No arrests have been made in three similar bank robberies across San Francisco on Tuesday, police said.

In each incident the suspect, a man in his 30s or 40s, handed over a demand note to a bank teller and then fled with money, police said.

The first bank robbery occurred in the 2400 block of California Street around 10:10 a.m. in the city’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, police said.

Later in the day at about 4:30 p.m., a man entered a bank in the 300 block of California Street in the Financial District, according to police.

He handed a demand note to one teller, who complied with the order, and also made off with money from another bank teller, police said.

He may have been armed with a handgun wrapped in a newspaper, police said.

Shortly before 5 p.m., a third bank robbery was reported in the 1800 block of Irving Street in the Sunset District, according to police.

The suspect in that robbery then fled west on Irving Street, police said.

No injuries were reported in the three robberies, police said.

The amount of money stolen in each robbery was not available this morning.

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A man who was found fatally shot in a parked car in front of his home in San Leandro on Sunday morning may have been involved in criminal activity, police said.

However, San Leandro police said they don’t want to release the man’s name or many other details about the crime because there’s still an active investigation under way.

Officers responded to a report of an unresponsive man in a parked car with its engine running in a driveway of a home in the 400 block of Kenilworth Avenue at about 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, police said.

The man had injuries consistent with being shot and police said he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The case was ruled to be a homicide after an autopsy was conducted, according to police.

San Leandro police said the victim lived at the residence where the crime occurred and the incident was not a random act of violence.

In a statement, San Leandro police said, “Although police have not established a motive for the murder, they are investigating the possibility that the victim or others at the residence may have been involved in some sort of criminal activity.”

Police said they haven’t identified a suspect at this time. Lt. Robert McManus said San Leandro police are “committed to doing everything possible to identify and arrest the person responsible for this violent crime in this quiet neighborhood.”

McManus said area residents who have a video camera system or any information about the homicide should call San Leandro police at (510) 577-2740.

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Napa police arrested two East Bay men Monday who are suspected of stealing cellphones from Verizon stores in the North Bay, a police lieutenant said.

An employee of the Verizon store at 1715 Trancas St. called police around 5:40 p.m. to report three people in the store who matched the description of the suspects who stole phones at the Verizon stores in Fairfield, Vacaville and Vallejo, Lt. Debbie Peecook said.

Police observed the suspects take five cellphones worth $3,100 and flee the store, Peecook said.

Police arrested Artis Crenshaw, 24, of Antioch, after he fought with an officer and bystanders outside the front door, Peecook said. Crenshaw was in possession of cocaine and he was wanted on several outstanding warrants.

Bequandre James Davis, 23, of Pittsburg, was arrested near the state Highway 29 off-ramp after a short pursuit by two officers, Peecook said.

The third suspect fled north to the Target store and across Highway 29 to the Marriot Hotel, Peecook said. Police searched the area but did not locate the suspect.

All the stolen phones were recovered, Peecook said.

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A man was shot in the leg during an attempted robbery outside his home in San Francisco’s Mission District on Tuesday evening, police said.

The victim, a man in his 30s, walked out of his home near the intersection of York and 23rd streets at about 6:30 p.m. when two male suspects approached him, according to police.

The suspects, described as two men in their 20s, forced the victim back to his front door and demanded he open the door for them.

The victim took out his key and broke it, police said.

He was able to break free from the suspects and run, but heard a gunshot and noticed that he had been hit, police said.

The suspects fled the scene following the shooting and no arrests have been made, police said.

Police said a four-door silver sedan was at the scene and may be associated with the suspects.

The victim was transported to San Francisco General Hospital with a gunshot wound to his leg that does not appear to be life-threatening, police said.

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Homeowner Shoots Man in Benicia

December 18, 2014 12:00 pm · 1 comment

A Benicia man who was drinking alcohol with a friend early this morning was shot by a homeowner when he mistakenly broke into what he thought was his own home, police said today.

The 66-year-old homeowner called police around 4:30 a.m. when he saw someone banging on the glass door at the rear of his residence in the 100 block of Panorama Drive, police Lt. Mike Greene said.

The homeowner told the intruder, later identified as 24-year-old True Hatch, to leave several times, but Hatch didn’t respond and smashed the glass door with an object he found in the back yard, Greene said.

The homeowner armed himself with a handgun because he feared for his and his wife’s safety, Greene said. Hatch entered and walked further inside the home as the homeowner yelled at him to leave, Greene said. The homeowner then shot Hatch once in the torso. Police arrived and took Hatch into custody.

