. Judge Mueller also ordered Isoczky to pay $6,890 in restitution to the United States Postal Inspection Service for the resources spent in dealing with the bomb threats.

According to court documents, on Sept. 2, 2012, Isoczky contacted the national telephone network of the U.S. Postal Inspection service, claiming to be a concerned citizen alerting authorities of impending letter bombs. He claimed the bombs were going to be delivered shortly to a residence in Rocklin.

February 13, 2013
Somers named new Sacramento police chief

sam somers.JPGDeputy Chief Sam Somers Jr. will take the helm of the Sacramento Police Department this Saturday as the agency's 44th chief of police, City Manager John Shirey announced this morning.

Read the full story on our City Beat blog.

February 13, 2013
Sonora police cite seniors for alleged afternoon sex in car

A man and woman, old enough to know better, were cited for indecent exposure when found naked and acting frisky in Sonora.

The Sonora police department received a call about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday regarding two people "engaged in sexual conduct" inside a vehicle parked at a business in the 600 block of Stockton Road.

The unnamed business where the car was parked in the Mother Lode town was open. Customers had full view of the alleged afternoon hanky-panky.

An officer who was given the call to respond to the address happened to be driving by and quickly pulled into the parking lot. Inside the vehicle, police said, he found an unclothed man and woman in the back seat.

The officer cited Linda Titus, 72, of Earp, San Bernardino County, and Garry Wells, 62, of Sonora, for indecent exposure.

February 13, 2013
Dog shot and a chicken-coop arrest on Sacramento's Belden Street

A woman shot a dog and a suspected parole violater was found in a chicken coop Tuesday in separate incidents on Belden Street.

In the first call to Sacramento police, they responded to the 2900 block of Belden Street in the Hagginwood neighborhood about 9 a.m. where a woman shot a large dog that had gotten into her back yard. Police said they were told that the dog confronted the resident and she shot the dog "multiple times," according to the police activity log.

The dog died from his wounds, police said.

Then, about 3 p.m., police were called to help state parole agents with finding a man wanted for violation of parole in the 3900 block of Belden Street in Del Paso Heights. A police dog was used when the parolee refused to surrender from a hiding place in a chicken coop.

He was booked into jail after being treated for minor injuries.

February 13, 2013
Roseville basketball academy leader arrested again

Francis Ngissah.JPGThe prep school president who was arrested last month for allegedly pinning clothes pins to the nipples of male students is in hot water again.

Police arrested Francis Amiteye Ngissah, 24, (pictured) at his Roseville home on Tuesday on suspicion of forgery and fraud. He is suspected of buying furniture for his home by fraudulent means, a police press release said.

Police allege that he defrauded a local business of about $8,000.

February 13, 2013
Smoke in cockpit forces landing in Colusa County

Two Ukiah men were injured on Tuesday when the airplane they were in crashed in a Colusa County orchard.

The Lancair 360 was flying from Willits to Lake Tahoe when light smoke was detected in the cockpit. The pilot began a descent.

As the plane headed for a landing, smoke grew heavier and a small fire erupted, forcing the plane to crash near an almond orchard west of Williams, according to the Colusa County Sheriff's Department.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane struck trees while attempting to land. The aircraft was destroyed by fire, according to the FAA.

The sheriff's department reported that one man was airlifted to a hospital with major injuries. The other man was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

February 12, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Was prime suspect in fatal Lake Natoma fight brought to justice?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Whatever happened to the guy who allegedly caused the death of Satender Singh by punching him, causing him to fall backward, hitting his head fatally on a rock and then fled the country to Ukraine? Has he ever been brought to justice?
Submitted by: Pattysboi, Carmichael

ANSWER: Sacramento Superior Court online records show that there is still an active complaint charging Andrey Vusik with involuntary manslaughter and a hate crime in the death of Satender Singh in July 2007.

February 12, 2013
Firefighters to hold 'Fill the Boot' drive in Cameron Park

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Amador-El Dorado Unit will hold its 11th annual Fill the Boot for Burns fundraising event Saturday at three locations in Cameron Park.

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., firefighters will collect donations at the corner of Cameron Park and Country Club drives, Merrychase Drive and Cambridge Road, and Green Valley and Cambridge roads. Area residents can drive by and donate.

Money raised from the event will go toward sending young burn victims to burn camps, and to research programs for the advancement of burn treatment and rehabilitation.

