Crime Beat

POLICE SEEK HELP TO SOLVE STREET ROBBERIES IN EAST EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2019 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police Department is warning the public about a rise in street robberies, some targeting elderly men. The robberies have occurred in the vicinity of the 1000 block of East Main Street and the 800 block of Buena Terrace in recent weeks.

HUNTER TO RESIGN AFTER HOLIDAYS: MAY FORFEIT CONGRESSIONAL PENSION

By Miriam Raftery

December 6, 2019 (San Diego) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter today issued a statement which reads,"Shortly after the holidays I will resign from Congress.  I has been an honor to serve the people of California's 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years." 

The announcement comes after Hunter pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds for personal use. His sentencing is scheduled in March. He could face up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, the amount that he and his wife were accused of taking from the campaign coffers.

But prison and a hefty fine may not be the only penalties for his actions.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: DECEMBER IS NATIONAL IMPAIRED DRIVING PREVENTION MONTH

By David R. Shorey

East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

December 5, 2019  (San Diego’s East County) -- Holiday time in the East County is marked with tree lightings, trips to the snowcapped peaks, and the sound of holiday music floating in the air. It is also the most popular time of year for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this time of year has the highest rate of driving under the influence incidents, injuries and deaths. In fact, preventable alcohol-related deaths account for almost one-third of all traffic fatalities, according to NHTSA.

That’s why each year, December is declared National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Law enforcement officials in the East County participate by annually increasing patrols and DUI checkpoints in the region. We observe Impaired Driving Prevention Month to highlight steps we can take to improve safety on our streets and raise awareness of these preventable dangers.

MASKED SUSPECTS WANTED AFTER ATTACKING RESIDENT DURING HOT PROWL BURGLARY IN UNINCORPORATED EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 5, 2019 (El Cajon) – Three masked men forced their way into a home in the 1400 block of 5 D Drive in unincorporated El Cajon shortly before 9 p.m. last night.  The homeowner told police that her adult son heard a knock at the front door and opened it to find the three intruders, all armed. One of the intruders struck the son in the head, injuring him.

FBI AND PROSECUTORS IN SAN DIEGO OFFER $5 MILLION REWARD TO FIND “HIGHEST RANKING” AMERICAN FIGHTING WITH FOREIGN TERRORISTS

VIEW FBI VIDEO:  https://youtu.be/NJMZ1D0R98E 

East County News Service

December 3, 2019 (San Diego) --  The San Diego FBI and federal prosecutors yesterday announced a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest  or conviction of Jehad Serwan Mostafa, 37, in any country. Mostafa is a U.S. citizen who grew up in San Diego. He reportedly joined the al-Shabaab terrorist organization and has been named by the FBI as “the “highest ranking American fighting overseas.”

An indictment unsealed in federal court this week reveals that Mostafa is charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, as well as conspiracy to provide material to terrorists and to a foreign terrorist group. Mostafa was charged in 2009 on similar counts. Now authorities believe he continued providing support to terrorists until at least February 2017. 

MAN SHOT IN DISPUTE, AIRLIFTED TO HOSPITAL FROM RAMONA

By Miriam Raftery

November 26, 2019 (Ramona) – An argument between two men, ages 24 and 26, escalated into a fight today in the 400 block of Pala Street in Ramona.  “One of the men produced a gun, firing one round and hitting the other person in the left leg,” says Lt. Ken Jones with the Sheriff’s department.

Sheriff’s deputies and Cal Fire paramedics arrived on scene. Paramedics stabilized the wounded party and transported him to a hospital by helicopter. The wounded man is expected to survive.

CHP HOLIDAY WEEKEND ENFORCEMENT PLANNED; SAFETY TIPS ALSO OFFERED FOR RAINY WEATHER

East County News Service

Nov. 26, 2019 (San Diego) Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the busiest travel times in America, it can also be one of the deadliest on the roadways. CHP officers will educate motorists and enforce traffic safety laws throughout the state to ensure everyone has a safe holiday. Officers will be actively looking for unsafe driving practices, including seat belt violations, speed, distracted driving and, of course, signs of driving impairment.