Hatch went to a local hospital for treatment of a non-life threatening injury. Hatch told police he drank a considerable amount of alcohol at a nearby friend’s house before he left to walk home, Greene said.

Hatch mistakenly arrived at the Panorama address and broke the sliding glass door because he thought he had locked himself out of his home, Greene said.

Police are still trying to determine where Hatch lives. He was arrested for trespassing, vandalism, prowling and public intoxication, Greene said.

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The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a Tuesday armed robbery in Glen Ellen.

Deputies responded at 9:20 p.m. to the 13000 block of Gibson Street after a resident called 911 and reported a man drove a truck onto her property and was yelling for help because he was being robbed and threatened by a man with a gun.

Deputies said the victim reported he was accosted by three men in the parking lot of the Glen Ellen Grocery in the 13700 block of Arnold Drive.

The victim told deputies one of the men was armed with a gun and demanded the victim’s wallet.

Deputies said the victim and the suspect were involved in a brief struggle, and the suspect hit the victim in the head with the handgun.

The victim told deputies he fled the area in his truck as the suspects followed.

Deputies said the victim eventually abandoned his truck in the front yard of a residence while being chased on foot by the suspects.

The victim was transported to the hospital for his injuries.

The suspects fled the area and were not located.

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Police are investigating the Tuesday night death of a man in Petaluma.

Petaluma police said officers responded at 7:30 p.m. to a report of a man lying facedown on the sidewalk near the intersection of B Street and Petaluma Boulevard.

The man, who has not yet been identified, was transported to Petaluma Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

Police said the man, who was known to be a local transient, had a visible head injury.

Investigators are working to determine how the man suffered the injury and if it is relevant to the case.

Police said they did not receive any calls of an altercation or disturbance at the scene prior to the discovery of the body.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Petaluma Police Department’s Investigations Unit at (707) 778-4415.

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graffiti

A Petaluma man believed to be responsible for vandalizing property with graffiti from Bakersfield to Seattle was arrested Monday by Santa Cruz police after a six-month investigation, police said Tuesday.

Police arrested Derek Murphy, 21, at his home in Petaluma on suspicion of vandalizing parks, walls, fences and two police cars in Santa Cruz in tagging cases discovered beginning on June 10, police Deputy Chief Steve Clark said.

Murphy is suspected of spray painting the tag “BERG” or “GREB” in Santa Cruz and police also attribute numerous tags to him found along U.S. Highway 101, Interstate Highway 880 and state Highway 37, Clark said.

During its investigation of the tags in Santa Cruz, police shared information with a number of law enforcement agencies in Northern California about the tags and obtained a lead from an investigator with the San Francisco Police Department, Clark said.

The probe led Santa Cruz detectives to work with investigators in the Sonoma County and Napa County sheriff’s offices and from the collaboration, detectives identified Murphy and a second person as suspects, according to Clark.

On Monday, Santa Cruz police served a search warrant at Murphy’s residence in Petaluma and at a home in American Canyon, police said.

Police arrested Murphy and recovered from inside his home a portfolio of taggings, sketchbooks, canvas art, photos, computers, digital cameras, and later found images of taggings on private and public property at several locations, Clark said.

Santa Cruz detectives believe that Murphy is responsible for vandalizing places with his tags throughout the West Coast, from Bakersfield to Seattle, according to Clark.

Police, along with criminal penalties, will ask the District Attorney’s office to require that Murphy provide restitution for property he allegedly damaged, Clark said.

Murphy was previously arrested in San Francisco on suspicion of vandalism and resisting arrest, police said.

Police are also seeking a warrant for a second suspect in the tagging in Santa Cruz, Clark said.

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University of California at Berkeley officials notified 1,600 people this week that their personal data might have been hacked.

The information, accessed on the campus’ Real Estate Division, includes around 1,300 Social Security numbers and around 300 credit card numbers belonging to current and former campus employees and some individuals who have done business with the division, according to university officials.

The data covers a period between the early 1990s and May 2014.

There is no evidence the data has actually been downloaded and used, but the university is notifying potential victims in compliance with state law. The university is offering free credit monitoring to everyone affected, according to a statement from Paul Rivers, the university’s interim chief information security officer.

“We understand that it’s disturbing to learn that your Social Security number or credit card number may have been exposed to hackers, and we truly regret that this has occurred,” the statement said.

The university learned of the breach in September and conducted a review determining what personally identifiable information was affected.

That review concluded Nov. 17 and the process of notifying affected individuals began Friday.

