Crime Beat

CRACKDOWN ON TEEN DRIVERS TODAY, SANTEE SHERIFF STATION ANNOUNCES

November 17, 2009 - Today the Santee traffic deputies along with area school resource officers and the Santee COPPS Unit will be conducting a juvenile driver enforcement detail. Special attention will be given to all drivers near schools. Drivers will be stopped and cited for all traffic violations including use of cell phones and texting while driving. Juvenile drivers will be cited if they are not in compliance with provisional license restrictions.

OBAMA SIGNS MEASURE TO EXPAND PROSECUTIONS OF HATE CRIMES

By Miriam Raftery
 

November 1, 2009 (Washington D.C.) – Last week, President Barack Obama signed a defense budget bill which contains language to broaden the definition of hate crimes to include attacks based on gender, sexual orientation, or disability—adding to protections already in place for attacks based on race, religion or national origin. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act also creates a new federal crime for attacking U.S. military personnel because of their service.

News of the signing was hailed locally by Estela de los Rios, who led efforts to organize a Hate Crimes Conference recently in El Cajon. “I rejoice and embrace this grand victory,” de los Rios told East County Magazine. “Passing this bill will only strengthen and support the civil rights of all.”

EVERY DOLLAR SPENT ON METH TREATMENT SAVES $7 IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM COSTS, EAST COUNTY PILOT PROGRAM REVEALS

 

October 28, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--Operation Tip the Scale was a six month multi-jurisdictional effort in East County that sought to increase public contact with law enforcement and to provide information about how to get help with drug problems. In San Diego County, methamphetamine continues to be the drug of choice for many adults, although this operation focused on all illicit substances. The folllowing report from  San Diego County Sheriff's Office offers some revealing insights into one way to reduce law enforcement costs, cut crime and get help for drug users:

 

The idea was simple. Could cities and the unincorporated areas in East County share law enforcement resources to create a large and visible presence against illicit drugs? Could treatment services be part of the team and talk to residents about how they could get help? And most importantly, could we do this without any overtime, especially as all participating agencies have experienced budget cuts?

ARMED ROBBERY AT LA MESA HALLMARK STORE

 

October 22, 2009 (La Mesa) An armed man robbed the Susie’s Hallmark store at 5648 Lake Murray Blvd., La Mesa on October 22 at approximately 1:58 p.m. The man shopped in the store for several minutes, waiting for all customers to leave. Once all the customers were gone, the suspect displayed a k handgun to the store clerks and demanded money from the register.

MORTGAGE SCAMS ON THE RISE, DUMANIS SAYS AT RANCHO SAN DIEGO-JAMUL CHAMBER EVENT

By Miriam Raftery

October 24, 2009 (El Cajon) – “The biggest thing we’re seeing now is mortgage loan fraud and real estate fraud,” San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said at Cuyamaca College during a breakfast hosted by the Rancho San Diego-Jamul Chamber of Commerce. “One scam had 400 victims.”  The D.A. discussed loan scams and other crime trends in San Diego County during the October 23rd event.

SHERIFF LAUNCHES PROGRAM TO COMBAT DUI DEATHS & INJURIES

 

October 23, 2009 (San Diego) -- William D. Gore, Sheriff, San Diego County, has announced that the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (representing the cities of Vista, San Marcos, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Poway, Santee, Lemon Grove and Imperial Beach) is set to commence a year-long anti-DUI program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on our roadways. New enforcement measures to combat impaired driving are coming as a result of a recent $ 602,600 grant awarded by the Office of Traffic Safety to The San Diego Sheriff’s Department.

HEROIN DEALER BUSTED IN LA MESA

 

October 21 (La Mesa) -- On October 20, La Mesa Police Department’s Special Enforcement Detail (SED) arrested a man for possessing heroin for sale, growing marijuana, and possession of guns relating to narcotics. Mathew McKinney, 25 years old, was arrested after police received several tips from concerned citizens that there were possible narcotics sales occurring from the apartment complex at 7506 Parkway Drive.

BOMB SQUAD AT ZION & MISSION GORGE ROAD

October 20, 2009 – San Diego Police have evacuated the Postal Annex at 6549 Mission Gorge Road after discovery of a suspicious device. “We have secured the Annex . Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST) is on site and evaluating,” Detective Gary Hassen told East County Magazine at 2:45 p.m. today.
The Postal Annex opened a package and found “wiring connected to a PVC pipe with foam around it at 12:45 p.m.,” Hassen told East County Magazine.

WILD RIDE: KIDNAPPED SHELL STATION OWNER ESCAPES ROBBER

POLICE CHASE NABS SUSPECT; PAROLEE MAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OTHER AREA CRIMES

 

October 15, 2009 (La Mesa) Crime didn't pay for a lone gunman who robbed a Shell gas station clerk at gunpoint around 12:15 today. The suspect took money from the register and fled. The station manager arrived just before police and went looking for the robber in his own car.  Coincidentally, he was flagged down by a man a few blocks away, on Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

Being a good citizen, the manager gave the stranger a ride back toward the Shell gas station so the man could buy gas—not realizing that that the stranded man was actually the robbery suspect. When the suspect realized he was being returned to the crime scene where police were, he kidnapped the gas station manager and forced him to drive west on interstate 8--leading to a harrowing series of events.

AUTHORITIES SEEK ABUSER WHO SHOT DUCK 5 TIMES WITH CROSSBOW

October 14, 2009 (San Diego's East County)-- Animal Control Officers rescued a Muscovy duck that had been shot five times with a crossbow this morning at Chollas Lake in East San Diego, near Highway 94.

 

The duck, with the arrows still in its body, was transported to the County’s Animal Shelter on Gaines Street. One of the arrows penetrated the bird’s head so a special avian veterinarian will be examining the duck to see if the animal’s life can be saved.

TOWN HALL MEETING ON 3 STRIKES LAW OCT. 22

 

On Thursday, October 22, the Judicial Reform Committee of the United African-American Ministerial Action Council (UAAMAC) will host a town hall meeting on Califiornia’s three strikes law to encourage a change in sentencing practices. Panelists will include Karen Bass, Speaker of the Assembly, Assembly member Lori Saldana (D-San Diego), Bishop George D. McKinney, Frank Courser and Sue Reams, Families to Amend California Three Strikes.

 

"In these trying economic times. it is imperative that we examine these laws,” UAAMAC’s press release states. California's Three Strikes Law is the toughest law in the nation; California incarcerates four times more inmates as all other three strikes states combined. Supporters of the laws note that a small percentage of offenders are responsible for the majority of crimes.  But a growing number of people now argue that California's law has gone too far, locking up not only violent repeat criminals, but also imposing life sentences on people guilty of nonviolent offenses such as shoplifting.

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL FOR GUILLERMO ESPARZA TONIGHT; POLICE SEEK PUBLIC HELP TO FIND KILLER

CRIMESTOPPER REWARD OFFER

 

October 10, 2009 (San Diego)--San Diego County Crime Stoppers, in conjunction with the San Diego Police Department Homicide Unit, family and friends of Guillermo Esparza, are asking for the public’s assistance to help identify and locate the person(s) responsible for his murder. On Saturday, October 10, 2009, at 5:00 p.m., Family and friends will hold a candlelight vigil at the scene of the crime, 7300 Paradise Valley Road, San Diego, near the Paradise Valley Road intersection. 

DUI/DRUNK DRIVING CHECKPOINT IN LEMON GROVE THIS WEEKEND

 

October 9, 2009 (Lemon Grove) --Sheriff William D. Gore today announced deputies from the Lemon Grove Station will be conducting a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint this weekend. The message for the beginning of this fall season is that drunk driving will not be tolerated.

 

D.A. FILES MISDEMEANOR CHARGES IN DEERHORN VALLEY CASE: NO HATE CRIME OR ASSAULT CHARGES FILED DESPITE RACIAL SLURS & VIOLENT BEATING OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN TEEN



Victim’s Mother Accuses Sheriff of “Dropping the Ball” on Investigation, Considers Lawsuit

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Update October 2013:  Jerry Arnold has contacted ECM to advise that charges against him were reduced to distrubing the peace with loud music, for which he paid a fine.  Arnold also shared his side of the story.  "I was executor of the estate. I hadn't been around for nine years. I told the kids they couldn't have a party, but they had it anyway...When police got here, I was breaking up the party.  My son who had the party, I threw him out of the house...To say that I was contributing to minors' drinking couldn't be farther from the truth." Arnold told ECM he knew nothng about the assault on Chris Jones, which did not occur on the property.  He insists that he is not prejudiced and that three of his close family members have black partners or spouses.  He added that when he asked all party guests to leave and did not single out those who were black.  Johnson claims he was innocent of all charges but could not afford an attorney, so accepted the plea bargain offer.

 

October 9, 2009 (Deerhorn Valley) – The San Diego County District Attorney (D.A.) has filed three counts of misdemeanor charges in the case of an African-American teenager severely beaten by a group of white men last April at a party in Deerhorn Valley, near Jamul.  The home was in probate; the representative of the estate, Jerry Arnold Jr., was charged with allowing minors to drink; his son and a juvenile were charged with vandalizing  the victim's car.

 

Denise Brown, mother of the victim, is outraged that no charges of assault or hate crimes were filed. “The Sheriff dropped the ball on this investigation, big-time,” Brown told East County Magazine following a hate crimes summit in El Cajon last week. “Those men beat my son. They smashed the car windows. They tried to burn the vehicle with him inside. There were boot prints and hand prints all over the car, but the Sheriff’s Department had it towed and never even took prints.”

MAN ROBBED OF PANTS IN LA MESA

 

October 6, 2009 (La Mesa) – Two men robbed a transient of his pants and wallet on October 4 at approximately 9:32 p.m. One suspect was located by La Mesa Police officers within minutes after the robbery and assault. The second suspect, a Hispanic man who goes by the name "Alexi," is still outstanding. He is described as approximately 21 years old, weighing 165 pounds.

