Sacto 9-1-1

A purse snatching in Citrus Heights this afternoon turned into a high-speed chase that ended when the suspects crashed their vehicle in West Sacramento.

Citrus Heights Police Department spokesman Officer Jon Kempf said a woman was leaving the Costco store at 7000 Auburn Blvd. about 3:50 p.m. when two men grabbed her purse, then got into a vehicle and fled. A witness who was pumping gas at the store gave chase and followed the suspects onto Interstate 80. Kempf said he believes the witness abandoned his pursuit when officers got involved. He added that police do not recommend that citizens pursue suspects.

Kempf said Citrus Heights police were joined in the pursuit by Sacramento and West Sacramento police officers and a helicopter.

By Denny Walsh
dwalsh@sacbee.com

Former Woodland middle school teacher and coach Christopher Tomsett was sentenced Monday by U. S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. to five years in prison.

Tomsett, 44, pleaded guilty in April in Sacramento federal court to receipt and distribution of child pornography.

The count to which he pleaded guilty charges that Tomsett in 2010, received and distributed via the Internet "visual depictions" that were produced using "a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct."

The Yolo County Coroner's office has released the name of a 21-year-old man who died in a car crash into a tree late Saturday night in rural Yolo County.

He was identified as Joel Lowell, 21, of Brooks, Yolo County.

Lowell was traveling at a high rate of speed about 11:30 p.m. along County Road 23 west of County Road 89, which is just southeast of Esparto. Lowell for an unknown reason lost control and hit a walnut tree.

Officers suspect Lowell was not wearing a seatbelt when he was ejected from the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro. The California Highway Patrol said in a press release that alcohol is believed to be involved in the crash.

Davis police have arrested three suspects in connection with a Wednesday night home invasion robbery, the police department reported.

Three residents of a home in the 1400 block of Notre Dame Drive reported that two male suspects had broken in shortly before 8:30 p.m., sprayed them with a chemical and displayed what appeared to be a handgun before fleeing with the victims' property, according to a police department news release.

A fire that burned 20 acres in a field of wheat stubble in Yolo County on Wednesday afternoon has been contained, an Esparto Fire Protection District official said.

Crews responded around 5 p.m., to the field near County Road 85 and Road 13, about six miles north of Capay, said district Fire Chief Barry Burns. Personnel from a half-dozen local fire districts and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection were able to contain the blaze within about an hour, Burns said.

No structures were involved and no injuries were reported. The field had already been harvested, so no crop was lost, Burns said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Yolo County authorities say a Davis baseball star died after being punched by a friend on Picnic Day, but they don't intend to file charges.

The county coroner concluded the death of Scott Heinig, 22, was a homicide - a "death caused by human hands" - the Yolo County District Attorney's office said in a news release.

But the DA's office said Heinig's death was the "result of accident or misfortune," with no intent to kill.

Cameron Jaclecus Shepherd.bmpDavis police announced today that they have obtained an arrest warrant for one of two suspects sought in connection with the June 6 robbery of a Motel 6.

Two men, both described as African American, walked into the motel office on Chiles Road, pointed a handgun at the clerk and demanded money. The suspects fled with an undisclosed amount of money. Police said no one was hurt in the robbery.

One suspect was described as approximately 6 feet tall with an average build, short dark hair and wearing a maroon windbreaker. The other was described as about 5 feet, 6 inches tall with a thin build, wearing a light blue shirt and a black rag over his hair.

A suspected carjacker fled late Sunday night when Woodland police arrived on the scene.

Police officers had been dispatched to the area of First Street and Lincoln Avenue about 10:20 p.m. Sunday. As they arrived, officers said Robert Vance, 30, of Woodland fled on foot.

He was eventually detained and arrested on suspicion of attempting to carjack a vehicle from a couple. Officers suspect Vance of approaching a female and her boyfriend who were in a car.

A Sacramento man charged with robbing and assaulting two teenagers at knifepoint has entered a plea deal with Yolo County prosecutors, agreeing to serve a prison sentence of more than 28 years.

The agreement with Robert Christopher Shepler, 40, was reached Wednesday, during the second day of jury selection after the start of the trial, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

Officials said Shepler, on June 9, 2010, intervened in an argument among three juveniles. Two brothers, ages 15 and 16, were arguing with another juvenile over an iPod. Shepler pulled a knife on the brothers and told them to empty their pockets. He shoved the younger brother against and wall and searched his pockets, then turned to the 16-year-old, who was wearing a gold necklace. Shepler tried to rip the necklace from the boy's neck. When it didn't come off, he pressed the knife against the boy's neck and demanded the necklace, according to the news release. The boy complied.

IPads, which were flying off the shelf earlier this year, were being tossed out the window of a speeding car by thieves this morning, Sacramento police said.

About 10 or 20 of the Apple computer notebooks were taken about 1 a.m. from the Natomas Best Buy store, 3690 North Freeway Blvd. Thieves used a pry tool to open the glass sliding doors and a car floor jack to ratchet up a drop-down metal door.

Once inside, the two burglars grabbed the iPads, but didn't get away without setting off a burglar alarm. They ran with the loot to a car where a third person was waiting.

A pedestrian in his 50s was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Davis this morning.

The man was hit while on the tracks at the Davis Depot about 9:30 a.m., according to the Davis Police. The train was westbound but details were not immediately available to how the incident happened.

Davis police reported they are investigating a bank robbery that took place Tuesday afternoon in the downtown area.

Officers responded to a report of a robbery at the U.S. Bank branch at Third and F streets at about 4:13 p.m., police department spokesman Lt. Paul Doroshov said. Officers learned that an unknown woman had walked into the bank, approached a teller and stated she was armed with a weapon, Doroshov said.

The woman apparently then handed the teller a note demanding money, Doroshov said. She was given an undisclosed amount of cash, and fled the bank on foot.

Toys for Sunday school kids were taken by thieves who broke into a church storage locker in West Sacramento.

The thieves took an inflatable bounce house and play balls purchased with the spare change donated by church members. The pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters were dutifully tossed into a wheelbarrow at church services each Sunday as the tune "Pennies from Heaven" played.

With more than $1,000 raised over several weeks, the church bought the bounce house and outdoor toys. The balls and hula hoops were used by toddlers to teens after their Sunday school lessons are over and while their parents are still in services at the Center for Spiritual Awareness, 1275 Starboard Drive, West Sacramento.

A sting has resulted in 11 men being suspected of contracting without a license in Woodland.

Organizers of the sting posed as homeowners and invited workers to a vacant home in Yolo County on June 8 to bid on home improvement projects, including landscaping, fencing and painting.

If a bid cost more than $500 in labor and materials and the suspect was not state-licensed, the men were given a notice to appear in court. The suspects face misdemeanor charges of contracting without a license.

Four tourists from Australia escaped serious injury when a car on Interstate 5 crossed the center divider and came hurtling at them at high speed.

The car's driver suffered major injuries. Three of the tourists suffered minor injuries. The fourth was not injured.

The tourists, on vacation in a mini-van, were southbound about 4 p.m. on I-5 near West Street in Woodland when the accident occurred. The California Highway Patrol said it is unclear why a 29-year-old Citrus Heights woman driving north at 75-80 mph cut across the freeway divider and into the southbound lanes.

A police officer witnessed a collision between a bicycle and a motorist on E. Main Street in Woodland at 12:45 p.m. Friday.

Due to the severity of the cyclist's injuries, a helicopter was called in and landed on E. Main near East Street to transport the crash victim to UC Davis Medical Center.

The motorist was not injured.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com


A driver who police say may have inadvertently stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake crashed into a Woodland business this afternoon.

Officers were sent to 11 Purity Plaza at 12:19 p.m. in response to a silent hold-up alarm at Check Max Plus. When they arrived, police were told that there was no robbery, but an employee had activated the alarm after a car crashed into the building.

The entire glass front of the business and part of the surrounding concrete base were broken when a 1992 Toyota sedan crashed into the front of the building, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com


A Woodland bar and restaurant that has been the focus of numerous police calls and the site of a fatal shooting has lost its liquor license.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced today that it has posted a notice of revocation at the La Finca bar and restaurant, 534 Bush St., Woodland, because the business had been operating a "disorderly house" and has been a drain on law enforcement services.

The Woodland Police Department has received numerous calls to the site regarding fights, assaults and public drunkenness, as well as the March 6 shooting death of a 30-year-old man outside the business, according to an Alcoholic Beverage Control news release.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A West Sacramento man was arrested in Woodland this morning after a 12-year-old boy called 911 to report that someone was trying to break into his home.

Police arrived at the home within minutes of the 8:10 a.m. call and arrested Jason Philip Navarrete, 24, on suspicion of residential burglary.

Police say Navarrete had forced his way into the home in the 100 block of Third Street. He first pounded on the door demanding entry and, when there was no response, he forced his way through the back door, walked around and removed a bottle of wine, according to a Police Department news release.

Crews have cleared the wreckage of a big rig crash that closed the left lane of westbound Interstate 80 east of Davis for several hours this morning.

A semi truck pulling two trailers went over the center divide east of Mace Boulevard at about 6:30 a.m. The rig was high-centered on the divide, making it difficult for crews to remove it.

There were no injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A Woodland High School student was arrested today on suspicion of possessing a weapon while on school grounds, the Woodland Police Department reported.

According to a police department news release, school officials notified a school resource officer that a person had been seen on campus with a gun and had last been seen walking eastbound on Beamer Street towards Walnut Street.

By Darrell Smith
dvsmith@sacbee.com

More than 300 firefighters vied Wednesday for eight open positions with the Woodland Fire Department, many arriving at the city's community and senior center before dawn for the chance at a job with the agency.

"There's not a lot of hiring in the fire services, so it's a sigh of relief that someone's hiring again," said Jeff Winslow, a volunteer engineer at Winters Fire Department, after turning in his application.

Woodland police said that they arrested a man hiding in a closet early this morning for allegedly hitting another trailer park resident over the head with a wine bottle.

Officers were called to Bell's Trailer Park, 1224 East Gum Ave., about 12:45 a.m. where two men were reported to be in a fight outside the mobile homes. During the scuffle, a 37-year-old man suffered cuts on his head when he was hit with a wine bottle by his neighbor.

The victim was helped at the scene by medics. Officers searched for the other combatant and found Franco Morales, 28, hiding in a closet inside his trailer.

He was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and booked into Yolo County Jail.

Yolo County sheriff's deputies said suspected burglars who tried to haul stolen possessions from a home using a U-Haul truck were arrested over the weekend.

Deputies said that a homeowner on County Road 27, just north of winters, on Saturday about 7:30 p.m., surprised three people trying to burglarize their home. The suspects tried to flee and were chased by the homeowner and a family friend in two vehicles.

The homeowner's vehicle was rammed by the truck, causing the airbags to deploy, according to a sheriff's department press release. A passenger in the homeowner's vehicle was injured by the airbag.

A Natomas man has been sentenced to 13 years in state prison for his attack on a Sikh taxi driver in West Sacramento in November.

Pedro Ramirez, 42, was sentenced Friday by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall. Ramirez pleaded no-contest March 7 to a felony assault charge and admitted that his attack on cab driver Harbhajan Singh was a hate crime. Ramirez also admitted that he caused great bodily injury to the victim, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

Johnny Morales Jr., 33, of West Sacramento, who had a lesser role in the attack, also pleaded no contest to a felony assault and was previously sentenced to felony probation.

By Max Ehrenfreund
mehrenfreund@sacbee.com

Kenneth Tice, 70, of Davis, was sentenced today in the sexual assault of a 21-year-old foreign exchange student at UC Davis.

Tice, who had been homeless at times, met the victim last fall at a homeless shelter where she was volunteering. They developed a friendship and remained in touch after the shelter closed in March.

The two met for dinner on April 5 near Tice's Davis motel. Tice invited the victim to his hotel room after dinner and assaulted her once they were inside.

Tice later sent several emails to the victim apologizing for the assault.

Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen L. Mock sentenced Tice to two years and eight months in prison. Tice had been convicted on May 24 of sexual battery and false imprsionment with force and violence.

The Yolo County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday that Jennifer Beeman, the former head of anti-violence efforts at the UC Davis, has been sentenced to five years felony probation and 180 days in county jail for embezzlement and falsifying accounts.

Yolo County Superior Court Judge Janet Gaard delivered the sentence and also ordered Beeman to pay $9,153.50 in restitution, according to a district attorney's office news release.

Beeman pleaded no contest in April to one felony charge of embezzlement and one felony charge of falsifying government records from the UC Davis Campus Violence Prevention Program, which she oversaw for years as director, according to the release.

Gang graffiti was found sprayed at two Woodland parks on Wednesday.

Police officers were dispatched to City Park, 639 Cleveland St., about 3:40 p.m. There they found the park's restroom and a storage shed had been spray-painted with gang graffiti.

A 27-year-old Davis man was arrested early today after he was reported lurking around an apartment with a camera.

Davis police officers responded at 2:40 a.m. to a report of a suspicious man at 707 Sycamore Lane. A resident of the complex reported that a man was lurking around a specific apartment with a camera. It was determined that the apartment was occupied by a 20-year-old woman.

When officers arrived, they detained Chad Jones. Jones initially tried to flee but was pulled over in his vehicle leaving the scene, according to a Police Department news release. Police said camera equipment found in Jones' car contained images suggesting that he was videotaping and taking photographs of the 20-year-old woman.

UC Davis is asking the public to be wary of an apparent fundraising scam in which people are going door-to-door soliciting donations for the university's marching band and students in two of its academic departments, according to a university news release.

A similar warning was issued by Sacramento State earlier this week.

Several people have called UC Davis reporting they were asked for money to support a trip to London for either the university's marching band or students in the departments of Music or Theatre and Dance, the UC Davis release states. Neither the band nor the two departments are raising funds to support a trip to London, and they do not solicit money door-to-door, according to the release.

The driver of a carload of teens was arrested Wednesday just outside of Davis after running over a traffic sign in full view of a Yolo County Sheriff's deputy, the CHP said.

The California Highway Patrol said a 17-year-old boy was driving westbound on Russell Boulevard from Davis at 45 mph about 4:45 p.m. when he tried to make a turn onto Patwin Road. In the process, he took the turn too fast and struck a sign for bicyclists.

Watching this occur was a Yolo County Sheriff's deputy, who also saw the driver continue down the road. The teen then pulled into a driveway. .

Bank robbers dressed in black made off with cash from a Woodland bank on Wednesday morning.

Two robbery suspects entered the Umpqua Bank, 203 Main St., around 10 a.m. A third suspect seated in a getaway vehicle waited in a parking lot just outside the bank door.

The two suspects in the bank told employees that they were being robbed and proceeded to steal money from an ATM, Woodland police said in a press release. They then ran outside to where the accomplice was waiting in a white Honda Odyssey minivan.

UC Davis police police have arrested a student as a suspect in two sexual assaults on the campus last night.

Robert Schaerges, 26, was booked into Yolo County Jail on suspicion of sexual battery, false imprisonment and assaulting a police officer.

Campus police said that two sexual assaults took place on a bicycle path near the ARC Pavilion about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The attacker also assaulted a police officer before running off.

A former Esparto youth football coach has pleaded no contest to child molestation and possessing child pornography.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced today that Juan Hernandez, 37, of Woodland, pleaded no contest to two counts of child molestation, possession of child pornography and a misdemeanor count of annoying or harassing a minor.

Hernandez also admitted to a prior strike conviction from 1995 for willfully discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manor, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

As part of the plea bargain, Hernandez agreed to serve 21 years and four months in state prison.


Woodland police have arrested a 23-year-old man who allegedly broke into a home on Leake Circle and was found by officers in an upstairs bedroom, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

Officers responded to the 1000 block of Leake Circle at 4:36 p.m. Monday, after receiving reports that a man had gone into the backyard of a house and possibly broken the back patio glass door to gain entrance, according to the release. Police surrounded the home, checked the backyard and found the rear patio door shattered.

Upon entering the home, officers heard a man yelling from an upstairs bedroom, the release states. They located and detained the man, whom property owners said had no lawful right to be in the house.

People who face criminal charges for driving with a suspended license may have an opportunity to regain their license under a new program offered by the Yolo County District Attorney's Office.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that his office has formed a partnership with Pacific Educational Services Inc. to provide a diversion program to educate suspended and unlicensed drivers who are facing criminal charges.

The objective of the class is to provide participants with tools and a plan to become a legal driver, properly licensed and insured. Most of the participants have a suspended license due to failure to comply with certain Department of Motor Vehicle regulations and other conditions, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

A man once thought to be a homicide suspect led California Highway Patrol officers on a wild chase down Interstate 5 this morning, the CHP said.

During the pursuit south on I-5, the suspect, a 37-year-old man from Everett, Wa., avoided numerous strips placed on the roadway to puncture his tires. Eventually, his vehicle came to a stop when he ran out of gas south of Woodland.

The man is suspected of stealing an older model SUV this morning from a gas station in Redding. The Redding police took the report, which was eventually transmitted to CHP officers patrolling I-5.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

Two suspects left a Target in Davis empty-handed this morning after an unsuccessful attempt to steal an ATM in the store, according to authorities.

About 3 a.m., the unidentified suspects rammed a full-size Dodge pickup through the locked front doors of the Target store, according to Davis police Lt. Tom Waltz.

The suspects backed the truck up to the customer service center and tied a cable to an ATM machine, Waltz said in a news release. When they tried to speed away, the cable broke.

Two suspects were sent to juvenile hall after a 14-year-old said he was robbed of his cellphone at a Woodland park last night.

The teen was at Schneider Park on Schuler Ranch Drive about 6 p.m. where he was allegedly robbed of his cellphone at knifepoint. Arriving Woodland officers found three boys near the park who matched the descriptions of the robbery suspects provided by police dispatch.

A 15-year-old boy suspected of wielding the knife and a14-year-old boy identified by police as his accomplice were booked into juvenile hall. The third boy was interviewed but not charged.

Amidst a rash of catalytic converter thefts in the city, Davis police will partner with a local auto-care shop next month to offer free converter etching services to some vehicle owners, the police department reported.

The service will consist of etching car owners' license or vehicle identification numbers on the converters to assist police in recovery efforts should the converters be stolen, according to a department release. It will be offered June 11, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Davis Muffler and Hitch at 2613 2nd St. in Davis.

The offer is only available to Davis residents or people employed in Davis, the release states. Because catalytic converter thieves appear to target a particular make and model of vehicles, the only vehicles eligible for the service are 1990-2002 Toyota pickups, Tacomas and 4-Runners.

Two Woodland police officers were treated for injuries suffered in a struggle with a 16-year-old boy who had allegedly stabbed his family's dog.

A police sergeant and officer responded to a residence on Yolano Drive at 7:42 p.m. after receiving a report that a juvenile had stabbed the family's Labrador retriever. Family members told police dispatch that the youth had mental health issues, according to a Police Department news release.

Officers found that the boy had left the scene before they arrived, but they located him at a residence in the 1300 block of East Oak Avenue.

Woodland police are seeking a hit-and-run driver who damaged a railroad crossing arm Monday night.

Police were dispatched about 7:15 p.m. to the intersection of Main and East streets, where they found that someone had struck the center median railroad crossing arm, which was lying on the roadway. A witness told officers that a small SUV, possibly green or blue, had struck the crossing arm and left the scene, according to a police department news release.

Police said a California Northern Railroad employee estimated the damage to the crossing arm assembly to be more than $20,000. The repairs were to be completed by late Wednesday afternoon.

A fire caused an estimated $250,000 damage to a Woodland garage Monday evening.

The fire broke out about 6:30 p.m. at 1517 Midway Drive in the south part of town. When Woodland firefighters arrived heavy smoke and flames were coming from the detached three-car garage.

A West Sacramento man has been sentenced to 830 years to life in state prison for engaging in sex with a young girl over the course of nine years.

Bennie Dale Moses, 44, was convicted March 10 by a Yolo County jury of 62 counts of sex and oral copulation with a child. He was sentenced by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen L. Mock.

Officials said Moses had forced the girl to have sex with him beginning in 2000, when she was 12 years old. The sexual abuse continued until July 11, 2009, when she confided in a friend that Moses had been having sex with her for nine years, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. The friend called 911.

A 20-year-old man suspected in gang involvement was booked into the Yolo County Jail early today for investigation of felony auto theft and other charges following a brief police chase through a residential area of the city, Woodland Police said.

The chase started at 11:25 p.m. Saturday and culminated in the injury of the suspect as he was apprehended with the aid of a police K-9 dog. Two other suspects fled the scene, according to police.

The injured suspect, Armando Mendoza of Woodland, was taken to Davis Sutter Hospital for treatment before his booking. An officer, also injured, was taken by ambulance to Woodland Memorial Hospital, treated and later released.

A Davis man was robbed at knifepoint in his apartment early Friday morning, police reported.

Police responded to the apartment in the 1100 block of Lake Boulevard at about 12:30 a.m. Friday, after the resident reported he had been robbed by three or four subjects with a knife, according to a Davis police news release.

The victim told police the suspects had entered his apartment through an unlocked sliding door and confronted him in the living room, according to the release. One suspect placed a knife against the victim's throat and moved him into a bathroom while other suspects stole property.

Yolo County sheriff's officials said today they have arrested three adults and three juveniles suspected in an attack on Knights Landing man.

On May 6, deputies were dispatched to Knights Landing where a man was stabbed in the upper part of his body. He was treated and released from the hospital.

An investigation into the stabbing led officers in the Yolo County Gang Task Force to arrest Surjit Singh, 19, Israel Rodriguez, 18, Manuel Gonzalez, 26, and three male juveniles for suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy.

Anyone with information about the stabbing is asked to call the sheriff's department at (530) 668-5280.

dieselfuel.jpgWest Sacramento police said they have arrested two men suspected of stealing a couple thousand gallons of diesel fuel.

The total take allegedly taken by the two Sacramento men is 2,297 gallons worth nearly $10,000. The two men arrested on suspicion of pumping fuel into a big tank inside their van: J-Uan Parker, 18, and Raynard Dotes, Jr., 19.

Police said a witness saw a van at fuel pumps in the 1200 block of Cebrian Street in West Sacramento on May 7. The witness said a hose was suspiciously going from the pump to the bottom of the van.

UC Davis officials announced today that Whole Earth Festival's DJ Stage will be shut down beginning next year, citing the campus Police department's investigations of three violent crimes, including the reported rape of a 16-year-old girl, in and around the music venue last weekend.

Police also are investigating reports of two other incidents, a sexual battery and a beating, in the DJ Stage area, which was set up west of Wellman Hall, away from the Quad where most of the festival took place.

"We are sending message that people cannot come to our campus and behave this way," Fred Wood, vice chancellor for student affairs, said in a written statement. "It can't continue and it won't be tolerated. We need to create a safe environment for everyone at this university.

A 56-year-old Davis man was killed when his pickup crashed into a telephone pole last night, the California Highway Patrol said today.

The man, identified by the Yolo County Coroner's office as Steve Settje, was driving eastbound on County Road 29 just east of County Road 100A, just north of Davis.

Settje was traveling at an unknown speed and was not wearing a seatbelt, the CHP reported.

A man sought in connection with the Sunday night robbery of a sandwich shop in Woodland was arrested today after he was found hiding in a trash bin.

The robbery of the Subway sandwich shop in the 300 block of California Street occurred shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday.

Employees were in the rear of the business, preparing to close, when they heard sounds of someone in the front part of the shop. An employee went to the front of the store and found a man trying to open the cash register. The man threatened the employee with a knife and ordered her to open the register.

The suspect, however, had broken the register and it wouldn't open. He then left the store, taking the cash register and an undisclosed amount of cash, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

A Woodland man will serve 24 years in state prison for child molestation and possessing child pornography.

Jack Stearns, 49, today pleaded no contest to eight counts of child molestation and one count of possession of child pornography and agreed to the prison term, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

During summer 2002, Stearns began molesting a 10-year-old girl at his home, and continued to molest her until summer 2007, officials said. In February, Stearns again sexually assaulted the victim, who is now an adult.

A robber couldn't open a cash register so he took it with him, according to Woodland police.

The robber with reddish-orange hair entered a restaurant in the 300 block of California Street about 9:50 p.m. Sunday. With no employees watching, he began trying to open the register to get at the cash.

One of the employees working at the back of the restaurant preparing for its closing heard the robber. She went forward to see the thin man in his 40s trying to open the register.

A West Sacramento businessman has pleaded no contest in an insurance fraud case.

Grant Adam Lemeur, 32, on Tuesday entered no contest pleas in Yolo Superior Court to misdemeanor charges of health insurance fraud, failure to have workers' compensation insurance and failure to properly account for payroll taxes collected, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

The District Attorney's Office began investigating Lemeur in the fall of 2010 after receiving a complaint from a Sacramento resident.

Officials said Lemeur owned an auto detailing business, Dream Car Solutions. The complaint was that the company failed to provide workers' compensation insurance for an employee and later pressured that employee to file a fraudulent health insurance claim to cover the cost of a work-related injury.

A Redding man was sentenced today in federal court in Sacramento for the armed robbery of a Woodland bank.

Tracy Bittner, 58, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to three years and 10 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Bittner pleaded guilty Feb. 3 to the armed robbery of Bank of the West in Woodland, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, Bittner robbed the Bank of the West on Sept. 22, 2010, using an air pellet gun. He fled with approximately $5,880, but police apprehended him less than 30 minutes later.

Police will be out in force on Cinco de Mayo in Yolo County thanks to special state funding to catch drunk drivers.

"Drunk driving is simply not worth the risk. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant," said Davis Police Chief Landy Black in a news release. "Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work, and many other expenses."

The Yolo County task force on Thursday will be deploying overtime patrols on city streets and the California Highway Patrol will be in greater force on the freeways and in the unincorporated parts of the county.

The California Office of Traffic Safety provides grant funding to deploy additional officers in areas where DUI drivers are likely to be traveling. Increased enforcement periods are planned during holiday periods such as Cinco de Mayo.

The California Highway Patrol said a traffic stop on a speeding driver on Highway 50 turned up marijuana, hashish, cash and scales last night.

A CHP officer said he was driving the speed limit westbound on Highway 50 in West Sacramento about 9:30 p.m. when a vehicle came up from behind doing 85 mph. The officer made a traffic stop on the car and immediately got a whiff of what he believed was marijuana.

When the officer asked if the motorist had marijuana, he denied it. Not convinced, the officer searched the car.

According to a news release the officer found about two pounds of marijuana, 17 grams of hashish, $2,360 and a digital scale.

The officer then arrested the driver, Richard Michael Lombardi, 27, of San Pablo on suspicion of drug possession and possession of drugs for sale charges, according to the CHP.

Woodland police have arrested a suspect in connection with a Tuesday evening stabbing that left a man hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, the Woodland Police Department reported.

Officers responded to a residence in the 1200 block of Midway Drive at 6:18 p.m. Tuesday, after a woman reported a person had been stabbed in the yard of the residence, according to a police department release. They located an adult male victim with multiple stab wounds.

The victim, a 30-year-old Yuba City man, was airlifted to the UC Davis Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, the release states.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

Woodland Police responded to a report of shots fired late Saturday and arrested a suspect who fled on foot.

There were no injuries and no reports of property damage, police said today.

Officers were dispatched at about 10:15 p.m. Saturday to a report of gunshots in the area of Johnson and Alice streets, a few blocks from the downtown police station, police said.

Two Yolo County men were indicted today by a federal grand jury in Sacramento for child pornography offenses, authorities said.

The grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging Steven R. Russell, 62, of Woodland with possession of child pornography, according to an U.S. Department of Justice news release. Russell was released from prison a year ago after a prior conviction for possession of child pornography, the release states.

The indictment alleges that in December 2010, he was found to be using the Internet to download pornography, despite conditions of release that prohibited him from doing so.

Silver stars for valor for two deputies and a special citation for a teen who kept a cool head will be awarded Friday by the Yolo County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies Mike Glaser and Derrick Alatorre, along with 14-year-old Cloreesa Borrego, will receive the awards for their actions on Dec. 19 when a vehicle went in the water and began to sink.

Glaser and Alatorre witnessed the accident between two vehicles that cold winter day when a vehicle with a pregnant woman and three children, including Borrego, careened into a slough in the Yolo Bypass, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Woodland police are investigating the vandalism of more than 30 trees along County Road 102 over the weekend.

Saplings and trees were either uprooted or broken off overnight from April 23 to 24, on a stretch of County Road 102 between East Gibson and Farmers Central roads, according to a Woodland Police Department release. The uprooted trees were replanted, but about 36 broken trees were destroyed.

The loss of the destroyed trees is estimated at about $8,500, according to the release.

A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the crime. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Woodland Police Department's investigative division at (530) 661-7800.

A 26-year-old San Jose man has been convicted of assaulting a UC Davis student in 2010 with the intent to commit rape, the Yolo County District Attorney's Office reported Tuesday.

Hoang Cong Nguyen was convicted by a jury Monday in the May 6, 2010, assault on the 18-year-old student, according to a DA's office news release.

The release states that Nguyen had dated the victim's older sister for several years prior to the assault and remained friends with the older sister after their relationship ended in fall 2009. At that time, the victim and her sister moved to Davis to attend classes at UC Davis.

A California Highway Patrol officer sustained minor injuries to both arms Monday afternoon when his car was struck by another vehicle after he had pulled into the center median of Interstate 80 in West Sacramento to help a stranded motorist, according to a CHP news release.

The 32-year-old officer was traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 near Enterprise Boulevard at 5:12 p.m., when he saw a stranded motorist in the center median of westbound I-80, the release states. The officer traveled slightly past the stranded motorist, then activated his rear emergency lights and reversed his vehicle toward the motorist at about 5 mph.

By Denny Walsh
dwalsh@sacbee.com

A former Woodland middle school teacher and coach pleaded guilty Monday4/25 in Sacramento federal court to receipt and distribution of child pornography.

Christopher Tomsett is scheduled to be sentenced July 11, and faces up to 20 years in prison on the distribution prong of the plea.

The 44-year-old Tomsett pleaded guilty to one of two counts in an indictment returned by a grand jury 11 months ago. He has been held without bail since then as a "danger to the community."

April 25, 2011
Missing Davis man located

The elderly Davis man reported missing by police Sunday has been located, according to a Davis Police Department press release.

The manager of a Davis retirement complex filed a missing person report Saturday regarding Delbert Oard, 85, who had last been seen Thursday morning at his apartment in the 1200 block of Kennedy Place, Davis police reported.

On Sunday, police received a call from American Medical Response saying that AMR had transported Oard to a local hospital after he had fallen in downtown Davis on Saturday, according to the release.

Oard received medical attention and his missing person case has been closed, the release states.

By Brad Branan
bbranan@sacbee.com

Davis police are asking for help locating a missing 85-year-old man.

The manager of a retirement complex on Saturday filed a missing person report on Delbert Oard, who was last seen Thursday morning around his apartment at 1221 Kennedy Place in Davis, according to a news release from the Davis Police Department.

Oard is described as white, 5-foot-9 and about 150 pounds. He doesn't drive, apparently has no family in the area and walks with a stoop, officials said.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts should call Davis police at (530) 758-3600.

Woodland police have arrested a woman on suspicion of intentionally hitting a man with her car and dragging him down the street.

Police responded at about 5:25 p.m. Friday to the 100 block of Summerwood Drive where Francisco Delgado, 24, was being treated by medics on the front lawn of a residence.

Witnesses told police the driver of a vehicle intentionally hit Delgado, who was taken to UC Davis Medical Center with injuries that were not life-threatening.

A Yolo County District Attorney's Office investigator has been honored by the California Hazardous Materials Investigators Association.

Enforcement Officer Heidi D'Agostino was named the group's 2010 Investigator of the Year at a conference last week, District Attorney Jeff Reisig stated in a news release.

D'Agostino was honored for her efforts in traveling throughout the state obtaining evidence and interviewing former employees to build a case against Target Corp. that resulted in a $22.5 million dollar statewide judgment for disposing of hazardous materials in an illegal manner, Reisig said.

More study is needed to determine the identity of human remains found over the weekend in a Yolo County creek bed, a sheriff's spokesman said today.

Hunters found the human bones on Sunday in a dry creek bed in the northern part of the county. Yolo County sheriff's deputies and coroner's officials responded and concurred with the hunters that the bones were human.

The bones were collected for analysis.

On Tuesday, another search turned up more bones. The bones found included two leg bones, one rib bone and a jawbone.

Woodland police have arrested a suspect in the alleged drugging and attempted sexual assault of a homeless man.

Police reported detectives contacted a homeless Woodland man on April 8 who said he was given a beverage laced with something that rendered him unconscious. He was then taken to an "obscure" area in the 100 block of West Court Street where the victim told police he was possibly a victim of an attempted sexual assault.

After an investigation, police arrested another homeless Woodland man, 58-year-old Robert Talley, as a suspect. Talley was booked into Yolo County Jail on suspicion of torture, attempted forced sexual assault, assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment.

West Sacramento police have launched an investigation to determine who was responsible for explosive device that was found in a trash bin.

Police responded to the 700 block of Walnut Avenue about 11:20 this morning regarding a report of a suspicious package. Officers arrived and confirmed that the package appeared to be an explosive device. A perimeter was established and residences were evacuated.

The Yolo County Bomb Squad responded along with the Sacramento County Sheriff's and California Highway Patrol bomb squads and rendered the device safe, according to a Police Department news release.

The Davis Police Department today released preliminary statistics showing that Picnic Day enforcement efforts resulted in 54 arrests and 207 citations Friday and Saturday.

Officers patrolling on foot, bicycle and in cars focused their attention on downtown Davis and neighborhoods that traditionally hold large house parties. The California highway Patrol and a countywide DUI enforcement team kept a lookout for drunken drivers, and California Alcohol Beverage Control agents were in town enforcing violations associated with alcohol consumption and sales, according to a Police Department news release.

Police officials in a written statement said they were not prepared to issue opinions on whether this year's Picnic Day was better or worse than last year, saying they would further analyze enforcement activities, and would seek comment from the community and other interested parties before offering conclusions.

Scott Heinig.JPGUniversity and city officials extended their condolences to the family of a UC Davis, graduate and former baseball player who died as a result of a head injury over the weekend.

Davis police said 22-year-old Scott Heinig died at 12:18 p.m. Sunday. He fell at a private party Saturday evening.

Davis police detectives are investigating the circumstances of Heinig's fall, which occurred shortly after 8:30 p.m. Saturday at a party in the 1000 block of Fifth Street, which is off campus.

The jury is still out on Picnic Day 2011.

Crowds at the UC Davis annual open house were large but less rowdy than last year, authorities said earlier today.

However, arrests for public drunkenness and other crimes mounted as the day wore on.

A Friday night traffic wreck in Woodland sent a motorcyclist to the hospital in a helicopter.

Alfredo Calderon, 58, of Woodland, was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center after the 10:50 p.m. collision between his two-wheeler and another vehicle at Brannigan Lane and Ogden Street.

Hospital officials today did not provide an update on Calderon's condition.

A Woodland man was arrested in Saturday's early hours for indecent exposure and probation violation, and he was jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Woodland police officers were first dispatched at about 1:35 a.m. to a parking lot at 92 W. Court St., where a man was reportedly walking around with no pants on, but the officers were unable to locate him, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

But at about 2 a.m., officers said they encountered Mario Duran, 37, of Woodland, at that location. He matched the description police had been given and his pants were unzipped, the release says. It says that a witness told the officers that a man had exposed his penis to her and made a sexual comment as she was walking through the parking lot talking on her cell phone.

By Denny Walsh
dwalsh@sacbee.com

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

Former UC Davis anti-violence coordinator Jennifer Beeman pleaded no contest today in Yolo Superior Court to two felony counts of embezzlement and keeping false accounts.

In a plea agreement with Yolo County prosecutors, she faces a likely sentence of probation when she goes before a judge again on June 2.

Beeman, the former director of the UC Davis Campus Violence Prevention Program was arrested Dec. 10 and charged with nine felonies related to embezzling or misusing public funds.

Yolo County law enforcement agencies will team up in an effort to keep drunken drivers off the road during UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, police said.

Police, sheriff's and California Highway Patrol officers will be patrolling throughout the city of Davis, looking for signs of impaired driving, according to a Davis Police Department news release.

Officials warn that drunken drivers often face jail time, loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work and other expenses.

