Bookmark and Share

rss logo Top San Francisco Area Local News Stories

Source: MedleyStory

Crash blocks connecting SB Hwy 101 and NB Hwy 280

An accident is blocking a lane from U.S. Highway 101 to Interstate Highway 280 in San Jose Saturday night, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Officers responded to a report of the accident on southbound Highway 101 to northbound Highway 280 around 9:30 p.m., CHP officials said.

The accident is south of East Santa Clara Street and Alum Rock Avenue.

A Sig-alert was issued at 9:51 p.m. and there is no estimated time of when the lane will reopen, according to the CHP.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 22:24:55 -0700

Traffic stop yields stolen laptop, meth

A traffic stop led to the arrest of San Jose woman suspected of possessing methamphetamine and a stolen laptop on Wednesday.

An officer patrolling in the 1700 block of Bridgeway on Wednesday saw a Nissan Maxima with expired registration, police said.

The officer conducted a traffic stop and ran a license check on the driver, who was found to be released from prison early under the state's realignment plan for possession of stolen property, police said.

Christie Entac, 30, was found to have a $50,000 felony arrest warrant out of San Jose and the officer arrested and booked her into Marin County Jail, according to police.

While she was being processed into jail, deputies found 1.7 grams of suspected methamphetamine concealed in her waistband, police said.

A search of Entac's vehicle uncovered a laptop reportedly stolen from Sunnyvale, according to police.

Officers are working to determine who owns the laptop, police said.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 21:47:56 -0700

Petaluma woman arrested for driving 110 mph on Hwy 101

A 21-year-old Petaluma woman was arrested for reckless driving after a California Highway Patrol officer clocked her driving 110 mph on northbound U.S. Highway 101 in Sonoma County early Friday morning.

A CHP officer on patrol on northbound Highway 101 saw a Toyota Solara speed pass his location just south of Windsor.

The officer attempted to overtake the vehicle as the driver allegedly made multiple lane changes while speeding. The officer recorded the Toyota traveling at 110 mph as it approached Shiloh Road, the CHP said.

When the officer initiated an enforcement stop, the driver pulled over the vehicle.

The driver, identified as Michaela Kolodin, 21, was ordered out of the vehicle, but when the officer began to place her under arrest for reckless driving, Kolodin tried to twist free and began struggling with the officer.

The officer was able to regain control and placed Kolodin under arrest for reckless driving as well as resisting arrest, the CHP said.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 21:43:24 -0700

Burlingame DUI weekend enforcement steps up

The Burlingame Police Department's DUI Enforcement Team will be out Saturday night on the lookout for drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs.

The DUI saturation patrols will be deployed beginning today at 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. on Sunday in areas where DUI collisions or arrests have frequently occurred, police said.

Burlingame police Capt. Eric Wollman said it is the department's goal to get as many "drunk drivers off the road and make our streets safer for motorists and pedestrians alike."

Over the past three years on the Peninsula 46 people have died and 374 people were injured as a result of DUI collision, police said.

In addition to the injuries and deaths that result from not designating a sober driver, police said an injury DUI collision can cost taxpayers about $70,000 while a fatal DUI collision can cost about $1.4 million.

Wollman said tonight's enforcement is a zero tolerance crackdown, so drivers should expect to drive sober or get pulled over.

The enforcement operation is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Drunken drivers should be reported by calling 911.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 21:40:19 -0700

Suspect in killing of deputies was twice deported

A man suspected of killing two deputies during a shooting rampage in Northern California was deported twice to Mexico and had a drug conviction, federal authorities said Saturday.

The suspected shooter told Sacramento County Sheriff's investigators that he was 34-year-old Marcelo Marquez of Salt Lake City. However, his fingerprints match the biometric records of a Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte in a federal database, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.

Monroy-Bracamonte was first removed from the country in 1997 after being convicted in Arizona for possession of narcotics for sale. Monroy-Bracamonte was arrested and repatriated to Mexico a second time in 2001, Kice said.

"The fingerprints were the basis for our request for an immigration detainer," she said.

The detainer requests that local authorities turn him over to federal custody after his case is adjudicated so ICE can purse his deportation, Kice said.

The suspect was being held without bail on suspicion of two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of carjacking.

His wife, 38-year-old Janelle Marquez Monroy, was also in custody on suspicion of attempted murder and carjacking after the attack on Friday that left two deputies dead and two other victims wounded.

Investigators spent Saturday at the multiple crime scenes "trying to kind of sort through the chaos so we can methodically rebuild this," Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner said.

The two suspects were questioned for hours as authorities sought a motive for the shootings that began when Sacramento County sheriff's Deputy Danny Oliver, 47, was shot in the forehead with an assault rifle at close range as he checked out a suspicious car in a motel parking lot.

The suspects have talked to investigators, Bonner said, but what sparked the shootings remained unclear.

"'Why,' I guess, will remain a question for a long time," he said. "Why was his reaction so violent?"

It was also unclear what brought the heavily armed suspects from Utah to California, Bonner said. There were no indications they had been sought by authorities.

No attorneys were listed for either suspect in jail records.

Krista Sorenson of Salt Lake City was confounded by the arrest of Marquez. He and his brother had mowed her lawn about four years ago.

"They were just super nice, decent hard-working, trying to figure out how to make a living," she said.

Oliver, a 15-year veteran of the department, left a wife and two daughters.

After he was killed, the gunman shot Anthony Holmes, 38, of Sacramento at least twice, including once in the head, during an attempted carjacking. He was in fair condition.

The attackers then stole a pickup truck and fled about 30 miles northeast into neighboring Placer County.

Two deputies who approached the pickup while it was parked alongside a road were shot with an AR-15-type assault weapon and never had a chance to return fire, Placer County sheriff's spokeswoman Dena Erwin said.

Homicide Detective Michael David Davis Jr., 42, died at a hospital 26 years to the day after his father, for whom he was named, died in the line of duty as a Riverside County deputy.

Deputy Jeff Davis was treated for a gunshot wound to the arm. The two deputies are not related.

The gunman fled into a neighborhood near a high school and ran into a home. Police used tear gas to force him to surrender.

Several dozen law enforcement vehicles, with lights silently flashing, escorted a hearse carrying Michael Davis' flag-draped casket to a funeral home as bystanders and law enforcement officials hugged, saluted and wiped away tears.

"It's a nightmare for all of us," Bonner said.

He recalled Davis as a well-liked investigator who once took it upon himself to organize a funeral for an abandoned baby.

"He saw it, his heart ached, and he did something about it," Bonner said. "That's who he was."

Davis' wife works as an evidence technician for the department and his brother is a sergeant.

"Mike was quite a character," Erwin said. "He was very funny. He didn't take things very seriously, maybe because he was a homicide detective for so long."

A search of Utah court records for Marquez shows a history of about 10 tickets and misdemeanor traffic offenses between 2003 and 2009. Those records list one speeding ticket for Monroy in 2009 and three small claims filings attempting to collect outstanding debts.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 19:55:37 -0700

BART running on schedule after short delay

BART is running on schedule following a delay Saturday evening at the El Cerrito del Norte station due to police activity.

BART issued a service advisory about the delay at 6:43 p.m. at the station at 6400 Cutting Blvd. in El Cerrito.

Officers responded to a report of an armed man at the station and later discovered the man did not possess any illegal object, BART police said.

Trains on the Fremont and Richmond lines were experiencing 10-minute delays, according to BART.

Trains were running on time as of about 8:15 p.m., an agency dispatcher said.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 19:09:41 -0700

Teens arrested for dealing hallucinogenic, psychedelic drugs

Two high school students in Napa were arrested Thursday on suspicion of selling hallucinogenic and psychedelic drugs following a month-long undercover investigation, police said.

The Napa Special Investigations Bureau (NSIB) determined that the two teens had sold both LSD, commonly known as acid, and MDMA, which is commonly known as molly or ecstasy, in Napa and subsequently arrested them.

The drug LSD, which is short for d-lysergic acid diethylamide, is a potent hallucinogen that has a high potential for abuse, according to the police department. It is a psychoactive drug comparable to the hallucinogen mescaline, police said.

The drug MDMA, which is short for 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic.

It is a psychoactive drug comparable to the stimulant amphetamine, according to police.

The investigation began earlier this month when an undercover detective bought LSD-dosed sugar cubes along with capsules of Molly from a high school student at a business on Old Sonoma Road in Napa, according to police.

The detective authored a search warrant for the juvenile, his car and his parents' Napa residence.

On Thursday, a detective negotiated another purchase of acid and molly from the same high school student in the parking lot of a business on Old Sonoma Road.

This time, police arrested the juvenile and served the search warrant at the juvenile's home.

Detectives seized additional evidence related to the sales of acid, police said.

NSIB detectives were able to identify another high school student as the source of that student's drugs.

Detectives then went to the home of the teen's parents and obtained consent to search the property, where they seized acid, uncontaminated sugar cubes, and additional evidence linking the teen to the earlier sales of molly.

Both juveniles were arrested and booked into the Napa County Juvenile Hall for drug sales-related offenses.

Detectives worked with a Napa police school resource officer on this investigation.

Residents with information or complaints related to illicit drug use, sales, cultivation, or manufacturing are encouraged to call NSIB at (707) 253-4458, or report tips anonymously though NSIB's Drug Hotline at

(707) 224-3784 or the CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 450-9543. Tips can also be anonymously texted to 274637 with "NVCS" at the beginning of the tip.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:54:45 -0700

Knife-wielding bicyclist arrested after threatening CHP sergeant

 

An intoxicated bicyclist wielding a knife on U.S. Highway 101 near Interstate Highway 580 in San Rafael on Friday night was arrested after threatening to kill a CHP sergeant.

At about 11:45 p.m. on Friday, the CHP received a report of a bicyclist riding on southbound Highway 101 near the eastbound I-580 connector ramp.

A CHP sergeant responded to the area and soon located the bicyclist, identified later as 34-year-old San Rafael resident Bryan Loftus.

Loftus was sitting on a concrete wall on the transition ramp between southbound Highway 101 and eastbound I-580, according to the CHP.

The sergeant stepped out of his patrol vehicle and shouted for Loftus to come down off the wall.

Loftus came down from where he was sitting and then walked towards his bicycle, which stood propped against the concrete wall. 

The CHP sergeant attempted to give Loftus further commands, but Loftus suddenly turned toward the sergeant, withdrawing a knife from his pocket. 

Loftus started walking toward the sergeant, who drew his pistol and took cover behind his patrol vehicle, the CHP said. 

Loftus continued to come toward the sergeant, refusing to drop the knife despite the sergeant's requests.

He told the sergeant that he would not drop the knife and that the sergeant would have to kill him.

The sergeant continued to order Loftus to drop the knife and eventually Loftus complied.

The CHP took Loftus into custody without further incident.

Following a medical clearance at Marin General Hospital, CHP booked him into Marin County Jail for felony assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and for public intoxication.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:33:57 -0700

Bay Area prostitution ring shut down

Federal authorities say they've shut down a San Francisco Bay Area prostitution ring that operated dozens of brothels for more than a decade.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Friday (http://bit.ly/1t3je6b ) that the U.S. Attorney's Office has indicted 10 people in connection with the operation that brought women from Asian countries to work as prostitutes. The charges include money laundering, importing people for immoral purposes and the promotion of prostitution.

Authorities say the group ran 40 brothels in places, including San Francisco, Sunnyvale and Fremont, with advertisements on websites, such as MyRedbook, Craigslist and Backpage.

They say the ring started back in 2002, sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to Singapore, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The defendants each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:30:39 -0700

Complex investigation follows killing of deputies

More than 100 law enforcement officers from across Northern California responded without being asked after hearing that one of their own had been killed at the start of a shooting rampage, a sheriff's spokeswoman said Saturday.

