Archive for the ‘Police & Crime’ Category

Driver suffering medical emergency crashes car into paint store injuring three in Antioch Saturday

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

By Sergeant Rick Smith, Antioch Police Community Policing Bureau

On Saturday, August 19, 2017 at approximately 12:32 pm, Antioch Officers responded with Medical Personnel for a reported vehicle collision in the area of Contra Loma Blvd and the Eastbound Highway 4 Off-ramp.

On arrival, a small sedan was found to have exited the eastbound Highway 4 off-ramp and crossed Contra Loma Blvd. The vehicle had continued eastbound through the intersection and over the sidewalk without stopping. It went through a chain link fence and struck a utility box before coming to rest in a vacant lot adjacent to the eastbound Highway 4 onramp and Kelly Moore Paints. Medical personnel arrived and began treating the occupants of the vehicle. All were transported to area hospitals for treatment. It was learned all suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.

According to Contra Costa Fire Protection Department Captain George Laing, three people were injured, one was transported to the hospital by helicopter, and the store sustained some damage.

The preliminary investigation reveals that the driver possibly had a medical emergency before colliding with another vehicle on Highway 4 just west of the eastbound off-ramp for Contra Loma Blvd. The driver was still suffering this emergency as he came down the ramp and was unable to control or stop his vehicle. It does not appear that alcohol or drugs were the cause of this accident. The driver of the vehicle struck on Highway 4 was present at the scene and was not injured.

This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the Antioch Police Department at (925) 778-2441. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Child dies in Antioch drowning accident, Wednesday night

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

By Corporal Gary Lowther #4032, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at approximately 8:15 PM, Antioch Police Officers along with the Contra Costa County Fire Department responded to a residence located on the 4600 Block of Durness Court for a report of a two-year-old female that fell in the family swimming pool.

Upon officers’ arrival, the child was unresponsive. Life-saving efforts were administered by Antioch Police Officers and Contra Costa County Fire Department personnel. The child was transported to a local hospital where all efforts to revive her were unsuccessful.

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Concord dental assistant, an Antioch resident pleads guilty to child molestation

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Alejandro Saro. Photo by Concord Police

Sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison

In April, 2016, the Concord Police Department investigated a report of a child molestation that occurred at La Clinica dental office on Sierra Road in the City of Concord. The eight-year-old female victim told officers that a male dental assistant sexually assaulted her and that he video recorded the incident while he committed the crime. Special Victims Unit Detectives were notified and quickly identified the suspect as 24-year-old Alejandro Saro, from Antioch, CA.

During the investigation, detectives reviewed patients’ records from four different dental offices where Saro had worked which led to the identification of four other female victims between the ages of 5 and 13 years old. Saro was employed as a dental assistant at La Clinica Monument in March of 2015. He was also employed by Patino Orthodontics and Western Dental, both in Concord – and a branch of Western Dental in Antioch.

The investigation also uncovered evidence that all five of the victims had been assaulted by Saro while they were under sedation for various dental procedures. Saro was arrested by detectives and the case was turned over to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office. The DA’s Office charged Saro with multiple counts of child molestation. He remained in-custody with bail set at $8.1 million dollars.

Saro was due to appear in court this week to stand trial, however, SVU detectives received notification from the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office late Sunday night that Saro had pled guilty to five counts of felony child molestation; one count for each victim.

It is not uncommon for perpetrators who commit such horrendous crimes to reach a plea bargain agreement rather than face all of the evidence against them in front of a jury of peers. Based on the thorough investigation conducted by the SVU detectives and the mounds of evidence they uncovered and piled against Saro, including numerous videos, it is presumed that he voluntarily accepted responsibility for his actions with this agreement. Saro will now appear in front of a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge for sentencing on Friday, September 22, 2017, in Martinez, where he will be sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.

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Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves shares why he wants to be Contra Costa’s next DA

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Paul Graves speaks to the Friday Morning Breakfast Club in Antioch on Friday, August 4, 2017.

Speaks to Antioch’s Friday Morning Breakfast Club

By Allen Payton

Speaking before the Friday Morning Breakfast Club (FBMC) in Antioch on August 4, Paul Graves, the Senior Deputy District Attorney for Contra Costa County, answered questions and explained why he wants to be the county’s next DA. He is one of five finalists to be the Interim DA in the Board of Supervisors’ appointment process, having made the first round cut from a list of 12 applicants.

The FBMC is led by former Antioch Mayor Don Freitas and made up of current and former locally elected officials, community leaders and other concerned residents. They meet once a month for breakfast and invite a speaker as their guest.

A 22-year veteran of the Contra Costa DA’s office, Graves was the first candidate to enter the race for District Attorney in the June, 2018 election, before former DA Mark Peterson resigned. He was willing to take on his boss in response to the scandal over Peterson making false statements on his campaign finance statements about personal use of campaign funds.

“There was a cloud over the office,” Graves stated. “In the press, there was an impression something was wrong with the office. The people in that office are dedicated to the county. While that cloud was over the office, the people asked me to step up and run against the incumbent. But, I’m not going to disparage my former boss.”