Woodland police are investigating an early-morning fight outside a local bar in which one man was stabbed.

Police were called to the Stag Bar at 500 Main St. at 1:47 a.m. today. When they arrived, they found a 25-year-old Robbins resident with non-life-threatening wounds to the back of the head and leg. A preliminary investigation indicated the victim may have been attacked by three men, who left the scene before police arrived, according to a Police Department news release. No description of the assailants was available.

The victim was treated for his injuries at Woodland Memorial Hospital. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 661-7800 or (530) 666-2411.

A Woodland man pleaded guilty today to federal charges that he failed to register as a sex offender.

According to the plea agreement, Travis Marshall Grey, 28, was court-martialed in July 2007 after receiving depictions of child pornography. As part of his sentence, Grey was ordered to register as a sex offender. The branch of the military Grey was serving in was not given.

In June 2010, he was arrested by the Woodland Police Department for unrelated offenses, and police discovered that he had failed to register as required, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Dog sought that bit woman outside Davis restaurant

Officials are asking for the public's help in finding a dog that bit a woman outside a Davis pizza restaurant on Friday.

The 24-year-old woman was bitten by the unattended dog, which was tied up outside of Woodstock Pizza in Davis at 219 G Street, according to the Yolo County Sheriff's Department Animal Service Section. The woman was bit on Friday between 2 and 2:30 p.m. She was treated for the bite at a hospital.

Gov. Jerry Brown has reversed the state Board of Parole Hearings decision to grant a parole to a 49-year-old Yolo County child killer.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig praised the decision to keep Christopher Fowler behind bars. Fowler was scheduled to be paroled to Yolo County.

"Our community cannot risk having a man who savagely killed a baby for no apparent reason living back among us," Reisig said in a news release.

Three people hit by a suspected drunken driver suffered major injuries Sunday night in a Yolo County crash, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A car traveling eastbound on Highway 128 outside of Winters near Pleasants Valley Road about 7:30 p.m. crossed over the double yellow line when the driver, Fernando Ramirez, 31, of Esparto, made an unsafe turn, a CHP press release states. His car struck another vehicle driven by Megan Espinosa, 19, of Vacaville.

The CHP said that Ramirez displayed "signs and symptoms" of intoxication and was arrested on felony driving under the influence causing injury. He suffered major injuries.

Espinosa and two passengers in her car, Tiffany Canerday, 17, and Michelle Canerday, 21, both of Vacaville, suffered major injuries.

The Yolo County Coroner's office has released the name of the 72-year-old woman who died Monday in an apartment fire in Woodland.

She was identified as Sandra Kay McLane.

Woodland firefighters responded at 2:23 p.m. to a structure fire in one unit of the Colonial Terrace Senior Apartments at 59 West Lincoln Ave. Crews quickly extinguished the fire and found McLane in the front room of her apartment.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

A 72-year-old woman died Monday afternoon in an apartment fire in Woodland, according to a Woodland Fire Department news release.

Woodland firefighters responded to a structure fire in one unit of the Colonial Terrace Senior Apartments at 59 West Lincoln Ave. at 2:23 p.m., according to the release. Crews quickly extinguished the fire and found the victim in the front room, the release states.

The fire did not spread to any of the other 47 units on three stories of the apartment complex, the release states. However, the complex was evacuated. The Red Cross is helping two residents who were displaced by the fire, and all other residents will be able to return to their apartments tonight, according to the release.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

Woodland Police are seeking help from the public in their investigation of stabbings that injured three people after 1 a.m. Saturday in the driveway of the Tractor Supply Store on Matmor Road in the city.

Police initially responded to a call about a fight with a person who was covered in blood at E. Main Street and Matmor. No one was at the location when authorities arrived, according to the report from police Sgt. Steve Guthrie.

A short time later, however, a call from Woodland Memorial Hospital to police reported two adults and one juvenile from Woodland who apparently were injured in the encounter.

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

A conspiracy to cash stolen checks in three counties has led to the arrests of six people, including three members of a West Sacramento family, the Yolo County Sheriff's office reported.

The suspected conspiracy came to light after a burglary March 23 at the Ceja Reyes Farm Labor Contractors office on Highway 13 near Knights Landing.

About 500 blank payroll checks were taken in the burglary, sheriff's officials said.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland police have arrested a man in connection with a Feb. 19 assault outside a local pharmacy.

Surinder Singh, 34, of Woodland was arrested today on suspicion of assault with intent to commit rape, according to a police department news release.

Officers were dispatched at 2:47 p.m. Feb. 19 to the CVS Pharmacy at 7 W. Main St. for a report of an attempted kidnapping.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Sutter County Sheriff's officials today announced arrests in connection with a series of burglaries in south Sutter and Yolo counties.

Sheriff's deputies identified Tomas Quezada Sr., 48, and his son, Tomas Quezada Jr., as suspects in several of the burglaries.

The Yuba/Sutter Narcotic and Gang Enforcement Team, NET-5, also had been investigating Tomas Quezada Sr. for possible involvement in distributing methamphetamine in the two counties, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Davis police are warning drivers about recent catalytic converter thefts from vehicles.

There were 20 reported thefts of catalytic converters in Davis between Feb. 26 and March 28, according to a Davis Police Department news release Wednesday. Most of the thefts occurred in the western part of the city, slightly east of Highway 113.

Thieves are targeting Toyota pickups and utility vehicles, and are primarily striking during the late night to early morning hours, according to the release.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

A Yolo County judge has issued a tentative ruling to place a sweeping anti-gang injunction across a large swath of West Sacramento for seven years.

Prosecutors sought the injunction to control the alleged street gang known as the Broderick Boys, who they blame for a reign of criminal activity across the Bryte and Broderick neighborhoods.

A group of civil rights lawyers representing alleged gang members argued the gang didn't even exist and there was no need for the injunction, which prohibits public gatherings of alleged gang members and imposes a nightly curfew on them.

By Bill Lindelof

blindelof@sacbee.com

Reports for traffic accidents that occur in Sacramento, Folsom and West Sacramento are now available online.

The departments contract with PoliceReports.US to give access to most traffic reports.

With a report number, date of accident and name of party involved, a search can be made for a report at http://policereports.us/.

The West Sacramento Police Department said most reports are available online within ten days after the accident.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The name of the wrong-way freeway driver who died Saturday after crashing his car into a tow truck on Highway 50 in West Sacramento has been released.

The Yolo County Coroner identified the motorist as Juan Rizo Salazar, 24, of Sacramento.

Highway Patrol units attempted to intercept Salazar, after receiving reports of a vehicle going eastbound in the westbound lanes of Highway 50 at about 1:15 a.m.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland Police are looking for a man who robbed a CVS Pharmacy on Monday afternoon.

The robbery occurred about 4 p.m. at the CVS Pharmacy at 7 W. Main St. The suspect was standing in line behind an older couple, and when the cashier opened the register, the suspect pushed the older woman out of the way so he could reach the open cash drawer, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

Police said the clerk tried to shield the money with her arms and hands, but the man pushed his way into the drawer and removed an undisclosed amount of cash, then ran from the store in a southeast direction.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Two Davis residents have died of injuries sustained Thursday in a head-on traffic collision in Placer County.

The California Highway Patrol reported that Maria McArren, 74, and Richard Tanner, 77, died Thursday afternoon after being taken by air ambulance to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

The collision occurred shortly before noon as Billy A. Keller, 25, of Foresthill was driving a Mazda 626 westbound of Foresthill Road, east of Drivers Flat. McArren was driving a Honda Civic eastbound on Foresthill Road, when Keller's vehicle traveled into the eastbound lane, directly into the path of McArren's vehicle, according to a CHP news release.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A West Sacramento man has been convicted of 62 counts of sex acts with a relative, beginning when the victim was 12 years old.

A Yolo County jury reached the verdict March 10, and Wednesday the trial court found true the allegations that Bennie Dale Moses, 44, had previously been convicted of 12 separate offenses under the state's "three strikes" law. The law allows judges to increase sentences.

Moses forced the victim to engage in sexual acts with him beginning in 2000 and the abuse continued until July 11, 2009, when the victim confided in a friend that she had been sexually abused for nine years, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

By Bee Staff

The Yolo County Sheriff's Department's Animal Services is asking the public's help in finding a dog that bit a man in Davis on Monday.

The 30-year-old victim was walking his dog on a leash in Pioneer Park at Hamel Street and Glide Drive at about 8:15 p.m. Monday when a dog bit him, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

The attack was not reported until Wednesday.

By Bee Staff

Gov. Jerry Brown has until April 7 to act on a parole recommendation for a Yolo County man who killed the 22-month-old son of his girlfriend in 1983, authorities say.

The governor can reject, approve or do nothing on the parole recommendation for Chris Michael Fowler, now 49. Doing nothing allows the parole to become official, a governor's spokeswoman said.

The state Board of Parole Hearings recommended a parole for Fowler late last year. The Davis Enterprise reported that several people offered Fowler employment and he would live in his parent's house.

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

Two people died in a single car crash early this morning in the Capay Valley, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Ranjana Pokhrel, 26, was driving a 2008 Toyota Highlander eastbound on State Route 16 near 2nd Street in the town of Capay at about 4:40 a.m.

The Toyota was traveling at an unknown rate of speed when it drifted off the road for unknown reasons.

By Bill Enfield
benfield@sacbee.com

A man who fatally shot a guest at West Sacramento hotel after the guest asked about noises coming from the man's room is due a parole hearing.

Harold Underhill, now 69, is serving a life sentence for the April 27, 1985, murder of Keith Highfill, 39, of West Sacramento, records show.

Highfill heard loud banging noises coming from Underhill's room. Highfill knocked on Underhill's door and when he answered, asked if he had any problems.

"No, but you do," Underhill said and shot Highfill one in the chest, witnesses told police.

Call The Bee's Bill Enfield, (916) 321-1058.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

A Woodland police sergeant was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of driving under the influence, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.

Woodland police Sgt. Steve Sexton was pulled over and arrested at 4:32 p.m. Monday while riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle at Maxwell Avenue and County Road 102 in east Woodland, said CHP Sgt. Andy Hill.

Shortly before, at a different location, a citizen had seen a motorcycle rider come to a stop and lose control of the motorcycle, Hill said. The citizen stopped to help pick up the bike and smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage on the rider, Hill said.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

A UC Davis student was found dead in his dorm room by campus police Tuesday afternoon after his parents reported being concerned over not hearing from him for three or four days, a university spokesman said.

Campus police found the student about 3:30 p.m. in his bedroom at Castilian Hall North, an off-campus UC Davis dorm, said UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell.

The student's room is in a shared suite with two other bedrooms and a common room, Fell said.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Woodland detectives this morning are looking for three Hispanic men in their mid-20s with medium builds as suspects in a deadly shooting of a man outside a downtown bar early Sunday.

Lt. Anthony Cucchi said detectives believe a fight at closing time at La Finca de Rivera restaurant in the 500 block of Bush Street may have led to the shooting, which left one man dead and another wounded.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Two men accused of attacking a Sikh taxi driver in November entered no-contest pleas today in Yolo County Superior Court, with one man admitting that his attack was a hate crime.

Pedro Ramirez, 42, of Natomas, pleaded to a felony assault charge and admitted that his attack on cab driver Harbhajan Singh in West Sacramento was a hate crime, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. He also admitted that he caused great bodily injury to the victim.

Johnny Morales Jr., 33, of West Sacramento, who had a lesser role in the attack, pleaded to felony assault.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

Woodland police say they are still trying to piece together events that led to a deadly shooting of a 30-year-old man outside a downtown bar early Sunday.

It was the city's first homicide of 2011.

Lt. Anthony Cucchi said detectives believe a fight at closing time at La Finca de Rivera restaurant in the 500 Block of Bush Street may have led to the shooting, which left one man dead and another wounded.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Three unconscious cats in a smoke-filled Woodland house were revived by rescuers this morning.

Woodland firefights extinguished a blaze in a garage and house in the 1200 block of McKinley Avenue. All the people staying there escaped unharmed.

However, they reported three felines remained inside, and when rescuers found them they appeared lifeless.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Davis police report a seven-day spike in vehicle thefts in the area, with 10 vehicles reported stolen since Feb. 26.

The thieves appear to be targeting Honda Civics and Acura Integras, with thefts taking place overnight between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., according to a Police Department news release. Five of the stolen cars have been recovered in Davis, and one was found by the California Highway Patrol in Sacramento.

At 2:56 a.m. today, Davis police officers made a traffic enforcement stop of a 2000 Honda Civic occupied by three males at 500 Pole Line Road. Officers discovered that the car had been reported stolen out of Davis on Tuesday.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The Yolo County Sheriff's Department's Animal Services Section is trying to locate a missing dog from a fatal three-car collision that occurred in Woodland on Monday.

Two Chow Chow dogs were in one of the vehicles involved in the collision late Monday morning on Highway 113 at County Road 25A.

The male dog was found at the scene, but the second is still missing.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Sacramento man has been sentenced to 13 years in state prison for the 2008 robbery of a Woodland store.

Anthony David Urbano, 33, was sentenced Feb. 25 by Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg.

On Dec. 19, 2008, Urbano went into Jo-Ann's Fabrics in Woodland, asked for directions and had a short conversation with two store employees, according Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. He then left but returned a short time later, saying he wanted to buy some wrapping paper. During the sale, Ubrano told employees that this was a hold-up, demanded all the money in the register and showed a revolver.

By Matt Kawahara and Cathy Locke
mkawahara@sacbee.com

The Yolo County Coroner's Office has identified the woman who died Monday after being involved in a three-car collision on Highway 113 in Woodland as Teresa Sedillo, 64, of Davis.

California Highway Patrol Officer Pedro Leon said Sedillo was driving southbound on Highway 113 near Gibson Road at about 11:45 a.m. when her vehicle collided with two other vehicles.

The Woodland Fire Department reported that three people were taken by ambulance to the UC Davis Medical Center. Fire officials said they did not know the severity of the injuries.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Davis police say a Sacramento area man is a suspect in the rape of a 21-year-old woman in February.

Leonardo Avalos, 28, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, rape and other sexual charges on Thursday, police said.

Police said that the woman Avalos at a bar in downtown Davis on Feb. 5. She had been out at the bar with her friends and shared a few drinks with Avalos, police said.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A man who made off with $373 from a Woodland bank has been sentenced to state prison.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Janet Gaard today sentenced Leighton Dupree to 27 years to life for second burglary of North Valley Bank.

Dupree entered the bank Jan. 12, 2010 and told a teller, "I'm not trying to ruin your day, but this is a bank robbery," according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

By Robert D. Dávila
rdavila@sacbee.com

TV sets and other electronic items were stolen from three UC Davis student housing units that were burglarized over the weekend, campus police said.

Burglars struck one apartment at the Russell Park complex and two apartments at the Colleges at La Rue complex between 9 p.m. Saturday and 3 a.m. Sunday, police said. Residents were not home during the burglaries, officials said.

Police encouraged students to lock all doors and windows in their apartments and dorm rooms. Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call UC Davis police at (530) 752-1230.

Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

UC Davis police say a fraternity house was robbed at gunpoint early Sunday.

According to a university news release, campus police arrested one suspect and recovered a gun that was thrown into the playground of a nearby daycare center.

Another suspect fled and remains at large

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland police have announced a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to a conviction in an arson case in which a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the residence of an elderly woman.

The incident occurred shortly before midnight Dec. 26 when someone threw the device at a residence in the 500 block of West Keystone Ave. The two occupants, a 102-year-old woman and her caretaker, were rescued by members of the Woodland Police Department.

The fire caused extensive damage to the residence.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Davis police are searching for a man who they believe attacked two women in separate incidents Wednesday evening.

The attacks occurred approximately two hours apart. The first took place about 6 p.m. on Fifth Street in a light-industrial area east of Pole Line Road.

A woman was walking on the sidewalk when a man came out of the bushes and grabbed her, according to a Police Department news release. When she pushed the man away and yelled for him to leave her alone, the man stopped his advance and casually walked away.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Davis police are warning residents to secure their doors and windows after a series of burglaries that were committed while the residents were at home.

Police said that since Feb. 2, the west Davis area has experienced four similar burglaries. They took place on Drake Drive, Anderson Road and Sycamore Lane, usually in the early morning hours when residents were sleeping.

Police said the suspect or suspects stole various personal electronic items left out in common areas of apartments.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The U.S. Department of Justice has joined the California Attorney General and Yolo County District Attorney's offices in concluding that three members of the Yolo County Sheriff's Department should not face criminal charges in the 2009 fatal shooting of Luis Gutierrez-Navarro.

The Sheriff's Department reported that it received a letter today from the federal Department of Justice stating that the department had concluded its investigation of the shooting.

On April 30, 2009, sheriff's Sgt. Dale Johnson, along with Deputies Hernan Oviedo and Hector Bautista were involved in the fatal shooting of Gutierrez-Navarro, a farmworker and suspected gang member, on the Gum Avenue overpass that crosses Highway 13.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A man found dead in the cab of his pickup truck in Woodland on Friday has been identified by the Yolo County Coroner's Office as 58-year-old Michael Thomas Kelley.

Coroner's Office spokesman Robert LaBrash said the cause of death is pending results of an autopsy, but he said there were no outward signs of trauma or foul play. He said Kelley is believed to have been dead for up to week when his body was found.

LaBrash said Kelley had lived in the Dixon and Yolo County areas.

By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

A 58-year-old Woodland woman was arrested this afternoon following a dispute that led to her 35-year-old daughter being stabbed, police said.

Woodland police were called to an apartment complex in the 100 block of West Lincoln Avenue at 1:26 p.m. today in response to a report of a domestic dispute.

Police said that upon arrival they found the victim with a stab wound and that the woman said she had been wounded after a fight with her mother.

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

Woodland police are looking for a man who put a gun to the head of a bar manager in a robbery early today.

The suspect entered the Corkwood Lounge before 2 a.m. and put a black handgun to the woman's head and demanded money.

He then forced her into a bathroom and locked her in.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland police are investigating the death of a person found dead in the cab of a pickup truck this afternoon in an industrial area of the city.

Police officers and members of the fire department were dispatched at 1:46 p.m. to the parking lot at 1400 Churchill Downs regarding a person slumped over inside the cab of a black Dodge pickup. They determined that the individual had been dead for at least a few days, according to a Police Department news release.

Officials from the Yolo County Coroner's Office responded and are assisting in the investigation. Police said there were no obvious signs of trauma, weapons or means of death. The individual has not been identified.

photo(2).JPGBill Lindelof and Cathy Locke
blindelof@sacbee.com

A man who died in a fire Friday morning at a West Sacramento mobile home park has been identified by the Yolo County Coroner's Office as 80-year-old Frank Cressinger.

Coroner's office spokesman Robert LaBrash said Monday that an autopsy would be conducted to determine the cause of death.

The fire broke out about 8:20 a.m. in a home at the Westwind Estates mobile home park in the 1300 block of Sacramento Avenue.

When crews arrived, heavy smoke and flames were coming from the double-wide mobile home.

Crews were told that someone was still inside the residence, prompting crews to attack the blaze and mount a search. Cressinger, who depended on oxygen tanks for breathing, was found dead.

The man's wife escaped the fire, said John Heilmann, West Sacramento Fire Department division chief.

The mobile home was a complete loss.

Nearby residents said they heard an explosion before the fire began.

The fire remains under investigation.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The West Sacramento Fire Department will receive $1.1 million from federal government for emergency equipment.

The money will come in a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security, said Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa.

The funding will help the Fire Department buy equipment, including 543 portable radios for local agencies in Yolo County and the Sacramento region.

"The city, with its port, has some unique homeland security needs," said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. "These funds for radio equipment will help ensure that we and our neighboring public safety agencies have superior communications."

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Woodland man was arrested this afternoon after leading police on a foot chase through city streets, alleys and residential yards.

Woodland police were dispatched at 3:40 p.m. to 1059 Court St. regarding a report of a suspicious person lurking in the area and apparently hiding behind trees at a business complex. Two officers arrived and found a man wearing clothing that matched that described by the initial caller, according to a Police Department news release.

When officers approached the man, he ran away and officers gave chase, eventually apprehending him at the rear of an apartment complex in the 100 block of Fourth Street.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Copper thieves removed power line from poles in the area of Raley Field and the Tower Bridge, cutting electricity to utility customers.

The theft of power line occurred about 10:30 p.m. Sunday night disrupting power to about 53 customers. One customer remained without power at 6:30 a.m. today.

Thieves took "a significant amount of overhead wire," according to a Pacific Gas & Electric spokesman. All power was expected to be restored by 8 a.m.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A Woodland man was arrested early today for investigation of drunken and hit-and-run driving after his car plowed through the fence of a home at 800 block of First Street in Woodland and caught fire, causing significant damage to the fence, landscaping and side of the home, police said.

Sgt. Aaron Delao of the Woodland Police Department said that when officers arrived at the home they found the vehicle in the backyard. They were able to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers. No one inside the home was injured.

Witnesses told police that the driver had fled the scene in a separate car.

Police said they found the suspect, Sergio Tellez Jr., at his home. He was treated for minor injuries at Woodland Memorial Hospital before being booked in the Yolo County Jail.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

An alert neighbor and muddy footprints led to the arrest of the three teenagers on suspicion of attempted burglary in Woodland this morning.

Woodland police officers were called to the 200 block of Ranier Place shortly after 10:30 a.m. by a resident who reported seeing three individuals jumping over a fence from her neighbor's yard into Wayne Cline Park.

Officers checked the neighbor's residence and found the house secure except for a sliding screen door. The screen door was open, although the sliding glass door was closed, according to a Police Department news release. Officers found wet, muddy footprints on the patio near the door, and also located an area near the fence line from which the mud appeared to have been tracked.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Woodland police returned a stolen Ford Thunderbird to its Davis owner Wednesday night after a routine registration check on the car.

An officer noticed the car traveling southbound on Third Street at Court Street in downtown Woodland about 10 p.m. Wednesday and checked to see if the vehicle's registration was valid. The vehicle came back stolen from Davis earlier in the day.

The driver of the T-bird was pulled over and Michael Regalado, 22, was arrested without incident. The car was returned to its owner.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bee Staff

The animal services unit of the Yolo County Sheriff's Department is trying to find a Chihuahua that bit a woman in Woodland earlier this week.

The unattended dog bit the 46-year-old woman while she was walking in the area of the Woodland City Library on First Street between North and College streets on Sunday between 2:30 and 3 p.m., an animal services spokeswoman said. The attack was not reported until today, the spokeswoman said.

The dog is described as a brown Chihuahua of unknown sex, wearing a red collar with a silver tag.

The dog has be found and checked for rabies, a deadly disease, or the victim must undergo treatment soon, the spokeswoman said.

Anyone having any information is asked to contact the Yolo County Sheriff's Department, Animal Services Section, 24 hours a day at (530) 668-5287 or e-mail animal.bite@yolocounty.org.

By Bee Staff

More than 70 cadets from the Highway Patrol Academy will run to honor the man who was a driving force behind the California Peace Officers' Memorial.

The 70 cadets, preparing to graduate, on Wednesday will run nearly five miles from the academy in West Sacramento to the memorial across from the State Capitol, according to a CHP news release.

The run is a tradition on the Wednesday before each graduation, but this week the run will honor Albert E. LeBas, who died on Nov. 27, the release states.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A police dog was called upon to stop a suspected prowler in a Woodland neighborhood Sunday evening.

Police were called to Fourth and Beamer streets about 5:45 p.m. on a report of an intoxicated man harassing citizens. First to arrive was an an officer with a police dog.

Citizens flagged him down and pointed out a man allegedly trying to hide behind a telephone pole. The citizens told the officer the man behind the pole had been prowling in and around their homes, including backyards.

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

Police officers subdued a distraught UC Davis student Friday and found two loaded weapons in his truck, according to a Davis Police Department news release.

A family member of Nicholas Benson, 25, told police that Benson was suicidal and armed, the release states.

Police also received information that he had a rifle and had threatened to kill others.

By Bill Enfield
benfield@sacbee.com

A man who took part in a 1982 kidnap of a Yolo County baby for ransom is due a parole hearing this month.

Bruce Young, now 50, is serving a life sentence after he pleaded guilty for his part in the kidnapping of a 4-month-old baby from a Woodland couple, The Bee reported.

Law enforcement officers rescued the baby unharmed the same day as the kidnapping.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland police officers this morning arrested a 44-year-old man on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and child abuse.

Mark Edward Hereford of Woodland was arrested after officers were called at 8:30 a.m. to a fight in the parking lot of Cross Roads Village Apartments at 555 Matmor Road. During the investigation, they determined that Hereford allegedly used a wooden walking cane to assault a boy with whom he had no relation, according to a Police Department news release.

The boy, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, was treated at the scene by paramedics and released to his mother.

Hereford was booked into Monroe Detention Center and is being held on $25,000 bail.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Davis man has been sentenced to prison for molesting his teenage niece.

Yolo County Superior Court Judge Timothy L. Fall today sentenced Demetrio Burciaga, 46, to state prison for two years and four months for three felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child for the crimes committed against his 15-year-old niece. A Yolo County jury convicted Burciaga in November.

The conviction stems from Burciaga's lewd actions with his niece on Feb. 5, 2010. That morning, Burciaga molested his niece after she stayed the night at his house, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

One man was arrested and another is being sought after Woodland police interrupted a possible metal theft in progress early this morning.

An officer noticed two men and a pickup truck in the 1200 block of Churchill Downs Drive at 4:53 a.m. The men were entering an outdoor storage yard of a closed business, which contained numerous items of copper wire and other metals, according to a Police Department news release. Upon seeing the officer, the men ran off, passing through other properties belonging to other businesses that were closed for the night, police said.

Additional police officers responded, and after an approximately 45-minute search of the area, one man was spotted as he crossed in the 1300 block of East Beamer Street. Two officers chased him through the field and took him into custody without incident. He was identified as Matthew Jeffery Coulter, 32, of Dunnigan.

By Brad Branan
bbranan@sacbee.com

Woodland police have arrested three juveniles on suspicion of attempted residential burglary this morning.

Police saw the juveniles near the home when they were responding to an attempted burglary call from the residence, according to news release from Woodland police. The suspects, who removed window screens and tried to open doors to the home, were identified by a witness, police said.

The suspects, who weren't identified in the news release because of their ages, were brought to Yolo County Juvenile Hall and booked on charges of attempted burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary. The three juveniles are Woodland residents.

Call The Bee's Brad Branan, (916) 321-1065.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland police are looking for the individuals who stole copper wire from an electrical service box.

Police say the theft occurred between 11 a.m. Jan. 6 and 1:15 p.m. today. Someone cut a chain-link fence at 755 N. East St., the site of the old Dubach Park, damaged an electrical panel and, using some type of vehicle, removed several feet of copper electrical wire.

The thieves caused an estimated $14,500 in damages to the fence and electrical service box. Police said the copper wire that was stolen was worth approximately $6,000.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The Yolo County District Attorney's Office announced today that the man convicted of the 1989 murder of a West Sacramento postal worker has been denied parole.

Clifford Myelle, 54, was denied parole Tuesday by the Board of Parole Hearings.

On July 4, 1989, Myelle brutally killed 40-year-old postal worker Richard Islas, who had been allowing Myelle to live in his home, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Davis police are investigating two cases in which pedestrians were attacked and robbed early Sunday in the central Davis area.

Neither incident involved weapons, but the victims of each attack suffered minor injuries, according to a Police Department news release.

The first incident occurred at 1:50 a.m. Three 21-year-old male UC Davis students were walking in the area of Third and F streets when they were attacked from behind. Police said the victims described their attackers as six to eight black men. The assailants stole one of the victim's cell phones and another victim's cell phone was damaged in the scuffle. The suspects fled northbound on F Street in two vehicles described as a white sedan and a tan SUV.

By Bill Lindelof and Cathy Locke
blindelof@sacbee.com

The Yolo County Coroner's Office has confirmed that the body recovered from a Yolo County stream Sunday is that of Jose De Jesus Lopez Huerta, missing since late last month.

Robert LaBrash, coroner's office spokesman, said an autopsy determined that Lopez Huerta, 49, died of asphyxia due to drowning. He said there was no evidence of foul play.

Lopez Huerta, 49, went missing Dec. 27. Ground, air and underwater searches had failed to find the Winters man, who was reported last seen on a bank of Putah Creek, until family members found the body on Sunday afternoon.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A former Davis bank employee has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling more $30,000 from First Northern Bank's Davis branch.

Lt. Paul Doroshov of the Davis Police Department said Kathleen Kolb, 35, of Davis was arrested Dec. 27.

Police were contacted Nov. 19 by officials with the bank's Dixon headquarters who said they suspected her of embezzling money from customers' accounts. Police then conducted their own financial investigation, which led to the arrest, Doroshov said.

Kolb is accused of taking money from various accounts, including line of credit accounts, through at least 14 fraudulent transactions between November 2007 and October 2010, he said.

"Some were call for cash, or cash on demand accounts," Doroshov said.

Kolb was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement, forgery, grand theft and identity theft, in the sense that when she made unauthorized debits from the accounts she was essentially impersonating someone else, he said.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A three-alarm fire caused extensive damage to an apartment building in Woodland Tuesday night, in the same block where a fire Sunday damaged an apartment complex.

Firefighters were called to the two-story structure at 817 Fifth St. at around 10 p.m., according to a Woodland Fire Department news release.

When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke was pouring from second-floor units. Crews attempted to find the source of the smoke on the second floor, breaking into the attic.

The fire was found and extinguished in walls and a first-floor bathroom. Damage was estimated at $100,000. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The fire occurred in the same block of Fifth Street as another blaze that damaged an apartment complex early Sunday morning. That fire destroyed three units and heavily damaged the remaining three.

None of the 14 residents were injured. Damage was estimated at $500,000, according to a Fire Department news release.

Fire crews arrived at the scene at 3 a.m. and found an attic fire.

The investigation of both fires is ongoing, but Rick Sander, interim fire chief, said in an e-mail that the two fires are not believed to be related. He said the cause of Tuesday night's fire likely was accidental.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A three-alarm fire caused extensive damage to an apartment building in Woodland Tuesday night.

Firefighters were called to the two-story structure at 817 Fifth St. at around 10 p.m. When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke was pouring from second-floor units. Crews attempted to find the source of the smoke on the second floor, breaking into the attic to remove smoke and heat.

The fire was eventually found and extinguished in walls and a first-floor bathroom. Damage loss was estimated at $100,000. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Woodland police arrested three drunk drivers on New Year's Eve and early today, including one who crashed into a pole, according to authorities.

A total of 18 officers were assigned to patrol during a saturation effort designed to cut down on holiday drunk driving between 5 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. today. They booked three suspected drunk drivers, including Jorge Hernandez, 40, of Woodland.

Police allege that at 3:40 a.m. a California Highway Patrol Officer reported an automobile accident at County Road 102 and Maxwell Avenue. Woodland police responded to investigate the scene where they said Hernandez crashed into a signal light at the southeast corner of the intersection.

Woodland police also arrested four people suspected of being drunk in public, one for vandalism and one for transportation of a controlled substance and possessing a switchblade.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland police have arrested an 18-year-old woman and two juvenile girls on suspicion of burglarizing a Quick Stop market.

A Woodland Police detective on Wednesday spotted a vehicle parked next to Campbell Park, 701 Thomas St., with a license plate number that matched that of a vehicle used in the theft of beer from the Quick Stop at 10 Kentucky Ave. earlier in the day. Several females had been reported as suspects in the theft, according to a Police Department news release.

The detective noticed several females sitting together in the park. When patrol officers arrived, they contacted the group and found them in possession of the same brand of beer reported stolen from the store. A witness was brought to the scene and identified some of the females as those involved in the theft and also identified the beer as having come from the store, police said.

The three females were taken into custody, and police reported finding numerous other items on their possession and in the vehicle that officers suspect may have been stolen. Included were clothing, cell phones and wristwatches.

The 18-year-old, identified as Adolaria Herrera of Yuba City, and the two juveniles were arrested on suspicion of burglary.

Police said the case is still under investigation and more arrests may be forthcoming.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 661-7800 or (530) 666-2411.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Ground, air and underwater searches failed locate a 49-year-old Winters man who was reported last seen Monday afternoon on the bank of Putah Creek.

Family members reported Jose De Jesus Lopez as a missing person about 10 a.m. Wednesday, said Lt. Sergio Gutierrez of the Winters Police Department.

Gutierrez said friends reported that they had been drinking beer with Lopez between about 1 and 4 p.m. Monday, and when they left he was still sitting by the creek. When he did not return to the residence that he shares with roommates, his friends went back to the creek to look for him on Tuesday and contacted family members.

During a search of the area, Gutierrez said a ball cap belonging to Lopez was found hanging on a tree. Friends told police that the location was further down the embankment than where they had last seen him, raising concerns that he might have fallen in the water.

Gutierrez said the California Highway Patrol flew over the area but reported no sign of the man. Police then called for assistance from the Yolo County Sheriff's Department, which requested the services of a state Drowning Accident Rescue Team. Divers did a sweep of the area, but found no sign of Lopez.

Gutierrez said flows in the creek fluctuate and the water is murky because of storm runoff. He said the search has been called off for the night, but police will continue to monitor the area along the creek.

Anyone who may have seen Lopez since Monday afternoon is asked to call the Winters Police Department at (530) 795-4561.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A 19-year-old man accused of carjacking and biting a California Highway Patrol officer committed suicide in Yolo County Jail on Sunday, authorities said today.

Robert LaBrash, the county's chief deputy coroner, said an autopsy found that Juan Antonio Bravo Lopez of Woodland died of asphyxia by hanging.

He said Bravo Lopez was not under suicide watch and was in a cell by himself. Jail staff found him unconscious at 5:10 a.m. Sunday and immediately began CPR, LaBrash said. Bravo Lopez was taken to Woodland Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

LaBrash said toxicology tests are being conducted and the results won't be known for two to four weeks.

Bravo Lopez was arrested shortly after 8 p.m. Friday. According to a California Highway Patrol report, an officer observed him speeding westbound on County Road 31 west of County Road 95 at 89 mph.

When the officer attempted a traffic stop, Bravo Lopez tried to evade the officer, traveling at high speed with the vehicle's lights off, the CHP said.

Following a short pursuit, Bravo Lopez stopped on Russell Boulevard, west of County Road 93A.

But when the CHP officer attempted to arrest him, Bravo Lopez fought with the officer and tried to run away, the reports states.

A woman driving a Jeep stopped because Bravo Lopez was in the road, and Bravo Lopez tried to get into the Jeep from the passenger side, before the woman fled in the vehicle, officials said.

Additional officers arrived and assisted in arresting Bravo Lopez, who was taken to Sutter General Hospital for medical clearance, the CHP said. There he continued to struggle with officers and bit a CHP sergeant on the upper arm, according to the report.

He subsequently was booked into Yolo County Jail on suspicion of resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and carjacking.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

Woodland police suspect a 102-year-old woman was the inadvertent target of a firebombing late Sunday night.

Georgia Traynham was with her caretaker at her home in the 500 block of West Keystone Avenue when someone threw a Molotov-cocktail type device through her front window just before midnight, said Cpl. Ron Cordova of the Woodland police department.

When officers arrived they found a neighbor trying to extinguish the fire with a garden hose. They forced their way into the house and rescued the women, both of whom suffered smoke inhalation, Cordova said. Police did not identify the caretaker.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and alerted police they had found what appeared to be components of a homemade firebomb, he said.

Georgia Traynham, born in 1908, is the mother of Woodland Daily Democrat sports editor Gary Traynham.

Cordova said police have no reason to believe she was the intended target.

"She fell victim to somebody who decided to throw a device at her home," Cordova said.

The suspected arson is under investigation, he said.

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The law enforcement arm of the U.S. State Department announced today that agents arrested 12 people in the Central Valley this year for suspected passport fraud.

Pat Durken, special agent in charge of the Diplomatic Security Service San Francisco office, said the accused are suspected of applying for a passport using counterfeit, stolen or other unlawfully-obtained documentation, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Among those arrested were Juan Carlos Lopez Hernandez of Woodland and Alexander Sabolovic of Sacramento.

Among their range of duties, Diplomatic Security personnel protect the Secretary of State and investigate passport and visa fraud. In 2008, the Diplomatic Security Service participated in 2,487 arrests around the world, primarily for passport and visa fraud.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Robert Lewis
rlewis@sacbee.com

Holidays might drive some people to drink, but if drinking they shouldn't be driving.