Federal, state and local officers eventually swarmed six separate crime scenes across a 30-mile region encompassing two counties, Placer County sheriff's spokeswoman Dena Erwin said.

"It was an amazing response," Erwin said. "We don't call for those people, they just show up on their own because they know a fellow officer has been shot."

The officers will all be questioned as part of the complex, ongoing investigation into the attack on Friday that ended after two deputies were dead and two other victims were wounded.

Investigators spent Saturday at the multiple crime scenes "trying to kind of sort through the chaos so we can methodically rebuild this," Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner said.

Two suspects were questioned for hours as authorities sought a motive for the shootings that began when Sacramento County sheriff's Deputy Danny Oliver, 47, was shot in the forehead with an assault rifle at close range as he checked out a suspicious car in a motel parking lot.

Deputies suspect the shooter was 34-year-old Marcelo Marquez of Salt Lake City, who was being held without bail on suspicion of two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of carjacking.

His wife, 38-year-old Janelle Marquez Monroy, was in custody on suspicion of attempted murder and two counts of carjacking.

The suspects have talked to investigators, Bonner said, but what sparked the shootings remained unclear.

"'Why,' I guess, will remain a question for a long time," he said. "Why was his reaction so violent?"

It was also unclear what brought the heavily armed suspects from Utah to California, Bonner said. There were no indications they had been sought by authorities.

No attorneys were listed for either suspect in jail records.

Krista Sorenson of Salt Lake City was confounded by the arrest of Marquez. He and his brother had mowed her lawn about four years ago.

"They were just super nice, decent hard-working, trying to figure out how to make a living," she said.

Oliver, a 15-year veteran of the department, left a wife and two daughters.

After he was killed, the gunman shot Anthony Holmes, 38, of Sacramento at least twice, including once in the head, during an attempted carjacking. He was in fair condition.

The attackers then stole a pickup truck and fled about 30 miles northeast into neighboring Placer County.

Two deputies who approached the pickup while it was parked alongside a road were shot with an AR-15-type assault weapon and never had a chance to return fire, Erwin said.

Homicide Detective Michael David Davis Jr., 42, died at a hospital 26 years to the day after his father, for whom he was named, died in the line of duty as a Riverside County deputy.

Deputy Jeff Davis was treated for a gunshot wound to the arm. The two deputies are not related.

Several dozen law enforcement vehicles, with lights silently flashing, escorted a hearse carrying Michael Davis' flag-draped casket to a funeral home as bystanders and law enforcement officials hugged, saluted and wiped away tears.

"It's a nightmare for all of us," Bonner said.

He recalled Davis as a well-liked investigator who once took it upon himself to organize a funeral for an abandoned baby.

"He saw it, his heart ached, and he did something about it," Bonner said. "That's who he was."

Davis' wife works as an evidence technician for the department and his brother is a sergeant.

"Mike was quite a character," Erwin said. "He was very funny. He didn't take things very seriously, maybe because he was a homicide detective for so long."

A search of Utah court records for Marquez shows a history of about 10 tickets and misdemeanor traffic offenses between 2003 and 2009. Those records list one speeding ticket for Monroy in 2009 and three small claims filings attempting to collect outstanding debts.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:23:22 -0700

Dancing priests become Internet sensation

A video of a pair of dueling, dancing American priests studying in Rome has gone viral, following in the footsteps of a now-famous Italian nun whose Alicia Keys-esque voice won her a singing contest and a record contract.

The Rev. David Rider, 29, of Hyde Park, New York, and the Rev. John Gibson, 28, of Milwaukee, first shot to Internet fame when they were filmed in April during a fundraiser at the North American College, the elite American seminary up the hill from the Vatican.

Rider warmed up the crowd with a lively tap-dance routine, only to be pushed aside by Gibson's fast-footed Irish dance. Soon they were battling it out, trying to impress the crowd.

At the back of the room, journalist Joan Lewis recorded the event and later posted on YouTube.