February 12, 2013
Caltrans crash buffer vehicle slammed by car in Yolo County

A Caltrans crash protection vehicle was slammed into by a car on Monday in Yolo County, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The driver of the car, John P. Bledsoe, 64, of Woodland, was taken to a hospital with complaints of pain. The Caltrans driver of the crash attenuator truck, Jaime A. Ruiz Fuentes, 27, of Elk Grove refused medical assistance at the scene, the CHP reported.

Fuentes was driving northbound at about 15 mph on Highway 113 near County Road 27 about 1:30 p.m. following a crew that was striping the road. The CHP said that Bledsoe was traveling in the same direction at about 65 mph when he became distracted by his cell phone.

According to a CHP press release, Bledsoe failed to notice in time that he was approaching the Caltrans protection truck. Although Beldsoe applied his brakes, his car collided with the crash cushion on the rear of the Caltrans truck.

Major damage was sustained by both vehicles.

February 12, 2013
Tomato king sentenced to six years in federal prison

RB Salyer 2A.jpgBy Denny Walsh and Sam Stanton

Tomato king Frederick Scott Salyer was sentnenced to six years in federal prison today and no fine for his role in a 10- year conspiracy to corner the nation's market for tomato products.

Salyer, who took a plea deal last March in which he admitted to two counts and conceded to running his SK Foods as a racketering enterprise, had accepted an agreement under which he would face between four and seven years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton said in sentencing that his decision was extremely difficult and that he wanted to send a message about such conduct.

But, after hearing a plea for leniency from e 57-year-old farming magnate, Karlton waived a fine.

"The guy's broke," he said.

Photo caption: Frederick Scott Salyer leaves the federal courthouse in Sacramento on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. Photo by Randall Benton /

February 12, 2013
Stranger draws gun on father in Pocket Area

Jamaal Price.JPGA man was arrested for allegedly drawing a gun on a father intent on protecting his daughter.

The 7-year-old girl was walking near De Mar Drive and Cache River Circle in the Pocket Area around noon Monday when she was approached by a man, according to police.

The man allegedly asked her to "come here" and asked about the whereabouts of her parents. The little girl ran to her father who was nearby. The father then approached the stranger.

A brief confrontation ended when the stranger pulled out a gun and threatened the father, police said. The father left with his wife and child.

Sacramento police were called and eventually arrested Jamaal Price, 28, (pictured) who was armed. He was booked on suspicion of gun possession, brandishing a weapon and outstanding warrants.

February 12, 2013
Sacramento elder-care facility operator faces manslaughter charge

elder care.JPGBy Marjie Lundstrom

The operator of a Sacramento elder-care facility is facing felony charges, including manslaughter, in the gruesome death last year of an 88-year-old resident.

Silvia Cata, 52, owner of Super Home Care on Bowman Avenue, was arrested Monday evening at her home near Northgate Boulevard and West El Camino Avenue, according to the state attorney general's office.

She faces felony charges of elder abuse and involuntary manslaughter in what is believed to be the first-of-its-kind criminal prosecution in California involving an elder-care provider.

February 12, 2013
Fire damages garage and attic of Folsom home

fire.JPGA blaze at a home in Folsom on Monday caused an estimated $250,000 in damage, according to fire officials.

The fire at the two-story home in the 200 block of Singer Lane is still under investigation. Damage was limited to the garage and attic of the residence, according to a Folsom Fire Department press release.

The first firefighters arrived at the burning home between four and five minutes after the first 911 call. The garage was fully involved in flames and smoke when crews got to the two-alarm blaze.

PHOTO CREDIT: Folsom Fire Department

February 12, 2013
Pot-for-boat Craigslist transaction sinks Eureka man

A man whom Oroville police said posted a Craigslist ad looking to trade his marijuana for a boat has been arrested.

Billy Jack Pierce III, 33, of Eureka was booked into Butte County Jail on drug charges after police arranged a meeting with him in Oroville.

Police said that Pierce posted an ad on the Oroville Craigslist, offering to trade marijuana for a boat. Officers saw the ad and contacted the person behind the posting.

He agreed to come to Oroville from Eureka to consummate the transaction. At 5 p.m. Friday, officers arrested Pierce at the agreed upon Eureka location, a Frisbee golf course. Police said Pierce had three pounds of processed marijuana. A police press release said Pierce "claimed to possess and trade the marijuana for medical purposes."

February 11, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Did homicide occur at Foothill Farms site in 2006?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Was there a homicide shooting on Dec. 30, 2006 on Hillsdale and Walerga that killed Anthony Fuller?
Submitted by: Kitten, Sacramento

ANSWER: Anthony Fuller, 26, of Sacramento was fatally shot during a fight that began inside a Foothill Farms liquor store on Dec. 30, 2006.