Eight people learned that the hard way in Yolo County when they were arrested over the past week for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to a press release from the Davis Police Department. The arrests took place between Dec. 17 and Christmas and were part of a coordinated holiday crackdown on drunken driving.

Revelers beware: The cops aren't done yet. Extra DUI saturation patrols will be watching the roads in Woodland, Davis, West Sacramento, Winters and portions of unincorporated Yolo County over the next few days.

Funding for the holiday DUI crackdown came from a California Office of Traffic Safety grant through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Police are urging motorists who see drunken drivers on the road to call 911.

Call The Bee's Robert Lewis, (916) 321-1061.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Woodland police arrested four males this morning on suspicion of burglary and auto theft, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

At 1:04 a.m., a Woodland police officer encountered a man in a construction area south of Tyler Drive, according to the release.

The officer detained the man due to recent thefts of copper wire in the area, the release states.

The officer later located an unreported stolen vehicle. The detained man - identified as 22-year-old Leonidas Constable of Woodland - told the officer that three other people with Constable ran away upon seeing the officer. The officer linked Constable and the three others to the stolen car, police said.

Another officer found the trio and contacted the car owner, who reported that the vehicle had been stolen from the 700 block of Bourn Drive and that the victim's residence had also been burglarized, according to the release.

Constable, 20-year-old Mathew Nichols of Woodland, and two 17-year-old males were arrested, police said.

The two adults were booked into the Yolo County Jail, police said. The juveniles were taken to the Yolo County Juvenile Hall.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A 20-year-old man is in Yolo County Jail after allegedly stealing a van filled with meals that were to be distributed to people who are homeless.

West Sacramento police reported that members of the Broderick Christian Center this morning had a van loaded with meals that they intended to pass out to homeless people at the Broderick boat ramp. The van's motor was running, and the driver saw a man get into the vehicle and drive away.

The victim followed the van while calling for police.

West Sacramento police officers quickly located the van at Jefferson Boulevard and Sacramento Avenue and sought to stop it. The driver of the vehicle failed to yield, and led officers on a low-speed pursuit through the Broderick and Bryte neighborhoods, according to a Police Department news release.

The van then entered the freeway at the Jefferson onramp heading west, and continued onto eastbound Interstate 80, attempting to exit at Reed Avenue. The driver lost control and crashed into a fence.

The driver of the stolen vehicle, identified as Tasi Grass, 20, was taken into custody without incident and booked into Yolo County Jail on suspicion of vehicle theft.

Police said the vehicle and meals were recovered and returned to Broderick Christian Center for distribution.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

December 20, 2010
Copper wire stolen in Woodland

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Vandals cut the power to sports field lighting in Woodland when they took 1,000-feet of copper wire.

Woodland police were dispatched Saturday morning to the Woodland Community & Senior Center, 2001 East St. They found that nine in-ground electrical boxes had been vandalized.

Wiring from the boxes supply lighting for sports fields at the center. In all nine of the damaged boxes, copper wiring had been cut.

In some of the boxes, wiring had been pulled from its underground conduit. An estimated 1,000- to 1,500-feet of copper wire was stolen. Repair costs were estimated at $5,000.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A drunken driving crackdown netted a half-dozen arrests in Yolo County in the 48 hours through midnight Saturday, the Davis Police Department reported today.

Sgt. Rod Rifredi of the Davis Police Department said the number of arrests could grow larger as additional reports come in from the eight law enforcement agencies participating in the crackdown.

DUI arrests and data collection are planned to continue through New Year's weekend, until midnight Sunday, Jan. 2.

Funding for the program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety via the National Highway traffic Safety Administration.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

Q: What happened to Ralph Marcus? He was accused of murdering a young boy in a fraudulent scam for life insurance profit. - L. Pipkin, Sacramento

A: Ralph A. Marcus was sentenced Jan. 13, 2000 in Yolo Superior Court to life in prison without parole for killing an 18-year-old friend to collect $850,000 in insurance money, The Bee reported.

Marcus, now 56, is incarcerated in the Pleasant Valley State Prison at Coalinga, records show.

The sentence came nearly three years after Nicholas Howard disappeared while driving home on a narrow two-lane levee road, sparking a Sacramento River search by Marcus and other volunteers.

Marcus strangled Howard, a longtime family friend who died in February 1997.

At trial, prosecutors argued that Marcus killed his friend in an attempt to collect on an $850,000 life insurance policy and to seek revenge against Howard's mother, who had rebuffed his romantic advances for more than 25 years.

Marcus had persuaded Howard to make him the beneficiary of a 1996 life insurance policy.

He told Howard that if he were the beneficiary, he would be able to "quadruple the receipts and make it more lucrative" for Howard's survivors, the prosecutor said.

Days after Howard's disappearance, his empty car turned up in the river near Clarksburg. Nearly three weeks later, Feb. 25, 1997, Howard's body was recovered about a half-mile downstream. An autopsy revealed he had been slain.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Marcus had tampered with the car to make it look like an accident.

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

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Yolo County jury today convicted a West Sacramento man of double kidnapping for rape.

Theodore Wooten, 21, was found guilty of sexual assault, kidnapping and other violent felony charges for attacks on two women in May.

Wooten forced his way into a West Sacramento motel May 1 and tried to rape a woman who is mentally ill, and often homeless and living on the streets, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. When she resisted the attack, Wooten savagely beat her, officials said.

Wooten escaped, and on May 27, he attacked another woman. In this instance, he forced the victim off the street and behind a business in the early morning hours, officials said. A concerned citizen called 911, and West Sacramento police officers caught Wooten in the act of sexually assaulting the woman.

Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen L. Mock is scheduled to sentence Wooten on Jan. 14.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The body found Monday near Highway 113 in Davis has been determined to be that of a woman in her early 50s.

Although the woman has not been identified, an autopsy performed this morning by the Yolo County Coroner's Office determined that she was 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighed about 120 pounds and had brown hair, according to a Davis Police Department news release.

Police were called Monday afternoon to a wooded area between the west edge of Drake Drive and Highway 113 regarding a suspicious death. Officers found a highly decomposed human body on a mattress surrounded by what appeared to be a homeless camp.

Because of the level of tissue degradation, positive identification is pending and the cause of death has not been determined, police said.

Detectives are investigating the case as a suspicious death.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Davis Police Investigations Division at (530) 747-5400.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Davis police are investigating the discovery of decomposing human remains Monday afternoon along Highway 113 as a suspicious death, a department spokesman said.

Lt. Paul Doroshov said about 2:40 p.m., a passer-by found the remains on the east side of the highway in a grassy area between the highway and Drake Drive.

The remains were found in the midst of what appears to be a debris-strewn homeless encampment hidden from the street. A mattress and cooking utensils were among items found surrounding the remains.

"It's badly decomposed," Doroshov said, adding that the body may have belonged to an adult based on its size.

A forensic pathologist will have to examine the body to determine gender and other identifying features, Doroshov said. It's also not clear if the body suffered traumatic injuries because of the state of the decomposition, he said.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

Bee Staff

Woodland police today said they were investigating an early-morning armed robbery at a gas station.

No one was hurt in the 1:30 a.m. incident at a Chevron station on County Road 102.

A store clerk told police that two men walked into the store, claimed they had a handgun, and ordered him into the corner of the store. The men, both over 250 pounds, had their faces painted and wore hooded sweatshirts.

They took an undisclosed amount of cash and some other items, and left in a blue, two-door Saturn with no visible license plate.

By Laurel Rosenhall
lrosenhall@sacbee.com

Jennifer Beeman, the former UC Davis employee who oversaw the Campus Violence Prevention Program for 16 years, was arrested today on suspicion of embezzling public funds and committing eight other felonies related to misusing public money.

Investigators believe Beeman embezzled between $2,000 and $13,000, according to a statement from UC Davis. In addition, UC Davis returned more than $100,000 to the U.S. Department of Justice after determining that unallowable expenses had been charged to a violence prevention grant Beeman administered.

Beeman went on administrative leave from UC Davis in December 2008 and left employment there in June 2009.

In September 2009, UC Davis announced that Beeman had falsely inflated the number of forcible sex offenses that took place on campus in 2005, 2006 and 2007 in reports required by federal law. The university corrected the figures in 2009, reducing by more than half the number of incidents reported for each year.

Call The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall at (916) 321-1083. Follow her on Twitter, @LaurelRosenhall.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

A 20-year-old Fremont man fleeing police pursuit Monday afternoon jumped into Lake Washington in West Sacramento and died from injuries he may have sustained when he dove into the water, California Highway Patrol officers said.

CHP officials said Stephen Oneil was speeding eastbound on Interstate 80 on a motorcycle at about 4 p.m. near Pitt School Road in Dixon when a CHP officer tried to stop him. They say he was hitting speeds of 110 to 120 mph.

Oneil initially complied and came to a stop, but when the officer was approaching him, Oneil "popped a wheelie" and fled, authorities said. He weaved in and out of traffic, using the center divider and the side shoulders to elude police.

Oneil eventually exited at Enterprise Boulevard in West Sacramento and was westbound on Lake Road when officers pursuing him lost sight of him. At about 4:20 p.m. the manager of a Denny's restaurant called police saying that customers at the restaurants saw Oneil park his 1999 Honda motorbike in the restaurant's parking lot and ran, CHP Officer Keerat Lal said. As he ran, he also started discarding his helmet, jacket and gloves, which gave officers a clue to where he was heading. CHP helicopter units and a West Sacramento canine unit also joined the search.

Shortly before 6 p.m., a K-9 dog picked up a scent and jumped into Lake Washington. The dog swam about 30 feet before it came upon Oneil, who was found face down partially submerged in the water, Lal said.

Fire paramedics retrieved Oneil from the water and pronounced him dead. Authorities said he may have hurt himself when he dove into the water and died from the injuries.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

Woodland police nabbed a suspected burglar early this morning more than six hours before the crime was reported.

Police stopped bicyclist Royce Allan Johannes at about 2:30 a.m. and found him in possession of a switchblade knife, a bank deposit bag full of cash and a set of what appeared to be business keys.

They arrested Johannes, a Woodland resident. He was held for possession of the knife and "misappropriated found property," both misdemeanors, according to a police release.

Police were called to a Little Caesar's Pizza restaurant on E. Gibson Road at about 9 a.m., to investigate a burglary that took place between 2:09 and 2:13 a.m.

The stolen property was the same as some of the items found in Johannes' possession 17 minutes after the break-in.

Johannes, still at Monroe Detention Center, was re-arrested on suspicion of felony burglary.

Call The Bee's Carlos Alcalá, (916) 321-1987.

By Matthew Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Woodland police have arrested a parolee-at-large after he led them on a short chase Wednesday afternoon.

At 4:36 p.m. Wednesday, a Woodland police officer driving in the area of West and Elliott Street saw a man who he believed had a warrant out for his arrest, according to a Woodland police department press release.

The officer checked and found that Denver Thomas Roberts, 35, of Woodland, was a parolee-at-large, wanted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, according to the release.

The officer attempted to contact Roberts, who quickly rode his bicycle away from the officer, the release states. After the officer found Roberts hiding behind a parked van, Roberts again fled, leaving behind his bike as he entered a neighboring yard, the release states.

According to the release, Roberts was apprehended within minutes while attempting to hide in an alley near Grand and Elliott Street.

Roberts was taken to the Monroe Detention Center and booked on the felony no-bail warrant from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Call The Bee's Matthew Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that William Keller, a 73-year-old convicted murderer, has been denied parole for five years.

In 1984, Keller of West Sacramento killed Joseph Hosner, firing a shotgun at Hosner's head at close range.

A Yolo County jury convicted Keller of murder and the use of firearm in commission of that murder. He was sentenced to 17 years to life in prison.

Keller was denied parole on three previous occasions, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

During the parole hearing at High Desert State Prison, the Parole Board considered a letter from a family member of the victim and arguments from the Yolo County District Attorney's Office urging the board to deny parole.

The board found that Keller was not suitable for parole because he presented "an unreasonable risk and threat to public safety." The board also noted the heinousness of the offense and lack of a suitable release plan for Keller, according to the news release.

Keller will be eligible for another parole hearing in 2015.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof and Cathy Locke
blindelof@sacbee.com

A 60-year-old Rancho Cordova woman died when her car collided this morning with a work crew's truck on westbound Highway 50 near Harbor Boulevard in West Sacramento, injuring two workers.

The Sacramento County Coroner's website identified the woman as Morissa Susan Anapolsky.

Traffic was backed up with on westbound Highway 50 with three lanes blocked until mid afternoon.

The California Highway Patrol said that about 10 a.m. witnesses reported a car being driven recklessly down Highway 50. Shortly after that, a Camry matching the same description ran into the center divider where a private contractor was doing work for Caltrans.

The Camry hit the contractor's truck, pushing it forward and pinning one of the workers between the divider and his truck. The 41-year-old worker suffered injury to his legs.

He was transported to the hospital. Another worker suffered minor injuries.

The car then hit a white van, but that driver was not injured.

Anapolsky was transported to UC Davis Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

"We are not sure what was causing the erratic driving of the 60-year-old female," said CHP Officer Cindy Leal.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

RCB_20100211_GALVAN_ 014.JPGYolo County prosecutors will try today for the third time to secure guilty verdicts against two brothers accused of resisting arrest.

The brothers - Ernesto and Fermin Galvan - say they are the victims of brutality by West Sacramento police. Ernesto Galvan's skull remains scarred and misshapen, allegedly from the officers' baton blows.

Juries in two prior trials were unable to reach verdicts. Opening statements in the third trial of the Galvan brothers are scheduled for 9 a.m. today in Yolo Superior Court, Dept. 2, in Woodland.

In February, jurors said they had reached an impasse in the brothers' second trial. Judge Timothy Fall, who will be presiding again today, declared a mistrial.

A previous trial ended in a hung jury in November 2007.

The charges - and an unresolved federal lawsuit filed by the brothers against police - stem from a June 2005 incident, in which Ernesto Galvan was repeatedly shot with Taser stun guns and struck in the head with batons, according to the lawsuit.

His skull and face were fractured; he spent weeks in a coma and he has permanent mental and physical impairments, the lawsuit claims.

Photos at trial showed him lying in a pool of his own blood.

Officers struck Fermin Galvan with batons, leaving him bruised, unconscious and missing teeth, the lawsuit claims.

During closing arguments in February, prosecutor Carolyn Palumbo told jurors the injuries resulted from the brothers' crimes against officers, and they had no one to blame but themselves.

She said Officer Donald Schlie approached the brothers at about 3 a.m. June 14, 2005, in an area of West Sacramento known for crime.

Ernesto Galvan was sweating and appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance, she said. The officer ordered him to take his hands out of his pockets. When he didn't comply, the officer grabbed his arm, she said.

Ernesto Galvan pulled back and struck the officer in the chin, she said. "Right there, the fight was on, " she told jurors.

The ensuing struggle lasted several minutes and was joined by other officers. Taser stun guns had little effect on the out-of-control man, Palumbo said. The exhausted officers suffered cuts and bruises and feared for their safety, she said.

They struck Ernesto Galvan with batons, but ultimately used restraint, she argued. "He's alive, " Palumbo told jurors. "The officers didn't shoot him, and they could have."

Fermin Galvan came at an officer and had to be taken down, she said.

Defense lawyer Alan Greenstein told jurors in February that the officers were the aggressors against two men who'd done nothing wrong.

The brothers were standing under a street light, talking about work problems, he said. They hadn't committed any crimes, and they did not have drugs or weapons, he said.

Officers used excessive force and tried to cover themselves by filing charges, Greenstein argued. He called the officers' trial testimony inconsistent and unreliable.

"Don't you think they had to come up with some justification for why he (Ernesto Galvan) ended up on the ground lying in a pool of blood?" Greenstein asked the jurors.

The federal lawsuit asked for $12 million in damages. Guilty verdicts would make it much harder to secure monetary damages in the civil case.

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

Photo caption: Lisandro Galvan, 23, left, listens as his brothers who were defendants Fermin Galvan, 33, center, and Ernesto Galvan, 32, right, are briefed by their attorney at Yolo Superior Court in February. (Renee C. Byer/rbyer@sacbee.com)

By Cathy Locke and Bill Lindelof
clocke@sacbee.com

A civil liberties group is calling on the FBI to investigate the beating of a cab driver.

West Sacramento Police are investigating an incident in which a taxi driver was assaulted and robbed early Sunday morning.

Officers responded to the 600 block of Lighthouse Drive about 1:50 a.m. Sunday and found the taxi driver, who reported that he had been assaulted.

The driver told police he had picked up four people in Sacramento and driven them to West Sacramento, where two of the passengers began assaulting him and demanded money. A third passenger tried to stop the assault but was assaulted herself, according to a Police Department news release.

The taxi driver fled when the passengers got out of the cab.

Police said the taxi driver was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The passenger who was assaulted was not located.

Police said the assault and robbery appeared to be an isolated incident and, contrary to some media reports, it is not being investigated as a hate crime.

However, the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, (CAIR) wants the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate the attack.

Leaders suspect that the the taxi driver, who is Sikh, was mistaken as Muslim and attacked for that reason.

Two of the subjects were described as men, possibly Hispanic, 30 to 35 years old. The other two passengers were described only as females.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the West Sacramento Police Department at (916) 617-4900.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Woodland police are investigating the death of a man found in a California Street apartment as a suspicious death - although there were no signs of a struggle or foul play, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

On Thursday at 1:56 p.m., Woodland police responded to a report of a possible dead body in an apartment in the 500 block of California Street, according to the release.

They found a Hispanic male adult, about 30 years of age, lying dead in a bedroom of the apartment, the release states. Woodland police detectives and officials from the Yolo County Coroner's Office established the approximate time of death within the previous eight hours.

The death is being investigated as suspicious due to the victim's relatively young age, lack of obvious trauma and reported alcohol consumption the night before, the release states.

The victim's name was not immediately available.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Police are searching for three armed men who committed an early morning home-invasion robbery earlier this week in West Sacramento.

At about 5:45 a.m. Tuesday three men kicked in the front door of a home in the 3400 block of French Road, a West Sacramento Police Department spokesman said.

The men held the residents at gunpoint while they took a large amount of marijuana and an unknown amount of cash. There were no reported injuries.

Police have no description of the robbers or a getaway vehicle. It is unclear whether the marijuana was for medical purposes, the spokesman said.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (916) 617-4915.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A dispute over a loose dog ended with one man being arrested for pointing a gun at his neighbors, police said.

Woodland police officers responded to the 600 block of Conner Lane at about 5 p.m. Sunday and arrested David Hodges, 52, of Woodland.

The argument between neighbors revolved around Hodges being upset over the neighbor's dog being on his lawn. Hodges argued with his neighbors, a disagreement that escalated into Hodges allegedly swinging a board at one of them, police said.

Police said Hodges then got a handgun from his home and came back outside where he pointed the weapon at several people, threatening to kill them.

A board and handgun were recovered at the scene. Hodges was booked into Yolo County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A Yolo County judge has sentenced a 44-year old man to 180 days in jail for felony violation of probation for failing to pay court-ordered child support, Mark Jones, director of county child support services, said today.

Roger Lon Cox, 44, of Napa was found to have violated conditions of his probation earlier this year and was scheduled for Nov. 1 sentencing, giving him time to become current on payments due for the support of his child, who lives in Yolo County, Jones said.

However, Cox failed to make any of the court-ordered payments and failed to appear at the sentencing hearing, according to the Department of Child Support Services. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest; and he surrendered on Nov. 4.

"Mr. Cox is an example of what can happen when an individual ignores his or her responsibilities and fails to pay child support," said Colin Anderson, Yolo County Child Support Services attorney, in a prepared statement.

The Yolo County Child Support Services Department based in Woodland provides free services to custodial and non-custodial parents to assist in establishing paternity, obtaining or modifying child support or medical support orders, finding absent parents and collecting child support payments, including back support payments.

The department can be reached at (866) 901-3212.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

November 22, 2010
Woodland death ruled a suicide

By Chelsea Phua and Bill Lindelof
cphua@sacbee.com

Yolo County authorities on Monday evening determined that a 57-year-old man found with a gunshot wound to his head at a ranch north of Woodland had killed himself.

Chief Deputy Coroner Robert LaBrash said investigators initially believed Wayne Henry King's death to be a homicide because no traditional weapons were found at the scene. But they later discovered a makeshift weapon, authorities said.

King's body was discovered Friday on the stairs leading to his mobile home at the Historic Nelson Ranch and Cattle Company along County Road 18C.

About 6 p.m., Yolo County deputies and Woodland firefighters responded to the ranch after a call about a man who was not breathing. King was declared dead at the scene.

Two people had noticed that ranch horses had not been fed that evening and went to find King, whose duties included feeding the horses. They called 911 when they discovered his body.

Brenda Cedarblade, who owns the ranch with her husband, said King came to work for them about five years ago. King had been homeless and living in an abandoned shed in Woodland. Cedarblade's husband, Ted Wilson, offered King a job and a place to live on the ranch on the condition that he stayed clean and sober. Cedarblade said King successfully completed his treatment program and became an integral part of the team at the ranch.

"He kept everything running," Cedarblade said. "Wayne was like family."

King helped established and maintained a community garden program for those with developmental disabilities. The garden's produce was donated at the local food banks, Cedarblade said.

On his own time, King reached out troubled youths from the inner-city areas, bringing them to the ranch to show them the animals and garden, Cedarblade said.

"He's one heck of a great guy," Wilson said.

Bee staff writer Hudson Sangree and Bee researcher Pete Basofin contributed to this report

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

clip_image002.jpgA 56-year-old West Sacramento man has been arrested on suspicion of impersonating a peace officer.

Frank Don Crandall (left) was arrested Nov. 10 at his home after an investigation by Sacramento County sheriff's deputies, the department said in a news release.

The investigation began Sept. 8 when Crandall is alleged to have struck a Sacramento International Airport employee with his vehicle and left the scene without stopping.

When deputies caught up with Crandall, they said he presented them with identification that stated he was a full-time peace officer for a private state public safety agency called "Law Enforcement and Public Safety Authority" or LEPSA.

Deputies issued a citation for reckless driving causing injury and began investigating his alleged peace officer status, the release states.

The follow-up investigation revealed no evidence of LEPSA's existence.

Deputies determined Crandall lacked any authority to identify himself as a peace officer, the release states.

The case was presented to the Sacramento County District Attorney's office and a warrant was issued for Crandall's arrest.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

West Sacramento police are warning residents to be cautious in the area of South River Road after a building contractor reporting seeing a possible mountain lion there twice in two days.

The contractor went to police today after seeing what he thought to be a cougar just before noon on the Stone Lock property, an undeveloped area along South River Road, east of Hearst Street, according to a police news release.

The contractor said he saw a mountain lion Tuesday as well, the report states.

Police are advising residents to bring pets indoors at night, and to avoid being in the area in the early evenings, late at night or in the early mornings, when mountain lions might be active.

For more information about mountain lions and safety, visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/news/issues/lion.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Woodland church targeted by thieves and vandals in recent years has been victimized again.

Woodland police were called to the Holy Rosary Parish Office at 10 a.m. today. Staff members had arrived at the office to discover that someone had pried open a locked cabinet door and stolen the proceeds from a weekend fundraising event.

Police urge anyone with information about the crime to call the department at (530) 661-7800 or (530) 666-2411.

In November 2007, an intruder smashed a window of the mission-style church at Court and Walnut streets used a blowtorch to cut a hole in the church's safe and made off with thousands of dollars collected over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Jose Luis Rangel, 62, of Woodland was sentenced in March of this year to eight years and eight months in prison for the church burglary and a 2008 break-in involving a Woodland cash machine.

In December 2009, vandals knocked over a 5-foot-tall statue outside the church.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A North Sacramento man has been sentenced to prison for a 2009 gang-related beating that left the victim with permanent injuries.

Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock today sentenced 20-year-old Michael Rene Romero to 28 years and eight months to life in state prison. A jury convicted Romero of attempted murder with premeditation, gang enhancements and other felony charges for a 2009 street beating that occurred in West Sacramento, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

A concerned citizen interrupted the attack as he was driving down West Capitol Avenue about 3 a.m. The beating victim was lying in the street in a coma. Minutes after the attack, a witness saw Romero remove one of the victim's teeth from his hand.

West Sacramento Police arrested Romero and his accomplice, Antonio Delgado. A jury convicted Delgado of attempted murder and other charges earlier this year.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bee Staff

The Yolo County Sheriff's Department, Animal Services Section is trying to find a dog missing after a traffic accident Nov. 6 in the Dunnigan area.

The single-car rollover accident happened near County Line Road and Interstate 5, according to a news release.

One dog was found and was transported to the veterinarian where she is recovering from her injuries.

The missing dog is a female Pit Bull. She is reddish brown brindle in color and was wearing a red collar. She answers to the name of "Zoe," the release states.

The owner who is from Missouri is still in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

Anyone with information should call the Yolo County Sheriff's Department Animal Services Section at (530) 668-5287 extension 0.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Woodland man convicted of the 1983 murder of his girlfriend's 22-month-old son has been deemed suitable for parole.

A panel of two Board of Parole Hearing commissioners on Monday found Christopher Fowler, 49, suitable to be released from prison into the Woodland community, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

In 1984, Fowler was convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the Nov. 1, 1983 murder of his girlfriend's son.

The night before the murder, Fowler and his girlfriend were arguing at their Woodland home. Fowler didn't sleep that night, and the next day he was babysitting the toddler and the youngster's 3-year-old sister.

When the toddler would not stop crying Fowler smacked him in the face, shook him and threw him to the ground twice, officials said. The assault occurred in the presence of the 3-year-old sister.

Fowler and the baby's grandmother drove the toddler to Woodland Memorial Hospital. The youngster was transferred to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento due to life-threatening injuries. He was in a coma until Nov. 3, when he was pronounced dead as a result of fatal injuries to his brain.

Monday's parole hearing was held at California Solano State Prison in Vacaville, where Fowler was imprisoned. He has been in prison for 27 years and has had 12 previous hearings, according to the news release. Commissioners denied him parole on each occasion, the release states.

During the most recent hearing, the release states, the panel heard from the toddler's grandmother and two aunts, who asked commissioners to keep Fowler in prison.

Woodland Police Chief Dan Bellini and Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto sent letters to Parole Board members urging them to keep Fowler in prison, and representatives of the District Attorney's Office also appeared before the board to argue against Fowler's release.

In granting Fowler parole, the commissioners said he could move back to Woodland, but that they would like him to live in transitional housing for a few months before moving into his parents' house, according to the news release.

The Parole Board's decision could become final in 120 days after it is reviewed by the Board of Parole Hearings and then sent to the governor, who has the option of reversing the commissioners' decision.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A man wanted for murder in Mexico, but arrested in Yuba County has been turned over today to Mexican authorities by U.S. immigration officers.

David Isidoro Ramirez-Priego, 37, is wanted in the Mexican state of Hidalgo for a homicide in the town of Canali.

He is accused of shooting Rosendo Lara Oviedo in the head at point blank range in a bar after the victim refused to buy him a drink.

Ramirez was arrested Oct. 31 on suspicion of drunk driving by the California Highway Patrol. After being transported to the Yuba County jail, he was screened by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a search that revealed an outstanding murder warrant.

He told immigration officials he was living in Marysville and was working in construction. Ramirez was turned over to Mexican law enforcement at the border in San Ysidro.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Woodland police are reporting a rash of catalytic converter thefts from pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.

The 11 catalytic converter thefts occurred during the early morning hours on Tuesday in the southern part of the city. The exhaust system car parts were all taken off Toyota SUVs or pickup trucks.

The high-profile Toyota vehicles allow easy access for thieves to slide underneath and remove the catalytic converters, police said.

The converters are prized for the small amounts of precious metals that they contain. The converters contain a few grams of platinum, rhodium or palladium.

No suspects have been identified in the thefts. Tipsters may call Woodland police at (530) 661-7800 with any information about the thefts.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bee Staff

A cadet at the California Highway Patrol at the agency's academy in West Sacramento died today, the CHP said.

The CHP said Randy Atchison, 24, of Ceres, died at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento.

Atchison was transported by ambulance to Sutter General Hospital Oct. 29 for an unknown illness after completing a regularly scheduled physical training session, according to a CHP release.

The cadet was transferred on Oct. 31 to Sutter Memorial Hospital, where he died at 1:29 a.m. today, the release states.

"On behalf of the CHP family, I extend my heartfelt sympathy to Cadet Atchison's family, friends and fellow Academy classmates," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "Cadet Atchison was just beginning the road to becoming a CHP officer, which was his lifelong dream. He had a life full of promise ahead that was tragically cut short."

Atchison was among a 124-member class that began the 27-week training on Oct. 25.

Atchison is survived by his parents, James and Andrea; brothers, Zachary and Chad; a sister, Alissa; his girlfriend, Kimberlee Andrada; and a 1-month-old daughter, Kaylee Atchison.

The CHP is working with Atchison's family on funeral arrangements.

It is believed Atchison's death is the second cadet death in the CHP's 81-year history, the release states.

It is the first since the academy in West Sacramento opened in 1976 that a member of the cadet class died while enrolled in the program (a cadet died in 1951 during a motorcycle training exercise when the academy was located on Meadowview Road in Sacramento), the release states.

By Bee Staff

A Yolo Superior Court Jury has found two men guilty in connection with a methamphetamine trafficking operation, the district attorney said in a news release.

DA Jeff Reisig said the specific convictions were:

- Thomas Leroy Kemnitz, 50, of Woodland for possessing, sales and transportation of methamphetamine.

- Pedro Omar Delatorre, 33, of Dixon for possession of methamphetamine for sale and being armed with a firearm.

The drug operation operated between Woodland and Dixon from April of 2009 through August 2009, Reisig said.

During a four month investigation conducted by the Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team Kemnitz sold more than a quarter pound of methamphetamine.

On Aug 13, agents searched four locations in Yolo and Solano Counties and found Delatorre in possession of almost a half pound of methamphetamine and two firearms at his home in Dixon. Kemnitz was found with one ounce of methamphetamine in his vehicle, and one-quarter of an ounce of methamphetamine at his home in Woodland, Reisig said.

The investigation involved more than 30 officers from multiple agencies including the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, the Dixon Police Department, the Solano County Sheriff's Department, and agents from the Solano County drug task force.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 17.

Kemnitz faces a potential sentence of 17 years eight months in state prison. Delatorre faces a potential sentence of eight years in prison.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Sacramento man has been sentenced to prison for stealing $17,000 from an elderly Davis woman.

Yolo County Superior Court Judge Kathleen White last week sentenced Willie Vains Jr., 42, to six years in prison.

Vains and a partner had charged an elderly woman in Davis more than $17,000 for supposed "handyman work." Most of the work was never done, and work that was completed was valued at little more than $1,000, according to a news release from the Yolo County District Attorney's Office.

Vains and his partner also physically intimidated the woman to get her to pay them the money.

Officials said Vains was involved in a similar scam in the 1990s, involving three elderly victims.

White denied a motion to dismiss a prior "strike" offense against Vains.

Vains' partner, Claude Gaither, was sentenced earlier this year to four year in prison for his role in the theft.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig credited vigilant friends and neighbors who discovered that the Davis woman was being scammed, and Davis Police Department detectives who spent months working on the case.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Queenie Wong
qwong@sacbee.com

A 36-year-old Elk Grove woman was arrested at her home today for allegedly stealing the credit card of an elderly person she was caring for and then going on a roughly $8,000 spending spree, according to the Davis Police Department.

Police said they arrested Gennetta Ballance today after serving a search warrant and recovering items at her house that they believe Ballance purchased with the stolen card. Police believe that the suspect stole the Visa card when she was employed as a caregiver at the victim's residence.

Officers began investigating the case in August when the owner of the card discovered 20 unauthorized transactions and withdrawals.

Most of the transactions were made at Sacramento area retail stores and the trail eventually led to Ballance, police said.

Ballance is being held at the Yolo County Jail.

Call The Bee's Queenie Wong, (916) 321-1008.

By Robert D. Dávila
bdavila@sacbee.com

MC_ROTTEVEEL.02.JPG

Hubert Peter Rotteveel, a once successful real estate salesman and member of a prominent farming family in Dixon, admitted to four felony bank robbery charges today and was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison.

Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Rotteveel pleaded no contest in Yolo Superior Court to three counts of second-degree robbery and one count of attempted second-degree robbery. He was sentenced to the minimum term under the deal by Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg.

The charges stemmed from heists June 30 at River City Bank in Woodland and First Northern Bank of Dixon in West Sacramento. In both holdups, Rotteveel used a BB gun to get money from tellers.

The agreement spared Rotteveel, a father of three, from a possible maximum sentence of 13 years, said his lawyer, Tom Johnson.

Rotteveel, 47, was a member of UCLA's national championship soccer team in 1985 and ran the Sacramento Knights indoor soccer team.

He built a successful real estate business but saw his fortune collapse during the recession and sought bankruptcy protection last year.

He apologized in court today for the robberies and thanked family members - who attended the 20-minute hearing - for their support.

"I am deeply sorry that I hurt the victims who were involved," Rotteveel said.

Photo above of Hubert Rotteveel is at his arraignment this summer. Photo by Manny Crisostomo

Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077.

By Queenie Wong
qwong@sacbee.com

A 43-year-old Woodland man has been convicted on 11 felony counts of child molestation against his 11-year-old stepdaughter, but claimed during the trial that a cyst on his brain and Lyme disease caused him to lose control of his impulses, according to the Yolo County District Attorney's office.

Eric Franklin Sass faces a maximum sentence of 28 years in state prison for molesting his stepdaughter when she was between 8 years old and 10 years old. A Yolo County jury convicted Sass Tuesday on eleven felony counts of child molestation and one count of lewd and obscene conduct.

The jury also found that he engaged in "substantial sexual conduct" when he molested her, according to the news release.

"The verdict reflects the commitment of the jury to perform their civic duty in a serious case, and also demonstrates their ability to critically evaluate the medical and psychiatric evidence they were presented with," said Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig in a statement.

But Sass claimed during the trail that a cyst on his brain and Lyme disease caused him to molest his stepdaughter. A neurologist and neuropsychologist, called by the defense, told the jury that Sass did not willfully molest his stepdaughter.

To rebut the defense's claims, the prosecution called forensic psychiatrist Jason Roof from the UC Davis Medical Center to testify in the trial. Roof said that Sass did not exhibit any behaviors to suggest he had an impulse control disorder.

The District Attorney's office said that Sass molested his stepdaughter for two years before she told her mother. When the mom confronted Sass, he admitted to molesting his stepdaughter. The stepdaughter told a child interview specialist at the Yolo County Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center that she didn't report the molestation immediately because Sass told her that he would go to jail if he told the police. The victim also testified at trial about several incidents when Sass molested her.

Sass is expected to be sentenced by Judge Timothy L. Fall on Jan. 6. The case was previously tried in July, but the judge declared a mistrial after a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Call The Bee's Queenie Wong, (916) 321-1008.

By Queenie Wong
qwong@sacbee.com

A 55-year-old Madison man has been convicted of using his son's Social Security number to avoid losing benefits, according to the Yolo County District Attorney's office.

It was the second time the man had fraudulently used his son's Social Security number, the DA said.

Thomas Wesley Bertram was convicted Wednesday on one felony count of identity theft and faces three years in state prison, the release states.

"There is no justification for economically victimizing anyone, much less your own child," Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig said in a statement. "Identity theft is a danger that we all have to protect against, but this man violated a fundamental duty as a parent and the jury held him accountable."

The release gives this chain of events:

In January 2009, Bertram was hired as a commercial truck driver at a farming operation. He used his son's Social Security number while filling out the employment paperwork to avoid losing his own Social Security benefits and to avoid tax liability.

When the son discovered that his father had stolen his identity while attempting to apply for unemployment benefits, he contacted the Yolo County Sheriff's Department.

Bertram was arrested on June 20, but he told his son that he never worked for the farming operation.

During a confrontation between the two, Bertram blamed the identity theft on an ex-brother-in-law or an illegal immigrant. The farm owner told Yolo County Sheriff detectives that he had know the elder Bertram since high school and that Bertram had worked on the farm in 2009.

This is the second time Bertram was arrested for stealing his son's identity.

In 2004, he tried to apply for a credit card at the Home Depot in Woodland using his son's Social Security number. He admitted to using the number, but claimed that he didn't know which number was his at the time.

