Wednesday Midday News Roundup

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Law Enforcement Officers Search for San Mateo Burglars 

Law enforcement officers are attempting to locate one or more suspects who burglarized half a dozen businesses in San Mateo, police said.

The burglaries occurred within a 1.5-mile radius near the intersection of 25th Avenue and El Camino Real late last Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, according to police.

In three of the incidents, one or more burglars attempted to enter the businesses but did not steal anything, according to police.

Investigators say the pattern of trying to enter the businesses through back entrances and the targeting of cash and portable items show that a single suspect or group is likely behind the crimes.

Police are reviewing surveillance images of one of the suspected burglars and are releasing those photos.

Police are working with merchants on ways to prevent crime.

Business owners are encouraged to secure doors and windows with high-quality locks or burglar-resistant glass, to install lighting and alarm systems.


Sketch Released in Search of man Resposible in Sexual Assult on Hotel Housekeeper 

Police have released a sketch of a man who sexually assaulted a DoubleTree Hotel housekeeper in Rohnert Park on Friday afternoon.

The sketch is of a man who attacked the woman while she was cleaning a hotel room around 3:45 p.m., according to police.

The victim reporting seeing the suspect as he walked toward the hotel from Rogers Plaza at 101 Golf Course Drive.

The woman was cleaning a first-floor room patio when the attack occurred, police said.

While cleaning, the suspect grabbed her from behind and put a knife to her throat. He then forced her through the sliding doors into the room and ordered her to not scream.

The suspect tied up the victim and began to sexually assault her, but the victim was able to fight off the suspect, police said.

She screamed and was able to get help from another employee who called police. The victim was taken to the hospital.

The suspect had run out of the room back toward Rogers Plaza.

Police searched the area but were unable to find him.

The suspect is described as a black man, between the ages of 30 and 40 and stands between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet tall with a thin build. He has a tattoo of writing on the side of his neck.

At the time of the attack he was wearing a white button-down shirt with small stripes on it, black dress pants, and black gloves.

Anyone with information about the case is asked call Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Detective Tara Douglas at (707) 588-3526.


Santa Rosa Police Identify Attempted Murder Suspect  

Santa Rosa police have identified an attempted murder suspect as 30-year-old Samuel Fessemay Tewolde.

The Santa Rosa resident, a known gang member with a violent criminal history, allegedly fired several shots at his intended victim in Railroad Square on Sept. 5, Sgt. Eric Goldschlag said.

No one was injured but a vehicle in a parking lot was struck by gunfire.

Two groups of people got into an argument inside a business around 7:20 p.m., Goldschlag said. The argument continued in a parking lot in the area of 24 Fourth St.

Tewolde is wanted for attempted murder, assault with a firearm and being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm, Goldschlag said.

He is a black male, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 210 pounds and is considered armed and dangerous, Goldschlag said.

The Sonoma County Alliance has offered a $1,500 reward for information that leads to his arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Travis Menke at (707) 543-4095.


Coroners Identify Thrid Victim in Pittsburg House Fire 

The Contra Costa County coroner's office has identified the third woman who perished in a Pittsburg house fire early Sunday as 77-year-old Ana Gonzalez.

Gonzalez' daughter, Sandra Gonzalez, 51, and 49-year-old Maritza Mena were also killed in the two-alarm fire, which was reported around 12:30 a.m., authorities said.

Firefighters pulled each of the women from the burning home the three shared in the 200 block of Dimaggio Avenue.

All were pronounced dead at the scene, according to Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokesman Steve Aubert.

Aubert said fire personnel found three smoke detectors without batteries on a shelf inside the home.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


Man Seriously Injured in Polk Gulch Stabbing 

A man was seriously injured in a stabbing in San Francisco's Polk Gulch neighborhood Tuesday night, police said today.

The stabbing was reported around 9:30 p.m. at Polk and Pine streets.

The victim and suspect met at a nearby cafe and then left. As they got to the street corner, an argument began and the victim was stabbed in the torso, police said.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which were initially considered life threatening.

However, he is now expected to survive, police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said this morning.

The suspect was last seen fleeing on a bicycle south on Polk Street. He was described as a white man between 40 and 50 years old who was wearing a black baseball hat, gray jacket and blue jeans and rode a black bicycle, Shyy said.


Unsafe Bacterial Water Detected in Monterey County Beaches  

Bacteria samples taken Monday at the San Carlos Beach in Monterey County have indicated unsafe bacterial water quality, prompting officials to post a beach advisory to sway people from having contact with the water.

According to the Monterey County Health Department, which issued the advisory Tuesday at 2 p.m., higher levels of bacteria have been associated with a potential risk of illness.

People are encouraged to avoid contact of any kind with the water. That means no swimming or contact with storm drain water, officials warn.

