Just taking my trees for a walk, officer
It was in the wee hours of the morning on June 6 - 1:45 a.m. to be precise - that a frustratingly familiar resident of Boyes Hot Springs was encountered on the bike path near Highway 12 carrying three objects not normally transported at that hour in that place in that way.
The Sonoma Police officer, who was patrolling the bike path, must have been at least a little surprised to discover the suspect with three bare-root Japanese maple trees.
Upon questioning the 53-year-old suspect, the officer ascertained that the trees were, in fact, stolen, and that he had dug them out of the ground with his bare hands, which were visibly dirty. The man admitted to stealing them from a nearby residence in the 600 block of Joaquin Drive. The tree-napper was charged with petty theft and the trees were returned to their rightful owner.
In other incidents reported to local law enforcement:
Saturday, May 28:
9:57 a.m. - Injured infant. Deputies were called to the emergency room at Sonoma Valley Hospital when a 4-month-old child showed up with a broken arm. Deputies determined that the child's 24-year-old father was involved with the injury and arrested the man on charges of felony cruelty to a child.
Sunday, May 29:
7:20 p.m. - Weight loss run amok. A Boyes Springs man with an apparent weight problem stopped by the Rite-Aid store at Maxwell Village to pick up two packages of Alli weight loss pills. When he left the store and got into a white Chrysler the store manager, who had followed him out, stood in the way of the car, blocking its exit. The customer, who had neglected to pay for the $110 worth of diet pills, then jumped out of the car and ran away.
The driver, who said he had no idea his passenger was going to steal the pills, cooperated with police who promptly located the would-be dieter and charged him with petty theft.
Had the suspect done a little research, he might have learned that, according to a Mayo Clinic doctor, the pills are little more effective than diet and exercise alone. At best he could have lost an additional 3 to 5 pounds over the course of a year.
Monday, May 30:
9:12 a.m. - Overnight, bike gone. A resident in the 1300 block of Avenida Sebastiani reported that sometime overnight, someone stole an unlocked bike mounted on a rack on his car. The bike, a Cannondale 700 Silk, was valued at $1,000.
12:53 p.m. - Three weeks, catalytic converter gone. A resident of the 500 bock of Andrieux Street told police he returned home after being out of town for three weeks to discover that his 1994 Toyota pickup truck had been relieved of its catalytic converter in his absence. The loss was valued at between $800 and $1,000, and brought to 21 or 22 the total number of catalytic converters stolen from area Toyotas in the past month.
Tuesday, May 31:
6:46 a.m. - Five minutes, car gone. A resident of Larkin Drive told police he started his car in his driveway, went back in the house for a cup of coffee and returned to discover the car was gone. Missing was a black, 2007 Acura TL four-door sport sedan.
Friday, June 3:
11 a.m. - Dude, whose car is that? When a resident in the 1100 block of Brockman Lane noticed a gray, 1982 Mercedes 300D sedan, parked nearby for a few days without moving, he contacted police. Police traced the registration and discovered it had been reported stolen in Salinas. The vehicle was towed and the registered owner was notified.
11:20 a.m. - Worried about missing gun. A recently widowed woman, living in the 500 block of Third Street West, reported to police that, before he died, her husband kept a handgun in the nightstand next to their bed. She has not been able to find the gun, she told police, and wanted to report it missing in case it was used in a crime. She described it as a silver revolver, but could not name the make or model.
8:45 p.m. - A really dumb idea. A 14-year-old eighth grader who, at this rate, may never graduate from high school, nevertheless succumbed to a really dumb idea and tried to crash the Sonoma Valley High School Grad Night party while wearing red gang colors and drinking alcohol. As vigilant as authorities are about policing the party, it did not take advanced policing skills to spot and apprehend the suspect, who was cited for violation of the social host ordinance, for a probation violation, for drinking and for wearing gang colors on campus.
11:47 p.m. - