Tuesday, 24 March 2015 12:20 am

Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Vehicle VS. Pedestrian Accident

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 26 February 2014

Date and Time of Incident: 25 February 2014, at approx. 4:08 pm

Subject: Vehicle VS. Pedestrian Accident

25 February 2014, at approx. 4:08 pm, emergency personnel responded to Stockton Road near Mill Villa road for a reported vehicle vs. pedestrian accident. When officers arrived they located the male pedestrian over an embankment, where he had landed following the collision.

It was determined from witnesses that a 2006 Ford pick-up was westbound on Stockton Road, when a male pedestrian, who was walking eastbound along the north shoulder, intentionally jumped in front of the pick-up. The pedestrian was three feet into the traffic lane when he was struck by the right front of the Ford truck. The force of the impact launched the pedestrian over an embankment and down a small ravine.

The pedestrian suffered major trauma as the result of the impact with the vehicle, pavement and vegetation. The pedestrian was air lifted to a Modesto hospital and is in critical condition.

The investigation into this matter is continuing.

Ricky Roberts Candlelight Visual

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 20 February 2014

Subject: Ricky Roberts Candlelight Visual

A candlelight visual has been scheduled for Ricky Roberts, at his shop located on Mono Way, for Sunday, 23 February 2014 at 7:00 pm. Participants are encouraged to car pool as parking will be limited to allow an area for people to participate in the visual.

The Sonora Police Department will be providing crossing services for pedestrians on Mono Way, across from Roberts’ shop, for those who park at the old Behavioral Health building, the Grocery Outlet, or other locations and walk to the shop.

Traffic will be congested in the area, with slow, as well as stop and go traffic. If you are not participating in the event, we are encouraging you to utilize other routes between 6:30 pm and 8:00 pm to help avoid congestion in the area. Vehicles parked creating hazards will be cited and/or towed.

Ricky Roberts’ Car Trailer

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 19 February 2014

Date and Time of Incident:

Subject: Ricky Roberts’ Car Trailer

There has been a rumor going around and several postings on facebook that Ricky Roberts’ Car Trailer was stolen during his homicide. This is not true! The trailer was loaned to a friend, which we have confirmed.
There is no need to call the police department with the possible location of the trailer or who might be in possession of it. We greatly appreciate all the calls we received on this topic, but unfortunately this is distracting from the investigation as these calls have to be fielded by the investigators working the case.
However, we are still seeking information regarding who may have been around or at Roberts’ shop on Mono Way, between 7:30 and 11:00 am on Sunday, 16 February 2014.
If you have any other information you feel might be important to this investigation, we ask that you call the Sonora Police Department at 532-8141, you may remain anonymous.

Child Endangerment

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 17 February 2014

Date and Time of Incident: 15 February 2014, at approx. 7:04 pm

Subject: Child Endangerment

15 February 2014, at approx. 7:04 pm, officers from the Sonora Police Department responded to a report of a vehicle down an embankment on Stockton Road, near the fairgrounds.
When officers arrived they located a 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback with major front end damage off the south side of the roadway, near the west end of the fairgrounds. The vehicle had left the roadway and struck a large Sonora Rotary sign destroying it before going down the embankment and hitting a small tree and the fence of the fairgrounds.
The driver was contacted and identified as Megan Bunow, 25 of Mi Wok Village. Megan was extremely intoxicated and uncooperative. A preliminary alcohol screening test showed Bunow’s blood alcohol level to be more than three times the legal limit.
Bunow’s six year old daughter was properly secured in a child safety seat in the back of the vehicle and was uninjured. Bunow sustained lacerations and abrasions to her face and forehead. Bunow’s daughter was uninjured and released to a relative at the scene.
Bunow was transported to Sonora Regional Medical Center to be treated for her injuries. While at the hospital Bunow become combative and kicked an officer. After being treated, Bunow was transported to the Tuolumne County Jail and booked for felony child endangerment, misdemeanor driving under the influence and misdemeanor assault on a police officer.


