60 years ago

Jail allergy winds up a felony: Julian Veldez of Stockton didn't like Brentwood's jail house. He decided he would prefer to be elsewhere. He was, but only temporarily. Valdez was arrested on a drunken driving charge, kept over night in jail and then appeared before Judge Joe A. Sliva in the morning. The judge gave him a choice of paying $150 fine or spend 75 days in jail.

After calling his wife, he told Judge Silva his wife would be coming to pay the fine. Chief of Police James Hanratty locked Veldez back up, gave him something to eat, and resumed his patrol. Meantime Veldez wrenched a metal slat off the a bed and pried the bars over a window. He pried the bars loose enough to escape. Shortly afterward, Mrs. Veldez found Chief Hanratty. "I thought my husband was supposed to be in jail," she said. "He is, the chief assured her." Mrs. Valdez said she just saw him running down the road toward the bus depot. Within two hours, Valdez was picked up facing new charges of breaking jail. If he didn't care for the Brentwood jail, the police believe, he will like San Quentin even less.

25 years ago

Shopkeepers asked to watch for cashing of stolen checks: A burglary victim is asking Contra Costa shopkeepers to be on the lookout for stolen business checks.

Marvin Ray, owner of Interstate Masonry Supply in Antioch, said several of the checks drawn on a Pittsburg branch of the Bank of America, have been illegally cashed at supermarkets and liquor stores in Solano County.

A safe containing blank checks and a certified check writer, used to imprint dollar amounts on checks, was stolen from the business on June 23. Since then, the bank has notified Ray of 20 to 25 checks illegally drawn on the account. Ray said the checks are apparently being made out to names obtained from stolen identification, which is then used to cash the checks at the stores.

-- Brentwood News and Daily Ledger news files

The stolen papers include 200 blue payroll checks and 200 gray standard-sized checks. Interstate Masonry Supply is imprinted on the top of the checks and Ray's name appears at the bottom. Ray says he is afraid that the check cashers will move into Contra Costa County, where owners of small businesses will unwittingly cash checks.

-- Brentwood News and Daily Ledger news files