“I’m not a politician,” Graves added

He announced his campaign in May following a vote of no-confidence by the Deputy District Attorneys Association and the Civil Grand Jury’s call for the removal of Peterson.

“It wouldn’t have been as big a deal if Mr. Peterson had not decided to run again,” Graves stated during the FMBC meeting. “I did not support Mr. Peterson in 2010. I was one of those who was punished. But even Mark recognized I’m a leader in this office. I was actually the solution to the problem.”

“I chose to stay when others left, because I’m committed to the county,” he shared. “We called it the ‘French Resistance’ back in 2010. We had two choices: quite or stay here and fight. I’m a fighter. So, I chose to stay and fight.”

In his brief announcement he said, “after careful consideration and consultation with my colleagues in the District Attorney’s Office and with others in law enforcement, I have decided to run for Contra Costa District Attorney in 2018. As a 22-year veteran of this office, I have a deep understanding of this community and the talented dedicated prosecutors that already serve the public. Simply put, I know I can make a difference.”

Graves expected to be demoted, again for running against his boss and planned on providing a more complete, public announcement later. But then Peterson resigned and the Supervisors decided to appoint an interim DA.

“Only two of us were candidates before the appointment process,” he said. The other one is Santa Clara County Deputy DA Patrick Vanier, who announced his campaign about a week later in May, also before Peterson resigned in June.

Graves explained to the FBMC members his plans if elected.

“I believe in a victim-centered approach,” he said. “It’s our obligation to give the best service to the victims in our office. It hasn’t changed for the past 22 years. It’s a crime-based structure. We need to look at restructuring the office.”

“People are people. Victims, witnesses and defendants,” Graves continued. He then said his overall goal is to “save lives and drive down crime in Contra Costa County.”

He spoke of the crime occurring in Antioch, East County and other parts of the county.

“Human trafficking is something we’re not doing enough of,” Graves stated. “Prostitutes on the street corners. I like to call them exploited women. There are exploiters, pimps.”

“I’ve been working with non-profits…to work on these problems.”

Regarding it occurring in massage parlors, Graves said, “Antioch Police are very involved in this. Concord Police are involved in this, treating the prostitutes as victims. Out here in East County there’s a network of massage parlors. They’re all connected.”

He then spoke of one way the DA’s office is fighting crime.

“We have a wiretap room,” Graves shared. “We want to wiretap these networks and to take them down. That is my goal.”

There’s a “huge street-level human trafficking operation in Danville” in a “nice house,” he said.

“They prey on youth, those coming out of group homes, foster care. It turns into eating, rape, and fear,” Graves continued. “The exploited women have a mental break and they become very protective of their abusers.”

“We need transition housing, out here,” he added.

“The punishment for johns are deminimis. It’s a misdemeanor,” Graves explained. “My preference is that they go through a human trafficking course and see what the women go through.”

Asked about sanctuary city policies, he responded, “as a DA, I follow the law. But the misconception about the DA’s office involvement in deportations is wrong. ICE does get notified. It happens when they’re arrested.”

“The law has changed. We have to consider their status in terms of the punishment,” Graves said. “Defense attorneys try to get us to change the charges so it’s not deportable. Sex crimes are.”

“We are a sanctuary city, not for defendants but victims,” he added.

Asked about the Deputy DA for Antioch, Graves explained, “You do (have one). But it’s not sufficient. You need a dedicated DA.”

“We have a Deputy DA in the Pittsburg Police Department. Antioch goes to Pittsburg to file cases without having to drive to Martinez,” he shared. “You do not have a community prosecutor. We have one in Richmond who can do targeted cases. Richmond PD pays part of that salary.” “We’re understaffed. We’ve always been understaffed,” Graves stated about his department. “We have the same number of Deputy DA’s as we did 22 years ago.”

But, he also said he’s very available to Antioch Police.

“Your detectives can call me 24-7 on a case and they know it,” he said. “I’ve been at Disneyland and I took a call. I would work with your Chief (of Police) to get you a DA. It would be Antioch’s community prosecutor. We need community DA’s to work on crime strategy. You need a partner out there.”

“The Antioch Police Detectives are very good,” Graves shared. “You have great police out there. You’re seriously understaffed.”

He spoke of targeted enforcement in which a repeat offender has multiple complaints filed against him, which increases the charges and advocated for pro-active, community-based prosecution.

“You do have a gang problem out here,” Graves stated. “Our gang unit needs to expand. We need a human trafficking unit. Gangs are getting in it. It’s cheaper and easier than drugs.

As to his approach in leading the office, he said, “I like to get out into the community. I like talking to the people. The office of the DA is the office of the people.”

“I will spend my time talking to the troops in my office,” Graves added.

He encouraged those in attendance to “stay involved in this election. This is a very important election. It’s turning into a hot potato…a referendum on Contra Costa County. There’s a push to become like San Francisco…shortening sentences, not arresting people.”

“I’m running on my qualifications,” he continued. “No matter what happens (in the appointment process), I’m running. I do firmly believe I am the right person for the job.”

To learn more about Graves, visit his campaign website at www.paulgravesforda.com.