February 11, 2013
Crews find debris, no human remains, as Linden well-site excavation continues

The FBI announced today that crews excavating a Linden-area well in a search for murder victims have located debris more than 95 feet below grade, but no human remains have been found.

Excavation of the well on private land off Flood Road began five weeks ago in an effort to locate remains of victims of serial killers Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog.

To date, the team of FBI personnel and technical experts have removed and sifted more than 50 cubic yards of loamy fill dirt from within the well. The debris was located over the weekend, according to an FBI news release.

February 11, 2013
Fourth area bank robbery linked to 'bad hatter bandits'

Bad Hatter Bandit image_image3_large (1).jpgSuspects dubbed by law enforcement officers as the "bad hatter bandits" have been linked to a fourth bank robbery in the Sacramento area.

The primary suspect in the "bad hatter bandit" robberies entered the Chase Bank at 4117 Elverta Road in Antelope on Thursday and presented the teller with a demand note. During the robbery, the man wore a tan fedora, dark blue dress shirt, striped tie, oversized eyeglasses and black gloves, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation news release.

This was the fourth robbery of an area Chase Bank branch by the suspects since late November. The branch at 3501 Del Paso Road in Sacramento was robbed Nov. 29 and Jan. 29, and the branch at 1800 Douglas Blvd. in Roseville was robbed Jan. 10.

February 11, 2013
Police investigate weekend burglaries in south Davis

Davis police are reminding residents to make sure their doors and windows are locked, citing a string of burglaries in the south Davis area over the weekend.

The burglaries or attempted break-ins occurred Sunday, taking place overnight or in the early morning hours when the victims were home. Two of the burglaries were successful, one was interrupted and the other was an attempted break-in, according to a Police Department news release.

The intruders entered through unlocked sliding doors and unlocked bedroom windows. Stolen items included laptop computers, jewelry, cash, cell phones, electronics and credit cards.

February 11, 2013
Sacramento police say suspected taggers caught with paint on hands

taggers.jpgThree suspected taggers were arrested this morning for vandalizing property downtown.

Timothy Navarro, 21, Jeffrey Pelletier, 21, and Calvin Cortez, 19, were booked into Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of felony vandalism.

Citizens called Sacramento police around 12:30 a.m. about graffiti in the area around Ninth and P streets. Cortez, Navarro and Pelletier were found in the vicinity with spray cans and fresh paint on their hands, police said.

Officers believe that three men are responsible for spray painting graffiti on buildings, trash cans and sidewalks along six blocks.

February 10, 2013
Thrown bar glass misses target, hits woman, police say

Nijhiss Rowe, 35.jpgSacramento Police arrested a man suspected of hitting a woman with a glass in an Old Sacramento bar Saturday night.

Police said Nijhiss Rowe, 35, threw a glass at a bartender after being asked to leave an establishment on the 1000 block of 2nd Street around 6:30 p.m. But the glass missed the bartender and hit a woman, according to a news release.

The woman was hospitalized with a non-life-threatening injury, and Rowe was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

February 9, 2013
Missing Oregon teen found safe in Sacramento

Bedria Williams, a 15-year-old who went missing out of Oregon last month, was found late Friday night.

Bedria left her school shortly after noon Jan. 11. Her father, Pat Williams, believed she boarded a commuter bus to Eugene, Ore., before making her way to Sacramento.

"She's safe and with her family," said Shelli LaMadrid, who organized a search for the teenager on Friday in Sacramento.

The search party received a tip that she was at an apartment in Sacramento County and at that point, requested police assistance, Sacramento Police spokesman Officer Doug Morse said.

February 8, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to suspects in slaying of homeless man on parkway?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What happened to the two men who were arrested in connection with the killing the homeless man in the American River Parkway, Michael J. Tinius, in spring 2008?
Submitted by: DHL, Sacramento

ANSWER: J. Douglas Halford and Mark Ray Hernandez were found guilty of second-degree murder in the slaying of 47-year-old Michael Tinius.

February 8, 2013
Yolo County jury convicts man found tending more than 500 marijuana plants

A man arrested last September in a field of marijuana plants has been convicted by a Yolo County jury of cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.

The jury also found that 57-year-old Fidel Alvarez was armed with a firearm during the commission of these crimes, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

On Sept. 6, 2012, agents from with the Yolo County Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigations Team discovered a marijuana grow on public lands off Highway 16 in Yolo County. The marijuana grow contained more than 500 plants that would have been ready for harvest within a few days, officials said. Agents found Alvarez walking through the field of plants dressed in camouflage clothing and carrying a .22-caliber rifle and a homemade flash suppressor.

