Crime Beat

COUNCILMAN BEN KALASHO PLED GUILTY TO CRIMINAL WORKERS' COMP FRAUD IN 2015, REMAINS ON PROBATION

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo: Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho, August 2015

August 9, 2018 (El Cajon)--An exclusive investigation by East County Magazine has uncovered a criminal case in which El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho pled guilty to two counts of workers’ compensation fraud in October 2015 (court case #MD094871).

Kalasho was on probation for his crimes, both misdemeanors, when he ran for and won his seat on the City Council in 2016. He remains on probation until October 1, 2018.

Kalasho has pulled papers to run for El Cajon City Council again in November.   

WITNESS SAVES EL CAJON POLICE OFFICER ATTACKED BY HAMMER-WIELDING SUSPECT

 

East County News Service

August 8, 2018 (El Cajon) — A witness helped save an El Cajon Police officer today after a man attacked the officer with a hammer.

Police had been called to a Jack-in-the-Box regarding Robert Dille, 30, who was reportedly smashing windows and threatening people with a hammer. Officers found Dille a few blocks away at West Main Street and Van Houten around 11:20 a.m.

COPPER WIRE THIEVES ROB SANTEE SPORTSPLEX AND SANTANA HIGH

 

East County News Service

August 1, 2018 (Santee) - Thieves left Santee Sportsplex in the dark last week, making off with about $200 worth of copper electrical wiring stolen out of power boxes late Thursday night or early Friday morning.  But the theft cost the complex around $8,000, forcing cancellation of 15 youth and adult baseball and soccer games, NBC 7 reports.

POLICE SEEK HELP TO IDENTIFY SECOND POSSIBLE SUSPECT IN FATAL EL CAJON STABBING

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 29, 2018 (El Cajon) – A man stabbed in front of a 7-11 store in the 700 block of Jamacha yesterday afternoon died after being transported to a local hospital, says Lt. Walt Miller with the El Cajon Police Department. 

Soon after the stabbing, reported at 2:05 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to a burglary at an apartment in the 1200 block of north Mollison.  They took a burglary suspect to a hospital  for medical issues unrelated to his arrest, according to Lt. Miller.

“Investigators are exploring the possibility that this suspect may be related to the stabbing based on a physical description provided by witnesses,” said Miller. That suspect’s identity has not been released. However a second suspect may still be at large.

RED SUV DRIVER WANTED FOR BACKING OVER AND KILLING WOMAN ON HIGHWAY 94 NEAR STEELE CANYON, THEN FLEEING SCENE

 

By Miraim Raftery

July 27, 2018 (Jamul) – California Highway Patrol seeks public help to find the driver of a red or burgundy small SUV who reportedly backed up and killed a woman in her 30s who had gotten out of the vehicle. She was walking west on the shoulder of highway 94 near Steel Canyon Road in Spring Valley early Friday morning when the driver struck and seriously injured her. He reportedly remained at the scene for several minutes, and then fled.

The driver is described as an African-American man in his mid-30s, 5 ft. 7 to 5 ft. 8 inches tall, weighing 275-300 pounds with short hair and no visible tattoos. He was wearing light-colored clothes and a sweatband around his head.

CITIZENS HELP POLICE NAB SUSPECT AFTER STABBING OF 75-YEAR-OLD MAN IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2018 (El Cajon)—A 75-year-old man suffered multiple non-life threatening stab wounds tonight in an attack at Second Street and East Madison Avenue in El Cajon. Witnesses called police at 7:55 p.m. to report the victim was on the ground near the intersection.

The suspect fled west on Madison, says Lieutenant Jason Taub, adding, “Witnesses were able to keep the suspect under observation and advise the police department of his current location.”

LAW ENFORCEMENT CONDUCTS OUTREACH ON HATE CRIMES GEARED TOWARD EL CAJON’S MIDDLE EASTERN AND MUSLIM COMMUNITY

 

By Briana Ghaffery

July 18, 2018 (El Cajon)— Sheriff’s Captain Marco Garmo became the victim of a hate crime at a young age, along with his father, who was savagely beaten over a mistaken ethnic identity during a robbery at the Garmo family’s convenience store in El Cajon.

At a hate crimes forum in El Cajon on July 17th, sponsored by the San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition and El Cajon Police Department, Captain Garmo told East County Magazine that he hopes to encourage the public to report hate crimes.

“The reason why we’re having this out here in the city of El Cajon is that it has the largest influx of refugees and immigrants from the Middle East, and we feel like they need to be educated as to hate crimes,” he said, adding that law enforcement believes hate crimes are under-reported by those who are victimized.

DRIVER ARRESTED FOR FILING FALSE REPORT OF CARJACKING AFTER RAMONA CRASH

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 19, 2018 (Ramona) – A driver who reported his vehicle had been stolen at gunpoint has been arrested for filing a false report to conceal his involvement in a crash in Ramona.

