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Crime and Punishment in the New Year

From Chief Magnus:


Happy New Year to all!  2010 is already off to a busy start with some exceptional police work being done by personnel throughout the Police Department.  As always, I can only include a sampling of what's being accomplished, but I think it gives you a good sense of the work underway.  If you would like additional information about any of the items described below or have questions, please feel free to contact me.  Regards,


Chief Chris Magnus


Sat., Jan. 9, 2010, 10:27 a.m., 1300 Coalinga Ave.--RPD Officers responded to 1300 Coalinga Avenue on a report of a burglary in progress.  Officers went on scene and detained two males in their 40s.  The investigation revealed that the residence was under construction and that there had been a forced entry.  Both males were identified by witnesses as suspects in this case.  One of the suspects was found in a motor home parked in front of the residence.  Property from the residence was located in the motor home.  Both suspects were arrested and booked at RPD Jail.  One of them was also a parolee at large.  Officer Reid conducted the preliminary investigation.


Fri., Jan. 8, 2010, 8:00 p.m., 23rd St./Garvin Ave.—Sgt. Mollenbernd made contact with two females standing near the corner of 23rd St. and Garvin Ave.  Sergeant Mollenbernd believed the two females were possibly involved in prostitution.  The first individual, a 19 year-old female, was engaged in a conversation with a male in a vehicle when the pedestrian stop occurred.  The second individual, a 16 year-old female, was standing with the 19 year-old and the two appeared to be soliciting together.

            Based on Sgt. Mollenbernd’s preliminary investigation, Suspect #1 was arrested on several charges.  She was transported and booked into the Richmond City Jail.

            Sgt. Mollenbernd found out that Suspect #2 was a 16 year old run-away from Portland, Oregon.  She was forthcoming with information and admitted to being a run-away and to working as a prostitute.  Sgt. Mollenbernd contacted the juvenile’s father in Oregon and confirmed her identity and status as a run-away.

            Sgt. Mollenbernd contacted Juvenile Hall, but the Juvenile Hall refused to house the juvenile.  Juvenile Hall advised she was not arrested for a violent crime and she was not on probation, therefore they would not take her.  It did not matter to Juvenile Hall that she was a 16 year old run-away/prostitute without family in California.

            Child Protective Services (CPS) was contacted, but they would not send out a worker to speak with or house the juvenile.  CPS basically said the juvenile was probably not truthful about her age and that it was not their problem.

            Sgt. Mollenbernd continued to try and get this juvenile assistance and he was able to have Northern California Family Center in Martinez, California to accept the juvenile.  This organization came to the Police Department and picked her up.  This 16 year-old’s family is en-route to the center to pick her up.  Hopefully she will stay at the center long enough for her family to travel to California.


Fri., Jan. 8, 2010—The department’s Special Investigations Division (SID) along with Parole officers conducted compliance checks at several locations.  Victor Holmes, 50 years, Courtney Bell, 30 years, and Juan McCoy, 41 years, were all arrested for parole warrants.  Detective Hauschild and Detective Mikell were the case agents.  RPD Officers and Parole Agents had just started surveillance when they observed William Wells, 34 years, leave from his residence in a taxi. Wells had an outstanding Parolee at Large (PAL) warrant. The officers were able to catch up with the taxi on the San Rafael Bridge.  Wells was arrested without incident and booked at RPD Jail.


Fri., Jan. 8, 2010--Detective Johansen with the assistance of Sgt. Hendricsen have solved Richmond’s second homicide of 2010. Suspect Vance Robert Gattis has been charged with numerous charges, including murder in the death of 57 year old Catherine Marie Kelly.


Thur., Jan. 7, 2010, 9:00 p.m., 2600 block of Hilltop Dr.--Officers responded to the San Marcos apartments after security reported a female struck two parked vehicles with her Chevrolet SUV and drove away.   A short time later, a car parked on Hilltop Drive was struck by the same SUV.  Next, an AC Transit bus was sideswiped by the SUV on Hilltop Mall Road, south of Robert H. Miller Dr.  The driver and sole occupant of the bus reported his hand was injured as a result of the collision.