Bertram is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 15.

Call The Bee's Queenie Wong, (916) 321-1008.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Detectives have arrested a Walnut Creek man in connection with the shooting of a 32-year-old man in the head in West Sacramento on the night of Oct. 12.

Detectives from the West Sacramento Police Department and the San Jose Police Department arrested Damon William Elwood, 28, at a Starbucks in San Jose on the afternoon of Oct. 13, according to a West Sacramento Police Department press release.

According to the release, Elwood was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

At about 6:40 p.m. on Oct. 12, West Sacramento police responded to reports of two males arguing and a gunshot at the 1600 block of Madrone Avenue, according to the release.

When officers arrived, they found a man shot in the head, according to the release.

The victim, Kataurus Bryant, 32, of San Jose, was in West Sacramento visiting relatives, police said.

Bryant is still listed in critical condition, according to the release.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

jason_sigur.jpgYolo County authorities said Monday that they found a missing El Dorado County teenager in the Dunnigan home of a 35-year-old sex offender over the weekend.

Authorities said Jason Sigur was booked into Yolo County jail early Saturday on charges that included kidnapping, lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14 and failure to register as a sex offender.

Jail officials said Sigur's bail is set at $1 million and he is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

According to a sheriff's department news release, Sigur is accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl from her El Dorado Hills home. The girl was reported missing Friday morning by the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department.

Yolo County deputies went to Sigur's home shortly after 9:45 a.m. Friday and found the girl. They said that during the time she was at Sigur's home, he sexually assaulted her.

Authorities said the investigation later revealed that Sigur and the girl had previous contact.

Deputies later found Sigur in the area of Dunnigan and arrested him.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The former executive director of a Yolo County organization that advocates for children has pleaded no contest to grand theft from an employer.

Claudean Medlock, 54, of Carmichael, former executive director of Yolo County Court Appointed Special Advocates, was arrested after her employer was notified July 27 of irregularities in its bank account. Medlock had embezzled nearly $46,000 from CASA, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

As executive director, Medlock was entrusted with a CASA debit card, which she used to take multiple cash advances, totaling approximately $30,000, to gamble at various casinos in the region. She also forged checks and falsified expense reports to obtain approximately $16,000.

Medlock was hired by CASA in July 2009. A month later, a case was filed in Sacramento Superior Court accusing her of embezzling from her previous employer, California Musical Theatre, where she had served nearly two years as the theater's director of development.

Medlock pleaded no contest to those charges in November 2009, but a CASA spokeswoman said earlier this year that Medlock did not list her employment with California Musical Theatre when she applied for the CASA job. Because that court case wasn't initiated until August 2009, no red flags were raised when her fingerprints were submitted to the state Department of Justice as part of a background check, officials said.

As part of her sentence, Medlock will be ordered to pay full restitution to CASA, according to the District Attorney's Office.

She will be sentenced Dec. 8, and faces up to one year in county jail and five years of felony probation.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A hit-and-run driver killed a pedestrian on a highway in Yolo County this morning, the California Highway Patrol said.

At about 3 a.m., a pedestrian was reported to have been hit on Highway 113 south of Gibson Road in Woodland. The right lane on the highway was blocked for a time for the investigation, said CHP officer Rich Wetzel.

The pedestrian died at the scene. CHP officers are trying to confirm his identity.

Officers have no information on the vehicle that hit the man and request that anyone who might have witnessed the hit-and-run to call the Woodland CHP office at (530) 662-4685.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Yolo County jury has convicted a Sacramento man of a 2009 gang beating in West Sacramento.

Michael Rene Romero, 21, was found guilty Wednesday of attempted murder with premeditation, gang enhancements, attempted robbery and other felony charges.

Romero and another gang member attacked the 47-year-old victim in the early morning hours of Jan. 21, 2009. A good Samaritan driving by during the attack testified that the victim was on the ground and being beaten by the two men, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. The man turned his truck around and interrupted the attack.

The victim was left comatose in the street, and suffered permanent physical injuries and mental disabilities as a result of the attack, officials said.

Romero was arrested about a month later in Sacramento County, and his accomplice, Antonio Delgado, was arrested by West Sacramento police officers about 10 days after the beating. A jury convicted Delgado of attempted murder and other charges earlier this year.

Romero is to be sentenced Nov. 10.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

West Sacramento police are looking for a person who shot a 32-year-old man Tuesday evening in the 1600 block of Madrone Avenue.

Police said the shooting happened about 6:40 p.m., when the victim was reported arguing with another man and a shot was heard. When officers arrived, they found the West Sacramento victim with what appeared to a gunshot wound to his head.

The man, who has not been identified, was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.

Police did not have a description of the suspect or the vehicle in which he fled.

Anyone with information is asked to call the West Sacramento Police Department at (916) 375-6474.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

The West Sacramento Police Department said a missing 37-year-old man they considered to be an at-risk was found safe tonight.

Earlier, police asked for the public's help in finding the man.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

Bee Metro Staff

YC Sheriff's Posse.JPGA fundraising dinner dance for the Yolo County Sheriff's mounted posse is planned for Saturday.

The all-volunteer organization, organized in 2002 by Sheriff Ed Prieto, provides community outreach and conducts search and rescue operations.

The posse is paid for through fundraising, which supports monthly training and equipment for the posse and horses.

The dinner dance starts at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Yolo County Fairgrounds' Waite Hall. Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Call (916) 719-0573 or (530) 219-4533.

By Bee Staff

An animal advocacy group said today that it is offering a reward of up $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever abandoned a live dog in a Davis trash bin.

The dog was euthanized Oct. 1 after UC Davis veterinarians determined the dog was unable to stand and was in great pain.

"Animal abusers are cowards," said Martin Mersereau, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals director and whose group is offering the reward. "They take their issues out on the most defenseless beings available to them."

Neither the dog's owner nor who dumped the dog has been identified, said Vicky Fletcher, business services manager for the Yolo County Sheriff's Department Animal Services Section.

She said citizens have donated $75 toward a reward in addition to the PETA reward offer.

Lt. Tom Waltz, spokesman for the Davis Police Department, said investigators had no leads in the case.

Officers spoke with residents and the manager of the apartment complex where the dog was found. They did not recognize it, he said.

No one else has come forward with information, he said.

Veterinarians at UC Davis told an investigating officer that the dog appeared to healthy, other than weakness in its hind legs, Waltz said. It was well-fed and showed no signs of trauma or abuse, he said.

Why it was placed in the dumpster remains a mystery, he said.

"It doesn't make it right," Waltz said.

A maintenance employee at the Danville Apartments in the 1200 block of Kenney Place on Sept. 30 found the dog, an elderly gray terrier mix, in the trash bin. The female dog, which was unable to stand, had no identification, according to an animal services news release.

An animal service officer transported the dog the UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital for emergency care.

If you have information, call Animal Services at (530) 668-5287 extension 0 or Davis Police at (530) 747-5430.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

University of California, Davis, police are seeking two men in connection with what is believed to be a hate-motivated incident that occurred Sunday night on the UC Davis Quad.

Two people were approached in the quad by two men who yelled abusive comments about the victims' race and sexual orientation, according to a university news release. The men pushed and grabbed the victims before running away and leaving the area on bicycles.

One of the men is described as white, 18 or 19 years old, with a muscular build and brown medium-length hair, wearing a red polo shirt, blue jeans and a hat. The other was described as Latino, 18 or 19 years old, with a heavy build and brown hair, wearing a white T-shirt and khaki shorts.

Officials said the incident was reported to UC Davis police late Monday and is being investigated as a hate crime. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Police Department at (530) 752-1727, or the anonymous crime tip line, (530) 752-9944.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A seriously injured 5-year-old child was taken to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento after he was hit by a motorist who Woodland police said was driving under the influence.

Police were called to the 700 block of East Street shortly before 6:30 p.m. Saturday after the boy, Josue Navarette, was taken into a nearby residence. Medical personnel had asked for an air ambulance to take the semi-conscious child to the medical center, but none was available. He was transported, instead, by ambulance to the medical center's trauma center.

The driver of the car, 20-year-old Francisco Pinon-Martinez of Woodland, was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving without a license.

It was one of two cases in which children were struck by DUI motorists in Woodland this weekend, police said. Early today - sometime after midnight - a 1-year-old was hit by his father in the parking lot of the Masonic Lodge in Woodland, police said. That father was booked into jail on DUI counts while his son was in good condition at UC Davis Medical Center, police said.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Woodland Police at (530) 661-7800. Callers may remain anonymous.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A 27-year-old Woodland man was booked into the Yolo County jail on felony drunken driving charges after police said he ran over his 1-year-old son at the Masonic Lodge parking lot just before 1 a.m. today.

Arrested was Alejandro Ramirez Lopez.

Police said the toddler, Christian Ramirez, was hit by his father's vehicle at the lodge on Palm Avenue in Woodland.

Woodland police said the child was first taken to Woodland Memorial Hospital, where police were notified at 12:53 a.m.

The child was taken later by helicopter to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where he was listed in good condition Sunday night.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Bee Staff

Someone abandoned an old but live dog in a trash bin in Davis, according to the Yolo County Sheriff's Department Animal Services Section.

The dog was euthanized today after UC Davis veterinarians determined the dog was unable to stand and was in great pain, a UCD spokeswoman said.

dumpster dog 006.JPGA maintenance employee at the Danville Apartments in the 1200 block of Kenney Place on Thursday found the dog (left), an elderly gray terrier mix. The female dog, which was unable to stand, had no identification, according to an animal services news release.

An animal service officer transported the dog the UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital for emergency care.

Veterinarians in the hospital's emergency room examined the dog and found that, due to age-related problems, the dog did not have use of its hind legs, was unable to stand and was in great pain. They determined that the most humane thing to do was to euthanize the dog, the UCD spokeswoman said.

Animal Services is asking the public's help in finding the owner of the dog or more information on what happened. Call (530) 668-5287 extension 0 or the Davis Police Department at its non-emergency number (530) 747-5400

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

UC Davis police are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspects involved in two separate incidents - one of attempted sexual assault and one of battery - that occurred on campus Thursday night and this morning.

A female student was the victim of an attempted sexual assault Thursday and a groundskeeper was the victim of a battery today, according to a UC Davis Police Department release.

Neither victim required medical care, according to the release.

At about 7:40 p.m. Thursday, a female student left a classroom and was walking on Cushing Way on the east side of the UC Davis campus when a man came up behind her and tried to wrestle her to the ground, according to the release.

The woman fought back, freed herself and called police, the release said.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 30s wearing a dark, long-sleeved shirt and pants of an unknown color.

At about 5:30 a.m. today, near an equipment shed on the west side of campus, a UC Davis groundskeeper encountered an unknown man who punched him, leaving him with minor injuries, the release said.

The suspect then fled north toward The Colleges at La Rue, according to the release.

The suspect is described as a tall white male in his 20s with a thin build, wearing a black baseball cap and a dark or black sweater and pants.

Anyone with information about these two incidents is asked to call police at (530) 752-1930 or the Crime Tip Line, which allows callers to be anonymous, at (530) 752-9944.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland police have arrested a Redding man in connection with the robbery of a Bank of the West branch this morning.

Police said a man entered the bank at 186 Main St. at 9:25 a.m. and demanded money. Although he claimed to have a gun, he never produced a weapon, according to a Police Department news release. He left the bank with an undisclosed amount of money.

The man was described as white, wearing a red bandana, red shirt and blue jeans.

Officers responding to the robbery report spotted the suspect driving north on Interstate 5 near the West Street exit. Woodland police, along with Yolo County Sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers conducted a traffic stop, and the man was taken into custody without incident.

He was identified as Tracy Bittner, 57.

The robbery remains under investigation, and Woodland police ask anyone with information to call the department at (530) 661-7800. Callers can remain anonymous.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

A West Sacramento woman died Wednesday after the car she was driving drifted into oncoming traffic and struck a big rig on County Road 22 in Woodland.

Clara Mattos, 83, was eastbound in her tan Chrysler on County Road 22 about noon when the car drifted into the westbound lane and struck the side of the big rig, according to a California Highway Patrol release.

Authorities have not determined what caused the car to drift into the westbound lane, but they said alcohol is not considered a factor.

Mattos was flown to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where she was pronounced dead, according to the CHP.

The driver of the big rig was not injured. There were no passengers in either vehicle.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Cathy Locke and Kim Minugh
clocke@sacbee.com

Sacramento Fire Department officials have called off the search for the body of an 18-year-old West Sacramento man who drowned in the Sacramento River late Saturday afternoon near Eighth Avenue and Santa Buena Way.

A family member identified the man as Diro Lee. Michelle Augustine said Lee was her nephew and the family is distressed that the body has not been recovered.

Sacramento fire Capt. David Dolson said that searches failed to locate Lee's body and officials are waiting for the body to surface. In fresh-water drownings, he said, this can take some time, depending on physiological processes, the water's flow and any debris in the river that might prevent the body from floating to the surface.

"This is the process of how bodies are recovered from the river," Dolson said. "This is all we can do at this point in time."

Fire officials said Saturday that Lee was among a group of six people taking turns using a rope swing to plunge into the river. About 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Lee went into the water, surfaced, shouted and then went underwater again, witnesses said.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

West Sacramento police called to investigate a suitcase left outside an elementary school determined the bag presented no danger.

Things are back to normal in the neighborhood around Holy Cross School, 800 Todhunter Ave., where this morning an unattended suitcase was spotted, a police spokesman said.

The surrounding area was evacuated so that explosive experts using a wheeled robot could examine the bag to make sure it was not dangerous.

Lt. Tod Sockman said the suitcase was empty.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A woman struck by a hit-and-run driver as she was crossing a street in Woodland on Monday morning is in fair condition at U.C. Davis Medical Center, according to Woodland police.

The 53-year-old woman was injured shortly before 8:30 a.m. in a crosswalk at the intersection of West Beamer and California streets when she was hit by a vehicle traveling through the intersection.

Witnesses told officers that after the initial impact, the woman struck the windshield of the vehicle and rolled over the top of the car before landing in the street.

Woodland police Sgt. Anthony Cucchi said today that police are still searching for the vehicle and its occupants.

Witnesses told police that two men in their early 20s were in what was described as a dark-colored mid-size, four-door sedan. Police said the car likely would have front-end and windshield damage, and may be missing a hubcap.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Efforts to provide medical aid to the victim of a hit-and-run crash in Woodland this morning were complicated when the air ambulance experienced a "bird strike."

Woodland police officers arrived at the intersection of West Beamer and California streets at 8:27 a.m. after receiving a report that a pedestrian had been injured by a hit-and-run driver. The victim, a 53-year-old woman, was found lying in the middle of the intersection.

Medical personnel requested an air ambulance to take her to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Police and officials at nearby Woodland High School evacuated the school stadium so the football field could be used as a landing zone, according to a police department news release.

A CALSTAR air ambulance landed on the field and the woman was placed on board. But moments after taking off, and while still over the ball field, the helicopter collided with a bird, and as a safety measure the pilot landed.

The victim was moved to a ground ambulance, and CALSTAR personnel immediately requested a nearby REACH helicopter, which landed on the football field and took the woman to the hospital.

Police said they are withholding the woman's name until they receive an update from the medical center on her condition. Although her condition was serious, they said she was conscious and able to speak at the scene of the collision.

Police said witnesses stated that the woman, who was not affiliated with Woodland High School, was in the crosswalk when she was struck by a vehicle traveling through the intersection. Witnesses told officers that after the initial impact, the woman struck the windshield of the vehicle and rolled over the top of the car before landing in the middle of the intersection.

The vehicle was described as a dark midsize, four-door sedan. Police said the car likely would have front-end and windshield damage, and may be missing a hubcap. It was reportedly occupied by two men in their early 20s.

A mechanical inspection found no damage to the CALSTAR helicopter as a result of the bird strike and the aircraft was flown back to its operations base.

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run incident is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Yolo County officials have identified a woman killed early this morning after the car she was riding in overturned several times in a ditch off County Road 35 in Woodland.

Crystal Marie Rodriguez, 19, was ejected from a sport-utility vehicle driven by a 19-year-old man, who authorities said was intoxicated. CHP officials initially reported that Rodriguez was 16.

Woodland CHP spokesman Sgt. Marco Ruiz said the driver has been arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence and will be charged with manslaughter.

Nine people, including the victim and driver were in the SUV when the accident occurred around 2:30 a.m. on County Road 35 just east of County Road 106, Ruiz said. The 1997 Ford SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed and veered off of the road into a ditch, Ruiz said.

The car continued driving along the ditch before overturning and flipping multiple times, Ruiz said.

Rodriguez was ejected and killed, Ruiz said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

She was the only occupant ejected from the car, Ruiz said. All others were life-flighted to various hospitals with injuries -- six of them with major injuries.

Seven of the car's occupants are younger than 21, Ruiz said.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A man with an extensive criminal history has been sentenced to 42 years to life in state prison for the pre-Christmas burglary of his daughter's Davis home.

A Yolo County jury in June convicted Lee Ray Williams of Solano County of first-degree burglary and found that he had two prior strike convictions. He was sentenced Thursday by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Paul Richardson.

The jury heard evidence that two weeks before Christmas in 2009, Williams burglarized the Davis home of his daughter and the child's mother, his ex-girlfriend. Williams had been in an out of their lives over the years, but that day they had invited him to attend his daughter's school function. Instead, Williams canceled at the last minute and took advantage of their absence from home to break into the residence and steal their belongings. The stolen property was later recovered when police searched Williams' apartment.

Williams has an extensive criminal history of felony convictions, including robberies of a Yolo Federal Credit Union office and a McDonald's restaurant in Fairfield, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. In the Credit Union robbery, Williams followed a teller into the bank, showed her a gun in his backpack and told her to take him to where the money was located. Officials said he used plastic handcuffs to tie up the woman and locked her in a restroom. Williams then took approximately $4,800.

Williams robbed the McDonalds restaurant while working there as an assistant manager. Officials said he and two other men planned the robbery, and he was working when it occurred. Williams acted as if he were a victim when the other two men entered and held a gun to him. One of the other men had another employee take him to the safe.

Information Williams provided was used to steal approximately $14,000. When the other men left, they put Williams and two other employees in the freezer.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Yolo County jury has found a Ceres man guilty of the June 4 burglary of a Davis residence.

Ronald Fink, 31, was convicted Thursday of first-degree burglary with an enhancement because the homeowner was present during the burglary, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

The victim was working from home when he heard noise from downstairs. When he went to investigate, Fink was riding out of the home's attached garage on a bicycle belonging to the owner's son.

After a short argument about the bicycle, Fink rolled the bike toward the homeowner and began to walk away.

The resident notified Davis police and identified Fink as the person who entered his garage.

Officials said Fink initially denied entering the garage. During the trial, however, he testified that he thought that because the door was open, it was a garage sale and admitted that he did enter the garage.

Judge Steven Mock told jurors after the verdict that although a prison sentence of up to six years was possible, Fink likely would be granted probation if he does not violate conditions of his current release or any other laws. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 12.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Yolo County Animal Services officials are seeking help locating a dog that bit a 13-year-old boy in West Sacramento on Monday.

The boy was bitten by a loose, stray dog while attempting to capture it in the area of 19th Street and Carolina Avenue, near an off-leash dog park, according to a news release. The dog was playing with boy, but when the youth tried to pick up the animal, it bit him.

The dog is described as a black terrier mix. The sex of the animal is not known.

Officials said it is important that they locate the dog soon or the boy may have to undergo treatment to prevent rabies.

Anyone with information regarding the incident, or who knows who owns the dog, is asked to call the Yolo County Sheriff's Department, Animal Services Section, at (530) 668-5287, or e-mail animal.bite@yolocounty.org.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

A Yolo County judge will wait until Monday to decide if a defendant in a high-profile cop-killing case should have more time to prepare his own defense, and whether he will have a lawyer to advise him.

JV TOPETE 02[2].JPGMarco Antonio Topete (photo left) is accused of gunning down Yolo County Sheriff's Deputy Jose Antonio Diaz on June 15, 2008, following a chase near the rural town of Dunnigan.

His trial is slated to start Monday, beginning with evidentiary motions, but it could be delayed because Topete is now representing himself.

Topete opted to act as his own attorney late last month after his lawyers could not persuade Judge Paul Richardson to grant them a trial continuance.

Now Topete is asking for his trial to be postponed until March 2011 so he has time to prepare his own defense in a case where he could face the death penalty if convicted.

Richardson has ordered one of Topete's two court-appointed defense lawyers, Thomas Purtell, of Woodland, to remain involved in the case to advise Topete. But Purtell, 83, said he lacks the capacity to perform the role alone and asked the judge to relieve him.

The judge will address Purtell's motion and Topete's request to continue the case Monday at 8:30 a.m. in Department 6 of the Yolo Superior Court.

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

By Bee Staff

The Yolo County Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center and the Yolo County District Attorney's Office are sponsoring the 4th annual My Strength Bench Press Weightlifting Contest.

Proceeds from the event benefit the center. The contest will be held starting at 9 a.m. Oct. 2 in the Davis Athletic Club, 1809 Picasso Ave. in Davis.

The My Strength campaign emphasizes positive masculinity and enables men to maintain their strength in relationships without using coercion, intimidation, force or violence, according to a news release.

Participants can register at the Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Center, 933 Court Street in Woodland, mail registration forms to the center or register the day of the event before the competition begins. The entry fee for adults is $25 and $10 for students with ID.

Participants also will get T-shirts.

For more information, call Mariana Negrete at (530) 661-6336.

By Mark Glover
mglover@sacbee.com

A 25-year-old man attacked Sunday night in a Woodland parking lot sustained traumatic head injuries, Woodland police said today.

Police said, however, that the man's injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Police said they responded to a report of an injured man shortly after 10 p.m. in the lot at 49 W. Main St.

The man told police that he was attacked by an unknown suspect and that money was taken from him during the assault.

No description of the suspect was released, but police are asking anyone with information about the crime to contact them at (530) 661-7800.

Call The Bee's Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland police have arrested a 14-year-old youth in connection with the Aug. 15 stabbing a 16-year-old boy at the city's Campbell Park.

The 16-year-old youth was stabbed multiple times, according to a Police Department news release.

Police said the 14-year-old suspect was identified through an investigation and was arrested by gang detectives about 2 p.m. today in the 900 block of Bourne Drive.

The youth was booked into Yolo County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of attempted murder and is being held without bail.

Police said the victim has been released from the hospital and is recovering from his injuries.

Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to call the Woodland Police Department Gang Violence Suppression Unit at (530) 661-7880.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bee Staff

Yolo County law enforcement is launching a multi-pronged attack on DUIs beginning tonight and running through the weekend.

Davis police will conduct a DUI checkpoint starting at 8:30 tonight and continuing to 3 a.m. at an undisclosed location, according to a Davis Police Department news release.

Extra DUI saturation patrols will be deployed in Winters and West Sacramento Friday night. Saturday night, extra DUI patrols will be operating in the Woodland, Davis and unincorporated areas of Yolo County, the release states.

All regularly scheduled traffic and patrol officers will focus efforts at stopping and arresting DUI drivers during their normal shifts as well, the release states.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety

Chris Cochran, assistant director of Marketing and Public Affairs, California Office of Traffic Safety, answered this question and others about DUI checkpoints for Sacto 9-1-1.

Q: Why do police tip the public about checkpoints ahead of time?

A: There are two reasons for advance publicity. It is a 'best practice' based on court CHECKPOINT[1].JPGrulings and effectiveness. The State Supreme Court said that advance publicity reduces intrusiveness of the stop at a sobriety checkpoint. The publicity and high visibility adds to their primary deterrence effect.

Q: Why are police doing so many?

A: Virtually all nighttime DUI checkpoints are funded by the state Office of Traffic Safety. We have increased funding for checkpoints and raised their number by approximately 47 percent. Last year there were 1,740 checkpoints statewide. This year we anticipate 2,500. We are doing them because they work, dropping fatality rates up to 25 percent. They save lives better than any other single tactic. That's the bottom line.

Q: How many drunken drivers are caught in the checkpoints?

A: The number varies from city to city, checkpoint to checkpoint. Usually between five and 15 in an urban area. But the number of arrests is not the measure of success. The measure is whether the number of fatalities and injuries declines in the coming years if checkpoints are carried out often and effectively enough.

Q: Do the checkpoints serve a secondary function, such as preventing others from drunk driving?

A: For those who don't ever drink and drive, it reiterates to them that DUI is a dangerous, socially unacceptable behavior. For those who might be contemplating a night out drinking, it serves to warn them ahead of time of the dangers of drinking and driving as well as the consequences of being caught. They then have the opportunity to arrange for a designated sober driver.

Q: Do you have a ballpark figure of the number of checkpoints each year in the Sacramento area?

A: About 70 for the Roseville, Sacramento, Elk Grove, West Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, Folsom and unincorporated areas.

Q: Home much money is allocated to the program and when will it run out?

A: The Office of Traffic Safety will spend about $20 million on DUI checkpoints in the state for the year. The amount allocated varies from year to year, but we anticipate it will be in the same ballpark next year.

- Bill Lindelof

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Another fire erupted at a home in Woodland where a suspicious blaze was reported earlier in the week.

The fire this morning was reported in an unoccupied home in the 1500 block of Sixth Street and was contained by firefighters.

A fire broke out shortly before midnight Tuesday at the same home. Arson investigators were called to the scene for that fire, which was labeled as suspicious in nature.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Previous coverage:

Woodland house fire considered suspicious - Aug. 25, 2010

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The West Sacramento Fire Department responded to a rescue at a construction site this morning where a worker fell.

Initial reports indicate that the worker at a construction site had been taken away in an ambulance and was not seriously hurt. The rescue occurred in the 5000 block of Jefferson Boulevard about 7:30 a.m.

A worker at the construction site fell from a ladder into a small pit. Firefighters got the injured worker onto a litter and he was lifted from a pit by a construction crane.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079. The Bee's Randy Pench contributed to this report.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A suspicious fire broke out shortly before midnight inside an unoccupied home in Woodland, police say.

Woodland police and fire department personnel were dispatched to a home in the 1500 block of Sixth Street. Firefighters put out the fire inside the single-family residence and arson investigators began looking into the cause of the fire.

Police say that the cause of the fire is unknown. However, the fire was labeled as suspicious in nature.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bee Staff

The Yolo County Sheriff's Department's Animal Services Section is attempting to find a dog that bit a juvenile in West Sacramento on Saturday.

A 17-year-old girl was bitten by a dog while walking on the levee gravel road in the area of County Road 22 and Riverbank Road near the Bryte Water Treatment Plant after dark on that day, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

The dog is described as a pit bull with brown, black and white coloring.

If the dog is not located soon, the victim may have to undergo rabies treatment, the release states.

Anyone having information regarding the attack or knows who owns the dog, should contact Yolo County Sheriff's Department, Animal Services Section at a 24-hour phone, (530) 668-5287, or e-mail animal.bite@yolocounty.org.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

MAJ ARNOLD BARRAZA[1].JPGManslaughter and additional charges were filed today in Yolo County Superior Court against a driver whose car crashed in November, killing a 10-year-old girl and seriously injuring two younger children.

The gross vehicular manslaughter charge while intoxicated and other accusations are included in a filing by the Yolo County District attorney against Arnoldo Barraza (in photo left taken at a court appearance in December).

Among the other charges: abusing or endangering the health of a child and possession of an opened alcoholic beverage container in a car.

California Highway Patrol officers have said Barraza was at the wheel of a Mazda 3, driving an estimated 85 mph on a narrow county road, when the car went out of control and flipped at about 1:20 p.m. Nov. 23. The crash took place on County Road 22 - a rural stretch of Woodland's East Main Street that parallels Interstate 5.

Cirena Martinez, whom relatives described as Barraza's girlfriend, was in the passenger seat, officers said.

The three children in the car - ages 10, 4 and 1 - were improperly restrained, and the two youngest were ejected in the crash, CHP officers said Monday.

Martinez's 10-year-old daughter, Destiny Martinez Gonzalez, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman's 4-year-old daughter was injured and later released from the hospital.

Barraza's 1-year-old son, Arnold Barraza Jr., suffered major injuries but survived, authorities said.

Court records show that Barraza, who has done time in state prison, has prior convictions for attempted vehicle theft, assault and resisting the order of a law-enforcement officer with the use of force.

He also has been convicted of DUI and driving with a blood-alcohol content at or above the legal limit, the records show.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bee Staff

Sacramento Valley law enforcement agencies issued nearly 600 citations for cell-phone use to drivers on Wednesday.

Dozens of agencies participated in the second zero tolerance day this month for cell-phone use and texting while driving.

The California Highway Patrol reported today that 588 citations were used for cell-phone use while driving and four for texting while driving. On Aug. 10, the first crackdown day, 345 citations were issued for cell phones and seven for texting.

A similar effort was made in Contra Costa County where law enforcement agencies issued more than 300 citations to motorists caught violating the hands-free driving law - including one who was caught twice within three hours - during a two-day crackdown, the California Highway Patrol told the Contra Costa Times.

The Sacramento Valley crackdown was conducted by the CHP and by police departments including the Sacramento, Elk Grove, West Sacramento, Roseville, Galt, Twin Rivers, Lodi, Ripon, Rancho Cordova, South Lake Tahoe departments and the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department.

Cell-phone violations carry a minimum fine of $20 for the first offense and $50 for the second. When court costs and other fees are added, the total can exceed $100 for a first offense, the CHP said.

Cell phones are the leading cause statewide of crashes by inattentive drivers, the CHP said.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland police report that a man in the Yolo County Jail is being held in connection with two of three recent stabbings in the community.

Francisco Javier Sarabia, 22, whom police described as a transient in Woodland, was arrested Aug. 11 in connection with a stabbing that occurred Aug. 1 but was not reported to police until Aug. 10. On Tuesday, police went to the jail and arrested Sarabia on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon in a stabbing that occurred about 3 p.m. Aug. 2 in the area of East Gum Avenue and East Street in Woodland. The 29-year-old victim was treated for wounds at Woodland Memorial Hospital.

Police said investigation is continuing into the third stabbing, which occurred in the 600 block of Third Street in Woodland about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 2. That victim, a 65-year-old man, was taken to UC Davis Medical Center for treatment.

In the Aug. 2 incidents, both victims reported that they were stabbed by a man who was riding a bicycle.

Police ask anyone with additional information about the stabbings to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 661-7800 or (530) 666-2411.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Yolo County Coroner's officials have released the name of the man whose body was found inside a storage unit.

He was identified as David Alcazar, 43, of Woodland. An autopsy was conducted Wednesday but his cause of death was listed simply as "pending investigation."

"There is no indication of foul play or trauma," said Chief Deputy Coroner Robert LaBrash.

Officers were called Tuesday to Streng Storage at 1520 Main St. at 12:09 p.m. regarding a possibly deceased person inside a storage unit.

Police and firefighters found Alcazar's body inside the unit.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof and Cathy Locke
blindelof@sacbee.com

The name of the 8-year-old boy struck and killed by a forklift in Woodland has been released.

The boy has been identified as Joseph Trafican of Woodland, the Yolo County coroner said. Joseph died from compression asphyxia, the coroner said.

Woodland police Sgt. Anthony Cucchi said the boy had accompanied his father, Pat Trafican, to the family's business, P.T. Welding, Sunday morning. The father and son were in the parking lot when a passing forklift struck the boy. Cucchi said the forklift driver stated that he did not see the boy.

The child died at Woodland Memorial Hospital.

Cucchi said the accident remains under investigation.

Krisann Chasarik, a spokeswoman for the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety, said the agency was notified of the incident but it is not within CalOSHA's purview. Chasarik said it is a police department matter.

Family members at the business Monday declined to discuss the accident, saying that everyone involved was devastated.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A visitor from Arizona shouted for help and fled when two armed men tried to hold him up early this morning, Woodland police said.

The victim, 55, told police he had just opened the rear hatch of his car at his friend's apartment complex at 154 Lincoln Avenue about 1 a.m. when two men wearing bandannas demanded his wallet.

One robber was armed with a sawed-off shotgun, and the other had a handgun.

The victim refused to relinquish his wallet and instead quickly ran away, while yelling for help. Responding officers failed to find the suspects.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A panhandler stabbed a young Woodland man in the stomach after trying to rob the victim shortly before midnight Sunday.

The 20-year-old victim was approached on the 800 block of Atwell Circle by a panhandler who asked for spare change, Woodland police said.

When the victim said he had no change, the suspect grabbed at the victim's necklace. In defense, the young man grabbed the thief's hand and immediately experienced a sharp pain in his stomach, the result of being stabbed.

The suspect released the necklace and fled on foot. The victim suffered a small cut.

The suspect was described as Hispanic, about 22 years old, 5-feet, 9-inches tall, and weighing about 145 pounds. He was wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and white athletic shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (530) 661-7800 or (530) 666-2411.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

Woodland Police are asking the public's help in apprehending a man suspected in a stabbing shortly before 2 a.m. today of a man in Campbell Park in the 700 block of Thomas Street.

Authorities said police were dispatched to the park after a 16-year-old Sacramento resident was stabbed numerous times in the torso and both arms. Several of the victim's acquaintances, also in the park, were interviewed, according to the report by Woodland Sgt. Don Beal.

The suspect in the case was described as wearing a black hooded sweat-shirt and dark colored pants with a shaved head or very short hair, white or Hispanic, between 16 and 20 years of age. He was last seen riding a bicycle on Thomas Street away from the park.

Anyone with information about this stabbing is asked to call the Woodland Police at (530) 661-7800, or police dispatch at (530) 666-2411.

The victim was taken by ambulance to University Medical Center in Sacramento for treatment. The wounds were not considered life-threatening.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Davis police urge residents to be alert to suspicious activities in their neighborhood, noting that the number of residential burglaries reported since the beginning of July is nearly triple the number reported during the same period last year.

Since July 1, 66 residential burglaries have been reported compared with 21 during the same period in 2009, according to a Police Department news release. Approximately one third of the burglaries occurred during the day, typically between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

In the daytime burglaries, intruders targeted electronics - televisions, computers and gaming consoles - and prescription medication. Police said there is no clear connection among the burglaries because of varying methods of entry and location.

However, they said the highest concentration of burglaries was in West Davis, between Oak Avenue and Highway 113 to the northern city border.

On July 8, police arrested three burglary suspects on J Street after they were found attempting to hide in a neighboring residence. Two date, police said, two residential burglaries have been linked to these individuals.

Residents who observe suspicious activity in their neighborhood are advised to call the Police Department.

Such activities include vehicles parked and idling for extended periods, people who appear to be scouting or casing a neighborhood, several people wandering from house to house, or vehicles driving slowly through the neighborhood.

Police also advise residents to lock their doors and windows when they leave home. Some of the victims had left windows and doors unlocked or open for ventilation, and burglars took advantage of this to enter the home. Some victims were home in a different part of the house when the burglary occurred, or interrupted a burglary upon arriving home.

Anyone who encounters someone inside their residence is advised to go to a safe location outside the house and call police. If possible, they should keep the house in sight so they can provide responding officers with information.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The former executive director of a Yolo County agency that advocates for children has been arrested on suspicion of embezzlement of the organization.

Claudean Medlock, 54, of Carmichael, was arrested on suspicion of burglary, embezzlement, grand theft and petty theft.

Woodland police said they were contacted July 29 by the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) agency, which advocates for children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned and placed into foster care in Yolo County.

Detectives conducted an investigation that revealed that CASA employee Medlock allegedly embezzled about $30,000 using a department debit card.

She is suspected of withdrawing the money between April and July this year and spending it at four different casinos.

In a statement released by CASA, Board President Mila Spengler said that the organization was notified by the bank on July 27 of irregularities to the CASA account.

After an internal review, Medlock was placed on administrative leave. She was later fired.

Spengler said CASA plans to hire an outside firm to do an audit. Pam Nardinelli, training and recruitment manager, has been appointed interim executive director.

"The Yolo County CASA board is taking every available step to fully recover the lost funds," Spengler said. "Meanwhile, we remain focused on maintaining the trust of our volunteers, who are the heart of our organization, our communities and our donors."

CASA Facts:

-- Recruited, trained and supervised 300 community volunteers since 1996.

-- Helped more than 450 youth in Yolo County.

-- Annual operationg budget of about $250,000.

-- Each volunteer must make an 18-month commitment to CASA and the children.