Monday, February 17th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 16 February 2014

Date and Time of Incident: 16 February 2014, at approx. 11:13 am

Subject: Homicide
16 February 2014, at approx. 11:13 am, officers and medical personnel responded to a business located at 280 Mono Way regarding a report of a man down inside the business, who was bleeding. When officers arrived, they located the business owner, Rick Roberts, 49 of Sonora, deceased inside the business.
The California Department of Justice was requested to assist with the investigation and the collection of evidence, as well as the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office. The cause of death appears to be from a gunshot wound. The case is still under investigation and no further information is being released.
Roberts was a volunteer with the Sonora Police Department. He was a member of the department’s Police Associate Citizen’s Team (PACT). He was an advisor for the police department’s Police Explorer program; helping train Explorers for competitions and chaperoning them on different activates and events. Roberts also assisted the department at its firearms range.
The last homicide in the City of Sonora was 28 February 2001.
Anyone with any information regarding this crime is asked to call the Sonora Police Department at 209-532-8141.

2014 “Year of the Scammer”

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 14 February 2014

Date and Time of Incident: Past two weeks

Subject: 2014 “Year of the scammer”

2014 is quickly turning into the year of the scammer. Two new scams have recently hit the Mother Lode area, along with several older ones reappearing. Everyone needs to be very vigilant of whom they are speaking to or dealing with, both on the phone and on the internet.

One of the recent scams to make its way into our area started with an advertisement placed in the Union Democrat classified section. So far, the Police Department has taken two reports from this scam. The ad was looking for a personal assistant and was willing to pay $310 a week.

When the victims answered the ad via email, they were sent a money order in the amount of $1,730 via Fed Ex, with instructions. The money order appeared to be from the Texas State Bank. The instructions told the victims to deposit the money orders into their accounts, deduct 10% for themselves, then wire the remaining amount via Western Union to an address in China. The email address in China is anonymous and untraceable. Once the money order is deposited, the scammer has your account number and will quickly empty it.

The other scam is a phone scam which has hit our area. In this scam, a female caller claims to be from H&R Block’s corporate office. The caller claims if you supply her with your full name, date of birth and social security number, she can access your tax return from last year, even if you didn’t file it with H&R Block. She also claims she can access all your reported earnings to the IRS and State for 2013.

The caller states she will file your taxes for you electronically for only $50. And if you are not eligible for a return, the company will give you $50. If you agree to this, the caller asks for your bank account number and your routing number, so they can have your refund electronically deposited, or deposit your $50 if you are not eligible for a refund.

Like in the other scam, once they have your account number they empty your account. The phone number in this scam goes to a phone junction in Florida, then it’s transferred to Canada.

Last week we had someone report they were the victim of the “relative needing bail money” scam. This scam has been around several years now and people are still falling victim to it. If someone calls you from Canada or Mexico and claims you have a relative in jail and you need to send money to bail them out, DO NOT DO IT! There are several ways to confirm if this is true or not, but just don’t believe the person on the phone and send them money. In this scam they normally request a money order between $3,000 & $5,000 to be sent via Western Union.

Remember, check things out and verify them before sending money to anyone or just cashing a check you received for no reason. If you have any question regarding any correspondence you may receive via the phone or internet, contact your local law enforcement agency. REFUSE TO BECOME A VICTIM.

DUI Accident Arrest

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 13 February 2014

Date and Time of Incident: 12 February 2014

Subject: DUI Accident Arrest
12 February 2014, at approx. 10:07 am, officers were dispatched to the area of Mono Way, across from the Timer Hills Shopping Center, regarding an injury accident.

When officers arrived, they observed that a 2001 Toyota pick-up had left the north side of the roadway, and struck the rear of a City of Sonora backhoe, that was parked along the north edge of the roadway where City Public Works members were working. The backhoe sustained moderate damage and the pick sustained major damage.

No City Public Works employees were injured. The driver, who was identified as 28 year old Christopher Bradbury of Tuolumne, received moderate injuries and was transported to Sonora Regional Medical Center by ambulance.

At the scene of the accident, Bradbury was exhibiting signs of being under the influence. He was interviewed at the hospital and determined to be under the influence of a controlled Narcotic. Because of Bradbury’s medical condition he was cited and released for driving under the influence of drugs and was not booked.

The westbound lane of Mono Way was closed for approximately one hour, while officers conducted the investigation and the roadway could be cleared.

Child Endangerment Arrest

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 10 February 2014

Date and Time of Incident: 8 February 2014, at approx. 12:25 am

Subject: Child Endangerment Arrest

8 February 2014, at approx. 12:25 am, an officer observed a Nissan Altima speeding northbound on Greenly Road, traveling approximately 55 miles per hour in a posted 25 mile per hour zone.

