A Daly City man was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday for robbing a Redwood City bank in March two days after he was released from jail for setting a car on fire outside the Daly City DMV, San Mateo County prosecutors said.

Hugo Carranza, 66, pleaded no contest in August to robbery charges on the first day of jury selection in his trial, prosecutors said.

He went into the Bank of America at 700 Jefferson Ave. at about 2:10 p.m. on March 14 and told the teller “Give me $5,000 in a box!” according to prosecutors.

Confused, the teller asked if he was making a withdrawal from the bank but he simulated a gun in his pocket and made it clear that it was a robbery.

While gathering the money, the teller alerted another bank employee, who called police. Officers surrounded the bank and once the teller handed Carranza the money he went outside and was quickly arrested.

The robbery happened two days after he was sentenced to three years in prison for setting a car on fire outside the Daly City DMV but was released because of credit for time served.

He had had his car towed in 2011 because of expired registration and paid some, but not all, of the fines and could not get his car back.

Angry, he returned to the DMV office at 1500 Sullivan Ave. on April 23, 2012, poured fuel on a 2008 Cadillac he thought belonged to a DMV employee and lit it on fire, prosecutors said.

The flames spread to a Honda before a DMV employee put out the fire. Carranza turned himself in as soon as police arrived.

A defense attorney in that case expressed doubt about his competency to stand trial, but a judge ruled him competent and he pleaded no contest to the arson charge.

For the bank robbery charges, Carranza received credit for 264 days of time served, but not enough to get him immediately released from the three-year sentence Judge Elizabeth Hill handed down Wednesday.

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Two men were arrested in Antioch Monday for cultivating large amounts of marijuana in a local house, police said.

Officers initially responded to a residence in the 4600 block of Imperial Street around 3 p.m. on a report of a possible marijuana growing operation, according to Antioch police Sgt. Michael Mortimer.

Lam Doan, 39, and Phong Ly, 41, both of San Jose, were seen fleeing from the residence once the officers arrived.

Doan and Ly were soon arrested nearby while officers discovered that the house was completely converted into an illicit marijuana cultivation operation, Mortimer said.

Investigators seized a total of 590 marijuana plants from the home.

Investigations into this case are still being conducted by Antioch police. Anyone with any additional information about this incident is encouraged to call the Investigations Bureau at (925) 779-6939.

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exp_matt

Contra Costa County firefighters responded to a two-alarm explosion and structure fire at an apartment complex in a residential area of Walnut Creek this morning.

Police said the fire broke out in the 1500 block of Sunnyvale Avenue.

The fire was reported at about 10 a.m.

Fire officials said the explosion and fire has caused multiple injuries.

The explosion blew the roof off the apartment complex. Fire officials said six ambulances and one medical helicopter initially responded to the scene.

One person was transported to the hospital by ground, one was transported by helicopter and one person is still unaccounted for.

The buildings around the explosion are being searched for victims.

Firefighters haven’t been able to search the unit where the explosion occurred due to the structural instability of the building.

Stay tuned for updates.

Thanks to Justin for the top photo and Matt for the bottom one.

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Menlo Park police are searching for three men in their early 20s suspected of attempting to undress and sexually assault a woman early today behind a building on El Camino Real, police said.

At about 12:47 a.m. today, Menlo Park officers responded to a report about an attempted sexual assault in the rear of an office building in the 100 block of El Camino Real, according to police.

A woman in her 20s told officers she was taking trash out to a commercial dumpster enclosure when three men inside it threw her to the ground and started pulling at her clothing to disrobe her, police said.

When the victim screamed the three suspects fled, after which she called police and was later transported to Stanford Hospital with injuries that were not life threatening, according to officers.

Police were not able to find any of the suspects following an extensive search of the area.

The woman described the three men as Hispanic, in their early 20s, each about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing about 130 pounds, one wearing a white shirt and white tennis shoes and the other two possibly wearing dark sweaters and shoes.

From an investigation, police learned that the victim’s co-worker had seen the man in the white shirt loitering in the area prior to the attempted assault and the suspect left after the co-worker confronted him, police said.

Anyone with information about the suspects or who recognizes the white-shirted suspect in the police sketch is asked to contact Menlo Park police at (650) 330-6300 or the anonymous tip line at (605) 330-6395.