-- CASA has five staff members.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

RB Cellphone 0004[1].JPG1.JPG

A motorist uses a cell phone while driving in Sacramento on Tuesday. Bee photo by Randall Benton.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The first zero tolerance cell-phone day in the Sacramento area resulted in 345 tickets for talkative drivers.

Police and the California Highway Patrol dedicated Tuesday to focusing on drivers talking or texting on a cell phone that is not a hands-free device.

On Tuesday, the officers issued 345 citations for talking on the cell phone while driving. The officers also handed out seven citations for texting while driving.

The CHP handed out 147 of those tickets for cell-phone conversations and allied police departments wrote 198 tickets for the same offense.

The crackdown was conducted by the CHP and by the Sacramento, Elk Grove, West Sacramento, Roseville, Galt, Twin Rivers, Lodi, Ripon and Rancho Cordova police departments.

Another crackdown by CHP and police departments is planned for Aug. 18.

"If you are one of those who can't resist answering that cell phone, we will be out in force again," said CHP officer Adrian Quintero.

Cell-phone violations carry a minimum fine of $20 for the first offense and $50 for the second. When court costs and other fees are added, the total can exceed $100 for a first offense, the CHP said.

Cell phones are the leading cause statewide of crashes by inattentive drivers, the CHP said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof

blindelof@sacbee.com

Davis police have arrested a 43-year-old man on suspicion of molestation.

Carl Mitchel Testerman, a Davis resident, was arrested Tuesday in Sacramento, police said today. He is being held in Yolo County Jail on $1 million bail.

Davis Police Sgt. Paul Doroshov said Testerman is suspected of molesting two children between the ages of 10 and 17 years old.

One of the victims confided in a relative about inappropriate acts allegedly committed by Testerman, police said. The relative then called authorities on Aug. 2.

Further police investigation revealed that there is a second suspected victim, said Doroshov.

The suspected molestations began about July 2009, police said.

Detectives obtained an arrest warrant that alleges Testerman is suspected of committing 11 counts of sexual battery and one count lewd acts with a minor under 14 years old.

Testerman is a high school English teacher at Vanden High School in Fairfield, Solano County.

"The victims have no relation to Vanden High or the school district," said Doroshov. "This is not job-related as far as we know."

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Sacramento man is being treated for major injuries sustained when he crashed a stolen vehicle after leading police officers in a pursuit Interstate 80 and Interstate 5 this afternoon.

Lt. Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento Police Department said Modesto Nance, 24, suffered broken bones after he was ejected from a pickup truck when it crashed into a guardrail at Interstate 5 and Q Street.

Lt. Glenn Glasgow of the Davis Police Department said the incident began in Davis about 3:15 p.m. when the owner of a pickup pulling a trailer loaded with appliances and scrap metal was doing some maintenance work on the vehicle at a gas station and minimart at 333 Mace Blvd.

Sockman said a man, later identified as Nance, got into the vehicle and drove off. A patron at the gas station followed the truck and trailer as it headed east on Interstate 80 but lost it as it crossed the causeway between Davis and West Sacramento.

Davis Police issued a stolen vehicle bulletin, and Sockman said a West Sacramento police officer traveling on Jefferson Boulevard spotted the truck and trailer on the freeway crossing the Pioneer Bridge and pursued it.

Sockman said the truck and trailer started to go southbound on Interstate 5 but at the last second cut northbound, hitting another car, then took the offramp heading toward Q Street. The truck crashed into the guardrail, ejecting the driver and spilling the truck's contents. Sockman said the vehicle rolled another 200 feet before coming to a stop.

Although injured, Nance wrestled with the police officer before being taken into custody.

Sockman said Nance was being treated at a hospital for major but non-life-threatening injuries, and will be arrested on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle, felony evasion and resisting arrest. Nance also had four outstanding misdemeanor warrants, Sockman said.

Glasgow of the Davis Police Department said the victim was hearing impaired, but a good Samaritan at the gas station knew American Sign Language and assisted police with the stolen-vehicle report.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

image 6.jpg

By Bee Staff

The Woodland Police Department today released photos of a "person of interest' in one of the two stabbings Monday of men on bicycles by another bicyclist.

The Police Department said in a news release that the man pictured (photo above and inset) "is considered as a person of interest and may have witnessed" the stabbing at Pendegast and Pacific streets.

image 1.jpgThe attack was reported when Jose Alcantar, 29, of Woodland, walked into Woodland Memorial Hospital at 5:16 p.m. Monday. He was rushed into emergency surgery for a life-threatening stab wound to his side. He survived the wound.

Alcantar told Woodland police officers that he was riding his bicycle on Pacific Street at Pendegast Street when another bicyclist rode up from behind.

That man stabbed Alcantar with a knife.

A few hours later, someone on a bike stabbed another Woodland resident. Officers responded at 9:28 p.m. Monday to the report of a stabbing in the 600 block of Third Street.

Clarence Johnson, 65, of Woodland, said a man riding a low-slung, chrome-plated bike rode up to him on the sidewalk and stuck him in the abdomen with a knife.

Johnson described the man as a 6-foot-tall Hispanic man in his late 20s with a shaved head. He was wearing a white shirt and jeans.

The only description of the attacker in the first stabbing was that the suspect was Hispanic.

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

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Police and the California Highway Patrol in the Sacramento area are dedicating two days this month to "zero tolerance" of cell phone use or texting while driving.

Anyone caught talking or texting on a cell phone that is not a hands free device Tuesday or Aug. 18 will be given a citation that carries a fine of up to $100, according to the CHP. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the effort would cover nine days.)

The CHP indicated that such enforcements may become an annual effort.

Cell phones are the leading cause of inattentive driver crashes in the state, the CHP said.

Since the start of the hands-free law two years ago more than 1,200 collisions have cell phones as a contributing factor.

Those collisions have resulted in 16 fatalities and 850 people injured.

Among the agencies participating in the crackdown are: the CHP and officers in the Sacramento, Elk Grove, West Sacramento, Roseville, Galt and Rancho Cordova police departments.

The July 1, 2008 law prohibits the use of handheld cell phones by all drivers. In addition, it forbids drivers under the age of 18 from using both handheld and hands free phones. Six months later, a ban on text messaging by drivers was put in place.

CHP officers have issued more than 244,000 citations for violation of the cell phone law.

Cell phone violations carry a minimum fine of $20 for the first offense and $50 for the second. When court costs and other fees are added, the total can exceed $100 for a first offense, the CHP said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A fight this morning outside a Woodland bar sent one man to the hospital after he was hit in the head with a beer bottle.

Woodland police officers called at 12:33 a.m. to Tony's bar, 607 East Street, found a 21-year-old man in the parking lot with an injured left eye. Officers said he had been struck with a beer bottle by another young man.

The victim was transported to Woodland Memorial Hospital for injuries that are not life threatening. Police say they have leads , but no arrest has been made.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411 or (530) 661-7800.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Q: What was the final disposition of the charges against Anne Ichord, a teacher at Pioneer High School in Woodland who was charged with molesting a student? - Anonymous, Yolo County

A: Ichord, now 34, pleaded no contest to two counts of statutory rape, one a felony and one a misdemeanor, on June 12, 2008, in Yolo County Superior Court, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Ichord was sentenced to three years probation, a DA's spokesman said. If she completed various conditions, she was to be allowed to withdraw her plea to the felony count after 18 months, he said.

On Jan. 25, Ichord met the conditions and her felony plea was withdrawn, the spokesman said. She remains on probation for the misdemeanor count.

Ichord, a former history and physical education teacher at Pioneer High School, was originally charged with six felony charges involving alleged unlawful sexual behavior with a student, The Bee reported.

Woodland police told The Bee at the time of her arrest that Ichord was suspected of having sex with a student on and off campus. Police said the boy was a student in one of Ichord's history classes.

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

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A motorcyclist died Tuesday night after a chain reaction crash that began with a suspected drunk driver crashing, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The CHP gave this account of the events leading to the fatal crash:

The collisions began at about 10 p.m. on Interstate 505 near Winters when a car being driven southbound by Thomas M. Roberts, 50, of Newark, struck the center median, the CHP said. His car then went out of control and hit a guardrail at the beginning of the bridge abutment over Putah Creek.

The car then spun back into the traffic lanes and was hit from behind by another southbound car. The two cars were then blocking two lanes and a third car then struck one of the disabled cars.

A motorcyclist traveling southbound attempted to avoid the smashup by going around the cars using the right shoulder. However, he lost control, hit the bridge abutment and was thrown into the creek, said CHP officer Phil Gruidl.

The motorcyclist was identified by the Solano County Coroner as Oscar Alfaro, 48, of Antioch. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP said.

Roberts was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, the CHP said. He suffered minor injuries.

The CHP said there were five passengers in his car. Two passengers in his car, including a four-month-old child, suffered major injuries.

Passengers and drivers in both of the other cars suffered moderate or minor injuries.

The freeway was shut down at the location for three hours.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call the Woodland CHP office at (530) 662-4685.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Woodland police are investigating the possibility of a serial stabber on a bicycle after two men suffered knife injuries on Monday.

The first attack was reported when Jose Alcantar, 29, of Woodland, walked into Woodland Memorial Hospital at 5:16 p.m. Monday. He was rushed into emergency surgery for a life-threatening stab wound to his side.

Alcantar told Woodland police officers that he was riding his bicycle on Pacific Street at Pendegast Street when another bicyclist rode up from behind.

That man stabbed Alcantar with a knife.

A few hours later, someone on a bike stabbed another Woodland resident. Officers responded at 9:28 p.m. Monday to the report of a stabbing in the 600 block of Third Street.

Clarence Johnson, 65, of Woodland, said a man riding a low-slung, chrome-plated bike rode up to him on the sidewalk and stuck him in the abdomen with a knife.

Johnson described the man as a 6-foot-tall Hispanic man in his late 20s with a shaved head. He was wearing a white shirt and jeans.

The only description of the attacker in the first stabbing was that the suspect was Hispanic.

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

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Laurel Rosenhall
lrosenhall@sacbee.com

Authorities are investigating a suspected arson fire discovered on the UC Davis campus this morning.

A garbage truck driver passing the east side of the Memorial Union at 5:41 a.m. noticed a Bank of America ATM on fire, said UC Davis fire department spokesman Paul Pfotenhauer. The campus police and fire departments responded, quickly extinguished the fire and determined it was likely started by an arsonist, Pfotenhauer said. No one was injured, and no money was stolen.

Because the ATM is owned by a bank, the incident is being investigated as a federal crime, Pfotenhauer said. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are involved in the investigation, he said.

Authorities are looking for clues on footage from the ATM's security camera.

"A big part of this is to find out what kind of accelerant was used, and then to look at the security camera," Pfotenhauer said. "Is this a student? ... Was the material thrown from a distance? That kind of thing."

All ATMs on the east side of the Memorial Union will be shut down for the day. ATMs on other parts of the Davis campus are unaffected.

Call The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall, (916) 321-1083.

By Cathy Locke and Miranda Simon
clocke@sacbee.com

Divers with the Drowning Accident Recovery Team have pulled out a 22-year-old Walnut Grove man from a vehicle that went off the road into the Sacramento River near Highway 160 and Leary Road.

The body was found at 12:52 p.m. today, said California Highway Patrol officer Bernie Pico. The Sacramento County Coroner's Office identified the man as Isai Flores Mejia. No other passengers were in the car, Pico said.

CHP spokesman Officer Michael Bradley said the CHP received a report about 10 p.m. Wednesday of a broken guardrail that indicated a vehicle had gone off the road. Pico said the vehicle struck the guardrail before it fell into the water.

Officers were unable to locate a vehicle at the time, but the DART team went out this morning and found a four-door Mitsubishi sedan in the water.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Canadian police said that a cyclist from a Davis bicycle club has died in that country after being hit by a motor home.

Bruce S. Winder, 56, was with other bicyclists on vacation when he was struck by the recreational vehicle Wednesday on a highway in St. Joachim, northeast of Quebec City, in Quebec province, a police spokeswoman said.

Ann Mathieu, spokeswoman for the Quebec provincial police, said the investigation is not completed. However, she said that Winder was with a group of 20 other cyclists on the road.

Winder was making a left turn when struck by the motor home going in the same direction, she said.

A Quebec newspaper said another cyclist, Winder's wife, Ellen, was also injured.

"When the driver saw the cyclists, he tried to avoid them but he was not able to avoid them all," said Mathieu.

Winder had once served as the membership director of the 700-member Davis Bike Club.

"He and his wife are just outstanding cyclists and solid, salt-of-the earth kind of people," said Dan Shadoan, a longtime member of the club.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The city of Davis and UC Davis campus are poised to consolidate management of their fire departments under a two-year pilot program.

The Davis City Council on Tuesday authorized staff members to proceed with a plan for the two departments to share one fire chief, a move that could save $250,000 a year. The pilot project also calls for a shared dispatch center, restructuring of administrative support functions, and standardized training policies and procedures.

If approved by UC Davis Vice Chancellor John Meyer, the consolidation likely would begin Sept. 1, said Kelly Stachowicz, deputy city manager.

Under the plan, Bill Weisgerber, interim chief of the city Fire Department, would become interim chief of both departments, reporting jointly to Meyer and City Manager Bill Emlen. The city and university would contribute equally to his $149,316 annual salary, according to a city news release.

City and university officials estimate that sharing a chief will save UC Davis $110,000 annually and the city, about $140,000 a year. The savings would be reinvested in fire operations.

Emlen said the agreement is in keeping with a national trend to merge fire departments.

"This consolidation will eliminate redundancy and duplication of effort, provide opportunities for cost savings and enhance the level of service for both campus and city," he said in a written statement.

Under provisions of the agreement:

- In addition to the fire chief position, the two departments would share an assistant chief, training chief and operations chief.

- All other personnel would continue to be employees of their home departments, and their collective bargaining agreements would remain in effect.

- Fire calls on the Davis campus, now dispatched through a campus facility that also serves the campus Police Department, eventually would be dispatched through the city's public safety dispatch center to improve emergency dispatch and response coordination.

- Crews and equipment would be dispatched based on proximity and availability, rather than by city and campus boundaries.

- The departments would implement standardized operating guidelines, training, and policies and procedures, and look at joint purchasing to save money.

For years, the city and university have shared the weekly rotation of a duty chief to respond to first-alarm or larger emergencies, and the departments have provided mutual aid for major incidents.

In 2009, when the chiefs of both departments announced their retirements, the city and university took the opportunity to consider a new model for managing fire services.

Stachowicz said the city and university will seek the advice of a consultant regarding a more extensive consolidation of the two departments.

"We need a third party to help us walk through all the steps and make sure further consolidation wouldn't have any unintended consequences," she said.

The city Fire Department, with an annual budget of $9.69 million, 45 firefighters and three fire stations, responded to 4,169 calls for service in 2009.

The campus Fire Department has an annual budget of $3.95 million, 20 firefighters and one fire station, and responded to 939 calls.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

Yolo County authorities announced the arrest today of 12 registered sex offenders for parole and probation violations during a sweep of 129 individuals in Yolo and Sacramento counties on Tuesday.

(Earlier informaton supplied by officials only listed 10 arrests.)

Dubbed Operation Vigilance, the sweep on Tuesday involved more than 100 officers from agencies across two counties.

Teams each carried software that allowed them to quickly scan offenders' computers for banned images - eliminating the need to transport each device for analysis.

It was the first time an operation of such scope was attempted in Yolo County, which has 382 registered sex offenders, authorities said.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig vowed the sweeps would continue to ensure sex offenders are complying with the law.

"It was called Operation Vigilance because we will be vigilant," Reisig said in a news conference at his Woodland office. He was flanked by representatives from a dozen different local and state agencies.

The operation was accomplished without the use of overtime - a requirement amid budget cuts, officials said.

Arrested and the suspected parole or probation violation were:

James Andrus, 63 possession of pornography;

Robert Sutton, 47, possession of computer device;

Jim Baker, 65, possession of pornography;

Vincent Russell, 39, possession of pornography and marijuana;

Uriah Clark, 35, possession of pornography.

Ramona Hernandez, 28, possession of pornography and alcohol and drug smoking;

Omar Avalos, 26, possession of pornography;

Joshua Bracy, 36, possession of pornography;

Aurelio Solorio, 56, immigration hold;

Keith Berg, 51, possession of alcohol;

Richard Evans, 51, being in a restricted location;

Jose Naverette, 55, possession of alcohol and pornography.

(An earlier list of the suspects had incorrect information.)

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Davis police are looking for the man who robbed an AM/PM store early this morning.

The man, armed with a handgun, entered the store at 333 Mace Blvd. at 4:43 a.m., according to a Police Department news release.

He was described as white, in his mid-20s, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds and had dark eyes. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head, baggie tan or khaki pants and black shoes. The reportedly brandished a black revolver at the clerk and demanded money.

After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, the man walked out of the store and got into a dark-colored Chevy Impala or Camaro-type sedan, and left in an unknown direction.

No injuries were reported.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A federal grand jury today returned an indictment charging two men with manufacturing more than 1,000 marijuana plants on federal land in Yolo County.

Jose Andres Prieto Rodriguez, 30, and Jose Rodrigo Rodriguez Vidal, 19, both citizens of Mexico, are accused of being responsible for an illegal marijuana growing operation on land under the jurisdiction of the federal Bureau of Land Management, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

If convicted, the men face a maximum of 10 years to life in prison, a $4 million fine and five years of supervised release.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Queenie Wong
qwong@sacbee.com

A 48-year-old Durham woman was arrested Wednesday afternoon after she reportedly stole money from a bank in Davis, then locked her car keys in the getaway vehicle, according to the Davis police department.

The suspect, Laura Jane Murray, allegedly walked into Union Bank on E Street about noon and handed a note to a teller, demanding money. When the teller gave her an undisclosed amount of money, she fled to her parked car nearby.

Police officers found Murray as she was trying to break the window of her car with a piece of equipment she had stolen from a nearby delivery truck, said Lt. Thomas Waltz, the department's spokesman.

Waltz said that there were no injuries and weapons used during the robbery.

Murray was charged with suspicion of armed robbery and taken to the Yolo County Jail.

After the arrest, officers discovered that she had a $35,000 arrest warrant issued by the Butte County Sheriff's Office for another bank robbery in Oroville.

Call The Bee's Queenie Wong, (916) 321-1008.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Three people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries after a big-rig truck overturned on Interstate 5 near Woodland late Tuesday afternoon, closing southbound lanes to traffic for nearly two hours.

Officer Keerat Lal, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, said the truck was pulling a flatbed trailer with a load of PVC pipe and was traveling too fast as it entered southbound I-5 from the cloverleaf onramp at County Road 102 shortly before 5 p.m. The driver lost control and the truck toppled over on its left side, dislodging its load. The pipes scattered across the roadway striking a box truck, and Chrysler and Ford sedans.

Lal said two people in the Chrysler and the driver of the Ford were taken to UC Davis Medical Center complaining of pain, but he said their injuries were not believed to be serious.

The southbound lanes reopened to traffic about 7 p.m., after the pipes were moved to the side of the roadway.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A Woodland gas station was robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash this morning.

Police say they arrived at the Chevron station on the 1500 block of East Main Street at 5 a.m. The cash register was on the floor, where the clerk said the robber threw it. The clerk was not hurt.

The suspect, who was unarmed, is described as a Hispanic man in his early 30s, between 5-feet, 5-inches and 5-feet-9, with a medium build and a shaved head.

He was wearing a blue, short-sleeved shirt with white stripes and dark colored jeans. He might have had tattoos on his arms.

He was last seen fleeing in a white sedan, possibly a small, late 1990s, 4-door car, authorities said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (9126) 321-1079.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Davis police have arrested the remaining two suspects believed to be responsible for a May 31 home-invasion robbery in the 800 block of Anderson Road.

Jesus Cruz, 18, and Jose Elenas, 19, both of Richmond were located and arrested with the help of the Richmond Police Department and were sent to the Yolo County Jail, according to a news release from the Davis Police Department.

During the robbery, several armed subjects forced through the door and while one held the occupant at gunpoint, the others gathered electronic equipment, the release said.

On June 30, Davis police arrested Fernando Ochoa of Richmond, 20, in connection with the robbery. Ochoa was booked into the Yolo County Jail on suspicion of armed robbery and burglary.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Queenie Wong
qwong@sacbee.com

A 25-year-old Woodland resident has been arrested on suspicion of robbing a convenience store clerk at knife point, according to the Woodland Police Department.

Detectives on Tuesday evening arrested Bradley Robert Simmons, 25, in connection with a robbery that occurred July 11 at the AM/PM convenience store at 313 W. Main St.

Simmons was booked at the Yolo County Jail with bail set at $50,000.

Call The Bee's Queenie Wong, (916) 321-1008.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

Lawyers delivered opening statements today in a trial to determine whether West Sacramento will have a permanent injunction targeting the alleged criminal street gang known as the Broderick Boys.

This is the first time that the on-again-off-again injunction has gone to trial with lawyers for each side planning to call dozens of witnesses.

The previous incarnations, including the one currently in place, have been temporary injunctions granted after court hearings.

At issue is whether the gang exists and, if it does, whether extraordinary legal restrictions on its members' movements and associations are warranted.

Yolo County prosecutors argued the gang's criminal and non-criminal activities represent a public nuisance that only a gang injunction can curb.

Defense lawyers contended that there is no gang and that police activities are the real threat to residents of the West Sacramento neighborhoods of Broderick and Bryte.

After a trial predicted to take months, Judge Kathleen White will decide whether to make the gang injunction a long-term fixture in West Sacramento.

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

MC_ROTTEVEEL.02.JPGBy Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

Hubert Rotteveel, the prominent Dixon real estate salesman who was arrested last week after a pair of bank robberies in Woodland and West Sacramento, pled not guilty Friday to criminal charges in Yolo County Superior Court.

With family members in attendance, Rotteveel, 47, waived the reading of the charges in court, which included one count of burglary and one count of robbery, according to his attorney, Tom Johnson of Sacramento.

The next court hearing was set for July 20.

Rotteveel was a member of the UCLA's national championship soccer team in 1985 and was formerly a general manager of the Sacramento Knights professional indoor soccer team.

He had built a thriving real estate business in recent years, but filed for bankruptcy protection last year.

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

Photo caption: Hubert Rotteveel at his arraignment at the Superior Court of California, County of Yolo, Friday afternoon. Photo by Manny Crisostomo

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Woodland man has received four consecutive life sentences plus 17 years and four months in state prison for the 2009 kidnapping and attempted robbery of a father and his three young sons.

Paul Alexander Hinojosa Jr., 31, was sentenced Wednesday by Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg, according to a news release from the Yolo County District Attorney's Office.

A Yolo County jury on March 15 convicted Hinojosa of multiple kidnapping, carjacking and child endangerment offenses, the release states.

The release gave this chain of events:

On May 2, 2009, Hinojosa asked a man, a sympathetic stranger, for a ride home from K's Carwash in Woodland.

Once in the car with the man and his three children, Hinojosa pulled out a gun and demanded money, threatening to kill the man if his demands weren't met.

Hinojosa also threatened to kill everyone in the victim's household if the man reported the incident to police.

The children were able to escape when their father distracted Hinojosa by grabbing the muzzle of what was determined to be a replica firearm. The two fought over the gun before Hinojosa got out of the car and fled.

Hinojosa ran to a nearby home where the residents, also strangers to Hinojosa, detained him until police arrived.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Davis police have arrested a Richmond man in connection with a May 31 home invasion robbery.

Fernando Ochoa, 20, was booked into Yolo County Jail on June 30 on suspicion of armed robbery and burglary. During a search of his residence, detectives also seized cocaine and packaging material, according to a Davis Police Department news release issued today.

The home invasion robbery occurred in the 800 block of Anderson Road. Several armed individuals forced their way in through the door of the home and robbed the occupant, police said.

One man held the victim a gunpoint in the living room area, while the others gathered laptops and other personal electronic equipment, police said. The robbers then left the area in a Mazda sedan.

Police said detectives are continuing to investigate leads in the case.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Law enforcement agencies in a five-county area arrested 115 people for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol during Independence Day weekend.

Collaborative efforts in Sacramento, Placer, Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties were part of a campaign involving sobriety checkpoints and DUI saturation patrols to reduce the number of traffic deaths and injuries caused by impaired drivers.

Between midnight Friday and midnight Monday, 59 DUI arrests were reported in Sacramento County, 33 in Placer County, and a total of 23 in Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties. No deaths attributed to drunken drivers were reported in those areas.

Law enforcement officials plan to conduct more such efforts in partnership with a nationwide 18-day campaign in August ending with the Labor Day weekend.

Motorists are encouraged to report impaired or dangerous drivers by calling 911.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Deia de Brito
ddebrito@sacbee.com

An apparent road rage incident in Yolo County on Saturday afternoon left one man dead and his killer at large.

Jorge Gutierres, a 52-year-old resident of the Colusa County community of College City, was northbound on County Road 99 W near Dunnigan when authorities say a series of passing incidents led to his stabbing death.

A passenger in the victim's car told investigators that Gutierres, who was driving a Jeep Cherokee, passed a black Ford Mustang convertible, a Yolo County Sheriff's Department news release states. The Mustang and Jeep continued passing each other until the Mustang's driver stopped in front of Gutierres' Jeep and exited his car. After smashing Gutierres' window, the suspect stabbed the victim several times in the arm, authorities say.

The suspect returned to his car and resumed driving north on County Road 99 W. Witnesses said the suspect was accompanied by a passenger in the Mustang.

Yolo County sheriff's deputies and Dunnigan firefighters arriving at the scene of the assault found Gutierres in the driver's seat of the Jeep, suffering from several stab wounds to his left arm. He was transported by air to UC Davis Medical Center, where he later died.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male, 30 to 40 years old, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, with dark hair in a buzz cut.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Yolo County Sheriff's Department at (530) 668-5280.

Call The Bee's Deia de Brito, (916) 321-1087.

By Carrie Peyton Dahlberg
cpeytondahlberg@sacbee.com

Two teenagers visiting relatives in Woodland were stabbed during a walk on Main Street Saturday night, and they told police their two attackers fled.

The boys, one 15 and one 16, were visiting from Avenal, a city southwest of Visalia. They were walking on Main Street near Thomas Street round 11 p.m. when they encountered two other people, according to Cpl. Victoria Danzl.

"They're making it sound like they were just walking down the street and all of sudden these guys showed up," Danzl said. The teens described their attackers as male, one with long hair. Beyond that, Danzl said, "we have no suspect information at all."

The older teen was taken to UC Davis Medical Center with a stab would to his torso, and the younger one, who was stabbed in the leg, was taken by relatives to Woodland Memorial Hospital, Danzl said. Neither had life-threatening injuries, she said.

Woodland police are asking anyone with information about the attack to phone them at 530-661-7800 during business hours, or after hours, including the July 4 holiday, to phone the non-emergency dispatch line at 530-666-2411.

Call The Bee's Carrie Peyton Dahlberg, (916) 321-1086.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

California's "hands-free" law, which prohibits talking on a hand-held phones while driving, has been in effect for two years, but statistics indicate far too many motorists still haven't gotten the message, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Cell phones are the leading, identifiable, contributing factor to inattentive driver crashes in the state, the CHP says.

According to the CHP's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System data, since the hands-free law became effective July 1, 2008, more than 1,200 collisions have occurred statewide in which a contributing factor was driver inattention due to cell phone use. Those collisions resulted in 16 fatalities and more than 850 people injured.

The law prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones by all motorists. It also forbids anyone younger than 18 from using any type of cell phone - hand-held or hands free - while driving. Six months later, a ban on text messaging by drivers also took effect.

Since the hands-free law's inception, CHP officers have issued more than 244,000 citations statewide to motorists who were in violation of the law, according to a CHP news release.

In Sacramento County during this same period, law enforcement agencies issued 34,673 citations to drivers using hand-held cell phones, according to Sacramento Superior Court statistics. A total of 262 citations were issued to drivers younger than 18 for using a mobile/wireless device.

Cell phone violations carry a minimum base fine of $20 for the first offense and $50 for the second. When court costs and other fees are added to the fines, the total cost of the violation exceeds $100 for the first offense, officials said.

For more information about the hands-free laws, see the CHP's website at www.chp.ca.gov.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

West Sacramento police have arrested a 20-year-old man they say shot another 20-year-old man last weekend.

camarillo.jpgAuthorities arrested Marcel Camarillo (photo left) today in the Carmichael area of Sacramento County.

Police said Camarillo is responsible for shooting the victim in the area of Arthur Drive and Cummins Way about 2 p.m. last Saturday. The victim sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the torso, was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, where he is in stable condition.

West Sacramento at first looked for Camarillo at his West Sacramento home, but he was not there. They received information that he was in Sacramento County.

With help from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, the West Sacramento police found Camarillo in the 5400 block of El Camino Avenue in Carmichael.

He was taken into custody without incident and booked in the Yolo County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Sacramento parolee has been convicted in the March 14 burglary of a West Sacramento home.

A Yolo County Superior Court jury found Elbert Brown, 39, guilty of first degree burglary, conspiracy to commit first degree burglary and obstructing a peace officer in the performance of his duties, according a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

Two days before the burglary, Brown had been paid to help the homeowner move into her new home. The homeowner had hired someone she worked with to help her and that individual brought along Brown, who was introduced as his cousin, to help.

The following day, the homeowner noticed that seven of her windows had been unlocked. Sometime after 11 the night of March 14, Brown returned to the residence with 18-year-old Cameron Caulk.

During the trial, the homeowner described the events that followed.

She was alone in the house and asleep when she was awakened by her doorbell. As she looked through the peephole and saw Caulk repeatedly ringing her doorbell she saw another person behind him and did not answer the door.

The woman then heard the two men in her backyard and could see their shadows as they walked around to several windows. A porch light illuminated the two as they moved around the back yard, but as they began removing screens from several windows, the porch light went out.

The woman was hiding in her bathroom and on the phone with 911 when she heard glass breaking in her kitchen.

When arrived shortly afterward, Brown and Caulk had left. Police discovered that several window screens had been removed and the light bulbs in two backyard porch lights had been unscrewed.

A West Sacramento Police officer located Brown and Caulk as they attempted to drive out of the area. Brown, who was on parole for burglary, fled. With the assistance of a Sacramento Police Department helicopter and a West Sacramento Police Department canine officer, he was located in a nearby back yard.

Brown testified during his trial that he only went to the victim's house because he had a dispute about how much money her had been paid by his cousin. He said he thought it would be OK to drop by the house at 11:30 p.m. because the woman had been nice to him while he was helping her move, the news release says.

Before Brown's trial, Caulk pleaded no contest to first degree burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary after being promised probation by the court.

Brown, who has an extensive criminal history including several state prison commitments for theft-related offenses, faces the possibility of 11 years in prison, according to the District Attorney's Office. He is to be sentenced July 29.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

MC_ROTTEVEEL.02.JPGBy Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

Hubert Peter Rotteveel was always a go-getter, an entrepreneur and real estate salesman from a prominent farming family.

He was a soccer booster and a member of the national championship UCLA team in 1985 and the team's "most inspirational" player in 1986.

He is father to three children and a former business associate of the Maloof family that owns the Sacramento Kings.

He is also a bank robber, police say.

The 47-year-old Dixon man was arrested Wednesday after two bank robberies, one in west Sacramento, the other in Woodland. Both robberies were committed by a man who escaped on a bicycle, police said.

Rotteveel's family declined to comment this morning on his arrest, but a friend who said Rotteveel, left, had taken him in and became a father figure to him said the arrest came on the one-year anniversary of Rotteveel's divorce.

"That doesn't sound like him," said 28-year-old Juan Contreras, who said he rented a room from Rotteveel for $700 a month. "I haven't slept for two nights thinking about why. Yesterday, I was in tears all morning because I know it's not him."

Contreras said he knew Rotteveel was having financial difficulties but did not talk about them much.

Rotteveel's ex-wife, Lisa, said the allegations were "completely out of character."

"I am so surprised," she said. "Everybody's having financial difficulty, and he's a Realtor."

Federal court records show Rotteveel had been sued by a former employee over failure to pay him and that he had filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition last year in which he listed $1.6 million in assets and $1.7 million in liabilities.

Court records also show that a former employee, Doug Larned, sued Rotteveel in bankruptcy court last June claiming Rotteveel had reneged on an agreement to pay him for helping to set up the Dixon July 4th celebration. An arbitrator later awarded Larned $287,340, although there is no indication it was ever paid.

Photo caption: Hubert Rotteveel at his arraignment at the Superior Court of California, County of Yolo, Friday afternoon. Photo by Manny Crisostomo

Call The Bee's Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.

Previous story:

Dixon man arrested in Woodland, W. Sacramento bank robberies - July 1, 2010

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Hubert Peter Rotteveel was always a go-getter, an entrepreneur and real estate salesman from a prominent farming family.

He was a soccer booster and a member of the national championship UCLA team in 1985 and the team's "most inspirational" player in 1986.

He is father to three children and a former business associate of the Maloof family that owns the Sacramento Kings.

He is also a bank robber, police say.

The 47-year-old Dixon man was arrested Wednesday after two bank robberies, one in west Sacramento, the other in Woodland. Both robberies were committed by a man who escaped on a bicycle, police said.

Rotteveel was ordered held on $50,000 bail during a brief corut hearing in Yolo Superior Court this afternoon. The case was put off until July 7.

Rotteveel led a seven-man chain gang into the courtroom and sat amiably chatting and asking questions of a tattooed domestic-violence suspect he was chained to.

Rotteveel's family members who gathered at the courthouse in his support declined to comment.

This morning a friend who said Rotteveel, left, had taken him in and became a father figure to him said the arrest came on the one-year anniversary of Rotteveel's divorce.

"That doesn't sound like him," said 28-year-old Juan Contreras, who said he rented a room from Rotteveel for $700 a month. "I haven't slept for two nights thinking about why. Yesterday, I was in tears all morning because I know it's not him."

Contreras said he knew Rotteveel was having financial difficulties but did not talk about them much.

Rotteveel's ex-wife, Lisa, said the allegations were "completely out of character."

"I am so surprised," she said. "Everybody's having financial difficulty, and he's a Realtor."

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

Federal court records show Rotteveel had been sued by a former employee over failure to pay him and that he had filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition last year in which he listed $1.6 million in assets and $1.7 million in liabilities.

Court records also show that a former employee, Doug Larned, sued Rotteveel in bankruptcy court last June claiming Rotteveel had reneged on an agreement to pay him for helping to set up the Dixon July 4th celebration.

An arbitrator recommended an award of $287,340 to Larned, whose attorney said he is awaiting a final court decision on the payment. Larned, who came to court to watch Rotteveel's arraignment would not discuss the case until it is resolved.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

West Sacramento Police arrested a man accused of robbing the First Northern Bank on Wednesday afternoon after a dye pack included with the stolen money exploded.

An armed man entered the First Northern Bank in West Sacramento about 3 p.m. and demanded money from the cashier, according to a Police Department news release. The man - who police allege was Hubert Rotteveel, 47 - left the bank and was captured as he fled the area.

Police said the dye pack had exploded, covering areas of the man's body with dye. Both the money and the gun were recovered.

During the investigation, police learned that Rotteveel matched the description of the suspect in two other banked robberies, one of which occurred earlier in the day in Woodland.

The other occurred in Vacaville. Police said an investigation is being conducted to determine whether the crimes are linked.

Anyone with information pertaining to the investigation is asked to call West Sacramento Police Dispatch at (916) 375-6474.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

Bee Staff, Associated Press

A West Sacramento man has been arrested on a fugitive warrant from New Hampshire, alleging he caused an apartment fire in 1989 that killed four family members.

mcleod.JPGNew Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney said Wednesday evening that 53-year-old David McLeod (photo left) had been arrested on four counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Carl Hina, his wife Lori, their 4-month-old daughter Lillian, and Carl Hina's 12-year-old daughter Sara.

The medical examiner ruled all four victims died from smoke inhalation after the Jan. 14, 1989 fire on High Street in Keene.

Delaney said McLeod was arrested Wednesday in West Sacramento, where he has lived for 15 years and had a family.

McLeod is in the Yolo County jail tonight after being arranged earlier in the Yolo County Superior Court on the New Hampshire charges. However, McLeod is fighting extradition.

