A Richmond man convicted for a 2011 crime spree in Antioch that featured multiple robberies, kidnapping, sexual battery and a stolen puppy was sentenced Friday, according to the Contra Costa District Attorney.

Leon Ferguson, 27, got a total sentence of 46 years to life in state prison. He will have to serve at least 85 percent of that term before he becomes eligible to apply for parole, Deputy District Attorney Aron J. DeFerrari said.

Ferguson committed four separate robberies between the evening hours of Feb. 13, 2014, and 11:45 a.m. the following day. He used a handgun in three of those incidents, according to prosecutors.

Two of those robberies also included sexual battery, in which Ferguson groped female victims. One robbery was also a home invasion that involved kidnapping and the theft of a puppy.

He was a parolee at large at the time, and was picked up on a warrant four days later on Feb 18, 2014. At the time of his arrest, Ferguson was in possession of a handgun and a black ski mask, prosecutors said.

Ferguson will serve 30 years to life for the kidnapping, as well as an additional 16 years for the other crimes involved, to run consecutively. It will be at least 39 years before he can apply for parole.

{ 0 comments }

The California Highway Patrol Golden Gate Air Operations Unit participated in first-responder training with Fairfield police and fire departments in Fairfield on Thursday.

A CHP helicopter joined the Fairfield Police Department and the Fairfield Fire Department at the Fairfield Public Safety Academy to perform several demonstrations for academy cadets.

The training included question and answer sessions with Fremont police motorcycle officers, a police canine unit, fire department personnel and the CHP helicopter crew.

The CHP crew worked with the fire department in a medical air evacuation demonstration.

The fire department used numerous battery-operated and hydraulic tools to take apart a damaged pickup truck to demonstrate an injured patient extraction.

Motorcycle officers participated in an agility course and there was a demonstration by the police department’s canine units.

Cadets were also given the opportunity to get an up-close view of the helicopter, along with a Fire Department truck and rescue equipment.

{ 0 comments }

Snow pack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range has decreased in the month of January, fueling concerns that California may have to endure a fourth consecutive year of drought, the Department of Water Resources announced today.

January is normally California’s wettest month, according to the DWR, and snow pack levels typically increase this time of year. DWR spokesman Doug Carlson said that the snow pack should be steadily building up from December through April.

“It’s going the wrong direction, there’s no doubt about that,” DWR spokesman Doug Carlson said.

According to the most recent measurements, snow pack is at just 25 percent of the long-term average statewide for this time of year. At one location 90 miles east of Sacramento, snow pack was measured at just 12 percent of average.

“The fact is that everybody who has concerns about drought conditions has reason to be concerned now,” Carlson said. “There’s less water going into the reservoirs, so there’s just no end in sight to the drought conditions that concern so many in our state.”

Nelsey Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the East Bay Municipal Utilities District, said the snow pack survey is very important to the Bay Area.

“This will definitely have an impact on the East Bay in particular,” Rodriguez said. “We draw 90 percent of our water from the Mokelumne River.”

The district’s total reservoir storage is currently at 49 percent of its overall capacity, and 69 percent of its long-term average. This time last year it was at 61 percent of overall capacity and 86 percent of long-term average.

“We continue to watch our water levels deplete slowly, and we’re monitoring every day so we can manage our way through this drought,” Rodriguez said.

{ 0 comments }

An 18-year-old man was stabbed during a confrontation between two gangs at the Roxy Stadium 14 movie theater in downtown Santa Rosa Thursday night, a police sergeant said.

The rival gang members were shouting slogans at each other at the movie theater at 85 Santa Rosa Ave. around 7 p.m. before the teen was stabbed, Sgt. John Cregan said.

The victim, who has a long history of gang involvement, was taken to a hospital for treatment, Cregan said.

No arrests were made.

{ 2 comments }

BART is looking to improve service after numbers released Thursday from a recent revealed customer satisfaction with the transportation service has fallen.

The survey found 74 percent of riders were satisfied with BART service, down from 84 percent of those surveyed in 2012.

The survey was presented to BART’s Board of Directors Thursday.

“High ridership and an aging infrastructure are stressing the BART system,” BART General Manager Grace Crunican said in a statement. “This survey underscores the importance of current and planned initiatives to modernize and increase the capacity of BART stations and BART train service.” Customers’ perception of seat availability has fallen by 8.5 percent since a 2012 survey, officials said.

Customers were also concerned with the temperatures inside trains, interior cleanliness and the cleanliness of stations.

Officials said BART plans to improve operational flexibility during peak commute hours and during delays with train rehabilitation projects and the implementation of the Contra Costa Crossover on the Pittsburg/Bay Point line, a project which will simplify moving trains from one track to another.

BART also plans on upgrading air conditioning systems on the most problematic cars and is proposing hiring additional cleaning crews to help keep up with increased ridership.

