Man arrested with stolen truck
Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies arrested a 26-year-old Salinas man late Wednesday night after he was spotted in a stolen truck.
A deputy driving on Freedom Boulevard just before midnight spotted a blue pickup in the parking lot of a Quik Stop. As the officer neared the truck, the passenger and the driver both got out and took off on food toward Compton Terrace.
With the assistance of Watsonville police officers, the deputy tried to catch up with the pair and a perimeter was set up.
Eventually, another deputy spotted Roger Martinez Pajimola, who matched the description of the driver, walking on Freedom Boulevard and was able to apprehend him.
The truck was determined to be stolen out of Salinas, although one of the license plates was traced back to a different car, deputy April Skalland said.
Inside the truck, deputies found a piece of someone else's Fed Ex mail, boxes of motor oil and other stolen items. They also found a shaved key in the ignition. Skalland said Pajimola also admitted to being part of a criminal gang. The passenger was not apprehended.
Martinez was arrested on suspicion of committing mail theft, possessing stolen property, possessing burglary tools and participating in a street gang. He was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail.
Guidance issued on fighting
In light of a home invasion Wednesday in which a couple fought the intruders, Santa Cruz police have issued some guidance on whether citizens should fight back during an attack.
The question is complex and cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, officers said. Each set of circumstances is different. Each person has a different comfort level with their own capabilities to resist or survive an attack. The priority is to survive, police said.
"Above all, do what you have to do to survive and minimize harm to yourself," Deputy Chief Steve Clark said on the department's blog. "Escape harm. Get yourself out of harm's way as soon as the opportunity presents itself."
It's also important to observe and be a good witness. That way, accurate information can be provided to police to help them identify a suspect, make an arrest and put together a good case for prosecution.
Citizens should consider the risks and potential harm of fighting back versus cooperating, as well as their comfort with their own fighting skills. They also should consider the suspect's abilities and whether they are armed.
SJ woman impersonates cousin
A San Jose woman arrested on theft charges pretended to be her cousin when she was apprehended, Scotts Valley police said.
Officers received a report Monday afternoon of a woman stealing alcohol and other items from the Scotts Valley Market. She left without paying for the items, which were stuffed in her purse, Lt. John Hohmann said.
Officers located Krissie Brown, 40, at a nearby fast food restaurant where she admitted to taking the items and turned them over to police. She was arrested on suspicion of burglary and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail. Unfortunately, she was booked under the wrong name. Brown's cousin somehow discovered Brown had given police her name instead of Brown's own. She reported the lie to officers.
Brown was then arrested on an additional charge of impersonating another person for the purposes of liability.
Suspected thief pleads not guilty
A Watsonville man suspected of stealing $7,000 worth of long-stemmed roses pleaded not guilty in Santa Cruz County Superior Court Thursday and was released from custody on his own recognizance.
Saul Rodriguez, 35, is slated for a preliminary hearing on March 18 on a felony burglary charge. He was ordered to stay away from Monterey Bay Bouquet on San Andreas Road, the business from which the roses were taken and where he used to work.
Rodriguez was arrested by Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies Monday upon turning himself in.
The flowers were stolen on Jan. 31.
Rodriguez was unable to sell the flowers and ditched them off Highway 152, deputy April Skalland said.
Postponement granted in fraud case
A Santa Cruz man charged with eight counts of wire fraud is due back in federal court April 17.
A federal grand jury in December indicted Robert Rinehart, 49, on the charges. He pleaded not guilty in January. Rinehart appeared in U.S. District Court in San Jose on Wednesday where a federal judge granted the defense's motion to postpone the case. Rinehart and his attorney, Robert Carlin, are due back in court April 17 for a status hearing, court records show.
Rinehart, who is out of custody on a bail bond, is accused of stealing $500,000 from investors who believed they were investing in his company, Argento Development Group. Prosecutors contend Rinehart used the investors' money to pay for his personal living expenses while leading his investors to believe their money was being spent on the purchase, improvement and resale of foreclosed properties.
87-year-old sex offender arrested
An 87-year-old Gilroy man was arrested this week for failing to register as a sex offender.
Patrick Silvester Gaines was arrested Wednesday afternoon by Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies.
Gaines had been in violation of registration requirements since July, according to the state's Megan's Law registry. He has a prior conviction for lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old. Further information about that conviction wasn't immediately available Thursday.
Judge Paul Burdick released Gaines to the custody of his son-in-law and ordered him to register with the state's sex offender registry out of Gilroy. Gaines is due back in court on March 19 to set a preliminary hearing.