Marion Meyer, who lives several houses away from the McLeod residence in West Sacramento, said she didn't know the family well but sometiems the McLeod children would "come over to swim." She said she didn't think David McLeod was employed.

Earlier, two adult women shooed TV camera crews away from the McLeod residence. They said they didn't want to talk to the media. One woman sprayed water from a bottle on the crews.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

Federal arson officials and local authorities are investigating a suspicious blaze that gutted the Broderick Christian Center today.

The center helps hundreds of homeless and low-income residents in one of West Sacramento's roughest neighborhoods.

The fire at the center's day shelter followed several acts of vandalism in recent days. Someone slashed tires, smashed windows and poured oil on a half-dozen vans and buses at the center, said Alvin Lewis Jr., executive director of the United Christian Centers of the Greater Sacramento Area, which runs the Broderick shelter.

Those attacks occurred late Thursday and Saturday. At 9:40 a.m. Sunday, the center's day shelter erupted in flames after what witnesses described as an explosion, said Battalion Chief Steven Binns, of the West Sacramento Fire Department.

By the time firefighters arrived minutes later, the building was fully engulfed.

"The first units on scene encountered heavy fire coming from multiple windows on three sides of the building," Binns said. "They made an aggressive interior attack and were able to knock the fire down, but the building's a total loss."

Binns said at his request, agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms began arriving Sunday to investigate and others would be flying in this morning. They will join local police and arson investigators.

Officials said federal ATF agents are called in on church-related arson cases to help determine how the fires occurred and to investigate if they have elements of hate crimes. The Broderick Christian Center is supported by the American Baptist Churches USA.

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

By Peter Hecht
phecht@sacbee.com

Police are investigating the shooting of a 20-year-old man who came into the West Sacramento Police Department office today, bleeding from his chest.

Officers were heading to the location of the 2 p.m. shooting, at Arthur Drive and Cummins Way in West Sacramento, when the wounded man showed up at the police headquarters after getting a ride, a police spokesman said.

"While the officers were on the way, he showed up at the police station on (550) Jefferson (Boulevard) with multiple gunshot wounds" to his torso, said Sgt. Jason Winger.

The man was rushed for treatment at UC Davis Medical Center. Police declined to release his identity, pending an investigation of the incident.

Authorities are asking anyone with information on the incident to contact West Sacramento Police Department dispatch at (916) 372-3375.

Call The Bee's Peter Hecht, (916) 326-5539.

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

A man walked into a bar today, Woodland police reported, but it was no joke.

The man, identified by police as Juan Benejan, 25, was reported to be carrying a silver semiautomatic handgun when he entered Kenny's Bar on East Street before 1 a.m.

When police arrived, the man had left the bar and officers set up a perimeter and began searching for the suspect.

When police found him, however, he refused to cooperate by showing his hands to officers on the scene.

A police dog, Mondo, was used to capture the suspect without any shots fired. He did suffer bites that required treatment at Woodland Memorial Hospital.

A .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol was recovered from the site where Benejan was captured.

He was booked on suspicion of firearms violations, resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.

Call The Bee's Carlos Alcalá, (916) 321-1987.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Officials worked late Thursday to clean up oil apparently emptied from a big rig into a Woodland storm drain.

A Woodland resident noticed a a hose coming from the engine compartment of a big rig at Hays Lane and Douglas Lane about 2 p.m., police said. The hose went from the rig to a storm drain.

The citizen suspected the driver was changing his oil and disposing of the old oil into the storm drain.

Woodland police and fire officials were dispatched. Eventually, the city's environmental operations and the state Department of Fish & Game became involved.

Police seized the Freightliner semi tractor and stored it for examination by the California Highway Patrol. The truck's engine, which has a capacity of 30 quarts of motor oil, had an empty crankcase, police said.

In addition, new motor oil was found in the cab of the semi. Muhammad Ibnan Khalid, 29, of Woodland, was arrested for improperly disposing of the oil and booked into Yolo County Jail on $20,000 bail.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A conviction of a known gang member has resulted from the injury to a man who had his eye pop out when he sneezed after being sucker punched on Picnic Day.

Steven Hector Martinez, 35, of Woodland was sentenced to 31 years to life on Thursday in Yolo Superior Court.

The Yolo County District Attorney's office said that Martinez hit a man in the eye on April 18, 2009, when the victim tried to break up a fight in downtown Davis.

A University of California, Davis student followed the attacker and directed a Davis police officer by cellphone. Martinez was arrested and identified by the victim as the assailant.

The victim went to the hospital but left before being treated because he said there were two elderly men who looked in worse condition. However, according to the district attorney, "three days later, the victim sneezed and his eye popped out of his socket. He pushed the eye back in and went to the hospital."

X-ray images revealed that the eye socket was shattered in two places and parts of the bones were dislocated and depressed into the victim's head. He suffered extreme pain, according to a district attorney's press release.

Martinez was sentenced under the state's "three strikes law." The DA said Martinez is a member of the Sureno gang.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Woodland man with a prison record has been sentenced to 31 years to life behind bars for punching a man who tried to break up a fight during Davis' 2009 Picnic Day.

Steven Hector Martinez, 35, was convicted by a Yolo County jury on March 12 of one count of battery with serious bodily injury and was sentenced today by Yolo Superior Court Judge Kathleen White.

On April 18, 2009, the victim reported that he was at the Bistro 33 restaurant in downtown Davis when he saw people he thought he knew getting into a fight in the street area. When the victim went over to stop the fight, Martinez, a stranger to the victim, "sucker punched" the man in the face with his fist, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

Martinez and the group with him then fled. But a concerned University of California, Davis, student witnessed the attack and followed the group. The student used his cell phone to call 911, relayed the group's movements and descriptions, and confirmed when a Davis police had stopped the right person.

The student and the victim identified Martinez as the attacker.

A known Sureno gang associate, Martinez had been released from prison only 100 days before the incident, officials said.

The victim went to the hospital by ambulance but left before being treated because, he said, there were two elderly men who appeared to be in worse condition than he was, according to the news release. Three days later, however, the victim went to the hospital where a CT scan revealed that his eye socket was shattered in two places.

Judge White's sentence was based on the application of California's "Three Strikes Law." Martinez previously had been convicted of four felonies, including a 1996 shooting in Woodland where he fired several shots from a semiautomatic gun into a crowd of rival gang members, the news release said. One bullet hit a 19-year-old man in the throat, and another bullet struck a 16-year-old youth in the leg.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

A former Yolo County probation officer was arraigned Wednesday on eight felony counts of accessing computer data without permission.

Jaime Melgoza resigned earlier this month from the Yolo County Probation Department, where he was a senior deputy probation officer.

He had worked for the department since 2000, said Jim Metzen, probation program manager. Metzen said he could not comment on personnel matters.

Prosecutors with the Yolo County District Attorney's Office did not explain the basis for the charges during the brief hearing, nor would they provide details afterward.

The alleged conduct occurred from May 2008 to October 2009, according to a complaint in the case. The complaint did not spell out the allegations behind the charges.

Melgoza pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Commissioner Janene Beronio appointed a private attorney to represent Melgoza and allowed him to remain free without bail.

To avoid the media, Melgoza slipped out a locked side entrance of the Yolo Superior Court building with a companion who had a key.

Melgoza is scheduled to return to court on July 22 before Judge Kathleen White.

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A West Sacramento man has been sentenced to three years in prison for possessing child pornography.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Timothy L. Fall sentenced Phil Douglas Reese, 45, to the maximum prison term allowed at the state level for the offense, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. Reese was convicted by a Yolo County jury on May 18 for possessing child pornography and failing to register as a sex offender.

Reese was arrested Aug. 29, 2008, in the area of West Capitol Avenue by the West Sacramento Police Department's community Response Team. When he was arrested, Reese had a laptop computer with him in his truck. The computer was on and officers observed numerous movies involving child pornography on the computer.

Lt. Peter Martin, an investigator with the District Attorney's Child Sexual Predator Unit, forensically examined the laptop computer and discovered more than 20 such movies on the hard drive, the news release said.

As part of the investigation, West Sacramento police also determined that Reese was living in Riverside County without notifying the West Sacramento Police Department of his change of residence, which was in violation of his requirement to register as a sex offender.

Since 2003, Reese has been required to register as a sex offender for an Internet crime conviction involving a minor from Stanislaus County. In that case, Reese was arrested by the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department for communicating through the Internet with what he believed was 13-year-old girl for the purpose of meeting with her to have sexual intercourse. The "girl" was actually an undercover officer.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A traffic accident on Interstate 80 just east of Davis is causing severe traffic problems.

The California Highway Patrol reports that westbound I-80 traffic is backed up from Davis to West Sacramento.

A van crashed near Mace Boulevard triggering the backup and causing a small vegetation fire. The fire has been extinguished.

No information about the driver of the van is available yet.

Call the Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

More than a dozen businesses have been cited following an industrial pollution prevention sweep in West Sacramento.

The June 15 sweep was conducted by the Yolo County District Attorney's Environmental and Consumer Protection Unit, in conjunction with the county Department of Health Hazardous Materials Unit, West Sacramento Police Department, state Bureau of Automotive Repair, Sacramento County Auto Theft Suppression Task Force, state Board of Equalization, state Employment Development Department and the California Labor Commission.

The purpose of the sweep was to identify businesses that illegally produce hazardous materials or waste that pollute the air and soil, according to a District Attorney's Office news release. It also was intended to combat illegal dumping and discharges that cause pollution.

The operation was a response to reports of illegal dumping and unlicensed activities in the area. Further investigation revealed evidence of certain businesses engaging in unfair business competition by trying to gain an advantage over law-abiding businesses. These businesses were failing to pay taxes on goods and services. They also were paying cash to employees and thereby failing to pay tax withholdings, the news release says.

Jonathan Raven, assistant chief deputy district attorney, said the majority of citations were for air emissions and labor code violations.

Citations were issued for illegal storage and disposal of hazardous wastes, wage code violations, being unlicensed, failure to keep proper records and municipal fire code violations.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The Yolo County District Attorney's Office is cautioning residents to be wary of cell-phone text messages purporting to be from the Yolo Federal Credit Union.

In the past few days, residents have received a rash of fake messages, according to a news release from the DA's office.

The message states that there is a problem with "Your YOLO FCU CARD starting with 4661." The message continues, "Your card has been placed on hold and you should call the number provided."

The scam message can be sent to thousands of people by crooks pretending to be legitimate businesses, such as banks and credit card providers, the release states.

The goal is to lure people into providing personal information like bank or credit card numbers. The scammers try to appeal to the victims' emotions so that they will quickly call back and provide sensitive and private information that will be used for future identity theft crimes, according the release.

Numerous Yolo County residents have contacted the DA's office to report the text messages. Several realized the message was a scam just before providing their account numbers.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig advises people never to respond to unsolicited requests for personal information without independently verifying with the bank or credit card company that the requests are legitimate

Yolo Federal Credit Union officials expressed their concern and offered assistance.

"Our members can rest assured the Yolo FCU stands ready to assist its members and that no data or personal information has been compromised," Jenee Rawlings, the credit union's vice president, said in the news release.

To help citizens protect themselves from becoming the victims of scams, the Yolo County District Attorney's Office, along with several other agencies, will hold a Fraud Fair from 2 to 6 p.m. July 8 at West Sacramento City Hall, 1110 West Capitol Ave.

For more information or directions, call Dave Edwards at (530) 666-8416.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Copper wire thieves continue to plague the city of Davis, bringing the cost of thefts in recent weeks to more than $100,000.

Over the weekend, wire was stolen along the south Davis greenbelt area next to the Putah Creek Bike Path, according to a Police Department news release. In one case, police said, wires were dangerously spliced together causing electrical shorts and minor explosions.

Thieves have focused on park areas near the freeway around the west and south ends of the city. The wire thefts have disrupted lighting in parks and automatic sprinkler systems. As a result, greenbelt areas have been left in the dark, and significant patches of grass and vegetation are beginning to die, officials say.

In the south area of the city, thieves cut wires, then spliced them together connecting the wrong electrical currents. When city electricians attempted to return power to that area, an electrical short caused two minor explosions. No one was injured.

In an effort to catch the thieves and protect the public, Davis police recommend:

• If you see suspicious activities, immediately report it to the Police Department.

• Do not tamper with any wiring. If you see wiring that appears to be exposed or tampered with, immediately call the Police Department. Officers will be dispatched to determine whether a crime is taking place and will notify city electricians of suspected damage.

• Alert children to the dangers of exposed wiring if they use local parks and greenbelts. If they see exposed wiring while playing or walking through the park, advise them to come home and notify and adult.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Ed Fletcher
efletcher@sacbee.com

Police in Woodland are looking for a male suspect in the robbery of a Quik Stop Market early Sunday morning.

The suspect was last seen running southbound on Matmor Road at around 4:30 a.m. after a failed attempt to rob the Quik Stop Market at 1400 Main St, police said. According to the police account, the man had a black handgun, but the clerk refused to give him any money. The suspect fled shortly thereafter.

Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to call the Woodland Police Department.

Call The Bee's Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

More than two dozen chickens are dead or injured after a pig was allowed by an intruder to get in with the fowl at a school farm in Winters, a school official said.

The chickens were part of a Future Farmers of America project of a Winters High School student.

School principal George Griffin said that Tuesday night or Wednesday morning somebody let pigs out of their pens at the school farm barn, about eight blocks off the main school campus.

The pigs and other animals went into other areas at the farm. One pig got in with the chickens and injured or killed 25 of the birds, said Griffin.

Some pigs also got into an animal waste area but will be okay.

Griffin would not rule out that some of the chickens might have been killed by the person who let the pigs out.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Woodland man, identified as a member of the Norteno Criminal Street Gang, has been sentenced to 38 years and 8 months to life in state prison after being convicted of robbery, assault with a firearm and attempting to dissuade a witness.

Anthony Vasquez, 22, was sentenced by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall on Friday.

On May 5, 2008, Vasquez arranged to buy marijuana from the victim, according to an Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

When the victim arrived to make the sale, Vasquez got into the back of the victim's car. When the victim began to show him the marijuana, Vasquez grabbed the marijuana and shot the victim in the chest from the back seat.

Vasquez then returned to a party he had been attending earlier. The victim underwent hours of surgery to repair damage from the bullet that pierced his lung, the news release says.

Authorities located Vasquez six months later hiding in a local hotel room.

On July 4, 2009, days before a scheduled preliminary hearing in the case, a correctional officer at the jail found a letter written by Vasquez. The letter was smuggled out of jail by an inmate who was being released from custody.

In the letter Vasquez admitted shooting the victim and asked that some of his "homies" let witnesses know that they should not attend his trial and that they should say he was not present at the time of the shooting, the news release says.

The jury found Vasquez guilty of robbery with intentional use and discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury, assault with a firearm causing great bodily injury and attempting to dissuade a witness. The jury also found that the crimes we committed for benefit of a criminal street gang.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Yolo County Sheriff's coroner's deputies have identified a prisoner who committed suicide over the weekend.

The inmate, David Bradley Van Buren, 33, who was homeless, hanged himself with a bedsheet in a single-prisoner cell on Saturday at the Monroe Detention Center, said Chief Deputy Coroner Robert LaBrash.

Van Buren was found in his cell about 9:20 p.m. Jail medical staff began CPR and Woodland Fire Department and an ambulance crew responded.

He was pronounced dead at a Woodland hospital.

"The inmate came into custody Thursday afternoon and gave no indication that he was a threat to his own safety or the safety of anyone else," Sheriff Ed Prieto said in a news release.

Officers had completed a check of all inmates in the housing unit just minutes before Van Buren was found, the release states.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

One man was arrested in connection with a vehicle burglary and another on suspicion of burglary and possessing stolen property in separate cases in Woodland.

Christopher Perkins, 26, of Woodland was arrested today after citizens reported seeing two or three people stealing items from a vehicle in the 100 block of Bartlett Avenue. The witnesses attempted to detain the individuals for police, but they fled before officers arrived, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

Officers searched the area and found two people who matched the description of the individuals involved. One of them, Perkins, was identified as a suspect in the vehicle burglary. He was booked into Yolo County Jail.

In the other incident, a police officer stopped a bicycle in the area of West and Cross streets about 8 p.m. Sunday. The rider, Luke Ulricksen, 18, of Woodland was wanted by police in a case involving possession of stolen property.

Ulricksen was searched and found to be in possession of additional property, tools and marijuana, according to a Police Department news release, and an investigation determined that this property was also stolen.

Ulricksen was arrested and booked into Yolo County Jail on suspicion of burglary, as well as possession of stolen property, burglary tools and marijuana.

Both cases are under investigation and anyone with additional information is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411, or (530) 661-7800.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

About 150 people were ordered from four buildings on Channel Drive in West Sacramento early this afternoon after an ammonia leak was discovered at one of the businesses.

John Heilmann, division chief with the West Sacramento Fire Department, said firefighters were dispatched shortly after noon when they received a report of a smell of ammonia in the area.

Ammonia was discovered leaking from a valve at the Agrium ammonia plant, 3961 Channel Drive. The valve was shut and nearby buildings were evacuated.

Heilmann said one person was taken to an area hospital complaining of difficulty breathing and five others were treated at the scene.

Employees were able to return to the buildings about 1:20 p.m.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Robert D. Dávila
bdavila@sacbee.com

Besides graduations and parties, the end of the academic year is bringing a rash of vandalism and thefts to schools this week in the Sacramento region.

In Elk Grove, officials are investigating two cases of campus property crime today. Vandals smashed several classroom windows at Elk Grove High School, while a projector was stolen during a break-in at Raymond Case Elementary School.

In Sacramento, some students at Bancroft Elementary School were left in the dark today after brazen thieves cut live power lines to steal about 100 feet of copper cable running to a wing of classrooms. Investigators suspect more than one person was involved in the crime, which required lifting a heavy cement slab to reach the underground wires.

"Whoever did this has to have some knowledge about electrical lines," said Sgt. Vince Matranga of the Sacramento City Unified School District security service. "If you didn't know what you were doing with these lines, you could easily electrocute yourself."

The incidents followed vandalism Monday at Pioneer High School in Woodland, where superglue and toothpicks were used to jam locks to about 50 classroom doors. Officials estimated the cost to repair or replace the locks at $15,000.

On Sunday, an arson fire destroyed a playground structure at Hazel Strauch Elementary School in North Sacramento. The incident was the third fire at an elementary campus in the Twin Rivers Unified School District during the past nine months, police spokesman William Cho said.

"I don't know if you can attribute this to typical senior pranks," Cho said. "Seniors usually target their own schools."

At Elk Grove High School, where classes have ended for the year, vandals smashed classroom windows around 4 a.m., district spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich said. No theft was reported.

Police are investigating security camera footage for leads, including a possible connection to two men whom Elk Grove police arrested before dawn on suspicion of public intoxication.

Earlier, a break-in was reported around 10:30 p.m. yesterday at Raymond Case Elementary School, where a projector was found missing, Graswich said. The incident activated an alarm, but arriving officers found no one on campus.

Graswich urged neighbors to keep an eye on campuses and report any suspicious activity 24 hours a day to (800) 78 CRIME.

Officials said crime tips also can be reported anonymously to Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP or by texting 274637 (CRIMES) and entering SACTIP followed by the information.

Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for as much as $1,000 in reward.

While schools face vandalism, burglaries and other crime year-round, incidents often increase at the end of the school year, when campuses are less populated or mostly empty, Matranga said.

Security cameras at 75 percent of Sacramento City schools, Matranga said. But the key to prevention is neighborhood involvement, he said.

"You can have all the cameras and upgraded security systems, but nothing can replace people keeping an eye on their neighborhood schools," he said. "It's really the eyes and ears on the ground that we need to prevent these problems."

Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Davis police are searching for three armed men who robbed a residence in the 800 block of Anderson Road early Monday morning.

The robbery occurred about 12:30 a.m. The victim was held at gunpoint by one of the men while the other two placed various electronics in a pillow case, according to a Davis Police Department news release.

After collecting items from the home, the three men fled in a vehicle.

Two laptop computers, along with other electronic devices were stolen.

Descriptions of the robbers were sketchy. The robbers were described as between 19 and 22 years old, wearing dark-colored hooded sweatshirts and blue jeans.

Detectives are trying to determine whether there is a connection between this incident and another home invasion robbery that occurred last month in an apartment complex in the 2400 block of Pole Line Road.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bee Staff

The Woodland Police Department is asking the public's help in identifying three suspects in the theft of a wallet and the subsequent illegal charging of about $1,500 on the victim's credit cards, according to a news release. (See photos below.)

The release gave this sequence of events:

The theft happened about 2:20 p.m. May 19 at the Costco Store in Woodland.

The 71-year-old victim was shopping when her wallet was taken from her purse which was in a shopping cart.

The suspects then left Costco and made approximately $1,500.00 worth of purchases on the victim's credit cards at the nearby Target Store.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation should contact the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411 or (530)661-7800.

Callers can remain anonymous.

blobfetch.jpg1stsuspect.jpg11.jpg blobfetch.jpg2ndsuspect.jpg

blobfetch.jpg3rdsuspect1.jpg

By Robert D. Dávila
bdavila@sacbee.com

Students and teachers were locked out of about 50 classrooms at Pioneer High School in Woodland after vandals used super glue and toothpicks to jam door locks during the three-day weekend, causing damage estimated at $15,000, an official said.

No classes were canceled, said Mike Stevens, associate superintendent of the Woodland Joint Unified School District. Teachers and staff moved students to the gym, cafeteria, library and empty classrooms to keep the school operating, he said.

"It's a huge disruption," Stevens said, "not just for regular classes, but also for finals starting this week."

The vandalism was discovered when students and staff begin arriving on campus this morning, he said.

Locksmiths were cleaning locks that could be salvaged or replacing locks, at a cost of $200 to $300 per lock.

District officials and police are reviewing security camera recordings for possible tips, Stevens added. If a suspect is identified, the district will seek restitution for the damage and staff time needed for repairs, he said.

Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077.

By Robert D. Davila
bdavila@sacbee.com

The Yolo County Probation Department will begin closing to the public during the lunch hour, starting Monday.

Doors will be closed from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at probation services, 2780 E. Gibson Road, and at the Alternative Sentencing Program, 45 Matmor Road. Hours are being reduced because of funding shortfalls and staff reductions, a news release states.

Probation Department offices will remain open from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m.

Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077.

By Robert D. Davila
bdavila@sacbee.com

The Woodland Police Department has received a $4,000 grant from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to help pay for new equipment and training, a news release states.

The department also received a grant last year from PG&E, police said. The money is used to help maintain some specialty programs, including SWAT and bike patrol units.

Call The Bee's Robert D. Davila, (916) 321-1077.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A parolee wanted in connection with armed robberies in Woodland was arrested today in Stockton.

Woodland Police announced May 19 that they were looking for Robert Vigil, 43, a parolee at large. Vigil was sought by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for being in violation of his parole. He also was sought by Woodland police in connection with two armed robberies and two assaults involving use a deadly weapon.

About 12:30 p.m. today, Vigil was apprehended without incident during a vehicle stop in Stockton, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Two men have been arraigned in Yolo Superior Court on suspicion of growing marijuana and possessing a loaded rifle.

The men, Jose Prieto Rodriguez, 30, and Jose Rodriguez, 18, were arraigned Monday. They were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of maintaining a large marijuana growing operation near the town of Rumsey.

Both were booked into the Yolo County Jail. Both men have "immigration holds" on them from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 7 in Yolo County Superior Court.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bee Staff

Every available California Highway Patrol officer will be working the roads over the Memorial Day weekend, the CHP said in a news release.

The maximum effort will run from 6 p.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Monday, the CHP said.

The CHP hopes drivers will be aware of this effort and drive safely, particularly remembering to wear seat belts.

During this period last year, 45 people were killed on state roads. Nearly half of the vehicle occupants killed within CHP jurisdiction were not wearing a seatbelt, the release states.

The CHP already is participating in the national Click-It or Ticket Campaign which runs through June 6.

"Insist everyone is properly restrained with a seat belt or a child safety seat before starting your engine," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "Those two seconds could save your life or the life of someone you love."

Drunk drivers also will be targeted. Officers made 1,465 DUI arrests during the Memorial Day weekend last year, the CHP said.

The CHP encourages motorists to report suspected drunk drivers, Farrow said.

To report a suspected DUI, call 9-1-1, Farrow said. Be sure to note the location and direction the suspected drunk driver is traveling, he said. A color, make and model of car are also helpful.

In addition to the maximum enforcement and the seatbelt campaign, the CHP this weekend also will participate in the Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort.

Operation CARE is a joint program of the nation's highway patrols that places safety emphasis on interstate highways during holiday periods, the CHP said.

Highways in California targeted in this campaign include

Interstates 80, 40, 15 and 5.

A 55-year-old man was arrested on drug-related charges in a Yolo County casino parking lot.

Yolo County Sheriff's deputies offered Friday to help Moses Keith Coleman, of Pittsburg, Contra Costa County, who was working on a vehicle in the parking structure at Cache Creek Casino.

After learning Coleman was on parole, the deputy conducted a search and allegedly found a pipe in his pocket. A search of Coleman's vehicle turned up crack cocaine and marijuana, deputies said.

By Denny Walsh
dwalsh@sacbee.com

The feds don't want Christopher Tomsett out of jail.

First Assistant U. S. Attorney Carolyn Delaney agreed last week to the release of the Woodland middle school teacher charged with dealing Internet child pornography. But before he was sprung on $75,000 unsecured bail backed by the signatures of his parents and brother, the FBI agent who investigated Tomsett learned he had been soliciting personal contact with "skinny, smooth-bodied" boys.

christophertomsett.JPGDelaney immediately filed a motion to keep Tomsett (photo left), 43, locked up pending trial. The motion is to be heard today by U. S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd.

He was to be freed on electronically-monitored house arrest in an apartment in the Salt Lake City area, where he was to live in the custody of his father.

Attached to the motion are copies of a Craigslist ad allegedly placed by Tomsett and what are described in the motion as samples of e-mail traffic the ad generated. Parts of the e-mails are raw and graphic.

The ad, posted just after 8 p.m. on March 26, reads:

"Hey there, I'm into younger boys - looking to take it slow at first. Tell me more about you and what you want to know about me. Have my own house, so we have a place to go and chill."

At 3:11 a.m. the next day came this reply:

"hey what's up? First you need to know that I'm 16, so feel free to reject me now."

Tomsett messaged back that 16 was not a problem, "but you have to be mature enough to know what you want, and obviously be able to keep this very discrete."

The 16-year-old says he wants to learn oral sex and Tomsett says he is willing to teach him.

The teenager asks where Tomsett lives. He tells him Sacramento, but says he is willing to get a hotel room in the Bay Area "if you don't want to travel too far."

After nearly three hours of back and forth, Tomsett asks, "any chance you could send a face pic? just wondering what you look like. Nice body pics - love skinny smooth boys."
Call The Bee's Denny Walsh, (916) 321-1189.

Previous coverage:

Woodland teacher held in child porn case makes second court appearance - May 15, 2010

Woodland teacher accused of using Web for child porn - May 14, 2010

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A man has been arrested in a weekend sexual attack after accounts of the crime prompted a citizen to note apparent similarities between the suspect and a Woodland resident.

A woman managed to escape a would-be rapist after being forced into a car at gunpoint on a main Woodland street at around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

woodlandcomposite.jpgIn an attempt to come up with leads, the Woodland Police Department distributed a press release, conducted interviews with reporters and made public a composite sketch (left) of a suspect.

That all paid off, they said. On Wednesday a citizen who saw the information disseminated by police, particularly the composite drawing and the description of the suspect vehicle, called police with a tip.

Detectives conducted follow-up investigation and identified Horacio Lopez, 29, as a suspect. The victim was driven to Lopez' residence and positively identified him as her attacker, police said.

Lopez was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping with intent to commit rape on Wednesday.

Police provided this account of the Saturday attack:

The woman was walking south on West Street near Buckeye Street when a newer, black sport-utility vehicle approached and the driver asked for directions. When the woman stopped to talk to the driver through the passenger window, he pulled a handgun and ordered her into the SUV.

She got in and the man drove to rural Yolo County, ordering her to undress on the way. After several minutes he pulled into a grove of trees near Interstate 5 and County Road 98.

As the man got out and walked around to the passenger side, the woman attempted to call for help on her cell phone.

He opened the door and tried to pull the woman's pants off while she struggled. The victim managed to break free and ran to I-5 where she waved down a passer-by who took her to safety and called police.

The suspect fled north on County Road 18 in his black SUV.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

woodsuspect.JPGBy Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland police are looking for a parolee who has been linked to three armed robberies in the city.

Robert Vigil (left photo), 43, is a parolee at large and also is wanted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

Vigil is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, with short black hair, brown eyes and a "salt and pepper" mustache and goatee. He also has the tattoo "Sleepy" on the web of his left hand.

Police say Vigil is considered to be armed and dangerous, and should not be approached.

Anyone with information regarding Vigil's whereabouts is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411 or (530) 661-7800. Callers can remain anonymous.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

West Sacramento police have determined that a suspicious suitcase left near a park this morning did not contain a bomb.

Police were called at 6:30 a.m. today to Cummins Way and Hardy Road, near the entrance to Elkhorn Park, on a report of a suitcase leaning against a sign.

The suitcase was X-rayed, which revealed that electronic components were inside, police said. The bomb technician used a remote-controlled water cannon to blow apart the suitcase.

It appears that the contents were innocuous computer components, police said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Yolo Superior Court jury has convicted a West Sacramento man of possessing child pornography and failing to register as a sex offender.

Phil Douglas Reese, 45, was arrested Aug. 29, 2009, near West Capitol Avenue by the West Sacramento Police Department's Community Response Team. When arrested, he had a laptop computer that was turned on in his truck, according to a news release from the Yolo County District Attorney's Office.

Police officers saw that there were numerous child pornographic movies on the computer. The Yolo County District Attorney's Child Sexual Predator Unit examined the computer and found more than 20 such movies on the hard drive.

As part of the investigation, the West Sacramento Police Department determined that Reese lived in Riverside County without notifying the West Sacramento department of his change of address. Since 2003, Reese has been required to register as a sex offender for an Internet crime conviction involving a minor from Stanislaus County. In that case, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department arrested Reese for communicating through the Internet with what he believed was a 13-year-old girl for the purpose of meeting with her for sexual intercourse, the news release said. The "13-year-old girl" was an undercover officer.

Reese faces a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in state prison. He is to be sentenced June 18.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

christophertomsett.JPGBy Denny Walsh
dwalsh@sacbee.com

Woodland middle school teacher Christopher Tomsett, charged in federal court with Internet distribution of child pornography, has been ordered released to the custody of his family in Utah and placed on electronically monitored house arrest.

Tomsett, 43, will be in his father's custody in a Salt Lake City area apartment. His brother will act as a back-up custodian. His parents and brother will guarantee a $75,000 unsecured bond.

He is barred from access to the Internet.

Call The Bee's Denny Walsh, (916) 321-1189.

Previous coverage:

Woodland teacher accused of using Web for child porn - May 14, 2010

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Woodland police are investigating the attempted kidnapping of a woman this morning as she was waiting for a bus.

Officers responded to a report of a suspicious encounter at 7:28 a.m.

A Woodland woman told police she was waiting for the Yolo County Bus in front of 1500 East Main Street when she was approached by two men in a late model, two-door vehicle. The driver asked for directions to Davis.

While the woman was standing near the passenger door, the passenger grabbed her sleeve and pulled her toward the vehicle, according to a Police Department news release. She was able to pull away, and the vehicle immediately drove off.

The woman was not injured.

The driver of the vehicle was described as Hispanic, in his early 20s, clean shaven, with a thin build, black hair and brown eyes, and wearing a red short-sleeve shirt and dark pants.

The passenger was described as Hispanic, also in his early 20s and clean shaven, with a thin build, black hair and brown eyes, and wearing a dark blue long-sleeve shirt and blue denim pants.

The vehicle was described as a black, late model, lowered two-door Honda, with a louver on the back window. It was last seen traveling north on Pioneer Avenue from East Main Street.

Another woman was the victim of kidnapping and attempted sexual assault Saturday after a driver stopped her as she walked along a Woodland street and asked for directions.

In that incident, the woman was forced into the vehicle at gunpoint and driven to a rural area of Yolo County where the man tried to rape her. She was able to break free and run to I-5, where she flagged down a passer-by who took her to safety and called police.

Sgt. Anthony Cucchi said police don't know whether today's incident is related to Saturday's kidnapping and attempted rape.

Two men were involved today and only one in the Saturday incident, he said. Cucchi said the vehicle descriptions also are different. In Saturday's kidnapping, the man was driving a newer, black sport utility vehicle.

Police urge anyone with additional information regarding the investigation to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411 or (530) 661-7800. Callers can remain anonymous.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The Yolo County Coroner's Office has identified a driver who died after a single-vehicle accident Sunday in western Yolo County.

Tom Serafini, 53, of Winters, died after his vehicle left a rural county road about 10 p.m. and ran into a field. The coroner's department said he was ejected from the vehicle and was not wearing a seatbelt.

There were no passengers and alcohol was not suspected to be a factor, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

The accident occurred near the intersection of County Road 88 and County Road 29, near the city of Winters.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.


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By Robert Lewis
rlewis@sacbee.com

A woman managed to escape a would-be rapist after being forced into a car at gunpoint on a main Woodland street at around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, according to the Woodland Police Department.

Police gave this account of events:

The woman was walking south on West Street near Buckeye Street when a newer, black sport utility vehicle approached and the driver asked for directions. When the woman stopped to talk to the driver through the passenger window, he pulled a handgun and ordered her into the SUV.

She got in and the man drove to rural Yolo County, ordering her to undress on the way. After several minutes he pulled into a grove of trees near Interstate 5 and County Road 98.

As man got out and walked around to the passenger side, the woman attempted to call for help on her cell phone.

He opened the door and tried to pull the woman's pants off while she struggled. The victim managed to break free and ran to I-5 where she waved down a passer-by who took her to safety and called police.

The suspect is believed to be a Hispanic male in his late 20s or early 30s, about 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feeti 6 inches tall and weighing about 160 to 180 pounds, with short black hair and a thin mustache. He has two silver caps on his front teeth, according to police.

He fled north on County Road 18 in his black SUV.

The attack comes weeks after incidents in which young school girls reported being followed home from Freeman Elementary School by suspicious men. The victim of Saturday's kidnapping was over 18 and the suspect description is different from the other cases, Sgt. Steven Sexton said.

Saturday's incident did, however, happen in the same vicinity as the other cases.

"Whether they're connected or not we don't know," Sgt. Sexton said.

Anyone with information about the incident should call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 661-7800.

Call The Bee's Robert Lewis, (916) 321-1061.

By Bee Staff

Woodland police said late today that contact between a 13-year-old girl and an older man turned out to be an "innocent encounter."

The girl reported that she was walking in the area of Ammons Street and Powers Circle Friday after 7 p.m. She told police she was confronted by a Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s.

After he asked her name, the girl became frightened and walked away. When she noticed he was following her, she ran home.

Woodland Officers located and spoke with a male matching the description given in the earlier press release. The male was found based upon information given from an anonymous tipster, police said.

After conducting an investigation, "it was determined that this was an innocent encounter and no criminal charges were applicable. The original reporting party was notified of the updated information," according to a Police Department news release.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Woodland Police Department at (530) 661-7800.

By Melody Gutierrez
mgutierrez@sacbee.com

A Woodland teacher who allegedly confessed to FBI agents that he distributed child pornography on the Internet made his second appearance in federal court today.

Christopher Tomsett, 43, remains in the Sacramento County Jail after his bail hearing was postponed. Tomsett, escorted into court in an orange jail jumpsuit and leg irons, is a seventh-grade English teacher and soccer coach at Douglass Middle School in Woodland.

FBI agents arrested Tomsett on Thursday and accused him of using the Internet to receive, distribute and possess child pornography.

If convicted, Tomsett would serve a minimum of 10 years and maximum of 20 years in prison.

Call The Bee's Melody Gutierrez, (916) 325-5521.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Davis police are looking for four men in connection with a home invasion robbery Wednesday night.

Three roommates reported they were robbed at their apartment in the 2400 block of Pole Line Road by four gunmen, according to a Davis Police Department news release.

The victims told officers that they heard a knock on the front door about 11:20 p.m., and when they opened it, they were confronted by four men who were brandishing handguns. The men forced their way into the apartment and made the three residents lie on the floor while the intruders rummaged through the apartment. The men stole money, cell phones and several computers.