To help motorists avoid tragedies, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will have all available officers on patrol during this maximum enforcement period Wed. Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday, Dec. 1. 

8 TIPS TO MAKE ONLINE HOLIDAY SHOPPING MERRY AND BRIGHT IN 2019

By Suzanne Schlundt, Cox Communications
 
November 26, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- In 2018, shoppers spent $7.9 billion during Cyber Monday, up from $6.69 billion in 2017. This year, experts predict a 20% increase in Cyber Monday online sales on Dec. 2, coming in at $9.5 billion. And with one less shopping week this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, consumers may be even more focused on Cyber Monday to secure gifts in time for family festivities.
 
Online shopping is a great way to find deals and save time when you can’t get to a store’s physical location, but don’t forget to keep your guard up when making those online purchases. 

DRUNK DECOY OPERATION - LEMON GROVE AND COLLEGE AREA

Source:  San Diego Sheriff's Department

November 23, 2019 (Lemon Grove/San Diego) - Sheriff's Deputies, San Diego Police Officers and California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Agents conducted a joint drunk decoy operation in Lemon Grove and the College Area on Saturday, November 23rd from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

FORMER SHERIFF’S CAPTAIN GARMO INDICTED FOR GUN TRAFFICKING, LYING TO FEDS, AND TIPPING OFF COUSIN WHO OWNED POT SHOP ON RAIDS

Jeweler Leo Hamel, Lt. Fred Magana plead guilty to aiding in scheme; gun dealer and El Cajon resident also charged

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Indicted former Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Captain Marco Garmo, courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

November 22, 2019 (San Diego) --  Former Rancho San Diego Sheriff’s Captain Marco Garmo was arrested this morning based on a federal grand jury indictment that charges him with operating an illegal firearms trafficking business – at times from his office at the Rancho San Diego Station with the help of others, including a fellow Sheriff’s deputy.

The indictment also charges Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Fred Magana, prominent San Diego jeweler Leo Hamel, firearms dealer Giovanni Tilotta and El Cajon resident Waiel Anton with aiding and abetting Garmo’s illegal firearms business.

TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION TARGETS BORDER WALL IN CAMPO IN BRAZEN SMUGGLING ATTEMPT

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Smugglers cut the old border wall to facilitate an alien smuggling attempt.
 
November 21, 2019 (Campo) -- U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 16 individuals Wednesday afternoon after smugglers cut the old landing mat border wall to facilitate a vehicle drive-thru human smuggling incident.

STUDENT ARRESTED FOR THREAT TO BONSALL HIGH SCHOOL; WEAPONS SEIZED

East County News Service
 
November 15, 2019 (Bonsall) – Sheriff’s deputies arrested a student at Bonsall High on West Lilac Rd. in northeast San Diego County on Nov. 13.  An investigation including an interview with the suspect found that he had made specific threats to commit a shooting at a planned school event in the near future, says Lieutenant Ricardo Lopez.

TB CASES REPORTED IN LOCAL JAILS AND A BRIDGE SHELTER FOR HOMELESS

 

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

Image Credit: CDC.gov

November 15, 2019 (San Diego) - Three unrelated cases of tuberculosis have been reported in the region, the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced today.

Two cases were reported at San Diego County Sheriff’s detention facilities and the third was a person who arrived from out of town after being diagnosed and spent time at the City of San Diego bridge shelter, which serves single adults who are homeless.

SUPERVISOR JACOB SOUNDS ALARM OVER STATE’S PLAN TO RELEASE ANOTHER SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR IN JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS, NEAR BOULEVARD

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo:  Thomas Cornwell, 41, convicted of lewd acts on children under age 14, has been diagnosed with pedophilic disorder
 
November 14, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Supervisor Dianne Jacob, in a letter to Calif. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, cites disturbing statistics regarding sexually violent predators released in East County.  Of 12 released countywide in the past 15 years, nine were sent to East County. Five of the 12 violated conditions of their release and four were sent back to state mental hospitals, according to Jacob. Yet the state is proposing to release two more sexually violent predators into our region.

