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Local News May 15th, 2008

After Hours Burglary at Local JCPenney

On May 7, 2008, at about 0200 hours, Escondido Police Officers responded to an audible alarm at JCPenney, 290 E. Via Rancho Pkwy. Responding officers discovered a valid burglary to the business, where the jewelry cases were attacked. Video surveillance depicts that three masked individuals entered the store and stole an undisclosed amount of jewelry.

Over the past year, JCPenney reported a series of overnight break-ins in which two to four masked suspects gain entry and proceeded to burglarize the fine jewelry department, specifically targeting gold jewelry. It is believed these same individuals have committed at least nine similar burglaries in Southern and Northern California, with the most recent incidents in Escondido and Carlsbad.

JCPenney estimated the cumulative loss from these crimes at more than $2 million dollars. Escondido Police are asking for the community's help in identifying and ultimately capturing these individuals. As a result of these mounting losses, JCPenney is offering a $20,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of all suspects involved.

If you have any information regarding this case, please contact the Escondido Police Department at 760-839-4722. To report any suspicious activities in your neighborhood, you may contact the Police Department directly, or you may make an unidentified call on our "Anonymous Tip Line" at (760) 743-TIPS (8477) or via our Web site at www.escondido.org/police.

photo
Surveillance photo of one of the burglars,at work, inside Penney’s

“Big Bass” Found Dead in Dixon Lake

At 11:45 a.m. Friday morning, May 9th, the world record large mouth bass, which had been caught and released multiple times over the last several years, was found dead in Dixon Lake. City of Escondido park staff recorded her final stats at 19 pounds, 29 ½ inches long. It appeared that she was not carrying any eggs. Identification as the record "big bass" was confirmed by both park staff and an angler who had caught and released her several years ago. The fish had been nicknamed "Dottie" because of her distinct markings.

According to Ranger Supervisor Jim Dayberry, "It is common for large mouth bass to go into shock and die after spawning," he added that they can lose up to 25% of their body weight after spawning occurs. The record bass was most recently caught and released in March 2006, at which time she weighed in at 25 lbs. 1 oz.

On Monday, biologists with the California Department of Fish and Game collected scale samples and DNA samples to calculate the age of the fish.

photo
Jed Dickerson, with his Dixon Lake record Largemouth bass. Dickerson caught it, weighed it and released it. This is “Dottie,” the bass that recently died.
Jed had caught and released the fish back in 2003. At that time it weighed 21.73 pounds. Then in 2006, she was caught again and released, this time by Jed's lifelong friend and fishing companion, Mac Weekley, also from Carlsbad, CA.

NCTD Announces Comprehensive Restructuring and Staff Reduction Plan

Transit Agency Works to Address Unprecedented Budget Challenges

North County Transit District has announced that it has initiated a comprehensive restructuring and staff reduction plan to address an anticipated shortfall in its proposed Fiscal Year 2009 Budget. Due to a sharp decline in revenues from local sales taxes, threats to state funding and rapidly increasing fuel costs, the District faced a potential budget deficit in excess of $3 million. By implementing the restructuring, along with the previously proposed service reductions and fare increases, the District will be able to avoid a budget deficit in the coming fiscal year.

“Today’s difficult economic environment has posed unprecedented budget challenges for public transportation agencies across the state and country,” said Executive Director Karen King. “Providing North County residents with the best possible transportation system in the most efficient manner possible requires restructuring our organization and the services we offer to fit within our budget constraints. These changes, while extremely difficult, are necessary to ensure NCTD’s long-term fiscal health.”

NCTD’s Board of Directors will consider the comprehensive restructuring plan as part of the fiscal year 2009 budget at today’s meeting. In addition to the staff reductions in operating and administrative units, the proposed plan includes a hiring freeze, ending limited-term positions, and eliminating other positions across the organization, including several senior management positions.

Without these changes to service levels, fares, and staffing, NCTD faced mounting budget deficits in the next several fiscal years, increasing to a projected $10 million shortfall by fiscal year 2012. Implementation of the proposed staff reductions and the changes in service and fares will balance NCTD’s FY09 Budget, and dramatically improve NCTD’s financial outlook for future budget years.

NCTD has also been impacted by rapidly increasing fuel costs. In just one year, NCTD’s cost for a gallon of diesel fuel has increased more than 50%, causing its annual fuel budget to balloon to $11 million. Just five years ago NCTD’s annual fuel budget was $3 million.

Hall Found Guilty of Bomb Threats

On May 7 a San Diego Superior Court jury found William Morris Hall II guilty of making false bomb threats that disrupted classes and services at Palomar College in fall 2007. Palomar College President Bob Deegan said, “We are thankful that this case has been brought to a successful conclusion. Our primary concern continues to be the safety and well being of the students, faculty and staff at Palomar College.”

Hall was arrested by Palomar College Police on November 20, 2007, after investigation into threats that were received by telephone on September 13 and 19 and again on October 18, according to Palomar’s Chief of Police Tom Plotts. The threats resulted in a number of evacuations, including evacuation of the college’s child development center. No bombs were found during searches that followed each threat.

Deputy District Attorney Brendan McHugh prosecuted the case against Hall and reported that the jury returned the verdict of guilty on all six felony false bomb threat charges. Superior Court Judge Joel Pressmen set June 4 as Hall’s sentencing date. Hall, 36, remains in county jail.

According to Palomar College Police Sergeant Lee Martin, the trial opened on April 29 in the San Diego North County Superior Court located in Vista. The case drew testimony from Palomar College Police and other employees as well as expert testimony from FBI investigators and telephone company personnel.

Chief Plotts said that Hall was a former student at Palomar College. At the time the threats were made, Hall was employed by a subcontractor that provides food service to the college.

Undercover Prostitution Detail Yields One Arrest

photoOn Friday May 9, 2008, Escondido Police Department conducted an undercover prostitution detail. Detectives focused their efforts in the area of W. Washington Ave. and N. Escondido Blvd. as well as prostitutes that use the internet to solicit perspective clients. As a result of that detail, detectives arrested one individual:
Charyze Acido Infante, 18, of San Diego, California was arrested for Penal Code 653.22(a) - loitering with the intent to commit prostitution, and released on a promise to appear.

Escondido Police Department will continue to actively enforce all violations of prostitution including internet solicitation and encourages anyone with information on these cases to call Escondido Police at (760) 839-4722, or contact Sergeant Jim Lanigan directly at (760) 839-4759.

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