The officer attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver failed to yield to the lights and siren of the patrol vehicle, and continued northbound on Greenly Road at a high rate of speed. The vehicle lost control and struck a raised curb, causing the left front tire to blow out. However, this didn’t slow the driver as they continued northbound at a high rate of speed.

The pursuit continued with the driver running stop signs and crossing into the opposing lanes of traffic. The vehicle finally stopped on Hope Lane. The driver was contacted and identified as Andrea Corder, 35 of Sonora. Another female adult and Corder’s 3 year old son were also inside the vehicle. Corder is on probation for driving under the influence and her driving privilege is suspected because of driving under the influence.

During the investigation it was determined that Corder was under the influence. She was placed under arrest and booked at the Tuolumne County Jail for felony child endangerment, felony evading, misdemeanor drunk driving, misdemeanor violation of probation, and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license. Corder’s son was released to his father.

Drug Arrest

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 4 February 2014

Date and Time of Incident: 3 February 2014 at approx. 6:32 pm

Subject: Drug Arrest

3 February 2014, at approx. 6:32 pm, an off duty Sergeant from the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department observed an erratic driver on Washington Street and called the police department. Officers contacted the driver in the parking lot of Sonora Express Mart on Pesce Way.

The driver was identified as Steven Mackusick, 60 of Antioch. It was determined that Mackusick was under the influence of a controlled substance. A search of Mackusick revealed six baggies of crystal methamphetamine and a glass smoking pipe with methamphetamine residue.

Mackusick was placed under arrest without incident for felony possession of a controlled substance and booked at the Tuolumne County Jail.

Police Officer Recruitment

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 30 January 2014

Subject: Police Officer Recruitment

The Sonora Police Department is recruiting for the position of Police Officer. The position is open to Police Academy graduates and Lateral Officers. The final filing date is Friday, 28 February 2014, with a tentative testing date of Wednesday, 12 March 2014.

The base salary is $4,292-$5,210 a month, with additional pay incentives available for Intermediate & Advanced POST certificates (2.5% each); educational incentive of 2.5% for an Associates, Bachelors and Masters degree; 5.0% incentive for special assignments (FTO, Investigator, Computer Network Manager and Traffic Officer.)

For more information about this career opportunity, log onto www.sonoraca.com and obtain a job flyer and download a job application; or you may stop by the Sonora Police Department (100 S. Green Street) or the City of Sonora (94 N. Washington Street) and pick-up a flyer and application.

Scam Alert

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 28 January 2014

Subject: Fraud Alert

Some businesses have been receiving what appears to be a legitimate bill/statement from a company called YELLOW BOOK. This is not associated with the real company which spells their name Yellowbook.

The statement uses a Myrtle Beach, SC address and the phone numbers listed are not good. Another giveaway that the bill is not legit, it uses the fingers walking through a book on the top right corner, which is a registered trade mark of another company.

If you receive one of these statements, DON’T PAY IT. If you have received one and did pay it, contact your financial institution immediately. Once the scammers obtain your account information they rapidly empty your account or charge a large amount on your credit card.

The scam appears to be routed out of Canada, but they use US information to make it look like a real business. Remember, if you didn’t order anything you shouldn’t be receiving a statement. If you do use Yellowbook to advertise, make sure you are paying their statement and not the fictitious one from YELLOW BOOK.

Currently, the scam is targeting businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout the State. If you have any questions please call the Sonora Police Department at 532-8141.

Employee/Volunteers for 2013

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 14 January 2014

Subject: Employee/Volunteer Recognition

The Police Department’s Awards Committee has recommended that the following individuals be recognized as Employees/Volunteers of the year for 2013.

Each individual will have their name added to the perpetual plaques which are displayed in the lobby of the Police Department, and will be recognized at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, 21 Jan. 2014.

Officer of the Year: Andrew Theodore
Civilian Employee of the Year: Debbie Dills
Reserve Officer of the Year: Dennis Townsend
PACT member of the Year: Cheryl Grogan
Explorer of the Year: Brett Bryant

Drug Arrest

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 9 January 2014

Date and Time of Incident: 8 January 2014

Subject: Drug Arrest
9 January 2014, at approx. 5:51 pm, an officer stopped a 2009 Cadillac sedan for a mechanical violation on Solinsky Street. The officer contacted the driver, who was identified as William Todd, 59 of Sonora.