{ 1 comment }

A woman was injured Thursday in a residential structure fire in Alameda.

Firefighters responded at 8:45 p.m. to the 1100 block of Camino Del Valle on a report of a residential structure fire.

Firefighters arrived at the two-story townhouse to find a fire in two first-floor rooms of the residence and were able to put out the blaze before it spread to other structures.

A woman inside the residence was able to escape before emergency crews arrived, firefighters said.

She was transported to the hospital with injuries that were not life threatening.

There were no other reported injuries in the fire.

The residence sustained severe fire damage throughout the downstairs rooms, and there was heat and smoke damage throughout the residence, firefighters said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but investigators do believe the fire was accidental.

{ 0 comments }

Drivers who drink while cheering on their team Super Bowl Sunday can get a free tow home after the game, AAA said Thursday.

AAA is calling the offer the Tipsy Tow program, a program that has been going on for more than a decade.

The offer is good for the driver and vehicle and additional passengers provided there is enough room in the tow truck to transport them safely.

AAA will start the service at 6 p.m. Super Bowl Sunday and continue it through 6 a.m. February 2 in Northern California, Nevada and Utah. Drivers, passengers, party hosts, bartenders and restaurant managers can call 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) to arrange a free tow of up to 10 miles.

The Tipsy Tow program is open to everyone, including drivers who are not members of AAA.

AAA says when calling to say, “I need a Tipsy Tow.” No reservations are available.

Although Super Bowl celebrations are popular, AAA expects to be able to handle all the calls efficiently.

AAA spokeswoman Cynthia Harris said all the drivers and stations regularly available in Northern California will be available for calls.

“Every call that goes in will be serviced,” Harris said.

It’s unlikely there would be delays, but she said there could be if there was a storm or natural disaster, such as a Lake Tahoe snowstorm.

California Highway Patrol crash data show that the risk of an injury or fatal crash involving alcohol increases by 77 percent on Super Bowl Sunday in California and DUI offenses can be expensive.

A person’s first-time DUI conviction can cost about $15,649 or more including fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and increased insurance costs, AAA estimates. For men and women under 21, the cost of a first-time misdemeanor DUI is $21,500, AAA estimates.

Of any Sunday of the year, police make the most arrests on Super Bowl Sunday.

“We’re going to send a tow truck and get them home safely,” Harris said.

{ 0 comments }

suspect

The San Francisco Police Department released photos today of a man suspected of punching another man in the face before stealing his pit bull puppy on a bus in the city’s South of Market neighborhood early Thursday morning.

Police said the 18-year-old victim was riding the bus with his 4-month-old puppy near the intersection of Sixth and Mission streets shortly before 2:40 a.m. Thursday when a man approached him, according to police.

The suspect punched him in the face and then grabbed the victim’s puppy, named “Chester,” before exiting the Muni bus with it, police said.

Police have released photos of the small, dark-colored pit bull puppy as well as photos of the suspect obtained from Muni video surveillance footage.

According to police, the suspect is a black man in his 20s, standing about 5 feet 9 inches tall. He was last seen wearing a black winter vest with a dark gray hooded sweatshirt underneath.

In the photos taken from Muni surveillance footage, the suspect is wearing a black baseball cap, light-colored pants and light-colored shoes.

No arrests have been made in connection with the assault and robbery, according to police.

Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact San Francisco police Sgt. Maris Goldsborough at (415) 734-3117, or may contact the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or text-a-tip to TIP411 with SFPD at the beginning of the message.

{ 0 comments }

A man allegedly shot at two plainclothes detectives with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in West Oakland this afternoon while they were investigating a suspected marijuana growing operation.

The detectives were in an unmarked car, conducting surveillance on a suspected marijuana growing operation in the vicinity of and Adeline and 28th Streets around 3:15 p.m. when the shooting occurred, Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

Police say a man thought to be connected to the growing operation pointed a handgun at them and opened fire, striking the vehicle at least one time.

“It looks like this guy chased our officers down and then shot at them,” Kelly said.

No injuries were reported and the detectives did not return fire, according to Kelly.

“They were just trying to get to safety and get out of the way,” Kelly said.

Shortly after the shooting, they returned to the scene, apprehended the suspect and recovered the handgun thought to have been used in the crime, Kelly said.

The suspect has not yet been identified.

{ 2 comments }

A man took himself to the hospital Wednesday night after suffering a gunshot wound in East Oakland, according to police.

Officers responded to the 1400 block of 46th Avenue, just north of International Boulevard, at 8:41 p.m. to follow up on reports of gunfire.

The victim’s age and city of residence could not be verified, but police said he’s listed in stable condition.

No arrests have been made in the shooting. Investigators said the suspect was not known to the victim, according to police.

Anyone who witnessed or has information about the shooting is asked to contact the Oakland Police Department’s felony assault unit at (510) 238-3426.