ROBBERS VIOLENTLY ASSAULT, INJURE MAN & WOMAN AT 24 HOUR FITNESS IN LA MESA

 

Police Seek Suspects: 3 Hispanic Men with Shaved Heads; Reward Offered

 

October 2, 2009 (La Mesa) – Last night at approximately 8:28 PM, a man and woman were assaulted by three men and knocked unconscious outside the 24-Hour Fitness Center in La Mesa.

PEDESTRIAN ROBBED & BEATEN IN LA MESA

 

September 30, 2009 (La Mesa)--At approximately 1:50 PM on September 28, 2009 a man called La Mesa P.D. from the Kaiser Hospital in San Diego to report that he had been robbed walking home from a local bar early Sunday morning.  Assailants beat the man and reportedly left him unconscious.  La Mesa Police contacted the male victim at the Kaiser Hospital on Zion Ave.  A reward is offered for information leading to arrest and conviction of his attackers.

LA MESA TEEN VICTIM OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT

 

September 25, 2009 (La Mesa) – At 3:15 PM yesterday a 16 year-old La Mesa boy was walking home from school near Amaya Drive and Water Street, when he was confronted by at least four teenage suspects. The suspects first demanded the victim’s cell phone. When the victim refused, one of the suspects hit the victim with his fist in the face, causing the victim to fall to the ground. The other suspects surrounded the victim and while the victim was on the ground, the suspects kicked him several times about the body and head area. The suspects then ran away.

PAROLED ARSONIST IN EAST COUNTY SPARKS CRY FOR REFORM

September 24, 2009 (Boulevard) –On Monday, CAL FIRE Battalion Chief and acting Boulevard Fire Chief John Francois informed Boulevard Fire Board members that a paroled arsonist had been living in the community.  The arsonist is now back in custody for violating his parole terms.

“Several suspicious fires are still under investigation,” Donna Tisdale, Chair of the Boulevard Planning Group informed East County Magazine. Tisdale expressed shock that community members were kept in the dark about a potentially dangerous arsonist in their midst at the height of fire season—and she is now calling for reforms in the law to require that neighbors be notified if an arsonist is turned loose in their neighborhood.

SHERIFF REVISES ACCOUNT OF KARDIAN MURDER: MANHUNT NABS SUSPECT RICHARD DEAN NEFF; EYEWITNESS TELLS HER STORY

 UPDATE: NEFF ARRESTED:  The suspect was apprehended this afternoon(Sept. 17)  by the San Diego Fugitive Task Force, the Sheriff’s Department reports. He was arrested at 425 W. Beech Street in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego and will be booked into Central Jail. San Diego News Network reports that Neff surrendered peacefully.Below is our story including interviews with an eyewitness and family member of the victim shortly before Neff's arrest.

 

THE GREAT DEBATE! 4 CANDIDATES FOR SHERIFF FACE-OFF SATURDAY IN EL CAJON


East County Magazine Editor Miriam Raftery to Co-Moderate

September 11, 2009 (El Cajon) – East County’s top law enforcement issues will be on the front burner at the hottest political debate in town Saturday, when four candidates for San Diego County Sheriff will face off on issues ranging from border protection to a jail expansion in Santee.
 

SHERIFF GORE AIMS FOR A BIG GOAL: MAKE SAN DIEGO THE SAFEST MAJOR COUNTY IN AMERICA

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Leon Thompson

 

In an exclusive interview, San Diego's new top law enforcement offer shares his goals with East County Magazine--including priorities and new initiatives for East County. 

 

Appointed to replace retiring Sheriff William Kolender, Bill Gore brings 42 years of law enforcement expertise to the job. As Assistant Director of the FBI in Washington D.C., he earned a Meritorious Executive Service Award from the President. He’s led efforts to bring down organized crime rings including the Triads and Yakuza, helped break up the infamous Arellano-Felix Drug Cartel, and intervened to halt airplane hijackings as a S.W.A.T. team member. (Read his harrowing account here.) In San Diego, he established the Joint Terrorism Task Force and developed the nation’s first regional computer forensic lab—which has since been replicated nationwide. After leaving the FBI, he served as Chief Investigator/Special Assistant to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. As Undersheriff, second in command under Sheriff Kolender, he revised use-of-force policies, implemented a mobile ID system and improved public transparency.

 

Now as Sheriff, he’s set his sights on his most ambitious goal yet: to make San Diego the safest urban county in America. 

LA MESA MURDER SUSPECT SOUGHT; CONSIDERED ARMED & DANGEROUS, SHERIFF WARNS

 

September 8, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)--William D. Gore, Sheriff, San Diego County, today announced a manhunt initiated by the San Diego Fugitive Task Force to locate Richard Dean Neff. Neff is suspected of a murder which occurred in La Mesa early yesterday morning. Neff, a transient and known drug user, according to the Sheriff's special bulletin,  is considered to be armed and extremely dangerous.

ARSONIST SOUGHT; SHERIFF ALSO SEEKS VANDALS WHO SRAYED RACIST/ HATE GRAFFITI AT SCENE OF FIRE

 

$10,000 REWARD OFFERED

September 4, 2009 (Vista) – Vista is not in East County. But an arsonist anywhere in our County poses a threat to us all. One spark on a windy day can spread a fire far beyond its origins.

 

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