            The security guard reported that the driver of the SUV had returned on foot and entered an apartment at the San Marcos complex.  Officers located her in an apartment and positively identified as the driver of the SUV.  She failed field sobriety tests and was arrested for the DUI as well as Hit and Run.  This suspect also had an out of county no-bail warrant for her arrest.  Traffic Officers Schlemmer and Tan conducted the collision investigations and Officer Shanks completed the DUI investigation.


Wed., Jan. 6, 2010, Southern District—Although Richmond experienced a significant decrease in shots fired on New Years Eve compared to prior years, Capt. McBride decided to take advantage of data from the department’s ShotSpotter (gunfire detection) system to follow-up at locations where the system showed gunfire had come from.  An operation was conducted at multiple addresses in the Southern District where officers followed up on ShotSpotter hits from New Years Eve.  In all, 40 people were contacted, seven parolees were searched, three felony arrests were made, and one gun was recovered.


Tues., Jan. 5, 2010, 2:30 p.m., Kennedy High School--Officer Gray was made aware of a 17 year old student creating a disturbance at Kennedy High School.  The recently suspended student returned to school and was cursing at the principal.  Officer Gray was asked to intervene and have the student leave the campus.  The student refused to do so and when asked to place his hands behind his back pursuant to an arrest, he refused.  Officer Gray attempted to handcuff him and the struggle continued onto the ground where the suspect placed his hands under his abdomen refusing to allow Officer Gray to complete the handcuffing procedure.  Officer Gray eventually overpowered the suspect and took him into custody.

            Once the suspect was escorted to a patrol car, he kicked a dent into the right rear quarter panel, and once placed into the rear seat, he followed up by kicking at the rear window.  Officers on scene, including Sgt. Russell, utilized the WRAP device to restrain the arrestee and he was transported to Juvenile Hall for booking.


Tues., Jan. 5, 2010, 10:45 a.m., 40th St. and Roosevelt Ave.--Initially officers were sent to 4030 Clinton Ave., where a victim reported the suspect in an Assault with a Deadly Weapon incident had returned to the scene of the crime.  The suspect (already wanted by the Police Department) was gone when officers arrived.  Officer Danielle Evans located the suspect, approximately 20 minutes later, at 40th St. and Roosevelt Avenue and took him into custody.  The department’s Investigations Division was notified.


Mon., Jan. 4, 2010--Officer Avila was off duty and at his home watching the local news when he noticed a segment outlining the arrest of Michael Lee Grayson.  The arrest stemmed from a series of armed robberies committed at numerous Game Stop and Radio Shack Stores throughout Contra Costa and Alameda counties.  Officer Avila viewed Grayson’s photo and noticed the physical similarities to the suspect having committed a robbery at a Game Stop in our city on December 4, 2009.  Officer Avila immediately relayed his observations to the on-duty robbery detective, Eric Smith.

On Jan. 5, 2009, Det. Dave Funk met with the Game Stop employees (victims) and presented them with a photo line-up of Grayson.  Immediately  upon viewing the line-up, the employee(s) positively identified Grayson as having been responsible for the robbery. Grayson was determined to be a three strike candidate with a violent criminal history.  Det. Funk will be meeting with the various agencies for purposes of filing preparation.

            This case would likely not have been solved if Officer Avila not been attentive to the circumstances surrounding the initial robbery.  His astute observation skills, coupled with his excellent work ethic and sincere interest in this community will help keep a career criminal in prison.


Sat., Jan 2, 2010, 7:00 p.m., 1000 block of Nevin Ave.--Sgt. Mollenbernd observed an occupied confirmed stolen vehicle in the area of Harbour Way S. and Ohio Ave.  Officers J. Topete and E. Loucas responded to assist Sgt. Mollenbernd.