February 8, 2013
Family asks help locating Arden Arcade man who disappeared in Sonoma County

jason Kyles 3 (2).jpgA Sacramento-area family is asking the public's help in locating a 34-year-old man who went missing Saturday in Annadel State Park in Sonoma County.

Rebecca Kyles said she believes her husband, Jason Kyles, suffered some type of emotional breakdown. She last saw him the morning of Feb. 1 when she left their Arden Arcade home to go to work. Jason Kyles, a landscape contractor, had planned to stay home that day, but his wife returned home about 6 p.m. to find a note from him saying he was going to New York.

Rebecca Kyles said her husband had had difficulty sleeping for several days before his disappearance.

February 8, 2013
Sacramento man accused of trading child pornography

A Sacramento man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Sacramento for trading child pornography.

Erik David McKinney, 27, formerly of Chico, is charged with two counts of receiving and sharing child pornography, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, between June 10 and July 29, 2010, McKinney, while living in Chico, received and shared images of child pornography through the Internet. The indictment alleges that after McKinney moved to Sacramento, he continued receiving and sharing images of child pornography until Nov. 14, 2012.

The case resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

February 8, 2013
Woman convicted of identity theft headed to prison

A 46-year-old woman has been sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison after being convicted of identity theft and related charges.

During summer 2012, Avette Volker used the identifying information of numerous victims to pay bills, buy groceries and obtain other local services to which she was not entitled, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. Volker obtained the information through a series of car burglaries in which wallets and purses were stolen.

She was sentenced today by Sacramento Superior Court Judge John P. Winn.

The case was compiled by detectives with the Sacramento Valley Identity Theft Task Force.

February 8, 2013
Jury finds day care operator Caceres not guilty in infant's death

By Sam Stanton

After two years of heartache, grief and legal battles for two Mather families, a jury on Friday found former day care owner Sheila Caceres not guilty in the death of a 10-week-old baby boy entrusted to her care.

Caceres, 32, faced a felony child endangerment charge in the death of Avin Rominger, one of more than a dozen children she cared for at the award-winning Sheila's Garden Day Care center she ran out of her home on Grafton Circle.

Prosecutors accused Caceres of finding little Avin in distress but failing to call 911 on Feb. 23, 2011, and later lying to detectives.

But after seven days of trial and about seven hours of deliberations, the Sacramento Superior Court jury said there simply was not enough evidence to convict Caceres of a felony.

"It was a very tough call," juror Kathleen Lieb said outside the courtroom after the jury's verdict was read.

"I can't talk about it right now," she added as she choked back emotion. "I need to go home, I'm really exhausted."

Avin's parents, Dave and Rachelle Rominger, left the courthouse without talking to reporters.

February 8, 2013
Gunman in fatal pot-related shooting to spend life in prison

The gunman in the 2010 shooting death of Steven Carmassi has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

A Sacramento County jury last month convicted Nathaniel Carter, 24, of first-degree murder and attempted robbery. He was sentenced today by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Greta Fall, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Carter, with co-defendants Latice Collins and DeJohng Taylor, tried to rob Carmassi at gunpoint as he sat in his truck in a supermarket parking lot at Garfield Avenue and Auburn Boulevard in the Foothill Farms area Oct. 29, 2010. When Carmassi, described by authorities as a marijuana dealer, tried to drive away, Carter shot him in the chest through the driver's side window.

Collins, 36, was sentenced in January to 26 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder and attempted robbery. Taylor, 23, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced today to seven years in prison.

February 8, 2013
Former Sierra Oaks Elementary teacher convicted of molestation

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted a former Sierra Oaks Elementary School teacher on 13 counts of molesting two of his students.

The verdict against Shane Adair Vicars, 28, came in a retrial after jurors in a case last year could not come to a decision.

As a result of the mistrial, prosecutors slimmed down their case and named only two boys as victims. They had presented six victims in last year's trial.

"We were trying to make it cleaner and easier for a jury to come to a decision," Deputy District Attorney Shauna Franklin said today.

February 8, 2013
Police ask for help locating missing teenage girl Bedria Williams

By Richard Chang

Bedria Williams.jpegPolice seek the public's help locating 15-year-old Bedria Williams (pictured), who went missing from her home in Oregon and was last sighted in Sacramento.

The teenager is described as a female African-American/Ethiopian, 5-feet, 2-inches tall and weighing 120 pounds. She went missing Jan. 11 and was last sighted in Sacramento near Greenhaven and Rush River drives Jan. 19, a news release from Sacramento police states.

"Somebody out there locally knows where she is at," her father, Pat Williams, said today in Sacramento.