POLICE SEEK VEHICLE THAT KILLED PEDESTRIAN, THEN FLED SCENE IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Surveillance video of suspect vehicle

November 6, 2019 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police Department is seeking a small silver four-door sedan that may have damage to the bumper, hood and windshield. The vehicle struck a man at the intersection of East Chase and Lincoln Avenue on November 6 around 6:24 p.m.

A passerby started CPR on the victim, who was unresponsive. Medics transported him to Sharp Memorial Hospital via ambulance, where he was pronounced dead.

EL CAJON POLICE ASKS PUBLIC’S HELP TO SOLVE ARMED CARJACKINGS AND ROBBERIES; TWO VICTIMS INJURED

By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2019 (El Cajon) –A band of four or five young men in their teens or 20s, wearing masks and armed with handguns and long guns, carjacked multiple passenger vehicles this morning. They also robbing a bystander on a sidewalk of his backpack.

 In one incident, a couple confronted a suspect in their parked car and a struggle ensued. The man was struck with a gun and the woman, who clung to her vehicle, was dragged a short distance when the suspect drove off and fled the scene. Both suffered minor injuries and the woman was taken to a hospital, says Lieutenant Randy Soulard.

All of the crimes occurred between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. this morning.

DEPUTY INJURED IN SPRING VALLEY CRASH

East County News Service
 
November 5, 2019 (Spring Valley) --  A deputy from the Lemon Grove Sheriff station was involved in a single vehicle collision this morning around 8:23 a.m. in Spring Valley.
 
According to Sergeant Z. Sanchez, the deputy was responding with lights and sirens activated to assist another deputy with an occupied stolen vehicle. While traveling southbound on Bancroft Drive, the deputy struck a utility pole near the intersection of Kenwood Drive.
 
He was transported to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The collision did not occur during a pursuit, Sgt. Sanchez told ECM. 
 
The driver of the vehicle was taken into custody. 

SHERIFF ROUNDS UP STOLEN HORSE STATUE AND ALLEGED THIEVES

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo:  The stolen statue was similar to the horse sculpture pictured.
 
October 28, 2019 (El Cajon) – A metal horse sculpture stolen from in front of the Double S Tack and Feed Store in unincorporated El Cajon has been recovered in Arizona.  Two men have been arrested and charged with the theft.

LA MESA SEEKS VOLUNTEERS FOR CITIZEN PUBLIC SAFETY OVERSIGHT TASK FORCE, WHICH OVERSEES POLICE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez

October 20, 2019 (La Mesa) – The city of La Mesa is seeking diverse representation for the newly created Citizen Public Safety Task Force. Members will develop the framework for a Commission that will review police department policy, complaint investigations, training, and citizen concerns. This Commission will provide recommendations to assist the La Mesa Police Department in serving the city in a more effective manner.

If you are interested in applying, visit http://www.cityoflamesa.us/250/Boards-Commissions.

ONLINE DRUG DEALER SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS FOR SELLING FAKE OXYCODONE PILLS CONTAINING FENTANYL THAT KILLED LOCAL RESIDENT

East County News Service

October 17, 2019 (San Diego) – A drug dealer who advertised oxycodone narcotic pills online knowing they contained the far more potent drug fentanyl was sentenced in federal court this week to serve 15 years in prison. The counterfeit pills caused the overdose death of a La Jolla resident.

MAN ARRESTED AFTER ASSAULTING DEPUTIES AND STABBING K-9 DOG IN JAMUL

East County News Service
 
October 15, 2019 (Jamul) – Sheriff’s deputies from the Rancho San Diego station have arrested Richard Lechuga, 29, of San Diego following a violent altercation this morning in Jamul.
 
The deputies received a radio call requesting a welfare check on a man seen walking around a vehicle and talking to himself in the 15000 block of Skyline Truck Trail I Jamul around 10:10 a.m.  They found Lechuga sitting in a vehicle. But when deputies approached, he sprayed three of them with bear spray through an open window, then brandished a knife and what appeared to be a handgun.

LA MESA POLICE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES TRAFFIC EDUCATION AND ENFORCEMENT GRANT

Source: La Mesa Police
 
October 15, 2019 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Police Department has been awarded a $95,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long enforcement and public awareness program. The program will include a variety of outreach to educate the public, as well as enforcement actions ranging from DUI patrols to seat belt and child safety seat compliance.