The beach advisory will remain posted until samples indicate that bacteria are at a safe level for recreational water contact in accordance with state guidelines.

For more information on Monterey County Beaches, visit the county Beach Condition Website at


Body Pulled From Bay Identified as Southern California Man

A body pulled from the Bay near San Francisco's Pier 30 on Monday has been identified by the city's medical examiner's office as 42-year-old Ronald Laverty.

The body of Laverty, a resident of Vista in San Diego County, was reported at about 8:10 a.m. Monday at the pier located near Bryant Street and The Embarcadero, fire officials said.

A rescue boat sent to the area was able to retrieve the body, according to fire officials.


Mountain Loin Sightings in San Woodside  

Two reports were issued Tuesday for mountain lion sightings in Woodside, just four miles apart from one another, the San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services reported.

The first sighting occurred in the 400 block of Raymundo Drive just after 6 a.m. when a cat was seen in the area, emergency officials reported.

A second report occurred Tuesday at 11:20 p.m. when security staff at a home in the 700 block of Mountain Home Road reported seeing the animal. Responding officials were unable to locate it.

Although nearly 17 hours difference, the two locations where the cats were reported are just about four miles apart with Canada Road linking the two wooded areas.

Emergency officials warn residents who might come in contact with the wild cats to not run from them.

Instead, officials advise people to look big and make noise and also throw rocks or other objects near the animal to scare it away.

Keep a close eye on small children, officials report. More information about mountain lions can be found online at


House Fire Dispalces Pacifica Residents 

Two Pacifica residents were displaced from their home after a fire this morning, North County Fire Authority officials said.

The blaze was reported at 2:54 a.m. at two-story home on Vega Court. Arriving crews found smoke coming from the garage of the house.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire contained to the garage. They remained at the home until about 5 a.m., officials said.

No injuries were reported.

The two people living at the home are receiving assistance from family and neighbors, officials said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Masked Man Attempts Purse Snatch 

A masked man attempting to snatch a woman's purse from her while she sat in her car on a South San Francisco street was scared away when the woman kicked, screamed and repeatedly honked her horn, police reported.

Police today continue to search for the suspect one week after the attempted assault.

The woman was in her car in front of a home on Chatham Court on Sept. 11 at 9 p.m.

Police say a man wearing shorts, a camouflaged hooded sweatshirt and black face mask approached the woman and grabbed her arms.

The man in his 20s was scared when she made a bunch of noise. He ran off heading westbound on Greendale Drive from Chatham Court.

Police are searching for the suspect and encourage anyone with information to contact police at (650) 877-8900.


Supervisor Proposes Partnership with Microfinance Nonprofit to Support Local Buisness  

A San Francisco supervisor proposed a new partnership Tuesday between the city and the microfinance organization Kiva to support local small businesses.

Supervisor Mark Farrell at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting introduced a resolution to establish the new public-private partnership with Kiva, which uses a crowd-funding model to provide loans to small businesses around the world who do not have access to traditional banks.

The nonprofit has started a new project, Kiva Zip, to provide zero percent loans to small businesses in the U.S., and San Francisco would become the second city to partner with them after Oakland joined up earlier this year.

Farrell said the program would help small businesses that "lack access to the capital they need to start or expand their businesses."

Loans would start at $5,000 and the city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development would act as the official city trustee to identify small businesses that qualify as Kiva Zip borrowers, Farrell said.

The supervisor said he has already signed up as a trustee for Abundant Market, a small shop that opened recently in his district's Pacific Heights neighborhood and is trying to raise money through Kiva Zip to expand their business.

Farrell said the city and trustees have no financial liability for the loans and encouraged the other supervisors to sign up as trustees for small businesses in their districts.

The resolution would call on the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to establish a process for how potential borrowers can qualify for the Kiva Zip loans.

"We have the opportunity to engage and empower our community in new ways" and "help create thriving neighborhoods" in the city, Farrell said.

More information about the program can be found at


Salinas Police Issue 90 Citations at Checkpoint  

Salinas police issued more than 90 citations at a DUI and driver's license checkpoint Monday, including tickets given to nearly 60 drivers for driving without a license, police said.

Officers set up the checkpoint at the Cesar Chavez Library at 615 Williams Road, made traffic stops and conducted field sobriety tests from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday, police said.

No one was arrested as a result of the four field sobriety tests, but out of the 91 tickets given out by police, 58 went to people cited for driving without a license and 31 for moving violations, police said.

Two drivers were arrested for having outstanding warrants for their arrest and two were ticketed for driving with a suspended license, police said.

While the checkpoint was in place, police contacted 656 drivers and three motorcycle officers made 44 traffic stops, police said. 


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