 

According to Sgt. Jeremy Sheppard with the Sheriff’s department, Luis Solis, 19 and with a juvenile passenger have been charged with filing the false report after the Toyota Forerunner that Solis was driving rolled over at 630 Gem Lane in Ramona.

RAMONA HOMEOWNERS TRACK DOWN BURGLAR

 

East County News Service

 

July 18, 2018 (Ramona) – After a burglar stole jewelry, tools, electric bicycles and other items valued at $95,000 to $125,000 out of their motorhome and a storage shed in Ramona, Michael and Veronica Mahaffey obtained an anonymous tip.  That led them to 929 East Old Julian Highway, where they confronted Christopher Payne, 24, who admitted to the theft.

14 ARRESTED IN EAST COUNTY OPERATION

 

 

By Jose A. Alvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

Video courtesy of San Diego County Meth Strike Force

July 11, 2018 (San Diego's East County) - Fourteen people were arrested Tuesday evening by law enforcement agencies from East County during saturation patrols and probation compliance checks in known hot spots for drug-related crime.

MURDER SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LEMON GROVE

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 29, 2018 (Lemon Grove) – Gustavo Flores, 38, of Lemon Grove has been arrested and charged with the murder of Juan Martinez, 47. Martinez, a Lemon Grove resident who had suffered mortal wounds, banged on the door of residents in the 7600 block of Lemon Grove on June 21st shortly before 9 p.m.

EL CAJON COMMUNITY FORUM ON HATE CRIMES

 

East County News Service

June 28, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition and the El Cajon Police Department are hosting a free community Forum on hate crimes, law enforcement and community resources. The event will be held on Tuesday, July 17 from 6-8 p.m. at the El Cajon Police Department’s community room at 100 Civic Center Way.

Please RSVP to Shastity.urias@usdoj.gov or call (619) 546-9399.

GUNMAN INJURES 2 POLICE OFFICERS IN ROLANDO STANDOFF

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

June 24, 2018 (San Diego) – Two San Diego Police officers who responded to a call in the Rolando area near San Diego State University last night were shot by a suspect wearing body armor.  Both officers are listed in stable condition, one with serious injuries, though Police Chief David Nisleit says both are expected to survive.

HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED IN LEMON GROVE AFTER DEATH OF INJURED MAN WHO KNOCKED ON DOOR SEEKING HELP

 

 By Miriam Raftery

Update June 28, 2018 -- The victim has been identified as Juan Martinez, 47, of Lemon Grove who suffered serious injuries to his upper body. The Medical Examiner's report determining cause of death has been sealed and the Sheriff's homicide investigation continues.

 June 22, 2018 (Lemon Grove) – An injured man who pounded on a door seeking help last night in Lemon Grove has died. A homicide investigation has been launched into the death of the man, who has not yet been identified.

 Startled residents called 9-1-1 shortly before 9 pm. after hearing banging on their door in the 7600 block of Lemon Avenue. When deputies arrived a short time later, they found a man who was lying on the ground, unresponsive, with visible injuries to his upper body.

TRUMP NOMINATES ROBERT BREWER TO BE U.S. ATTORNEY IN SAN DIEGO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2018 (San Diego) – President Donald Trump has nominated Robert “Bob” Brewer to serve as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California.  Brewer is a former assistant U.S. attorney and deputy district attorney who once ran for San Diego district attorney, but was defeated by incumbent Bonnie Dumanis. 

Brewer has prosecuted cases including espionage, bank robberies, smuggling, narcotics, murder for hire and civil rights violations.

He has spent most of his career, however, as a defense attorney representing clients such as Sempra Energy at a time when Sempra was facing bribery allegations in Mexico. In 2011, he was named San Diego’s criminal defense white collar lawyer of the year by Best Lawyers. He’s also been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America.

SHERIFF SHUTS DOWN ANOTHER ILLEGAL POT SHOP IN SPRING VALLEY

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2018 (Spring Valley) – The Gas House 64 marijuana dispensary at 8818 Troy Street is the latest of many illegal pot shops to be shut down in Spring Valley.

Although marijuana use is legal in California, new marijuana dispensaries are illegal in the unincorporated parts of San Diego County.  Rancho San Diego Sheriff’s deputies served an abatement notice on the dispensary’s owners yesterday morning for violating a zoning ordinance.  Large amounts of marijuana, marijuana edibles, paraphernalia and other items were seized, though no arrests were made.

FBI SEEKS PUBLIC HELP TO FIND “SKINNY BANDIT” SUSPECT WANTED FOR ROBBERIES OF BANKS IN RAMONA AND SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 16, 2018 (Ramona) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF) ask your help to identify a man believed responsible for robbing two banks in Ramona and a bank in Mira Mesa over the past week.

Dubbed the “Skinny Bandit”, he is described as a light-skinned black man in his mid 20s to 30s, between 6 ft. and 6 ft. 6 inches tall with a slender build, weighing 140 to 170 pounds.  He claimed to have a weapon and in one robbery, threatened to shoot the teller, but no weapon was seen.