"All of a sudden the numbers started rising and rising," Lewis told The Associated Press. The video has nearly 260,000 views.

Their Internet success has drawn comparisons to Sr. Cristina Scuccia, who won the Italian edition of "The Voice" in June with a series of unadorned pop song performances, in full habit. Her first album features a cover of Madonna's "Like a Virgin."

As with Scuccia, the priests' online popularity was tinged with criticism. Some commentators wrote that the priests shouldn't have been dancing under a crucifix and a painting of Pope Francis, calling it "disrespectful."

"We would just refer them to the Bible," Rider says, "where the Lord tells us to live with joy."

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:59:57 -0700

Rain showers trigger East Bay BART delays

Rainy weather led to mechanical problems for BART trains Saturday morning resulting in major delays between the Coliseum/Oakland Airport station and the Bay Fair station, according to BART officials.

BART initially announced a 20-miunte delay to their trains on the Dublin/Pleasanton, Fremont, Richmond and Daly City directions around 6:55 a.m.

At about 7 a.m., BART officials announced that trains on those lines were experiencing delays of up to 30-minutes.

As of about 9 a.m., only trains traveling in the Fremont and Dublin/Pleasanton directions were experiencing delays between 10 to 15 minutes, according to BART officials.

Water intrusion, as a result of the rain overnight, impacted train control equipment and caused BART crews to respond to the scene to resolve the problem, BART officials said.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:37:28 -0700

UCSF designated as priority Ebola treatment facility

Five University of California medical centers, including one at University of California at San Francisco, are now considered priority hospitals to treat confirmed Ebola cases in California, the UC Office of the President announced Friday.

While there are currently no confirmed cases of Ebola in California, the UC Office of the President has reported to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that all five UC medical centers are now ready, if needed, to provide in-patient care for Californians who may contract Ebola.

"All of the UC Medical Centers specialize in complex care and operate as or staff level one trauma centers," CDPH director Dr. Ron Chapman said in a statement.

The California Nurses Association (CNA) and National Nurses United (NNU), which represents about 12,000 registered nurses in the major UC medical centers, however, said in a statement released Friday that the UC and California Hospital Association officials are "giving the public a false picture about Ebola readiness in the UC hospitals."

CNA/NNU executive director Rosa Ann DeMoro said that based on what the UC nurses reported as recently as Friday, the nurses "are unprepared, unprotected and very concerned."

DeMoro said that over the last two months CNA/NNU has informed the UC officials about standards that nurses say they require to be protected in the event that they need to treat an Ebola patient.

All hospitals in California are expected to screen, identify, and isolate any patients with Ebola risk and other hospitals will likely be identified as additional priority hospitals for Ebola treatment.

The UC Medical Centers are required to meet standards set by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) guaranteeing that the appropriate equipment, training, and other measures are in place to protect worker health and safety while caring for Ebola patients.

The CDPH has also committed to backing the five medical centers by helping to provide them with the right protective equipment, should the hospitals run low on supplies.

State officials will work with these medical centers to ensure that potential medical waste generated from the treatment of an Ebola patient will be properly handled and disposed.

"Stepping up to a public health crisis is what these medical centers do, and in the past weeks we have been actively readying ourselves for any health eventuality related to Ebola," Dr. John Stobo, UC senior vice president for health sciences and services said in a statement.

For more information about how the state is preparing for potential cases of Ebola, visit www.cdph.ca.gov.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:47:31 -0700

Oakland officials investigate abuse claims against fourth grade teacher

Oakland public school administrators placed a fourth grade teacher on administrative leave Friday after a parent made allegations she physically, mentally and emotionally abused her daughter.

Parent Sharena Thomas alleged that her daughter's fourth grade teacher at the Rise Community School, called her the "darkest kid in class," dragged her down two flights of stairs by her wrists, threw grapes in her face, and put her fist in her face.

Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint said the fact that the teacher was placed on paid leave does not indicate any wrongdoing.