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A woman who was involved in a crash with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan in June has filed a lawsuit against Quan and the city seeking unspecified damages.

Lakisha Renee Lovely, a nurses’ assistant in San Francisco, alleges in her suit, which was filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Wednesday, that she sustained severe bodily injury because of Quan’s actions in the collision in West Oakland shortly after 5:30 p.m. on June 8.

Lovely alleges that Quan is guilty of malice and her actions “show a conscious disregard of the rights and safety of others and are contemptible, vile and despicable.”

Quan told reporters the day after the accident that she was driving between two community events in West Oakland when another car struck the left rear tire of her car.

Lovely alleges that Quan was on her cellphone in violation of California law at the time of the accident but Quan said in a statement today, “I was unequivocally not on my phone.”

Oakland police have said that investigators haven’t been able to determine whether cellphones were in use at the time of the collision, either by Quan or Lovely.

Quan said in her statement, “First and foremost, I am grateful that no one was seriously hurt in the crash and am glad to be alive today.

The fact is that the back of my vehicle was struck by the other driver with such force that it spun me around.”

The mayor said, “I wish the other driver well and continue to focus on the priorities of the people of Oakland: intervening in street violence, creating strong partnerships with our schools, building affordable housing, and bringing living wage jobs to our residents.”

Quan is facing 14 opponents in her bid to be re-elected in the election next Tuesday.

Quan’s campaign spokesman, Michael Colbruno, said, “I hope this lawsuit’s timing is not politically motivated, and that this issue is not being dredged up in this moment in order to distract voters from the most critical issues that our city is facing which are at the heart of this election: violence is down, jobs are up, and our youth have more hope.”

Colbruno said, “This unnecessary defamation of character is unfortunate. Mayor Quan has served Oakland for over two decades with deep humanity and concern for the well-being of all our residents.”

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Four East Bay assisted living facilities have been cited over $3 million in workplace violations related to minimum wage, overtime and rest periods for their workers.  This follows the arrests last month of some of the owners of those businesses.

The California Department of Industrial Relations says Florian White Dove Care in Brentwood was fined over $1 million, Abraham Rest Home in Walnut Creek over $996,000, Sanchez-Abraham Corporation in Concord was penalized over $716,000 and Common Destiny Care Homes in Fremont more than $358,000.

Contra Costa County prosecutors say Sara Abraham, Annette Sanchez and Julio Sanchez, of Abraham Rest Homes and Sanchez-Abraham Corporation, and Florinda Yambao of Floran White Dove Care Homes were arrested for allegedly under-paying their employees, who sometimes worked for 12-18 hours days for only $50-$80.

Common Destiny Care Homes allegedly required its 24 caregivers to work up to 17 hours per day without being paid minimum wage or overtime.

In a statement, Labor Commissioner Julie Su said, “Working conditions like these will not be tolerated in the state of California.”  She encouraged other workers aware of violations to come forward.

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A San Francisco resident, with the help of civil rights advocacy groups, filed a citizen complaint today alleging the San Francisco Police Department failed to provide an interpreter when responding to a report of domestic violence.

The Asian Law Caucus, together with the Latina women’s organization Mujeres Unidas y Activas, filed a complaint on behalf of resident Dora Mejia with the city’s Office of Citizen Complaints and a California Tort Act administrative claim against police for failing to provide language access and wrongfully arresting a victim of domestic violence.

Mejia said she was exhausted when she came home from work one day in May. She got into a fight with her ex-partner, who refused to leave her apartment after they broke up and called the police on her.

[CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THE STORY....]

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents seized more than 2,700 items of counterfeit Major League Baseball merchandise worth $80,000 from Bay Area vendors, agency representatives said today.

The merchandise includes phony T-shirts, counterfeit baseball hats and beanies, tote bags and pennants, said agents with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations team.

ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said agents seized the merchandise over the course of the past week from vendors as vendors tried to cash in on the Giants’ World Series run.

The fake MLB merchandise is imported primarily from China and it’s usually pretty easy to spot, Kice said.

“We do encounter some very sophisticated and high quality counterfeits,” Kice said. “But in a lot of cases, you can look at the way it’s put together — the stitching, the logos — and tell that it’s not genuine.”