The Real Estate Division has taken steps since the breach was discovered to improve security, officials said.

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A man who was fatally shot in East Oakland on Saturday night has been identified by police as 34-year-old Maurice Hiley of Oakland.

Officers who responded to a report of gunshots fired in the 2000 block of 85th Avenue near Bancroft Avenue at about 8:10 p.m. on Saturday found Hiley unresponsive and suffering from gunshot wounds, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the fatal shooting occurred outside Hiley’s home.

No arrests have been and police haven’t released any information about suspects or a motive.

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A man suffered life-threatening injuries when he was assaulted and robbed at United Nations Plaza in San Francisco on Friday morning, police said.

At about 9:55 a.m. Friday, near the intersection of Market and Hyde streets, a male suspect allegedly punched another man in the head, police said.

The victim, a man in his 40s, fell to the ground and struck his head on the pavement, according to police.

The suspect allegedly robbed the victim, but police have not said what items were taken.

Police said the victim was rendered unconscious and transported via ambulance to San Francisco General Hospital with injuries considered life-threatening.

No arrests have been made in connection with the attack and police have not yet released a description of the suspect.

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The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office is working to recover human remains today that were found on the side of state Highway 9 near Saratoga over the weekend.

The remains were reported on Sunday at a site off the side of the highway near Booker Creek Road in unincorporated Santa Clara County, in the hills above the city of Saratoga, according to sheriff’s office officials.

The remains appear to have been at the site for around a year, officials said.

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Transient Man Arrested for Murder

December 17, 2014 12:00 pm · 0 comments

Police arrested a transient man on suspicion of murdering another transient man beneath the U.S. Highway 101 on-ramp in San Francisco’s Mission District on Monday morning.

At about 6:30 a.m. on Monday, police received a request for a wellness check on a person beneath the highway overpass, San Francisco police spokeswoman Officer Grace Gatpandan said today.

Emergency crews responded to the area and found the victim unresponsive near the intersection of Potrero Avenue and Cesar Chavez Street, near Potrero del Sol skatepark and playground, Gatpandan said.

Medics pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Another man located at the scene, identified as 36-year-old transient Cesar Castellanos, was arrested in connection with the homicide, according to Gatpandan.

The cause of the man’s death remains under investigation.

The medical examiner’s office has not released the identity of the deceased man and police said he was classified as John Doe at the scene.

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Police arrested three suspected gang members Monday suspected of being involved in a triple shooting that killed two including a four-year-old girl in October, police said.

The killing took place before midnight Oct. 10 near the Valley Inn at 970 Main St. in Watsonville, according to police.

The shooter also killed Ramon Rendon, who appeared to be the shooter’s target and wounded another man. Police believe stray bullets injured the man and killed the girl. Both were in the office of the Fish House Bar & Grill at 972 Main St.

When police arrived to investigate the shooting, they arrested Michael Escobar, 31, as he fled the scene. Police found him wearing military-style body armor and in possession of a handgun.

Police suspect Escobar to be a member of the Norteno gang in Watsonville. He was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail and charged with murder.

Police believe the killing involved a second shooter who they allege is Marcos Robles, 22, and who is currently at-large. Detectives and the District Attorney’s Office allege that a total of seven gang members played some part in the killing.

Besides Robles, two more are still at-large, including Amado Marshal Hernandez, 20, and Brandon Ruiz-Martinez, 20.

The three arrested Monday include Juan Carlos Cruz, 21, Roberto Ramirez, 22, and Jimmy Espinoza, 33. The seventh suspect, Gilberto Ponciano, 25, was already in the Santa Cruz County Jail for offenses that arose during the investigation of the killing.

Watsonville police are asking anyone with information as to the whereabouts of the three at-large suspects to call the investigations division at (831) 768-3389 or the crime tip line at (831) 768-3544.

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Police Suspect Business Fire is Arson

December 17, 2014 10:00 am · 0 comments

A fire that burned the entryway of Auto Tech Auto Body in Watsonville Sunday night is being investigated as an arson, Watsonville police announced Monday.

Watsonville police and Watsonville firefighters were dispatched at about 10:30 p.m. after a report of a possible structure fire in the area of Union Street and East Lake Avenue. Firefighters extinguished the fire in minutes, police said.

A preliminary investigation at the business located at 18 E. Lake St. indicated the origin of the fire is suspicious.

Police have very few leads currently and are asking anyone with information about the fire to call the Watsonville Police Department Investigations Bureau at (831) 768-3350 or the Watsonville Tipline at (831) 768-3544.

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