"Certainly, these are serious charges and we will research them to the fullest extent to determine what level of truth may reside in them," Flint said. "At the same time, the teacher is obligated to receive due process. We won't make any determination as to her status until we complete the investigation."

Thomas said the incidents occurred on Oct. 9, after the student described another classmate's hair as "nappy." Thomas was picking up her daughter from school that day when she spoke to her teacher at the school office.

The teacher reportedly asked Thomas if her daughter had a problem being dark-skinned and claimed she lied in class. Thomas said she thought the claim was odd and filed a complaint with the principal's office.

Roughly a week later, Thomas, her daughter, and the teacher met with the principal but Thomas said the teacher became belligerent.

Several days later, Thomas said she took her daughter to church to speak with a pastor. At the time, the girl told the pastor about the alleged physical abuse, which she had not previously disclosed.

Thomas said her daughter told her pastor that the teacher threatened to harm her mother if she told her about what happened.

Thomas filed a second complaint with new allegations, and Flint said the school immediately put the teacher on paid leave, as per the district's protocol.

Thomas said she also filed a police report and wants to press criminal abuse charges against the teacher. Oakland police could not be reached this evening to confirm that they had received the report.

"I want these kids to be safe. They deserve to be in a safe environment," Thomas said. "We have a drop out rate here. Kids who drop out are troubled. This could lead my child to go in any direction."

Thomas described her daughter as a straight-A student. She said she had never had these kinds of issues prior to the start of this school year.

Flint said the accused teacher is a "veteran" in the district who has been teaching at Rise Community School for "less than five years."

She had one other complaint filed against her, which Flint said arose from a personal dispute that escalated into a heated argument.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:26:13 -0700

3 officers suspected of sharing nude photos

Authorities say a California Highway Patrol officer suspected of stealing nude and racy photos from the cellphones of women arrested on drunken driving charges sent those photos to at least two fellow officers.

The Contra Costa Times reported Friday that Officer Sean Harrington confessed to investigators in what he and other officers called a game.

Investigators say Harrington sent photos to fellow officers in Dublin, but learned it working in Los Angeles, and confessed to doing this half a dozen times over several years.

CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow says his agency has launched an investigation, adding that the allegations anger and disgust him.

Contra Costa County prosecutors are considering criminal charges.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Harrington and two other officers under investigation were unsuccessful.

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 09:35:13 -0700

Port Walk a hot spot to watch game, for free

Some people might say it's the best place to watch the World Series if you don't have a ticket.

For those who want to feel the excitement and be part of the game but can't afford to pay hundreds of dollars for a seat in the ballpark, the place to go is the Port Walk near McCovey Cove.

On the water, McCovey Cove filled up with the famous flotilla of boats, kayaks and people paddling past the police on patrol.

Nearby, a crowd of Giants and Royals fans moved onto the Port Walk.

"You know what, if I had a thousand dollars, I'd be inside right now," said Steve Pesely who came from Sacramento to cheer for the Kansas City Royals.

He was among hundreds who stood just outside the gate for a free glimpse of the game through gate bars and a chain link fence.

"When you're a college student and you don't have enough money to go inside and even stand up for $500 this is definitely worth it to me," said Elise Hall of San Jose.

Some people brought binoculars, a box, or a bucket to stand on. Others came with radios.

"This is A $500 seat right here, but you can see free with this thing. Binoculars you know," said Marc Serrano of San Jose, pointing to the orange bucket he was using as a platform.

It's the group called the Knothole Gang, which refers to the old tradition of fans sneaking peaks through knotholes in ballpark fences. Fans wait for hours for a turn inside AT&T Park's special viewing spot, just feet from right field. They can watch up to three innings for free.

'It's the next best thing to being in the stadium. It's awesome," said Cole Cross who drove hundreds of miles from the Yurok Indian Reservation north of Humboldt.

Some fans brought gloves in case someone hit one out of the park.

For die-hard fans, it's just as sweet as being inside.

"You get out here and get that fresh air and all the people out here. It's cool, you know?" said Serrano.