Kice said some items had names of prominent athletes misspelled or logos sewn on upside down.

“Those are pretty easy to spot,” she said.

Although most people see intellectual property theft as a victimless crime, Kice said that’s a false assumption.

The phony merchandise delivers shoddy and sometimes dangerous goods to unsuspecting buyers, she said. The proceeds often go to fund other criminal activities and Kice said the sales could rob Americans of good-paying jobs.

There have been no arrests so far, but Kice said the investigation is ongoing.

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A police detective shot and injured an auto burglary suspect who drove his car at the detective in a parking lot at the Pacific East Mall in Richmond this afternoon, a police captain said.

The two detectives were walking through the parking lot at the mall, located at 3288 Pierce St., at about 12:10 p.m. when they spotted a 19-year-old Alameda man who allegedly broke the window of a parked car to burglarize it, police Capt. Mark Gagan said.

The detectives attempted to detain the man, but he ran back to his own car parked several aisles away and got inside.

One of the detectives went to the driver’s side door, which remained open, and the other stood in front of the car, Gagan said.

The suspect accelerated toward the officer in front of the car, prompting him to fire his gun several times through the car’s windshield and then through the open driver’s side door as the suspect sped past him. The suspect was struck by bullets several times in the lower extremities, Gagan said.

Neither detective was injured.

The suspect escaped and drove about a mile away, but crashed into several parked cars and a fire hydrant in the 500 block of Cleveland Street in Albany.

The suspect was taken to a hospital in critical condition. He is in police custody and under guard at the hospital, Gagan said.

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vacaville

Vacaville police today arrested a suspect in the Oct. 6 murder of Vacaville High School student Demetrious Ward.

Ward, 18, was shot in the head around 1:30 a.m. as he sat in a Ford F-150 truck in the parking lot of the Canyon Creek Apartments at 159 Aegean Way.

He had surgery at a hospital and died at 4:30 a.m.

Police contacted several people who knew Ward and the suspect, Alijondro Edward Jones, 20, of Vacaville, police Lt. Matt Lydon said. Jones and Ward knew of each other and the investigation determined that Jones intended to rob Ward of a small amount of marijuana at the time Ward was shot, Lydon said.

“This was not random,” Lydon said.

Vacaville police detectives contacted Jones this morning around 10:30 a.m. when he arrived for a meeting with his probation officer, Lydon said.

Jones was arrested without incident on suspicion of murder, attempted robbery and probation violations and booked in the Solano County jail.

Jones has previous arrests for domestic violence offenses, Lydon said.

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The California Highway Patrol arrested a 32-year-old Brentwood man Wednesday during an investigation into about 50 motorcycle riders who were allegedly doing stunts and evading law enforcement on Interstate Highway 680 between Milpitas and San Jose earlier this month, officials said today.

The CHP arrested Guruardas Singh Khalsa at 6:25 p.m. Wednesday on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact, a felony, and obstructing a police officer, a misdemeanor, Capt. Jim Libby said at a news conference today at the CHP’s San Jose office. He was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility in Contra Costa County.

Khalsa, a professional motorcycle stunt rider, allegedly took and posted on YouTube a video of the alleged stunt ride on Oct. 11 by the fast-driving group on Highway 680. In the video, he is seen taunting a CHP motorcycle officer trying to stop him and then driving his own motorcycle on its back wheel, CHP officials said.

Many other motorcyclists in the video can be seen speeding by and doing wheelies in various lanes of the freeway.

The CHP’s investigative services unit last week used the video and other postings online to identify and trace him to a location in Brentwood, CHP Capt. Les Bishop said.

“I’d like to send the message out to any group or any motorcycle rider that thinks they are going to get away with this kind of behavior on our freeways, just know that while apprehension may not be immediate it is likely imminent,” Bishop said.

Libby, who heads the CHP’s special services unit, said information from what Khalsa posted about himself online and tips from the public and news coverage led officers to find and capture the suspect.

“The take away from this investigation is that the safety of the public and their ability to travel our freeways is of paramount importance to us,” Libby said.

“When we have groups like this engaging in criminal acts endangering other motorists, this is something we take very seriously,” he said.