Below are details on each of the three robberies:

INMATE FIREFIGHTER, ESCAPED FROM MCCAIN VALLEY CAMP, IS BACK IN CUSTODY

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2018 (McCain Valley) – An inmate firefighter last seen in his bunk last Tuesday night at the McCain Valley Conservation Camp in East County was taken into custody Friday night, the California Department of Corrections has announced.

RAMONA BANK ROBBED

 

East County News Service

June 14, 2018 (Ramona) – Ramona Sheriff’s deputies responded to multiple silent robbery alarms at Chase Bank, located at 1467 Main Street in Ramona, on Tuesday, June 12th shortly before 4 p.m.

A witness told deputies that a man threatened that he had a gun. No one was injured in the robbery, but the suspect fled before deputies arrived.

THREE ARRESTED FOR JAMUL PURSE SNATCHING

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 12, 2018 (Jamul) – Three suspects in a white Jaguar have been arrested following a purse snatching at an ARCO AM/PM gas station on State Route 94 in Jamul at 6:30 this morning.  A woman pumping gas with her young child in the vehicle reported that a man had opened the door and stolen her purse.

EL CAJON POLICE TO CONDUCT PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLE SAFETY ENFORCEMENT DETAILS STARTING JUNE 22

 

East County News Service

City has had 20 fatalities and 205 injury collisions with pedestrians in the past three years

June 11, 2018 (El Cajon) – The El Cajon Police Department will step up pedestrian safety enforcement operations in the month of June, focusing on collision causing factors involving motorists and pedestrians.  Routine traffic patrols will focus efforts in trouble spots, while special targeted patrols will also be deployed to crackdown on drivers and pedestrians who violate traffic laws meant to protect all roadway users, says Lieutenant Steve Kirk.

LAKESIDE RESIDENTS ACCUSED OF ATTEMPTED MURDER WITH VEHICLE IN EL CAJON

 

East County News Service

June 4, 2018 (El Cajon) – A Lakeside couple is accused of attempted murder and felony criminal conspiracy after allegedly assaulting an El Cajon woman and trying to run over her boyfriend.

The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon at East Madison Avenue and North First Street in El Cajon.  Several 911 calls reported a vehicle striking a pedestrian in what investigators found to be an intentional act.

MAN SUFFERS LIFE-THREATENING STAB WOUNDS IN EL CAJON

 

East County News Service

June 1, 2018 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police seek public help to identify suspects in a stabbing overnight that left the victim with life-threatening injuries, according to Lt. Jason Taub with El Cajon Police Department.

Police responded to a call shortly before 2 a.m. from a caller who said an acquaintance was “bleeding out,” and then hung up.

NEW THREAT CIRCULATING AT SANTEE SCHOOLS FOUND NOT VALID

 

East County News Service

May 30, 2018 (Santee) -- This morning, the Sheriff’s department announced that deputies at the Santee station became aware yesterday of a possible school threat posted on social media.

“The post was not specific to any school, but was spreading online amongst students from Santana and West Hills High School,” Sergeant James Golembiewski states in a press release.

He adds, “Deputies conducted a thorough investigation and concluded the threat was not valid.”

Making threats against a school, even as a joke, is a crime and the San Diego District Attorney is prosecuting several such cases that occurred at other local schools.

ARMED AND DANGEROUS SUSPECT ROBERT TATE ALLEN SOUGHT IN LAKESIDE STABBING

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 May 27, 2018 (Lakeside) – The Sheriff seeks public help to locate Robert Tate Allen, 45.  He is wanted for stabbing another man last night around 10:10 p.m. during an argument in the 9600 block of Winter Gardens Blvd. in Lakeside.

 According to Sergeant John Delocht, the suspect pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim’s arm, severing an artery. The victim stumbled into a neighbor’s residence for help. Deputies quickly arrived and applied life-saving measures. The victim was taken to a hospital where he is in serious but stable condition.

 Allen is a bald-headed white man around 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 190 pounds. He drives a black four-door sedan and is known to frequent East County. He is considered armed and dangerous.

HAWAIIANAIRES GOLF TOURNAMENT JUNE 1 BENEFITS EL CAJON POLICE OFFICERS MEMORIAL FUND

 

East County New Service

May 26, 2018 (El Cajon) – The El Cajon Police Officers Association will host the 22nd annual Hawaiianaires Golf Tournament to benefit the El Cajon Police Officers’ Memorial Fund.

The event will take place on Friday, June 1st at Carlton Oaks Golf Club, located at 9200 Inwood Drive in Santee.

STUDENTS SAFE AFTER KNIFE-WIELDING MAN BOARDS SCHOOL BUS IN CAMPO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 25, 2018 (Campo)—A grandmother and a second bystander came to the aid of a school bus driver confronted by a man armed with a knife, while an older student helped youngsters escape out a back exit.

The bus was heading to Campo Elementary School around 8:30 a.m. when Matthew Barker, 37, of Campo boarded the bus near Jeb Stuart road. The driver told him to leave, but instead advanced toward students until the driver blocked his way.

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