              A felony vehicle stop was conducted on the stolen vehicle in the 1000 block of Nevin Ave.  The three occupants of the vehicle were detained pending the preliminary investigation.  During a search of the vehicle, Officer Topete recovered the following under the right front passenger seat:

·        One stolen black semi-automatic handgun

·        Suspected Methamphetamine

·        Glass pipe used to inhale Methamphetamine

·        Packaging material

Officer Topete used his Spanish language skills to interview all the occupants of the stolen vehicle.  Based on the interviews, a suspect was arrested and booked into the Richmond City Jail on multiple charges.


Sat., Jan. 2, 2010, 10:30 a.m., 3600 block of Ohio Ave.--Officers were in the area of 329 45th Street on the report of a suspicious person who entered the backyard of the residence and then fled.  While circulating for the suspect, Officer Campos located a suspect in the area of 37th St. and Bissell Ave.  The suspect was carrying a large red bag and wire cutters. After detaining the suspect, Officer Campos began to search the large red bag when he discovered a sawed-off rifle.  When the suspect realized that Officer Campos had found the rifle, the suspect fled southbound on foot.  Officer Campos pursued the suspect to 3630 Ohio Ave., where GREEN forcibly entered a rear window of the residence.  After the residents were safely removed, a perimeter was established.  K-9 Officer Mandell and hisK-9 Rasp conducted an interior search and located the suspect.  The suspect heard K-9 Rasp approaching and decided to “give up” before the K-9 reached his hiding place.  The suspect was transported to and booked into the Richmond City Jail.


Some CCTV (Closed Circuit TV Camera) Highlights from Dec. 2009—

·        On Dec. 15th, a patrol officer heard gunshots coming from the area of 16th St. and Portola Ave. The officer responded to the scene and found expended cartridges.  As the detail was unfolding, the on-duty CCTV officer notified patrol officers that ShotSpotter showed 1300 Roosevelt as another shooting location.  Patrol Officers responded to the scene and located the suspect vehicle.  Inside the vehicle, officers recovered an AK-47 assault rifle. A handgun was also recovered.  The vehicle was not occupied when the officers arrived. 

·        On Dec. 21st, a mentally-ill adult armed with a stick, threatened one of the clerks at the market at S. 7th St. and Ohio Ave.  The CCTV officer kept patrol officers apprised of the incident and the status of the suspect until their arrival.

·        On Dec. 21st, a copper theft occurred at the wharf located at 1333 Canal Blvd.  The victim provided Dispatch with the suspect’s description and with the suspect vehicle description.  The suspects would have evaded capture if the CCTV officer had not spotted their vehicle on Richmond Pkwy. and Gertrude Ave. 10 minutes after the incident.  Three individuals were taken into custody.

·        On Dec. 27th, a CCTV officer observed a vehicle driving westbound on W. Macdonald Ave.  The vehicle stopped next to a vehicle parked along the north curb line. The parked vehicle was occupied by a black male adult, who was seated in the driver’s seat and a black female adult, who was in the front passenger’s seat.  Numerous muzzle flashes could be seen coming from the suspect vehicle.  The suspect drove toward Garrard Blvd.  Both the male and the female sustained life threatening injuries.  The male victim made a u-turn, headed east, but crossed westbound lanes of traffic and crashed in to a parked vehicle.  This very helpful footage of the crime was provided to Homicide detectives.

·        On Dec. 28th, a black female was reported using a stolen credit card in one of the stores in the 2300 block of Macdonald Ave.  The CCTV officer saw the suspect exit the store and directed responding units to her location.

·        On Dec. 29th, a citizen reported an aggressive panhandler in the area of 23rd Street and Macdonald Ave.  The CCTV officer located the suspect working the drive through of McDonald’s Restaurant.  The CCTV officer directed responding units to the suspect’s location. The suspect was arrested.