{ 1 comment }

Alameda County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Redwood City man Wednesday accused of killing a witness set to testify against him in a grand theft case in 2004, a sheriff’s sergeant said.

Larry Fuller, 44, was arrested at about noon Wednesday on a murder warrant for the shooting, which occurred in Brentwood in Contra Costa County, sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

The case against Fuller goes back to some work done on his car in late 2003 at a Castro Valley tire shop. Fuller sped off without paying his $2,700 bill and was later charged with grand theft.

A manager at the store, 36-year-old Sanjay Samy, was set to testify against Fuller in that case. But on Oct. 26, 2004, the day before he was scheduled to testify, Samy was shot dead outside of his home in the 2900 block of Haddington Court in Brentwood.

Fuller had prior felonies on his record and could have faced a lengthy prison stay if convicted in the theft case.

The case languished for more than a decade. Investigators suspected Fuller in the shooting, but lacked enough evidence to charge him.

He was arrested on an unrelated matter in 2009 and investigators announced an $81,000 reward in an effort to get more witnesses to come forward, but it took another five years to develop the case.

The sheriff’s office’s cold case unit kept at the case and finally obtained enough evidence for the district attorney’s office to file murder charges against Fuller, Kelly said.

“Our cold case unit was able to bring closure to this case after 10 years,” Kelly said. “Law enforcement will continue to pursue suspects no matter how long it takes, especially for the crime of murder.”

Fuller is set to appear in court Friday afternoon in Oakland for arraignment.

{ 0 comments }

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer on Wednesday praised the BART Board of Directors for moving to ban electronic cigarettes in BART trains and stations, citing new research that reveals health concerns about the vaporized tobacco products.

In a letter to BART board President Thomas Blalock, Boxer, D-California, cited the presence of chemicals like nicotine and formaldehyde present in e-cigarette vapor that pose a risk to health.

“Research has raised major concerns about secondhand exposure to e-cigarette vapor,” Boxer wrote. “This is particularly relevant in small, enclosed spaces such as trains and stations, leading the World Health Organization to recommend that steps be taken to end the use of e-cigarettes indoors in public and work places.”

Boxer’s letter comes the same day that the California Department of Public Health issued a health advisory about e-cigarettes, warning use of the products is rising for teens and young adults and exposure to the vapor could lead to cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

E-cigarettes contain at least 10 chemicals known to the state of California to cause health problems, according to the health department. It plans to take steps to reduce e-cigarette use through education and advertising campaigns.

The BART board voted to ban the use of e-cigarettes in the BART system at its meeting last Thursday. The board said it had received complaints of e-cigarettes on the system, prompting them to introduce the regulations.

The new restrictions are expected to be finalized at the board’s Feb. 12 meeting.

{ 2 comments }

surveillance

Palo Alto police are looking for two suspects who threatened an employee with a gun during the robbery of a Fry’s store Wednesday afternoon.

The two suspects entered the store at 340 Portage Ave. around 3:45 p.m. and grabbed three gaming consoles with a total value of around $1200 off the shelf, according to police.

The first suspect fled with two consoles, but when a store employee tried to stop the second suspect from leaving, the suspect pulled a silver revolver out of his waistband and pointed it at him, police said.

The victim backed off and the suspect ran outside.

The suspects were last seen driving away in a dark four-door sedan west on Portage Avenue toward El Camino Real.

The suspects were both described as Hispanic males between 25 and 30 years old and around 5 feet 8 inches tall, with short black hair and jeans. The suspect with the gun was wearing a dark t-shirt, and the first suspect had a white t-shirt.

Police have released a surveillance image of the two suspects and are working on producing a sketch of the armed suspect with the help from the victim.

Anyone with information on this robbery is asked to call police at (650) 329-2413.

{ 1 comment }

Firefighters rescued a woman from the San Francisco Bay Tuesday night after she fell off Pier 39 and into the water.

The woman was transported to the hospital after she was pulled from the water, but she was not seriously injured, firefighters said.

The woman was reportedly walking on the sea wall when she fell into the water.

The incident was reported at 10:42 p.m.

{ 2 comments }

Police are searching for a woman officers said assaulted a police officer in Burlingame on Tuesday.

Police said the suspect, identified as Jessica Lawler, 22, struck a Burlingame police officer with the vehicle she was driving.

Lawler then fled the area and was later seen by Hillsborough police officers in the area of Interstate Highway 280 and Golf Course Drive in Hillsborough, police said.

Lawler allegedly fled from police, drove onto the Crystal Springs Golf Course and onto the 1500 block of Hayne Road before she exited her vehicle and was seen by witnesses getting into an unknown white vehicle and fleeing the area, police said.

Lawler is wanted on suspicion of assault on a police officer, evading arrest and on several other charges, police said.

{ 0 comments }