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:38:57 -0700

Online retailer agrees to pay $1.8M for misleading customers on subscription fees

An online clothing retailer Friday agreed to pay prosecutors in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties $1.8 million to settle a suit over misleading customers about automatic monthly payments charged to their credit cards, according to a spokeswoman.

The settlement between the two counties and JustFabulous Inc., the El Segundo-based owner of four popular personal shopper websites, was finalized Friday, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Francisca Allen said.

Allen, who works for the district attorney's consumer protection unit in San Jose, said prosecutors investigated complaints about JustFabulous Inc. and found the firm's websites did not comply with California consumer laws on reporting subscription fees to customers.

The company's sites JustFab.com, Fabkids.com, Shoedazzle.com and Fabletics.com, advertised clothing, shoes and accessories at regular and deeply discounted prices, according to Allen.

If the consumer clicked on the low price, they would receive the item but also be charged a $39.95 monthly subscription fee on their credit cards, Allen said.

The fees could be used as credit toward online purchases but some consumers were unaware of the monthly charges and JustFabulous only permitted customers to cancel them between the first and fifth day of the month or else be charged for that month, according to Allen.

Under California consumer protection laws, an explanation about subscription service fees like those used by JustFabulous must be posted on websites "clearly and conspicuously," usually with a bold and colorful font easily seen next to the discounted product offer, Allen said.

JustFabulous had failed to do that and instead buried it in fine print, so some people did not know about the charges, Allen said.

In its settlement agreement with the two counties, JustFabulous will pay $1,875,000 in penalties and costs - funds to be split between the Santa Clara and Santa Cruz D.A. offices to pay for future consumer protection investigations - and bring their websites into compliance by Nov. 10, Allen said.

Consumers residing in California who believe they were misled by JustFabulous will be able to join a pending class action lawsuit against the company and file claims for reimbursement, according to Allen.

Prosecutors do not know how many consumers may have been misled by JustFabulous about the subscription continuity agreement or how much money they may have lost to the company in charges to their credit cards, Allen said. 

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:30:12 -0700

Giants' toughest fans turn out for special viewing party

With the World Series game on the big screen television, balloons and orange banners, a small group gathered to cheer on the Giants.  This was more than a humble a World Series viewing party.  It was a much needed escape for a few young patients staying at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital for treatment.

“I like Buster Posey because when I played baseball when I was younger, I was catcher and I just like that position,” said Andrew Ford, an 11-year-old patient.

Andrew is from Ukiah, CA.  He suffers from ulcerative colitis, a painful GI condition that can require hospitalization and surgery. 

“It’s kind of tough, but I get to watch it here at the hospital with the TVs so I'm all good,” he said.

“It has been tough, and I look at him and he goes through so much,” said Amanda Ford, Andrew’s mother.  “As I said, he's my hero.”

The gathering lifted the spirits of patients and their families.  It was a chance for them to get out of their hospital rooms and share the fun of the World Series with other fans.

“It's a little bit more excitement, and you get to share in the craziness of the playoffs and the World Series,” said Jorge Abaunza, of South San Francisco. 

Abaunza’s 4-year-old daughter is being treated at the hospital. 

Only a handful of patients turned out for the viewing party.  But Jennifer Belke, a Child Life Specialist at UCSF, said the low turnout wasn’t a bad thing at all.

She said while the staff originally expected about 15 patients to attend, most of those patients ended up being discharged earlier in the day and were allowed to go home to watch the game.

“It means they're doing better and can go home and manage things with antibiotics,” said Belke.

And for those still there, even a small party made being stuck in the hospital during the World Series just a little bit better.

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:36:43 -0700

Suspect arrested in death of 2 California deputies

A man armed with an assault rifle shot three sheriff's deputies and a civilian, killing two of the deputies and leading dozens of police officers on a wild six-hour chase and manhunt Friday that spanned two Northern California counties before the 34-year-old suspect was taken into custody.