A driver’s license check on Todd revealed that his driver’s license was suspended. A search of Todd’s person and vehicle revealed approx. 2 grams of methamphetamine. Todd was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Tuolumne County Jail and booked for felony possession of a controlled substance.

Press Release

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Date and Time of Release: 3 January 2014

Subject: Press Release

The Sonora Police Department has completed its investigation of a complaint filed by a local business against Sonora City Council Member, Matt Hawkins. The manager of the local business alleges that Mr. Hawkins unlawfully dumped trash in the business’s dumpster. The Sonora City Police Department will, at the request of the business, forward this matter to the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office. The unlawful dumping of trash constitutes a violation of Penal Code section 498 (Theft of utility services).

Acting Public Information Officer Chief Mark Stinson Sonora Police Department (209) 532-8141.

Drug & Warrant Arrest

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Date and Time of Release: 30 December 2013

Date and Time of Incident: 27 December 2013

Subject: Drug & Warrant Arrests

27 December 2013, at approx. 3:53 pm, an officer was patrolling the Wal-Mart parking lot, when he observed a vehicle parked in a disabled parking stall, which didn’t have a disabled placard displayed.

The officer contacted a female subject who was walking towards the vehilce. The subject was identified as Vernell Stokes, 31 of Sonora. Sitting in the vehicle were Stokes’ two young children, along with Leah Summers, 33 of Twain Harte, and Matthew Carlile, 32 of Tuolumne.

Stokes admitted to the officer that she didn’t have a placard to park in the disabled persons parking stall. During their conversation, Stokes admitted to having Vicodin in her purse, which she didn’t have a prescription for. As the officer was searching Stokes’ purse, he located multiple small plastic baggies containing methamphetamine, along with a pipe used for smoking methamphetamine.

At this point Stokes started yelling at an uninvolved red Ford vehicle in the parking lot. Once Stokes realized the officer had located the methamphetamine, she yelled to her son’s to run toward the red Ford. At this same time, Carlile exited the vehicle and took off running through the parking lot. The officer chased Carlile and was able to catch him in the area of the Garden Department of Wal-Mart. Carlile refused to comply and a physical confrontation occurred between the officer and Carlile. A nearby citizen assisted the officer in detaining Carlile.

After Carlile was detained, he gave a false name. Later, it was determined that Carlile had two outstanding felony warrants for his arrest. One was a No Bail warrant for burglary and the other warrant was for possession of stolen property. Carlile is also on probation for possession of a controlled substance.

When the officer returned to the vehicle, he learned from witnesses that Stokes had dumped out the methamphetamine, then tossed the empty baggies down a storm drain, and stopped on the pipe breaking it. The officer was able to retrieve the baggies, one of which still had methamphetamine in it.

However, Stokes and Summers had left the area of the vehicle. A short time later, officers located Stokes walking through the parking lot towards the red Ford, which had picked up Stokes’ children. Stokes was taken into custody. During a search of Stokes’ vehicle a stolen credit card was located.

It was determined that Summers had also given the officer a false name. It was learned that Summers has a No Bail warrant for her arrest for violation of probation, but Summers was not relocated and is still outstanding.

Stokes was transported to the Tuolumne County Jail and booked for felony possession of a controlled substance, felony possession of a controlled substance for sale, felony conspiracy, felony child endangerment, and several misdemeanor violations.

Carlile was transported to the Tuolumne County Jail and booked on the two outstanding felony warrants, felony conspiracy, misdemeanor resisting arrest, and misdemeanor giving false information to an officer.

Drug and Possession of Stolen Property Arrest

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Date and Time of Release: 16 December 2013

Date and Time of Incident: 13 December 2013

Subject: Drug and Possession of Stolen Property Arrest
13 December 2013, at approx. 1:58 am, an Officer stopped a Toyota Camry on the 700 block of S. Washington Street for a mechanical violation. The officer contacted the driver and the passenger who were identified as Richie Naval, 37 of Modesto and Sylvia Naval 33 of Modesto.

The officer asked them if they were on probation and both subjects denied being on probation. A records check revealed that they were both on searchable probation out of Stanislaus County as the result of theft convictions.

A search of their car revealed numerous California drivers’ licenses and identification cards, credit cards, and electronic balance transfer cards, all of which were in other peoples’ names.

Also located were prescription pill bottles (in someone else’s name), prescription pills, heroin, methamphetamine, four pipes for smoking narcotics, 26 syringes and other items commonly used in the injection of narcotics.