“I can’t go into too much detail as far as the status of the investigation, but I can say that we are going to be seeking additional search and arrest warrants in this matter and that we do anticipate additional evidence surfacing and additional individuals taken into custody,” Libby said.

On Oct. 11, a CHP officer observed around 50 motorcyclists heading southbound on I-680 from the Montague Expressway in Milpitas, disregarding public safety and engaging in “juvenile acts” such as “speeding, doing wheel stands,” taunting the officer and ignoring his commands, Bishop said.

The officer decided for safety reasons to pull over and call for a back up officer, but by the time the other officer arrived, the motorcyclists had left, exiting about three miles south onto McKee Road in East San Jose, according to the CHP.

The assemblage of motorcyclists on Oct. 11 came about from messages on social media websites among individuals about meeting up for the ride and they are not known to be members of an organized group, Bishop said.

While such social media sites may be used for legal, impromptu gatherings of cars, motorcycles and other meetings, “this one was used to engage in criminal conduct endangering the public,” he said.

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One person has died and another has been rescued after becoming stranded on the rocks near Lands End in San Francisco this afternoon, a fire spokeswoman said.

One person was pulled out of the water and was pronounced dead at the scene while the second victim, a 27-year-old man, was pulled to safety from some rocks, according to San Francisco Fire Department Mindy Talmadge.

Fire crews responded around 12:10 p.m. to reports of two people stuck on rocks over a cliff in the area of El Camino Del Mar and 32nd Avenue, Talmadge said.

Fire department rescue swimmers and some boat crews responded to the scene and both the U.S. Coast Guard and National Parks Service were notified.

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A woman working at an Antioch massage business was arrested on suspicion of prostitution in an undercover sting on Wednesday, police said today.

Police said 49-year-old Shuping Gao of Antioch was arrested on Wednesday morning for allegedly proposing sexual acts in exchange for money to an undercover officer at the Massage Center located in the 2400 block of Sycamore Drive.

The undercover sting was prompted by complaints of suspicious activity at the business as well as advertisements posted by the business on local escort websites.

Gao was taken to county jail in Martinez and later released.

An investigation into the case is ongoing and anyone with information about the case is asked to call Antioch police Assistant Sgt. Michael Mortimer at (925) 779-6941.

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A man was shot and killed in Pittsburg on Wednesday evening, a police captain said today.

The shooting happened a short time before 7 p.m. near the intersection of West and West 11th streets, where officers found a man suffering from a gunshot wound to the head, Pittsburg police Capt. Ron Raman said.

The victim, whose name is not yet being released, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Raman said no suspect information was immediately available and that investigators are looking into whether the suspect knew the victim.

He said a preliminary investigation shows that “the victim was on foot and made contact with the suspect and during that contact he was shot.”

A large group of people at the scene of the shooting was uncooperative with police and no one was willing to provide information about the shooting, Raman said.

The killing is Pittsburg’s second murder this year.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Pittsburg police at (925) 427-7369.

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Police are attempting to locate two men who scammed a victim into withdrawing money from his bank and then robbed him at gunpoint in Pinole last week.

Police said the victim was approached by two men in Vallejo last Thursday who used “an inheritance ruse” to scam the man into taking out money from his bank.

The suspects and victim then drove to a Wells Fargo bank in Pinole, where the victim withdrew a large sum of money and handed over the cash, according to police.

The suspects took the money and one of the men pointed a handgun at the victim, then exited the car and told him to drive away, police said.

The victim drove around the parking lot and returned but the suspects had fled the scene.

Police said the first suspect was described as a mustachioed black man in his late 40s who is about 6 feet tall and weighs roughly 200 pounds with a dark complexion, shaved head and a deep voice with an African accent.

He was wearing reading glasses, a large gold ring with diamonds, buttoned red shirt, lightweight black jacket and black fanny pack at the time of the robbery, according to police.

The second suspect was described as a light-skinned black man in his late 50s to early 60s who is about 5 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall with a thin build, short curly gray hair with a skin tag on the left side of his face and liver spots on his face and arms, according to police.

He was said to be wearing a dark gray Kangol hat.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Pinole police Detective John Corcoran at (510) 724-8950 or via email at jcorcoran@ci.pinole.ca.us.

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