Marcelo Marquez, of Salt Lake City, was taken alive Friday afternoon from a home in Auburn in Placer County after the shooting hours earlier in a strip mall in a commercial area of Sacramento, said Placer County Sheriff's spokeswoman Dena Erwin.

"This guy was on a one-man crime spree today. He has no idea of the damage he did," she said.

Marquez, 34, was examined at a hospital for unspecified injuries.

He and a woman also taken into custody were being questioned by investigators about their motives late Friday night and it was unclear when they would be formally arrested, Sacramento County sheriff's Sgt. Lisa Bowman said.

The shootings sparked a manhunt that included search dogs, helicopters and armored vehicles. Residents nearby were told to stay indoors, and schools were locked down. The owner of the home said officers used tear gas to drive the suspect from the basement.

"I think there's those people who would say, 'You know what, I wish you'd killed him,'" Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner said at a news conference. "Now, that's not who we are. We are not him. We did our job."

He identified his slain officer as sheriff's homicide Det. Michael David Davis Jr. The 42-year-old detective died 26 years to the day after his father, for whom he is named, died in the line of duty as a Riverside County deputy sheriff.

Gov. Jerry Brown Brown called the killings "a tragic reminder of the sacrifices we demand of our peace officers and the incredible courage they display as they protect our communities."

Flags at the state Capitol were ordered flown at half-staff.

The slaying of the deputies was the single deadliest day for California law enforcement since February 2013. In separate incidents that month, a former Los Angeles police officer killed two law enforcement officers, and two Santa Cruz police detectives were shot and killed.

Marquez had a driver's license that identified him as a Salt Lake City resident.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said the deadly chain of events began when Deputy Danny Oliver, 47, approached a suspicious vehicle in a motel parking lot around 10:30 a.m. and was shot in the forehead at close range. Oliver, the first county deputy killed since 2008, was a 15-year veteran who leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

"He was not able to return fire or do anything," Jones said. He said Oliver's partner shot back as the vehicle fled.

Bonner later described Davis as an 18-year law enforcement officer. Davis leaves behind a wife and four children.

Bonner said the wounded deputy, Jeff Davis, is a 17-year veteran who was shot in the arm. He was released after treatment at a hospital.

About a mile away, the suspect attempted to steal a car, but shot the driver in the head when he refused to give up his keys, Jones said. He did not know the condition of that victim but said he was alive and conscious when he was transported.

The assailants then stole a pickup from Jose Cruz, who was gardening outside a client's house in Sacramento.

Cruz told The Sacramento Bee that a man told him he needed a favor: "I need your keys," the man said. "Hurry up, because they're chasing me."

The suspects then fled to neighboring Placer County, about 30 miles north of Sacramento.

Deputies swarmed the area, and the suspect shot two deputies with an AR-15-type assault weapon.

Laura Larson, who lives at the Auburn home where the suspect was apprehended, told KCRA-TV that her uncle was at home when Marquez broke in but her uncle survived. She said her family has "no idea who this guy is."

House painter Sean Smith of Sacramento said he was working when he heard gunshots.

"Once I heard the rapid fire, I knew it was a shootout," he said. "Within 10 minutes there were sirens all over the place and six helicopters screaming overhead."

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:29:58 -0700

East Palo Alto man caught peeping girls in shower, arrested

Palo Alto police arrested an East Palo Alto man on Thursday after he was spotted allegedly watching two young girls as they showered in a hotel.

Jose Refugio Cesar Garcia, 47, was detained near the Oaks Motel at 4279 El Camino Real after police were called there around 9:15 p.m. on a report of a peeping incident.

A family at the hotel told police that they had been giving their two young daughters, both under 7 years old, a shower when they spotted a man outside watching through the window.

The father confronted the suspect, who left on foot, and then contacted the hotel's front desk staff, who called police.

Garcia was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor peeping and a felony probation violation. He was on probation out of San Francisco County for soliciting a lewd act and resisting arrest.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call police at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or phone call to (650) 383-8984.

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:09:06 -0700