Both of the Naval’s were taken into custody without incident and transported to the Tuolumne County Jail and booked for felony possession of a controlled narcotic, felony possession of a controlled substance, felony violation of probation, felony possession of stolen property.

Commercial Burglary Arrest

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Date and Time of Release: 16 December 2013

Date and Time of Incident: 13 December 2013

Subject: Commercial Burglary Arrest
9 December 2013, several commercial burglaries were reported to the Sonora Police Department and the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department. One businesse in Sonora and one in Jamestown had surveillance video of the responsible, which was taken during the commission of the burglaries. Upon viewing the surveillance video, the suspect was identified as Derek Helfrich, 18 of Jamestown.

During the next two days, the Sonora Police Department, Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol and Tuolumne County Probation Department searched several locations in an attempt to locate Helfrich, with negative results.

13 December 2013, Helfrich contacted the Sonora Police Department because he heard we were looking for him. Helfrich was contacted at his father’s residence on Ruth Lane in Sonora, where he was taken into custody without incident.

Helfrich was transported to the Tuolumne Jail and booked for felony commercial burglary. At the time of Helfrich’s arrest, he was also in possession of drug paraphernalia, which he was also booked for.

Roadside Emergency Kit

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Date and Time of Release: 11 December 2013

Subject: Roadside Emergency Kit (Be Prepared)

• Spare tire, properly inflated – check every 6 months!
• Car jack and lug wrench – fits your car and you know how to work it!
• Preprogram your cell phone with the 800 number for your auto club roadside service
• Call law enforcement for assistance to get you off the highway to safety
12-foot jumper cables Four 15-minute roadside flares
Emergency Red Reflector Triangle First aid kit
Flashlight and extra batteries Tire pressure gauge
Rags Roll of duct tape
HELP sign, at least 8 inches Energy bars (change yearly)
Bottled water (change yearly) Blanket
Extra vehicle fuses Small tool kit
Heavy duty nylon bag Nylon rope, at least 12 feet
Plastic tarp Jacket, gloves and hat
Tire inflator (such as a Fix-A-Flat) A quart of motor oil
Anti-Freeze Spray bottle with washer fluid
Pocketknife Ice scraper
Paper Towels Pencil and paper
Bungee cord – 12″ Rain poncho
Cable ties Work gloves
Small fire extinguisher (ABC rated and checked yearly)

Winter Driving Tips

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Date and Time of Release: 6 December 2013

Date and Time of Incident: 6 December 2013

Subject: Tips for driving in the snow

With the first winter storm upon us, the Sonora Police Department would like to pass on some snow driving tips.

• Make sure your vehicles brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, heater, tires and exhaust system are in good working condition.

• Always carry chains that are the proper size for your tires and are in good working order. Also, makes sure you know how to install the chains on your vehicle. This will require you to know if your vehicle is front wheel, rear wheel or all wheel drive.

• Pack water, food, warm blankets and extra clothing, as sometimes emergency roads closures make for lengthy traffic delays which could last several hours.

• Carry a cell phone with the appropriate numbers preprogrammed in it.

• Exercise caution when driving in winter conditions and adjust your speed accordingly. A speed of 45 miles per hour may be safe in dry weather, but it’s not safe in snowy or icy conditions.

Of course, if you don’t have to be out in the snowy weather, we recommend you stay home where it is safe.

A probable the Sonora Police Department has experienced during the last few years is that people have been abandoning their vehicles in the middle of major roadways, which creates a hazard for other motorists and snow removing equipment. If your vehicle is found abandoned and is determined to be a traffic hazard, it will be towed.

Robbery Arrest

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Date and Time of Release: 29 November 2013

Date and Time of Incident: 27 November 2013

Subject: Armed Robbery Arrest

27 November 2013, at approx. 2:01 pm, Officers were dispatched to the Grocery Outlet located on South Washington Street, regarding a subject who had pulled a knife on the store manager, after the manager confronted the subject about stealing some candy bars from the store.

As officers were responding to the area, they observed a subject matching the description of the responsible party. The officers contacted the subject who was identified as Daniel Nichols, 18 of Sonora. The manager identified Nichols as the person who pulled the knife on him, when he confronted Nichols about the theft.

Nichols was in possession of a knife, along with four candy bars, which he removed from the store without paying for. The total of the items taken was $3.94. Nichols was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Tuolumne County Jail. Nicholas was booked for felony armed robbery.