No one was injured.

The suspects were described as:

• African American, skinny, 5 feet, 8 inches to 5 feet , 9 inches tall, wearing a baggy black sweatshirt and baggy blue jeans

• Hispanic, 5 feet, 8 inches tall, wearing a dark baggy sweatshirt and baggy blue jeans

• African American, 6 feet tall, weighing about 215 pounds and wearing a black top and dark jeans

• Hispanic, no further description

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Davis Police Department Investigations Division, (530) 747-5430.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Woodland woman was arrested this afternoon on suspicion of kidnapping a 2-year-old child.

Woodland police officers were called to a home in the 100 block of First Street at 2:07 p.m. on a report of an attempted kidnapping that had just occurred.

They were told that a woman, later identified as Heather Marie Duffy, 28, had walked through a closed but unlocked wrought iron gate, walked about 20 feet onto the property and picked up a 2-year-old child.

The child was playing with two other young children.

As Duffy started to walk toward the sidewalk, she was confronted by the child's great grandmother, who just minutes earlier had stepped out of the gated area, according to a Police Department news release.

The great grandmother said she had closed the gate as she stepped out, making sure it was latched but not locked.

Duffy was reluctant to hand over the child, and the great grandmother pulled the youngster away from her, the new release says.

Duffy walked south to North Street, then to Elm Street where she was stopped by officers. Witnesses identified her as the person who had allegedly taken the child and she was subsequently arrested.

Duffy was booked into the Monroe Detention Center and is being held on $100,000 bail.

The child was not injured.

Police said this case does not appear to be related to recent incidents in which a man has attempted to contact children on their way home from school.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Woodland woman reported that she was robbed at gunpoint while sitting in her vehicle in a parking lot Monday morning.

Woodland Police responded to the report of an armed robbery at 10:55 a.m. in the parking lot at 7 West Main St.

The 58-year-old woman told officers that she was approached by a Latino man while sitting inside her vehicle. The man pointed a small handgun at her and told her to get out of the vehicle. He dragged her from the vehicle and threw her to the ground, according to a Police Department news release, then entered her vehicle, grabbed her purse and fled east through the parking lot.

The man jumped into a waiting vehicle and headed south on West Street.

Police said the man was described as in his 30s, 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 5 inches tall, with a medium build , a mustache and possible tattoos across his neck.

His vehicle was described as a gold Dodge Ram with a Hemi engine. It might have an extended cab the license plate likely contains two eights, the news release said.

The woman suffered minor scratches to her hands from the fall but did not require medical attention.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 661-7800.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Two Sacramento men first stopped for not wearing helmets were arrested in Yolo County on suspicion of receiving stolen property.

Yolo County Sheriff's deputies in a special off-road vehicle enforcement team booked Raphael Regaldo-Mendoza, 24, and Rigoberto Perez-Chavez, 28, into the Monroe Detention Facility.

Deputies said the men were riding an all-terrain vehicle on County Road 40, west of Highway 16, on Friday when they were stopped for not wearing the right headgear.

A check of the ATV's vehicle identification number revealed that the off-road vehicle was reported stolen to the Sacramento Police Department in 2007.

The department's Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement team targets problems between off-road vehicle riders and landowners.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Two brothers were held up at gunpoint shortly before midnight on Sunday in Woodland.

The men, 19 and 23 years old, both from Woodland, were walking home near Lincoln and McKinley avenues when the passenger in a Ford pickup truck got out and threatened them with a gun.

The robber took a wallet from one of the brothers and left in the pickup. The suspect was described as a Hispanic man in his late 30s or early 40s, from 5-feet-2 to 5-feet-6 and about 160 pounds.

He was described as having facial hair and a shaved head. He was wearing a dark-colored sports jersey and dark-colored shorts.

The pickup was black or maroon with a license plate believed to start with a "1." Anyone with information is asked to call (530) 661-7800.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Woodland police were involved in a Dukes of Hazzard-type chase before capturing a suspected pickup truck thief.

During the wild pursuit, the suspect drove between walnut trees, smashed a gate and broke through barbed-wire fences.

Police say that Paul Allen Perez, 47, of Merced, was spotted driving a stolen pickup about 10 p.m. Sunday on County Road 98 at West Kentucky Avenue.

Officers tried to stop Perez, but he drove away, turning onto Cherry Lane, north of the Woodland city limits.

The four-wheel-drive pickup stolen from Merced rammed through a gate at the end of Cherry Lane and into a walnut orchard. The pursuing officer called for backup.

The pickup continued its cross-country path, taking out two barbed-wire fences before stopping on Hanging Oak Lane.

Police said Perez ran through a field and, after nearly a half hour, was taken into custody. Perez was bitten by a police dog during his capture.

He was treated at Woodland Memorial Hospital before being booked into Yolo County Jail on suspicion of vehicle theft, evading arrest, driving under the influence and driving on a suspended license.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Woodland police are conducting an internal review of the unintentional discharged of an officer's weapon that happened today.

Nobody was injured when three officers tried to enter an apartment on West Cross Street and a department-issued handgun was fired.

The incident happened when the lead officer got no response at the apartment door where officers were responding to a report of an assault with injury.

The lead officer used a pass key and unlocked the door but sensed resistance from the other side. While attempting to enter, the lead officer's .40 caliber handgun discharged.

One round was fired into the apartment where three people were residing. Property damage was minimal.

The original assault that led officers to the apartment is also under investigation.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Woodland police said a bar fight was notable for a badly bitten finger suffered by one victim.

Police said they were dispatched to Zitio Bar and Grill, 11 East St., about 2:30 a.m. Saturday for a report that somebody had lost a finger in a fight.

When officers arrived they discovered that suspects had fled and the victim's finger had not been bitten off. Instead, the victim with the bad bite wound had a severe laceration.

Two others also suffered injuries.

Police later stopped a car a few blocks away and arrested Kassandra Salas, 25, and Rosenda Salas, 21, on suspicion of battery.

Police said that the victims and the suspects had been drinking and no weapons had been used in the fight. The reason for the fight is still being investigated.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Davis police arrested a 26-year-old San Jose man this afternoon after he allegedly used a stun gun in an attempt to rape a woman at her Davis apartment.

The victim reported that Hoang Nguyen was a friend of her sister and was staying with the women at their apartment. About 1:35 p.m., the victim told police she was left alone in the apartment with Nguyen when her sister left to attend classes at UC Davis.

While the victim was studying at her computer, she said Nguyen attempted to incapacitate her by using a stun gun and sexually assault her, according to a Police Department news release. The victim was able to fight him off her. She then grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed him in the leg several times before fleeing her apartment and summoning help.

Officers responded and found Nguyen near the victim's apartment with stab wounds to his leg. He was taken to Sutter Davis Hospital, where he was treated.

Police said the victim also was treated for minor injuries and contact burns from the stun gun.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Four people were arrested during a Cinco de Mayo "saturation patrol" conducted by a team of Yolo County law enforcement agencies to get intoxicated drivers off the road.

Officers conducted 52 vehicle stops and nine drivers were put through field sobriety tests, according to a news release. Four were arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Officials said one of the drivers arrested for driving under the influence had a warrant for a similar offense in Sacramento County.

One vehicle was impounded for 30 days because the driver's license had been suspended or revoked. Six drivers were cited for other vehicle code violations.

Wednesday's saturation patrol was supported by the AVOID the "8" program under a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The fire that destroyed a coffee kiosk on the University of California, Davis, campus last week is being treated as arson.

The incident is being investigated by the UC Davis Police and Fire departments and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to a university news release. Items from the scene have been sent to the ATF crime lab in Sacramento.

The Cargo Coffee kiosk outside King Hall was destroyed in the fire, which was reported just before 6 a.m. Friday. No one was injured.

The ATF also is assisting in investigation of a suspicious object found Saturday at a second Cargo Coffee kiosk outside Olson Hall. The small device, which could have caused a fire similar to the one that destroyed the King Hall kiosk, was reported at 5:30 p.m. Neighboring buildings were briefly evacuated, and the Yolo County Bomb Squad was called on to deal with the device.

The privately owned kiosks are among three operated on campus through a lease with Sodexo, the campus food service provider.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
lindelof@sacbee.com

A former UC Davis employee has pleaded guilty in Yolo County Superior Court to embezzlement from the university.

Sueanna Gaines, also known as Susie Cauchi, of Yuba City, was sentenced to 240 days in jail and five years of probation on Tuesday as part of a plea bargain agreement, the university said.

Gaines was an accounting and purchasing coordinator for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at UC Davis for 10 years. She left in December 2008.

She was arrested in October on suspicion of embezzlement and theft of more than $38,000 from unauthorized use of a university gas card for fuel used in personal transportation and misappropriation of cash and materials.

The university said that an audit after Gaines' arrest has led to tightening of controls on expenditures, including the addition of a new layer of approval for payments and ensuring that purchases are not begun and verified by the same person.

In a press release the university said that the court set a May 21 hearing to determine Gaines' restitution to UC Davis.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Previous coverage:

UC Davis audit says lax athletic department procedures led to embezzlement - Oct. 21, 2009

Another UCD employee accused of public funds misuse - Oct. 20, 2009

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

West Sacramento police say a 3-year-old who bounced out of a second-story apartment window this afternoon walked away from the mishap without serious injuries.

The boy was bouncing on a bed that was pushed up against a window at the Meadowbrook Apartments on Westacre Road, said Lt. Tod Sockman.

He bounced through the screened window and landed in a grassy area two stories below, police said.

The boy got up and was walking around afterward, Sockman said.

He was taken to the hospital to be examined and was released without apparent injuries, an officer who responded to the scene said.

Police are treating it as an accident. No charges will be filed, Sockman said.

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A West Sacramento man who used ill-gotten gains to purchase expensive cars and a vacation time share has been sentenced to prison for defrauding the state of California of more than $680,000 while serving as a manager with the California Power Authority.

U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. today sentenced Benjamin Bustamante, 32, to two and a half years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release for wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the former California Power Authority Demand Reserves Partnership Program.

Bustamante was also ordered to pay $684,216.53 in restitution to the state of California, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

The California Power Authority was established in 2000 in part to assure reliable power at reasonable rates and encourage energy conservation.

It established the Demand Reserves Partnership Program in which commercial and industrial customers, known as "end users", contracted to conserve energy during periods of peak energy use in exchange for payment.

"Aggregators" contracted with the Demand Reserves Partnership to coordinate the conservation contracts with end users, according to the news release.

The aggregators entered into subcontracts with end users, received payment from the Demand Reserves Partnership Program administrator for the end users and remitted payment to the end users.

According to Bustamante's plea agreement, he became the aggregator billing and settlements coordinator for the Demand Reserves Partnership in 2004.

He admitted that in 2006 he created a fictional company, Advanced Energy Response, listing himself as the sole owner. He obtained an IRS Employment Identification Number and opened a bank account for the company.

He then created a fictional state of California contract for the California Power Authority and Advanced Energy Response to serve as an aggregator with the Demand Reserves Partnership.

The news release says Bustamante admitted that he then submitted four fictional invoices, between August and December 2006, to the California Power Authority, requesting a total of $684,216.53 as payment for "energy capacity" supposedly reserved for conservation or actually conserved by end users. Bustamante, however, had not contracted with any end users to provide such capacity, and no end user had provided the capacity.

Bustamante received payment from the state for the fictional service and used approximately $173,000 to purchase two 2006 Porches, a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a Hilton Grand Vacations time share, according to the news release.

The case against Bustamante resulted from an investigation by Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation agents. Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Robert Tice-Raskin prosecuted the case.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

UC Davis officials say a fire that destroyed a coffee kiosk today on campus is of suspicious origin.

No injuries were reported in the fire, reported about 6 a.m. in the small building near the university's law school.

Coffee huts are located at various spots around campus.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

blobfetch.jpg1.jpgThe Woodland Police Department has released an artist's sketch of the suspect in three suspicious encounters involving a man in a vehicle following girls home from school.

The first incident, which wasn't initially reported, occurred about two weeks ago when a 12-year-old girl was walking home from Freeman Elementary School, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

The girl told police that and older, gray four-door sedan, possibly a late 1980s or '90s model, followed her for some time. The vehicle left when a parent saw what was going on and intervened.

The driver was described as Hispanic, about 30 years old, with a black mustache. His passenger was described as a Hispanic man about 20 years old.

The second incident, also initially unreported, occurred about 3:45 p.m. Friday as an 11-year-old girl was walking home from Freeman Elementary School.

The girl told police that while walking through Christensen Park, she noticed a Hispanic man watching her as he stood near his vehicle. The vehicle was parked on Walnut Street and was described and an older, light gold or silver four-door sedan, also possibly a 1980s or '90s model.

The girl was so frightened by the stranger's stare that she began to run to a friend's home, police reported. As she ran, the man got into his car and followed her. When the girl reached her friend's house, the man drove off.

The driver was described as 20 to 25 years old, weighing about 130 pounds with a thin build, and black shoulder-length hair that was described as moist and wavy in a mullet-style cut.

The third encounter occurred about 5 p.m. Tuesday. A concerned citizen called Woodland Police Dispatch when he saw a girl who appeared to be about 15 years old being followed and harassed by a Hispanic man driving a silver four-door sedan.

The driver was described as about 25 years old, with a thin build, short black "spiked" hair and wearing dark sunglasses.

The Woodland Police Department urges parents to remind their children, including teenagers, to beware of strangers.

If approached by a stranger in an inappropriate manner, children are advised to run to a safe place and to tell a trusted adult what happened or call 911.

Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The Woodland Police Department is investigating three suspicious encounters involving a man in a vehicle following girls home from school.

The first incident, which wasn't initially reported, occurred about two weeks ago when a 12-year-old girl was walking home from Freeman Elementary School, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

The girl told police that and older, gray four-door sedan, possibly a late 1980s or '90s model, followed her for some time. The vehicle left when a parent saw what was going on and intervened.

The driver was described as Hispanic, about 30 years old, with a black mustache. His passenger was described as a Hispanic man about 20 years old.

The second incident, also initially unreported, occurred about 3:45 p.m. Friday as an 11-year-old girl was walking home from Freeman Elementary School.

The girl told police that while walking through Christensen Park, she noticed a Hispanic man watching her as he stood near his vehicle. The vehicle was parked on Walnut Street and was described and an older, light gold or silver four-door sedan, also possibly a 1980s or '90s model.

The girl was so frightened by the stranger's stare that she began to run to a friend's home, police reported. As she ran, the man got into his car and followed her. When the girl reached her friend's house, the man drove off.

The driver was described as 20 to 25 years old, weighing about 130 pounds with a thin build, and black shoulder-length hair that was described as moist and wavy in a mullet-style cut.

The third encounter occurred about 5 p.m. Tuesday. A concerned citizen called Woodland Police Dispatch when he saw a girl who appeared to be about 15 years old being followed and harassed by a Hispanic man driving a silver four-door sedan.

The driver was described as about 25 years old, with a thin build, short black "spiked" hair and wearing dark sunglasses.

The Woodland Police Department urges parents to remind their children, including teenagers, to beware of strangers.

If approached by a stranger in an inappropriate manner, children are advised to run to a safe place and to tell a trusted adult what happened or call 911.

Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Police on Thursday morning arrested a University of California, Davis, student for allegedly trying to rape a fellow student.

Officer Ken Garcia of the UC Davis campus police department said Pierce Hunter, 19, was arrested on suspicion of attempted rape and forcible oral copulation. The bail is set at $150,000. It was not clear if Hunter posted bail by Thursday evening, Garcia said.

Garcia said Hunter and the victim know each other and the alleged incident took place at a campus dormitory.

Andy Fell, a UC Davis spokesman, said the victim filed her complaint earlier this week and an arrest warrant was issued Thursday morning. Fell said Hunter's major was "undeclared."

Garcia said police believe other victims might be involved. Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at (530) 752-1230.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Bee Staff
Bee researcher Linda Beymer contributed to this report

Two Sacramento area convicts serving life sentences recently told The California Board of Parole Hearings that they didn't want to be considered for paroles.

Kenneth Roy Stark, 55, requested and was granted his request for a one-year waiver of his right to a parole hearing.

James Elmer Harmon, 69, offered to stipulate that he was unsuitable for parole for a five-year period, an offer that the board accepted.

A Yolo County Superior Court judge sentenced Stark to life in prison for the June 13, 1985 beating death of a homeless man, The Bee reported.

The body of Ronald Eugene Meyers, 42, was dumped in a Yolo Bypass field.

A Sacramento Superior Court judge sentenced Harmon to life plus 17 years in April 1987 for a kidnap-robbery with a couple of accomplices that netted them $3,000, The Bee reported.

Harmon hit the victim with a pipe in the September 1986 crime.

Harmon had an extensive criminal history going back to 1959. The deputy district attorney who prosecuted him for the kidnap-robbery was the son of the deputy district attorney who won a conviction of Harmon in 1960.

The two were originally scheduled parole hearings last month.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

An investigation by the Yolo County Sheriff's Department has concluded that no deputy ever held a gun to the head of a 9-year-old Dunnigan girl, as she and her parents alleged, authorities announced today.

In February, the girl and her parents, Santiago Ochoa and Griselda Rodriguez, told a citizens panel and reporters that officers executing a search warrant on their home in June 2009 had grabbed the girl by the neck and stuck a gun to the girl's temple.

Sheriff Ed Prieto launched an investigation, though the family had filed no written complaint with his office, saying he was skeptical of the girl's claim but intended to take it seriously.

By Laurel Rosenhall
lrosen@sacbee.com

Two UC Davis students were arrested today on suspicion of animal cruelty after posting a video on Facebook that showed them torturing hamsters with a cigarette lighter.

The video prompted campus police to investigate. They arrested Henry Nguyen, 18, of Oakland and Josue Melendez, 19, of Los Angeles county, who live in UC Davis dorms. The students face two charges each of animal cruelty and conspiracy.

One of the tortured hamsters has died, according to a university press release, and the other recovered after being treated in the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

Call The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall, (916) 321-1083.

Editor's note: Based on information provided by Davis police, an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the site of a fight where a police officer was injured. The fight happened in front of a Starbucks coffee shop, not at the Graduate Bar.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Reinforcements had to be called in as violence soared on Picnic Day Saturday in Davis, police said.

Usually, arrests totals 15 and calls to respond to service total about 100 on Picnic Day. But this year, Davis police said, 33 arrests were made and police went to 516 calls.

Police responded to such incidents as sexual battery on women, chair throwing brawls and an assault on an officer.

Picnic Day, first held in 1909, is purported to be the largest student-run event in the United States.

This year's homespun festival featured cockroach races, sporting events, music and dance. The on-campus activities were tranquil and enjoyable.

But what happened off-campus on Saturday was anything but fun.

Police said huge crowds packed the downtown area and local bars. Davis police needed help to handle crowd control and break up dozens of fights and other disturbances.

They called in assistance from Woodland Police Department, West Sacramento Police Department, the Yolo County Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol.

Most arrests were for being drunk in public, drunk driving and fighting.

There were also reports of sexual battery to women who ventured into drunken crowds.

One bar was temporarily closed after a fight erupted and chairs and other furniture was tossed into the street, police said.

Police were aided by bar bouncers who broke up fights without ever summoning authorities.

Parties at residences close to campus were also tough to control, police said. When drunken revelers took to the top of an apartment complex, the party was shut down, fire officials fearing the roof would collapse.

Other crime listed by police in an after-party press release: A woman had her purse snatched, a victim reported being fired upon by a passing car downtown and other crimes in which victims were treated at hospitals.

One person was attacked without provocation at Bistro 33 in downtown Davis. The victim was seriously injured, police said.

The assault on an officer occurred about 6 p.m. Saturday when officers were responding to a large fight in the parking lot of a Starbucks. While en route, an officer saw another fight at the intersection of University Avenue and Russell Boulevard.

The officer tried to break up the fight but was attacked. With the help of citizens and other arriving Davis police, two men were taken into custody.

Arrested were Augustine Valerian, 26, and Dominic Valerian, 29, both of El Cerrito, Contra Costa County. They were arrested on suspicion of assault on a police officer.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Previous coverage:

Instant ice cream, cockroach races thrill guests at UC Davis' spring rite - April 18, 2010

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Two men were arrested this morning in Woodland after several people reported gunshots at an apartment house.

Angel Morales, 21, and Oscar Loza, 21, were both arrested on suspicion of grossly negligent discharge of a firearm, a felony.

Woodland police were called to the Monterrey Apartments, 280 West Court St., when residents reported the gunfire at about 2:30 a.m. Police determined that the gunfire was coming from the southwest end of the complex.

Police surrounded the apartment house, and the occupants of one apartment were ordered to come out with their hands up.

Morales and Loza were taken into custody and a search turned up a handgun, police said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Woodland police are on the lookout for a foot-stomping purse snatcher.

Police said that a 17-year-old girl was walking on the sidewalk in the 100 block of California Street on Sunday afternoon when a man walking toward her stepped hard on her foot.

The man then grabbed the teen's purse, which included cash, and ran off. The girl was treated for a possible injury at Woodland Memorial Hospital, police said.

The suspect was described as a white man in his mid-20s, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, 200 pounds. He was wearing a black rain jacket with a hood and blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411 or (530) 661-7800.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Carlos Alcala
calcala@sacbee.com

Woodland police quickly ended a bizarre hostage situation today after a man broke into an apartment and held a 6-year-old boy captive while making apparently paranoid claims.

Anthony William Delong, 43, is accused of breaking a glass door and entering the apartment of Sarah Brett and her two sons at 6:30 a.m.

Brett awoke to find Delong in the apartment, bleeding from a cut on his hand. Delong was a stranger to Brett and does not live in that apartment building, police said.

Woodland police said Delong claimed people were trying to kill him and asked Brett to call the police, but he then went into the children's bedroom and held Brett's 6-year-old on the boy's bed.

Brett and her 9-year-old son fled and called police from a neighbor's home.

Police negotiated for about 10 minutes with Delong, who was not armed but was refusing to release the child. Negotiations ended with the release of the boy, who was unhurt.

Delong was treated at Woodland Memorial Hospital for his injuries and held at Yolo County Jail on suspicion of burglary, false imprisonment, felony child endangerment and additional misdemeanor charges. He is suspected of having been under the influence of drugs.

Call The Bee's Carlos Alcala, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Canadian truck driver has been sentenced to 97 months in prison for possessing Ecstasy with the intention to distribute the drug and for smuggling cash.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton also ordered Robert James Fox, 38, of British Columbia to forfeit approximately $435,000. The prison term will be followed by three years of supervised release.

Fox pleaded guilty Jan, 26 in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

The case resulted from an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement and the California Highway Patrol, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

A CHP officer stopped Fox on May 16, 2009 for a traffic violation as he was traveling through Woodland on Interstate 5, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Thomas, who prosecuted the case.

The officer observed several discrepancies under the bed of the truck that indicated a hidden compartment.

The officer ran his police dog around the truck and the dog alerted him to the presence of controlled substances. The officer then searched the truck and found a hidden compartment with more than 225 pounds of Ecstasy and $435,000 in U.S. currency.

"This sentence serves as a stern warning about the consequences awaiting those who smuggle dangerous drugs," Daniel Lane, assistant special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Sacramento, said in the news release. "Ecstasy trafficking is hugely lucrative and young people are typically the biggest market for this drug."

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 776-6866.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Early Friday, a vehicle swerved off a rural road just south of Winters near the Yolo-Solano county line, ripped off a tree and caught on fire, authorities said.

By the time authorities arrived about 7 a.m., the car had completely burned and the driver inside was charred beyond recognition, said Marvin Williford, Solano California Highway Patrol officer.

"It was obvious the car went up in flames and burned up for a while," Williford said.

Only four digits - three numbers and a letter - on the license plate did not melt, he said. If authorities had more letters to work with, investigators might have an easier time tracking the identity of the driver, believed to be the only occupant, Williford said.

There were no witnesses, so it was unclear what time the car skidded off the road and into a walnut grove along Winters Road south of Putah Creek Road.

Williford said a farm worker had reported to work at 4:15 a.m. and did not see the wreckage, so authorities are estimating the time of the accident about 6 a.m.

Someone who reported the wreckage initially thought it was a smoking brush pile, Williford said.

Investigators are looking into whether speed was a factor in the crash.

Williford said the road in the area had a gentle curve. The car skidded 60 feet into the grove before hitting the tree. The impact was so great it tore the walnut tree out of the ground, Williford said.

It's unclear if the car immediately burst into flames on impact or started to burn afterward, Williford said.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

Friends and family members of two men killed in Wilton earlier this month announced this morning they have raised $7,000 to contribute to a reward for information in the case.

That brings to $8,250 the amount available for tipsters who pass along information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the March 20 fatal shootings of Marlon Maurice Aguilar Morales and Christopher Alexander Valdes.

clip_image002.jpgaguilar.jpgMorales (photo top left), 18, and Valdes (photo bottom left), 19, were killed as they left a party held inside of a barn at a friend's home on Rising Road in unincorporated Sacramento County.

Sacramento County sheriff's detectives say as many as 60 people attended the party, although they have only identified and spoken to about two dozen of them. They are urging other attendees - even those who left before the shootings - to come forward.

clip_image002.jpgvaldes.jpgWitnesses told detectives that the party was going smoothly and that there were no problems before partygoers began to disperse about 1:30 a.m. At that point, about a dozen people - whose connection to the partygoers remains unclear - showed up uninvited and were asked to leave, said Detective Jason Cvitanov.

The uninvited people grew angry, and at least four of them physically fought with Morales and Valdes before someone fired several shots, striking the victims. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives have not identified the shooter or the uninvited people.

Friends and family members pleaded with members of the public to help detectives identify the "cowards" responsible for the killings.

"They didn't deserve to die like this," said Claudia Barrientos, Valdes' mother.

She said she fears that the suspects could hurt other people before they are caught.

"Our children are in danger," Valdes said. "Tomorrow, it could be your son or daughter."

Anyone with information is asked to call sheriff's homicide detectives at (916) 874-5057 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP or text in a tip to 274637. Enter "SACTIP" followed by the information.

Callers can remain anonymous.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

Previous coverage:

Two Elk Grove men shot to death outside Wilton party - March 21, 2010

By Bill Lindelof
blinelof@sacbee.com

A speeding car slammed into a parked big rig on Interstate 80 near Dixon this morning, killing one person.

The California Highway Patrol reported that at about 1:30 a.m. a 2001 Mercury Sable was eastbound on I-80 just east of the Midway Road when it left the road and struck a FedEx big rig on the shoulder of the freeway.

The impact pushed the big rig forward, but it remained o the shoulder. The car remained partially on the freeway.

Witnesses pulled the driver from the car but were unable to remove the passenger trapped in the right front seat.

The car caught fire and was engulfed in flames, killing the passenger.

The driver was flown to UC Davis Medical Center with major injuries.

Witnesses said it appeared that the Mercury's driver might have been racing with one or two other vehicles and estimated the car was traveling at more than 100 mph.

The CHP was attempting to identify both men in the Mercury. The driver of the big was unhurt.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

West Sacramento police say that a woman who witnesses said was pulled into a car after she had earlier reported being beaten now submits it was all a misunderstanding.

Police said that Kristen Acashia Rodriguez, 23, knocked on the door of a home near Jefferson Boulevard and Bevan Road in the Southport area about 2 a.m.

She was hysterical and screaming for help, police said. The residents telephoned police and took the woman inside.

Rodriguez told a police dispatcher that she had been beaten and thrown from a car. A witness told police that Rodriquez appeared to have injuries that might have been suffered by a person who was beaten and pushed from a vehicle.

For unknown reasons Rodriquez left the residence before police arrived. Witnesses say they saw her being pulled into an off-white or gray four-door sedan, which then drove northbound on Jefferson Boulevard.

Then, about 11 a.m., Rodriguez called police from her home in Oakley, Contra Costa County, to say the incident was a misunderstanding. She also said she was not a victim of a crime.
However, West Sacramento police said they are not dropping their investigation at this time.

Anyone with information is asked to call (916) 375-6474.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A Woodland man was stabbed as he walked home Wednesday night.

The 26-year-old man was walking along Gibson Road near East Street and the Yolo County Fairgrounds about 10 p.m. when he heard footsteps of someone quickly approaching.

Before he could turn, the victim said he felt like he was punched in the back, though he actually was stabbed, Woodland police said.

When he turned, the victim saw a man holding a 12-inch kitchen knife. The victim grabbed the assailant's arm, but he broke free and ran.

The victim made it home and later was treated at Woodland Memorial Hospital. His injury was not thought to be life-threatening.

The assailant was described as 5 feet, 9 inches with a medium build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and white athletic shoes.

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

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A Yolo County jury has convicted a Woodland man of shooting another man in the chest and stealing his marijuana.

Anthony Vasquez, 22, was found guilty of robbery, assault and attempting to intimidate a witness.

Officials with the Yolo County District Attorney's Office said Vasquez, whom they identified as a Norteno gang member, made arrangements on May 5, 2008, to buy marijuana. When the seller got into a car, Vasquez grabbed the marijuana and shot the victim.

Vasquez then went to a party.

The victim underwent hours of surgery to repair damage from a slug that pierced his lung, the DA's office said.

Six months later, Vasquez was arrested.

On July 4, a correctional officer at the jail found a letter written by Vasquez.
In it, Vasquez admitted shooting the victim and asking that his "homies" dissuade witnesses from attending his trial or urge them to say say Vasquez was not present at the time of the shooting, the DA's office said in a news release.

Vasquez is scheduled to return to Yolo County Superior Court on Thursday to set a date for sentencing. He faces life in prison.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The Woodland Fire Department has a new, tougher cutting tool to extricate car crash victims thanks to an insurance company.

Fireman's Fund Insurance Company and Independent Solutions United, an insurance broker, awarded a grant of $6,735 to purchase the new equipment.

The hydraulic cutter was needed because the department's old tool was outdated. Strengthened steel has made it increasingly difficult for firefighters to cut through vehicles to rescue drivers and passengers.

"Unfortunately, our equipment had suddenly become outdated and was unable to cut through the strengthened steel now used in modern cars," said Woodland Fire Chief Tod Reddish.

Firefighters are measured by response times and ability to quickly help accident victims, Reddish said.

"It is imperative we reach injured victims as quickly as possible," he said. "This extrication equipment will allow us to respond to any emergency situation knowing we have the tools to provide the highest quality service."

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

West Sacramento firefighters fought a two-alarm blaze that destroyed an industrial building along South River Road in West Sacramento this morning.

FIREPHOTO.jpgThe fire (left) at EBI Aggregates, 1201 South River Road, broke out at about 5:30 a.m. Firefighters poured water on the building to extinguish the blaze that was visible from Highway 50.

Firefighters by 8 a.m. were mopping up the blaze that gutted the building

Some witnesses reported hearing an explosion from the area of the fire, according West Sacramento Fire Department division chief Gary Fredericksen.

When firefighters arrived, the sounds of exploding propane and acetylene tanks in the 15,000-square-feet building could still be heard.

Cause of the fire is under investigation. Fredericksen said homeless people have broken into the building before.

The fire produced extensive smoke, which blew across the Sacramento River into parts of Sacramento such as South Land Park and the Pocket area.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Bee photo and video by Randy Pench

Bee staff


A West Sacramento lawyer has been indicted on federal charges of tax evasion from 1994 through 2003, the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Samantha Spangler said James Steward Richards, 63, is accused of concealing from the IRS his income and assets in several ways, including by buying cashiers' checks and then holding them for up to 884 days.

The government alleges he used an old client trust account for his personal business and then withdrew all the money and purchased a yacht in a nominee's name when he learned the IRS was investigating, a press release states.

Richards, who was arraigned Tuesday, was released in lieu of a $25,000 unsecured bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 6.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A Woodland man faces life in prison after being convicted of kidnapping, child endangerment and carjacking.

A Yolo Superior Court jury on Monday convicted Paul Alexander Hinojosa Jr., 31, of the charges stemming from an incident May 2, 2009.

That day, Hinojosa, hitched a ride from a Woodland car wash with a man who was accompanied by his three children.

Once in the car, Hinojosa held up the man at gunpoint and threatened to kill him and the children. However, the children were able to to escape when the father grabbed the muzzle of Hinojosa's gun, which turned out to be a replica firearm.

Eventually, Hinojosa ran to a nearby home. The residents there, who also did not know Hinojosa, detained him until police arrived.

"But for the bravery of the family that subdued Mr. Hinojosa after he broke into their home, he could still be on the run victimizing others," said Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig.

At the time of the carjacking, Hinojosa was out of custody on bail pending the resolution of a domestic violence case.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bee Staff

The West Sacramento Police Department will conduct a St. Patrick's Day DUI/driver's license checkpoint tomorrow, according to a news release.

Other law enforcement agencies - including the Sacramento Police Department and the California Highway Patrol - also have announced that they will be out in force on the holiday, checking for drunk drivers.

The West Sacramento checkpoint will be from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at an undisclosed location, the release states.

Previous coverage:

Police plan DUI sweeps on St. Patrick's Day - March 14, 2010

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A teenager convicted of attempted murder was sentenced to state prison for 55 years to life in Yolo County Superior Court.

Ramiro Leon Jr., 18, of Woodland, was sentenced Monday by Judge Stephen L. Mock. A jury in February convicted Leon of attempted murder in a gang-related drive-by shooting, the district attorney's office states.

Prosecutors said Leon was involved in a shooting September 2008 in Woodland's Campbell Park. The shooting stemmed from friction between gang members earlier in the day on a school bus,

Leon shot several times from a passenger seat of a car as it drove by the park. One young man was hit and seriously wounded.

Gunfire also struck a parked car, narrowly missing a young woman inside.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Laurel Rosenhall
lrosenhall@sacbee.com

A swastika was found inside a UC Davis residence hall Sunday night, marking the sixth time the Nazi-era symbol was found on the campus in the last two weeks.

The latest incident featured a 3-inch by 5-inch swastika carved into a bulletin board inside the Kearney Hall dormitory, said campus spokeswoman Claudia Morain. The bulletin board has been removed by campus police and is being screened for fingerprints, Morain said.

"They're making it really clear this is a hateful symbol and urging anyone to come forward who knows anything," she said.

It's possible the swastika had been on the bulletin board for some time covered by fliers and was just reported to authorities for the first time Sunday, Morain said.

"This is very disturbing, and I hope the police find the perpetrators," said Chani Oppenheim, executive director of the campus Jewish organization known as Hillel House.

Before discovery of the latest swastika had been announced, the Hillel House and other campus religious organizations had been planning a vigil tonight in response to earlier acts of hate at UC Davis. The "Interfaith Vigil for Peace and Healing" begins at 7 p.m. at 433 Russell Blvd. An advertisement for the event says participants will "gather to share concerns and hope for the future."

UC Davis police ask anyone with information about the latest swastika incident to call (530) 752-1727. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may call the 24-hour Crime Tip Line at (530) 752-9944.

Call The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall, (916) 321-1083.

Previous coverage:

Dozens turn out to protest recent UC acts of bigotry - March 11, 2010

UC Davis police investigate vandalism as hate crimes - Feb. 28, 2010

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Two University of California, Davis students were robbed at gunpoint of their laptops, an iPhone and a calculator, the Davis Police Department said.

A robber, dressed in a dark baseball cap and a shirt with a "Cal" logo, knocked on the door to the locked community room of the Avalon Apartments, 1617 Valdora St., about 10:15 p.m. Saturday, according to Davis police.

One of the students who was studying there opened the door. The armed suspect then took the students' computers and other belongings.

The suspect made a getaway in a black sports utility vehicle driven by an accomplice. The robber was described as 25 to 30 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a skinny build.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Davis Police Department at (530) 747-5430.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A teenage boy was booked into Yolo County Juvenile Hall Saturday morning after being identified as the suspect in the burglary of a home on Madera Court in Woodland earlier that day, police Sgt. Steve Sexton, police spokesman, said today.

Authorities said the resident of the home awakened to find the intruder, who had entered through an unlocked sliding door. The youth then gave the occupant a false name and address before fleeing.

Officers set up a perimeter in the area and the Yolo County Sheriff's Aero Squadron searched in from the air.

After some investigation, authorities learned that the suspect might live in the 200 block of Woodland Ave., about two miles from the burglarized home.