A public forum for the five finalists will be held tonight, Tuesday, August 15, at 6:00 p.m.   The meeting will be in the Board Chamber at 651 Pine Street in Martinez.  Beginning at 5:00 p.m., there will be an hour reserved for public comment. During that time, you can also submit written comments to be entered into the public record.  If you have a question you would like to suggest for the forum, you will have an opportunity between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to do so. Volunteers from the League of Women Voters will be on hand to assist in collecting the question cards.  During a break in the forum, the moderator will have the ability to chose audience-submitted questions to ask during the second half of the event.  

The forum will be televised live on CCTV, as well as streamed live on this website.  CCTV can be watched on Comcast Channel 27, Wave Channel 32, and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

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Senate committee approves Frazier’s “Jeff Belle Bill” to increase penalties for ballot statement lies

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Jeff Belle, source Contra Costa County Board of Education

Increases maximum fine from $1,000 to $20,500

SACRAMENTO – The Senate Public Safety Committee has unanimously approved a bill by Assemblymember Jim Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, which would impose stiff financial penalties on candidates who lie on ballot statements when seeking political office. AB 894 would impose a fine of up to $5,000 if a candidate includes knowingly false information on statements they submit for inclusion on election ballots. If an offender is convicted of associated criminal wrongdoing, a formula that multiplies the base fine could result in as much as $20,500 in total financial penalties for those who intentionally lie to voters.

“The penalty for shamelessly lying to voters should be very painful,” Frazier said. “And right now, it’s not painful enough. Often, the only information a voter may have about candidates is what is contained in ballot statements, especially in races for local offices that might not get a lot of press coverage. AB 894 creates a strong deterrent to dishonest candidates who falsify their qualifications in an attempt to mislead voters.”

Frazier authored AB 894 after Jeff Belle, a candidate in East County who was elected to the Contra Costa County Board of Education in 2014, was found to have blatantly lied about his qualifications, background and criminal record in the candidate statement he submitted for inclusion on the ballot. The current maximum fine for intentionally misleading voters on ballot statements is $1,000. However, instead of a punishment, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office allowed Belle to receive just an entry into a diversion program for offenders which required he admitted he didn’t have a degree and perform 20 hours of community service. (See related article).

AB 894 has received unanimous bipartisan support in every committee and floor vote. It has been approved by the Assembly Elections Committee, the full Assembly and the Senate Elections and Public Safety committees without a single “no” vote. The bill’s final vote will be on the Senate Floor after the Legislature returns from recess. If the full Senate approves AB 894, it will go to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.

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Following Hwy 4 chase Pittsburg police arrest man in Antioch with stolen guns in stolen car

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Stolen guns discovered in stolen car Friday morning, August 11, 2017. Photo courtesy of Pittsburg Police.

At 3:35 AM on Friday, August 11, 2017, Pittsburg Police officers were monitoring Highway 4 following a license plate reader alert for a stolen vehicle. Officers located the vehicle on Loveridge Road in Pittsburg and attempted a traffic stop; however, the suspect vehicle fled and a pursuit ensued.

Officers located the suspect vehicle on the Contra Loma Blvd. onramp in Antioch and the suspect fled on foot from pursuing officers. The suspect was subsequently apprehended by a Pittsburg Police K9. A search of the vehicle revealed multiple firearms, which had been stolen during a burglary in a nearby city.

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Antioch police to hold 2017 Citizens Law Enforcement Academy starting in October, apply today

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

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San Francisco police officer, Antioch resident arrested on child pornography charge

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

SFPD Officer Joshua Enea was arrested, today for felony possession of child pornography. Photo courtesy of KTVU.com

In February 2017, the San Francisco Police Department Internet Crimes Against Children Unit (ICAC) learned that a SFPD officer may have been in possession of child pornography. The San Francisco Police Department Internal Affairs Criminal Division initiated an immediate investigation based on information provided by the ICAC Unit.

According to Officer Grace Gatpandan, Public Information Officer for the SFPD Media Relations Unit, during a press conference today, the investigation uncovered sufficient evidence to obtain an arrest warrant for Officer Joshua Enea, a 37-year-old Antioch resident. Enea was arrested today by SFPD investigators for felony possession of child pornography 311.11(a) PC. Enea, a ten-year veteran of the Department, has been placed on suspension without pay. During the course of the investigation, Enea was removed from direct contact with the public.

The public’s trust is of the utmost importance to the members of the SFPD. The Department will continue to work hard with the community to build and maintain this trust. As the Department has emphasized in the past, members will continue to hold each other accountable and will act swiftly to report any behavior that might bring dishonor to the Police Department and the City of San Francisco.

The SFPD Internal Affairs Office worked closely with the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office on this case. The San Francisco Police Department thanks Senior Assistant District Attorney Paul Graves from the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, as well as the SFPD personnel assigned to the Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory for their assistance during this investigation.

A booking photo will be released once it becomes available. If you feel you may have been a victim or have had any suspicious contact with Enea, please contact the Internal Affairs Criminal Unit at (415) 882-8420.

To see a video of the press conference, by KTVU Channel 2 News click here.

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