GOVERNOR SIGNS NEW LAW TO PROTECT IDENTITIES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS IN COURT DOCUMENTS

East County News Service

Photo: CC by NC

October 14, 2019 (Sacramento) – Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 800, which will protect the identity of survivors of domestic and other violent crimes who participate in the Secretary of State’s Safe at Home Program when filing civil court documents. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) based on a proposal written by Dian Black with Callegislation, a former San Diegan who has written a dozen proposals since 1996 that have become law in California to protect victims’ rights.

WHOA! THIEVES STEAL IRON HORSE STATUE FROM FEED AND TACK STORE IN RURAL EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: The stolen statue was similar to the one pictured.

 

October 12, 2019 (El Cajon) – Be on the lookout for a stolen horse – no, not the galloping variety.  A 12-foot-high, 400+ pound iron horse statue was taken by thieves using a long, flatbed truck from the Double S Tack and Feed Store at 14335 Olde Highway 80 in unincorporated El Cajon.

ACCUSED MURDERER OF POPULAR EAST COUNTY DENTIST REMAINS IN CUSTODY

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

October 11, 2019 (Rancho San Diego) -- A 65-year-old man accused of murdering his husband, Dr. Blake Synowski, will be facing an El Cajon Superior Court judge on Friday to determine whether he will be granted bail.

SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR HIT-AND-RUN THAT SERIOUSLY INJURED RAMONA WOMAN

By Miriam Raftery

October 8, 2019 (Ramona) – California Highway Patrol today announced the arrest of Chase E. Richard, 34, of Ramona. He is accused of striking a bicyclist while driving a black Ford SUV with stolen license plates, then fleeing the scene and leaving Michelle Scott critically injured.

LEMON GROVE COUNCIL HEARS PLAN FOR CAMERAS TO AID LAW ENFORCEMENT AND MORE

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

October 6, 2019 (Lemon Grove) -- A San Diego Sheriff pilot project introducing a video federation program, election sign regulations for Lemon Grove City Council candidates and other matters were discussed by the Council at their meeting Oct. 1st at the Lemon Grove Community Center.

The video federation project was introduced by San Diego Sheriff Lt. Mike Rand. 

Lt. Rand said the department has begun the process of community awareness of a video sharing platform named “SafeSanDiego.” The first community forum in Lemon Grove was held on Oct. 3.  Businesses, government agencies and residents will be allowed to share video with law enforcement to help authorities investigate and solve criminal cases.

$25,000 REWARD OFFERED TO FIND HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER WHO CRITICALLY INJURED BICYCLIST MICHELLE SCOTT, RAMONA CERT TEAM MEMBER

Fundraiser launched to help pay victim’s medical bills

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via ECM news partner 10 News

October 6, 2019 (Ramona) — A $25,000 reward is being offered anonymously for information leading to arrest of the driver of a black Ford Edge SUV with stolen license plates, NBC 7 reports. The vehicle struck and critically injured Ramona bicyclist Michelle Scott last Wednesday morning on State Route 67 north of Dye Road.  

MAN ARRESTED FOR STEALING SHERIFF’S PATROL CAR IN LEMON GROVE

By Miriam Raftery
 
October 6, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Matthew Porter, 44, is under arrest after admitting to stealing a Sheriff deputy’s patrol car last night.
 
Around 8:52 p.m., a deputy assigned to the Lemon Grove Patrol Station was unloading his patrol car at the end of the shift. According to Lieutenant Mike Rand, a “transient male gained access to the patrol car and drove away.”

SHERIFF INVITES LEMON GROVE RESIDENTS TO COFFEE WITH COMMUNITY OCT. 3

East County News Service
 
September 28, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – The Sheriff’s department will host Coffee with the Community on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Starbucks (3520 Massachusetts Avenue near Broadway) in Lemon Grove.  The public is invited to meet patrol deputies and ask questions about issues brewing in the community.  
 
During the one hour meeting, attendees can also learn about crime prevention and free safety programs offered by the Lemon Grove substation.

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