Officers arrested a juvenile at the Woodland Avenue address after the victim made a positive identification.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A Woodland man was booked for battery, resisting law enforcement officers and possession of drugs and a banned assault weapon, an unregistered Russian-made SKS assault rifle with a detachable 30-round capacity magazine, Woodland Police Sgt. Jason T. Brooks reported today.

Authorities said Guillermo Astran was arrested shortly after 12:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon after the man's uncle called authorities to say he believed Astran was about to beat his own mother, 48-year-old Virginia Astran.

Police said the weapon found inside inside the son's bedroom at the residence on the 800 block of Kentucky Avenue was loaded with 28 rounds of 7.62x39mm ammunition, including one round in the firing chamber. The assault weapon is among those banned under California's Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989, police said.

Among the charges at booking was commission of a felony while on bail, authorities said. Guillermo Astran was held in the Yolo County jail on $25,000 bail.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

The 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento has partially upheld a preliminary injunction against the Broderick Boys, an alleged West Sacramento street gang.

In a 44-page opinion issued Monday, the appellate court said it supports Yolo County Superior Court Judge Kathleen M. White's preliminary injunction that would restrict the activities of alleged gang members in a defined area of West Sacramento.

"We conclude sufficient, credible evidence supports the trial court's conclusion the Broderick Boys is a criminal street gang whose activities have created a public nuisance in the designated area," the opinion read.

However, it found provisions dealing with controlled substances and the consumption of alcohol too vague to be enforced. But the Yolo County District Attorney's office can request the lower court to amend these provisions so they can be enforced, according to the ruling.

The preliminary injunction imposes restrictions on two dozen named and up to 400 unnamed individuals. The restrictions include a curfew on alleged gang members in the "safety zone," an area north of Highway 50 from Harbor Boulevard to the Sacramento River. The injunction prohibits them from "standing sitting, walking, driving, gathering or appearing anywhere in public view or any place accessible to the public."

Prosecutors had said the injunction is needed to curb gang activity. Defense lawyers said it would give police sweeping powers to interfere with the rights of West Sacramento residents.

Click here to read the complete copy of the published opinion.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

Richard Hirshjfield[1].JPGBy Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

The prospect of the murder trial getting under way this year in the 1980 Davis "sweetheart" killings appeared remote after a brief hearing in defendant Richard Joseph Hirschfield's case today in Sacramento Superior Court.

Defense attorney Linda Parisi informed that court that she has two other death penalty cases that have lined up ahead of Hirschfield's capital punishment trial.

Hirschfield (left in 2004 jail booking photo), 51, is accused in the Dec. 20, 1980, killings of UC Davis students John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves.

Parisi and Deputy District Attorney Dawn Bladet were back in court along with the defendant today to possibly have Judge Michael W. Sweet set a trial date.

Bladet said prosecutors provided the defense with a DNA analysis that had been holding up the trial, but Parisi said that she needs to get together with prosecutors and court officials to establish a scheduling order on the murder trials to which she has been assigned.

Besides Hirschfield, Parisi also is representing Lalesh Kumar, who is accused in the meat-cleaver slayings of a woman and her son in 2005, and Jay Patrick Johnson, the defendant in a 2007 spree-shooting that killed two people.

Johnson's trial date is set for Oct. 5. No trial date has yet been set on Kumar. Bladet also has been assigned to prosecute Kumar.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Woodland police arrested a 13-year-old Lee Middle School student after the boy allegedly detonated a homemade destructive device in a school restroom Thursday afternoon.

The restroom was unoccupied and no one was injured, authorities said.

Police said the boy allegedly had detonated two other devices in previous incidents, which were not reported. One detonation allegedly happened in the rear of the Big Lots store on West Court Street and the other near the Franciscan Apartments on West Cross Street.

Thursday's event unfolded when firefighters were called to the school at about 1:20 p.m. for what was believed to be the detonation of fireworks inside a bathroom. Police officers later interviewed students and found out that the 13-year-old had detonated the homemade device in a restroom while school was in session.

Officers also later found materials to make the device inside the student's backpack, police said.

The boy was booked into Yolo County Juvenile Hall, where he is being held on three felony counts of possession of a destruction device while at school and while in a place open to the public.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Davis police said that a man was stabbed Wednesday night, possibly while walking in the area of East Covell Boulevard and Pole Line Road.

The man was not certain of the exact location of the attack because he is unfamiliar with Davis. However, he might have been walking on Chestnut Lane, police said.

The victim suffered wounds to his back, neck and chin that were not life-threatening. He told police three people attacked him, but he was unable to identify them.

The victim phoned a friend to take him to the hospital after he was attacked, police said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A $32,000 grant from the state will be used by the Yolo County Sheriff's Department to purchase personal watercraft for rescue and enforcement.

The department's Marine Patrol Section had applied for the funding from the state Department of Waterways to buy Honda AquaTrax personal watercraft and an inflatable boat. An AquaTrax F-15 lists for $13,000 on Honda's web site.

The department has three patrol vessels for most enforcement activities. Personal watercraft, however, are quicker and more maneuverable vessels than patrol boats.

The AquaTrax will be used for enforcement in crowded waterways and in rescue operations, particularly during floods in shallow water.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Several police agencies early this morning arrested a man wanted for threatening a Woodland resident with a weapon.

Woodland police officers assisted by California Highway Patrol officers and Yolo County sheriff's deputies took Luis Valenzuela, 39, of Woodland into custody.

Officers made what was termed a "high-risk car stop" of Valenzuela's vehicle on southbound Highway 113 north of County Road 25A.

Valenzuela was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, felon in possession of a firearm and making terrorist threats, a Woodland Police Department press release states.

Police said a Woodland man was in front of his home in the 1700 block of West Miramonte when Valenzuela approached about 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Police said Valenzuela pointed a semi-automatic weapon at the victim while making threats to shoot him. The incident apparently stemmed from an argument the victim had with Valenzuela's girlfriend.

Valenzuela was spotted this at 12:15 a.m. today driving on Woodland streets. He was pulled over just south of town on Highway 113.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A 3-year-old boy was hit and injured by a car Monday evening in West Sacramento, and the man suspected of driving the vehicle has turned himself in after initially fleeing.

Robert Miguel Mijangos, 52, surrendered to West Sacramento police later Monday night. He was booked into Yolo County Jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.

Mijangos is suspected of hitting the child with his car shortly before 6 p.m. at Anna Street and Bryte Avenue. The boy ran into the roadway in front of a white, early 1990s Honda Accord that was traveling about 25 mph.

The driver of the vehicle got out of the Honda and asked about the little boy's condition. However, instead of waiting for authorities to arrive, the man got into his car, backed up and drove away.

The boy, who was not identified, was taken to the UC Davis Medical Center for evaluation and treatment of a minor head injury.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A 62-year-old Woodland man died when his pickup truck drove off the top of a levee into a utility pole.

The name of the motorist has not been released pending notification of relatives, Sutter County Sheriff's Department officials said today.

The man was driving his Chevrolet pickup on Cranmore Road atop a levee in Sutter County just north of Highway 113 about 10 p.m. Saturday night when his vehicle drifted onto the right shoulder. The driver over-corrected and then lost control.

The vehicle ran off the road and down the steep levee bank. The truck's front end and roof struck the utility pole at the bottom of the levee, a California Highway Patrol press release states.

The driver suffered head and other injuries and died at the scene.

The driver probably was not wearing his seat belt, the CHP said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Two men have been convicted and sentenced for a September car theft in Davis.

Braulio "Thumper" Gonzalez was convicted of three counts of car theft while belonging to a street gang. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Akasha "Clowny" Malik was convicted of possessing a stolen car while a street gang member. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall pronounced sentenced immediately after the convictions Friday.

A third man, Damien Castaneda, failed to appear in court and remains at large, the Yolo County District Attorney's office says.

A district attorney news release said that on Sept. 1 Davis police responded to a report of a car being broken into by three men in west Davis. The suspects fled in a Mini Cooper and were spotted later in a Honda.

A car chase went from Davis to Vallejo at speeds exceeding 100 mph. It ended when the Honda crashed in Vallejo. Gonzalez, Malik and Castaneda were arrested after a short foot chase.

Officers were able to recover stolen items from at least three car burglaries. Further investigation revealed that the Honda, Mini Cooper and a third car were stolen.

Gonzalez's sentence was longer because he had previously been convicted of auto theft.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Four young men from Woodland were arrested Thursday on suspicion of stealing sneakers and other items during a home burglary.

Taken into custody on suspicion of burglary were Brandon Vidales and Nick Sandoval, both 21, and Rogelio Burciaga and Andrew Leach, both 18. A fifth suspect remains at large.

The men are suspected of breaking into a house about 2:15 p.m. in the 1100 block of West Street in Woodland. A caller to police said three men had jumped over a neighbor's fence and that two other men were sitting in a parked car.

All suspects fled when police arrived. A rear window of the home had been broken, and pieces of property were left in the yard.

Eventually, four of the suspects were captured, including Burciaga, who police said possessed stolen property. Woodland police said Burciaga had been bitten by a dog in a backyard while fleeing.

The burglary victim eventually arrived at his ransacked home. Items taken from the home included numerous pairs of sneakers, stereo and computer equipment, and personal items, police said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bee Metro Staff

Davis police arrested Laura Mitchell, a fifth-year women's studies major, who lead the crowd on a march to Interstate 80 using a bullhorn. The march has resulted in a stand-off between the students and police. Mitchell is accused of failing to disperse.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A Woodland man has been sentenced for burglarizing a church and using a cutting torch on an ATM.

Jose Luis Rangel, 62, was sentenced Wednesday in Yolo Superior Court to eight years and eight months in prison.

Rangel was sentenced for using an acetylene torch in his attempt to open a safe in Woodland's Holy Rosary Church in November 2007. He was also sentenced for using a cutting torch in October 2008 to break into a Woodland cash machine.

Rangel was also ordered to pay restitution to his victims, estimated to be more than $42,000.

His wife, Eleanor Irene Rangel, 57, was sentenced to three years probation for possession of stolen property from a Woodland business.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

A Yolo County judge today sentenced a man who put cheese down his pants to 7 years, 8 months in prison.

Judge Thomas Warriner accepted a probation department recommendation to forgo a life sentence for Robert Ferguson, of Woodland, under the state's "three-strikes" law and to give the man a state prison sentence based on two felony counts of petty theft with prior convictions.

Late last year, Jurors convicted Ferguson on charges that he stole a woman's wallet from a convenience store counter and put a package of shredded cheese worth $3.99 down his pants at Woodland's Nugget Market.

Prosecutors, who charged the petty theft counts as felonies, had initially sought a life sentence under the three-strikes law. They backed off last month, saying a recent psychological evaluation of Ferguson shed new light on the case.

At his sentencing hearing today, defense lawyer Monica Brushia described Ferguson as bipolar, and said his decision to steal the package of Tilllamook cheese was an uncontrollable impulse during a manic episode. He'd paid for other groceries the same day, she said.

Deputy District Attorney Clinton Parish urged the judge to consider at least one of Ferguson's half-dozen prior convictions for first-degree burglary as a strike and to sentence him accordingly.

The man's lengthy criminal history, and the fact that he had reoffended after spending 22 years in prison, qualified him as a "career criminal," Parish told the judge.

Warriner rejected the prosecutor's recommended course of action, as well as defense argument that Ferguson should receive a lesser sentence because of the petty nature of his most recent offenses.

Previous coverage:

Yolo DA drops life sentence bid for cheese thief - Feb. 12, 2010

Cheese in pants may draw life term for Yolo man - Feb. 10, 2010

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

A 65-year-old Dublin man ended up in jail on drug charges after trying to recover his lost bag at Yolo County's Cache Creek Casino, not realizing that the casino's security guards had already looked inside and found what they suspected to be methamphetamine, authorities said.

Yolo County Sheriff's Sgt. Lance Faille said someone found the bag on the casino floor and turned it over to the facility's lost and found unit shortly after 4 a.m. Tuesday. About 15 minutes later, George Bowers contacted the casino's security staff to report his bag missing.

Bowers told authorities he had left it at a slot machine, Faille said.

By then, security guards had looked inside the bag to try to find information that would help them identify and find its owner. Instead, they found a bundle of white crystalline substance and suspected it to be narcotics. A preliminary test determined the substance to be methamphetamine, but investigators are awaiting the final analysis from the California Department of Justice, Faille said.

When Bowers contacted the casino's security staff, he described the bag that had been turned over to sheriff's deputies.

Officials said Bowers told them that he bought the suspected narcotics earlier in the week and gave some to his friend, 51-year-old Jinny Dixon of San Jose, who had accompanied Bowers to the casino. Deputies found five bags of crystalline substance inside Dixon's bag.

The suspected methamphetamine that Dixon and Bowers were allegedly carrying weighed 13 grams and had a value of about $600, authorities said.

Dixon and Bowers were arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale and transportation of a controlled substance. They were both booked in the Yolo County Main Jail, officials said.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A Yolo County jury has convicted a 20-year-old man on multiple charges in a brutal beating last year in West Sacramento.

Antonio Mason Delgado was convicted Monday of attempted murder, mayhem, robbery, assault, infliction of bodily injury and criminal street gang activity.

Delgado was convicted of joining another man in the beating of a West Sacramento man Jan. 21, 2009. The victim suffered permanent brain damage, a Yolo County District Attorney's Office press release states.

The man was targeted at random as he walked home along West Capitol Avenue, the release states. A good Samaritan stopped the assault in which the victim was kicked in the head and groin.

The press release states that prosecution witnesses testified Delgado was an admitted Norteno gang member and that he attacked the man to impress the Broderick Boys street gang.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 23.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A man was arrested on multiple charges in Yolo County after drugs and a stolen dismantled motorcycle were allegedly found in his pickup.

Gene Miller, 49, of the Tehama County town of Corning was arrested Monday on suspicion of possessing stolen property, possessing methamphetamine and marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia.

A Yolo County sheriff's deputy noticed Miller's truck exit Interstate 5 at County Road 5 near Dunnigan and then return to the freeway in the same direction. The deputy followed Miller onto the freeway and stopped him after observing erratic driving, a sheriff's department press release states.

Miller exited his truck and walked to the deputy. He did not have any identification and appeared nervous, the deputy said.

Miller agreed to be searched, which resulted in the deputy recovering a plastic bag containing drugs, the press release stated.

A search of the truck turned up more drugs and a hypodermic syringe, deputies said. A dismantled Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the bed of the pickup was reported stolen last year in Sacramento County, deputies said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Woodland school resource officers on Tuesday arrested eight Pioneer High School students accused of being involved in "a large physical disturbance" earlier this month.

According to a news release from the police department, the incident occurred Feb. 4.

Two of the eight students were cited on suspicion of disturbing the peace at a school and released on a promise to appear in court.

The other six were booked into the Yolo County Juvenile detention center on suspicion of disturbing the peace at a school, battery and participating in a criminal street gang.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

When inmate Fabian Mariscal earned his GED diploma on Jan. 27 it was a milestone for Yolo County jails.

The granting of a GED to Mariscal marked the 100th General Education Development diploma granted to a person incarcerated in the county's Monroe or Leinberger detention facilities. The jail GED program has been in existence for the past 16 years.

The effort is a partnership between the sheriff's department and the Woodland Public Library Literacy Service. Inmates are provided one-on-one tutoring and study time with GED test preparation materials.

GED materials cover high school subjects such as language arts, social studies, science and math.

"In many ways, we are giving them hope and determination and a desire to succeed in the outside world," said Inmate Literacy Coordinator Charlotte Beal.

The program, aimed at giving inmates a better chance of not returning to jail, costs $30,000 a year and is funded with money from the inmate commissary and telephone services.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

Yolo County prosecutors are dropping their bid for a life sentence for a man who put cheese down his pants at a Woodland market.

A new psychological evaluation convinced prosecutors that Robert Preston Ferguson's most recent convictions for petty theft did not warrant a life sentence under the state's three-strikes law, said Jonathan Raven, Yolo County's assistant chief deputy district attorney.

Raven said the district attorney's office had recently received a psychological report, requested by the public defender's office, that "shed some light on Ferguson."

"The district attorney's office is no longer looking at this as a life case," Raven said.

Jurors convicted Ferguson of two counts of petty theft on Jan. 6.

In one incident in December 2008, Ferguson snatched a woman's wallet from the counter of a 7-11 store in Woodland while the woman's son was vomiting on the floor.

Ten days later he put a package of shredded cheese, worth $3.99, down his trousers and walked out of Woodland's Nugget Market. He was apprehended in the parking lot.

Because of Ferguson's 35-year criminal history -- including six convictions for first-degree burglary -- the Yolo County District Attorney's Office charged the theft counts as felonies and sought a life sentence.

Ferguson, even after serving more than 22 years in prison, had failed to learn to obey the law and needed to be taken off the streets, Deputy District Attorney Clinton Parish argued in a motion filed in October in Yolo Superior Court.

Defense lawyer Monica Brushia argued in court papers that Ferguson suffered from mental illness and was a substance abuser. His prior felonies, which counted as strikes, occurred in the 1980s, when Ferguson, now in his 50s, was a young man. They were non-violent offenses, she wrote.

Ferguson is scheduled to be sentenced on March 1 before Judge Thomas Warriner.

Raven said prosecutors would seek to resolve the sentencing dispute before then, and that Ferguson would likely face about 11 years in state prison.

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

Previous coverage:

Cheese in pants may draw life term for Yolo man - Feb. 10, 2010

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

An investigator with the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is recovering at a local hospital after suffering what appears to be an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound during a training exercise in West Sacramento today, according to authorities.

The veteran investigator was participating in routine firearms training this afternoon when his department-issued pistol discharged accidentally, striking him in the lower body, said Chris Albrecht, deputy division chief for the ABC.

The training took place at the firing range that's part of the California Highway Patrol's academy in West Sacramento. A CHP spokeswoman said agencies other than the CHP sometimes use the firing range for training.

Albrecht said the investigator, who was not identified but is from the Sacramento area, was taken to a local hospital with injuries that appear "relatively minor." He is "doing very well at the hospital," Albrecht said.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

A Yolo County man who put cheese down his trousers is facing a life sentence when he goes before a judge next month.

Jurors convicted Robert Preston Ferguson of two counts of petty theft on Jan. 6.

One conviction was for swiping a woman's wallet from a convenience store counter and putting it down his pants.

The other was for stealing $3.99 worth of shredded cheese from the Nugget Market in Woodland.

Officers testified that Ferguson put the cheese in his pants and was apprehended in the parking lot.

Because of a lengthy criminal history that dates back 35 years, including six first-degree burglary convictions, Yolo County prosecutors sought enhancements that elevated the petty theft counts to felonies.

They say 22 years in prison failed to teach Ferguson to obey the law.

Now they're asking a judge to give Ferguson a life sentence under the state's three-strikes law when he comes back to court on March 1.

"Holding the defendant fully accountable will protect society from a repeat criminal offender," prosecutor Clinton Parish wrote in a motion in October.

Defense lawyers have asked the judge to exclude Ferguson's prior offenses in sentencing, saying that the man is mentally ill and has substance abuse problems.

"At bottom, the prosecution's position is simply that because Mr. Ferguson has a criminal record he should be incarcerated for the term of his natural life for allegedly taking $3.99 worth of Tillamook cheese and allegedly taking a wallet the value of which has not been ascertained," public defender Monica Brushia wrote in her brief.

A Yolo Superior Court judge will decide the issue at the March 1 hearing.

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A 28-year-old Davis man has been sentenced to prison after a jury found him guilty of two felony counts of resisting an officer. The officer was severely injured and it is uncertain whether she will fully recover.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Kathleen White sentenced Tracy Justin Cooke to two years and eight months in prison, according to the Yolo County District Attorney's office announced Friday.

On April 13, 2009, Davis police were called to a residence on Olive Drive where Cooke was kicking in his neighbor's door, according to a District Attorney's Office news release. Officers arrived to find the neighbor's door broken and Cooke still banging on it.

Cooke, who was intoxicated, became aggressive with officers and violently resisted when they attempted to arrest him for drunk and disorderly conduct. During the struggle, Cooke severely injured one of the officers, and it is not known whether she will ever fully recover from her injuries, according to the news release.

Bee Staff

Woodland police are looking for a bandit who may have been armed with a stun gun when he robbed a beauty supply store.

At about 7:48 p.m. on Thursday, a man wearing a ski mask demanded money from employees of a beauty supply store in the 1300 block of East Main Street, according to a Police Department news release.

The robber did not display a weapon but the employees of the store thought they heard the sound of a hand-held stun gun being activated as the suspect demanded the cash, the release states.

The bandit fled out the back door with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The robber is described as a white male adult in his late 30s, approx 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall with a medium build. The suspect was wearing a dark brown hooded sweatshirt pulled up over the ski mask.

At one point, the suspect raised the mask enough for the victims to see short, brown facial hair with some gray included. The facial hair may have been a short beard or goatee.

No one was injured.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 661-7800 or (530) 666-2411.

By Bill Lindelof and Chelsea Phua
blindelof@sacbee.com

The California Highway Patrol is investigating whether a driver's attention to a compact disc player may have led to an accident Thursday afternoon in Yolo County in which two men - a car driver and passenger - were killed.

Yolo County Chief Deputy Coroner Robert LaBrash identified the car driver as Luis Sarabia Trujillo, 23, of Woodland. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sacramento County Coroner officials identified the passenger as Omar Gaytan Sarabia, 20, also of Woodland. Gaytan Sarabia was taken to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where he died.

A news release from the CHP said that a pickup driven by David Pearl, 53, of Davis was northbound on County Road 89 in Yolo County at about 60 mph just after noon. Approaching from the southbound direction was a car with three passengers driven by Sarabia Trujillo.

The released stated that Pearl was "inattentive by looking at his CD player." That lack of attention to driving allowed his truck to drift onto the right shoulder, the CHP said.

Realizing his truck was off the roadway, he corrected to the left, crossing over into the southbound lane, the CHP said. The truck then struck the car with the three passengers, the CHP said.

The car went out of control and onto the dirt shoulder of the road where the left rear portion of the vehicle struck a telephone pole.

Francisco Gonzalez, 24, of Woodland suffered minor injuries and Edgar Blanco, 30, of Fairfield suffered major injuries.

Pearl was reported to have suffered minor injuries.

No information was immediately available on whether charges would be filed against Pearl.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

A Woodland man admitted Monday to breaking into a safe at a church and into an ATM kiosk, and his wife admitted to possessing stolen property from a different burglary, Yolo County authorities said.

Prosecutors said the couple, Jose and Eleanor Rangel, pleaded guilty to felony theft charges and will be sentenced March 3 in Yolo Superior Court.

Authorities said Jose Rangel was a handyman at Holy Rosary Church in Woodland who was fired in 2003 for allegedly stealing donations and other items.

Church officials said after he was fired, Jose Rangel was caught "lurking" in secured areas of the church, claiming that he still worked there.

On Nov. 26, 2007, church officials reported that the safe in the sacristy area had been cut open and thousands of dollars in checks and cash were missing.

During the investigation, Woodland Police Detective Dallas Hyde discovered Jose Rangel had tried to copy a master key for the church, claiming that it was for his house.

Investigators said they also discovered that Jose Rangel used a homemade ladder to enter a small, high window. Witnesses said only someone familiar with the church could have used that window to enter the building.

Video surveillance obtained from nearby businesses showed a truck carrying a ladder at the time of the burglary, and Eleanor Rangel apparently told witnesses that she knew the truck belonged to her husband.

However, when questioned by authorities, she claimed she did not recognize the truck.

Jose Rangel claimed he had a condition that caused him to forget large blocks of time.

Hyde later found illegal firearms and an acetylene torch "rig" that Rangel had borrowed a week before the burglary. Hyde also found that the Rangels had recently bought an expensive amphibious vehicle for cash and had financial troubles.

Besides the church heist, Jose Rangel also admitted to cutting into an ATM kiosk in Woodland in October 2008. Authorities said that in 2009, Jose Rangel also cut into an ATM in Roseville.

He is also being accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of tools from his neighbor and setting fire to two cars that belonged to his former co-workers.

Jose Rangel's wife admitted to possessing a laptop allegedly stolen by her husband from a local business. She also admitted to trying to bribe the store owner to cover up the crime.

From Cathy Locke:

Woodland police are looking for a man who robbed a motel late Friday night.

The man, who was wearing a ski mask, robbed the Valley Oak Motel, 596 N. East St., about 10:55 p.m., a Woodland Police Department news release states.

The motel clerk told officers that the man indicated he had a gun under his jacket and demanded money. After the clerk gave him money from the cash register, the man ran away, heading south on North East Street.

The man was described as Hispanic and about 24 or 25 years old. He was between 5-feet, 8-inches and 5-feet, 10-inches tall with a medium build, and was wearing black clothing and black gloves, as well as the ski mask, the news release states.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 661-7800.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A trial date still appears to be at least several months away for the man accused of murder in the killings of UC Davis sweethearts John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves more than 30 years ago.

Seated in a wheelchair, defendant Richard Joseph Hirschfield made a brief appearance today in Sacramento Superior Court while lawyers discussed the DNA testing process now under way for dried blood found in Riggins' van.

Deputy District Attorney Dawn Bladet and defense attorney Linda Parisi said they expect the testing to be completed soon.

Judge Michael W. Sweet continued the case to March 12 for a trial setting.

Hirschfield (photo below from a 2004 court hearing), 61, who had been imprisoned in Washington state on a rape conviction, was identified as a suspect in the Riggins-Gonsalves slaying in 2002 when his DNA turned up on a cold-hit submission by the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, prosecutors said.

He was extradited from Washington in 2004 and charged in Sacramento with murdering the 18-year-old victims.

The couple was abducted after attending a presentation of "The Nutcracker" ballet in Davis. Their bodies were later found in a ravine 35 miles away outside Rancho Cordova.

Four other suspects had initially been arrested and charged in the Dec. 20, 1980, slayings.

Yolo County prosecutors, however, dismissed those charges just before trial in 1992 when a DNA test on a semen stain on a blanket found in the van did not match any of the defendants.

LS HIRSCHFIELD ARRAINMENT[1].JPG

From Bill Lindelof:

A teen has been convicted by a Yolo County jury of four counts of child abuse and inflicting great bodily injury upon an infant.

Richard Andrew Schirnhofer, 19, of Woodland, was convicted Tuesday in Superior Court on the charges involving his girlfriend's baby. The little girl suffered broken ribs during one of the abuse incidents.

On Oct. 20, 2008, the child, then 7 months old, was taken into custody by Yolo County Child Protective Services. While in custody, a social worker noted bruises on the baby.

Experts at the UC Davis Medical Center determined the bruising probably was caused by the child being slammed on a hard surface. UCD personnel also determined the infant had suffered broken bones.

On June 17, 2009, the baby's mother, Jessica Carpenter, was sentenced to six years and eight months in state prison, admitting she failed to protect her daughter from Schirnhofer, a news release from Yolo District Attorney Jeff Reisig's office states.

The release said that although Schirnhofer was convicted of child abuse and breaking the infant's ribs, he was found not guilty of torturing the baby or of personally inflicting great bodily injury to other parts of the infant's body.

Schirnhofer faces a sentence of 16 years in state prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 26.

Bee Staff

A 38-year-old man has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to illegal drug distribution and cash smuggling, according to a news release.

Robert James Fox, 38, of British Columbia, Canada, entered the plea Tuesday and will be sentenced March 23, according to the joint release from U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Dan Lane, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement assistant special agent-in-charge.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Thomas, who is prosecuting the case, Fox was a tow truck driver for a Canadian truck company.

On May 16, a California Highway Patrol officer stopped Fox for a traffic violation as he was traveling through Woodland on Interstate 5. The officer spotted irregularities under the bed of the truck and suspected the truck had a hidden compartment, the release states.

A police dog indicated the presence of illegal drugs in the truck and a subsequent search turned up a hidden compartment containing drugs and cash, the release states.

Fox admitted to carrying more than 225 pounds of Ecstasy pills and $435,000 in cash, the release states. Another $2,670 was found in the cab of the truck.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

Woodland police arrested a Sacramento man Thursday in connection with an armed robbery of a fabric store in December 2008, authorities said today.

Anthony David Urbano, 32, was taken into custody at the Sacramento County courthouse after he arrived for a hearing in an unrelated case, according to a Woodland Police Department news release.

Urbano is suspected of committing an armed robbery at a Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts store in Woodland in December 2008, the release states. Urbano was identified as the suspect through physical evidence at the scene and through witness statements, according to the release.

Urbano was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail, where he is being held without bail, according to booking records.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A report of shots fired in Woodland brought officers to an apartment complex Thursday night where they arrested two suspects for recklessly discharging firearms.

Woodland police responded to several calls of shots being fired in front of an apartment in the 500 block of Matmor Road about 11 p.m.

When officers arrived, they saw three men fleeing on foot. One was seen discarding a gun.

Michael Herrera and Ramiro Cordova were arrested on suspicion of reckless discharge of a firearm. A third man, German Martinez, was arrested for giving false information to a police officer and being drunk in public. All of the men are 18 years old and are Woodland residents.

A handgun was recovered and nobody was injured. Discharging a firearm within Woodland city limits is against the law.


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By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

West Sacramento police have arrested a 30-year-old Cameron Park resident who they allege killed a man at a nightclub last fall, according to authorities.

Jesus Ventura Solis was booked today into the Yolo County jail on suspicion of murder, according to a Police Department news release. He is being held without bail.

Police are still searching for the other suspect in the Sept. 13 fatal shooting of Jesus Cortez-Heredia: 32-year-old Rocios "Rosie" Ibanez. Ibanez is described as 5 foot-5 inches tall, 135 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, the news release states.

Police say Cortez-Heredia was shot in the parking lot of Ortega's West Night Club after an argument in the early morning of Sept. 13.

A security officer returned fire on the suspects as they fled in a getaway car - described at the time as a red or burgundy sports utility vehicle with large chrome rims.

On Tuesday, police developed information that helped them identify one of the suspects. They obtained a search warrant and an arrest warrant and took Solis into custody in Cameron Park, the news release states.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A woman found dead in a Woodland motel died from strangulation, the Yolo County Coroner's office said today.

The body of Aretha Goldine McDonald, 46, was found Wednesday in Room 14 of the Dunton Motel, near the intersection of West and Main streets.

An autopsy revealed that McDonald was strangled with a ligature, said Yolo County Chief Deputy Coroner Robert LaBrash. She also sustained blunt force injury to her head.

Two people have been arrested in connection with McDonald's death. Susan Sheppard, 31, and Fillemon Aragon Jr., 40, both of Woodland, were arrested on suspicion of homicide and booked into Yolo County Jail.

Sgt. Anthony Cucchi said a man walked into the police station about 8:30 Wednesday morning and asked officers to perform a welfare check on a woman in a room at the Dunton Motel.

Officers found McDonald's body a short time later and obtained a search warrant.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Two people have been arrested in connection with the death of a woman whose body was found in a Woodland motel, police said today.

Susan Sheppard, 31, and Fillemon Aragon Jr., 40, both of Woodland, were arrested on suspicion of homicide and booked into Yolo County Jail.

Sgt. Anthony Cucchi said a man walked into the police station at about 8:30 Wednesday morning and asked officers to perform a welfare check on a woman in room 14 of the Dunton Motel, near the intersection of West and Main streets.

Officers found the woman's body a short time later and obtained a search warrant.

Yolo County coroner's officials have identified the woman as 46-year-old Aretha Goldine McDonald.

The cause of death has not been determined, pending completion of an autopsy.

By Hudson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

Woodland police are investigating a body found in a motel this morning as a possible homicide.

Sgt. Anthony Cucchi said a man walked into the police station at about 8:30 this morning and asked officers to perform a welfare check on a woman in room 14 of the Dunton Motel, near the intersection of West and Main streets.

Officers found the woman's body a short time later and obtained a search warrant.

Investigators and coroners are at the scene now, Cucchi said.

They have not identified the victim yet nor determined her age, he said.

Cucchi said he couldn't discuss what led police to treat the case as a homicide.

"We don't have much to go on right now," he said

From Bill Lindelof:

Quick response led to a suspected robber being arrested minutes after a holdup at a Woodland bank this morning.

Leighton James Dupree, 52, of Woodland was arrested on suspicion of robbing the North Valley Bank, 630 Main Street, at about 10 a.m.

Responding officers got a good description of the robber, who took $300 in the holdup. The suspect, who did not display a weapon, walked into the bank and announced he was committing a robbery.

After the robbery, two Woodland Police Department detectives stopped Dupree, who police said matched the suspect's description, at College and Main streets. Dupree had $300 in his possession, police said.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

A 17-year-old boy faces 15 years to life in prison for the rape and kidnap of a 14-year-old girl he knew from junior high school, according to authorities.

Yolo County Superior Court Judge Thomas L. Warriner handed down the sentence to Alejandro Alfonso Sanchez of Woodland last week, according to a news release from the District Attorney's Office. The Bee is naming Sanchez, a juvenile, because he was prosecuted as an adult.

One year ago, Sanchez kidnapped the 14-year-old girl and told her he was going to rape her, according to the news release. The girl resisted, so he choked her until she lost consciousness, the release states.

The girl woke up later in the backseat of Sanchez's car as he was driving, according to the release. She jumped out of the moving car. A passing motorist picked her up and took her home to her parents, who then took her to the hospital, the release states.

The victim suffered severe injuries, according to the release, as well as a broken ankle and abrasions to her neck and body.

Sanchez will be eligible for parole in 12 years and nine months, the release states.

By Bee Staff

A 63-year-old West Sacramento man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl, the Yolo County district attorney said today.

Louis Charles Romano received the sentence Thursday for the April 12, 2008, assault on the girl, DA Jess Reisig said in a news release. Romano also must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Reisig said.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge that Romano also assaulted the 10-year-old sister of the 15-year-old girl and acquitted him of possessing child pornography, Reisig said.

"The family, whose trust Romano violated, should find some satisfaction knowing that Romano will be in prison for a long time," said Deputy District Attorney Tiffany Susz, who prosecuted the case.

From Bill Lindelof:

Davis police have arrested a man on suspicion of setting up a robbery victim by first meeting him on dating Web site for gay men.

Police are asking for other people who might have been robbed by the suspect, but are reluctant, to come forward.

Decarlos Muhammad.jpgPolice arrested Decarlos Joslyn Muhammed, 22, (left) of Sacramento on suspicion of robbing a man on Dec. 3. Police said the victim, a Davis resident, was robbed in his apartment after meeting Muhammed on a dating Web site for gay men.

Police say they believe Muhammed searched Web sites catering to gay men and posted graphic, sexually explicit material, claiming to be a massage therapist. Detectives say they suspect Muhammed figured his robbery victims would not call police.

When Muhammed came to the Davis man's home, he took the victim's cell phone and sprayed him with pepper spray. Despite being sprayed in the face, the victim chased Muhammed outside the apartment and restrained him in a nearby parking lot, police said.

Muhammed, police said, then sprayed the victim again in the eyes with the pepper spray. That allowed Muhammed to escape.

Police arrested Muhammed a week later. He is also a suspect in a similar theft in San Francisco.

Davis police are seeking anyone who has had contact with Muhammed through a social networking sites. Call Davis police at (530) 747-5400.

From Bill Lindelof:

The hunt for the second suspect in a police chase involving gunfire in West Sacramento has ended with the man's arrest.

clipp_image002.jpgA police dog was used to search a property where the second suspect was found in the 1100 block of Fernwood Street. A handgun police say they believe was used by the suspect, later identified by Sacramento police officials as Ronnie Barahona (left photo), 31, was found in an adjacent yard.

The arrest followed a chase from midtown Sacramento into West Sacramento.

Sacramento police said that at 4:20 a.m. a neighbor near 16th and P streets reported hearing what sounded like somebody breaking into an ATM machine. Police later learned that burglars had attempted to use a cutting torch to open the ATM.

When police responded, the suspects fled in a silver Chevrolet pickup truck. Police followed, chasing the suspects into West Sacramento.

clippp_image003.jpgIn West Sacramento, the truck crashed into a fire hydrant at Grande Vista Avenue and Clarendon Street. One of the suspects, later identified as John Ditgen (right photo), 49, was arrested, but the other escaped on foot.

"As he fled, shots were heard," said police spokesman Officer Konrad Von Schoech.

Officers did not return fire, he said.

Barahona and Ditgen are in custody in Sacramento County Jail, police officials said.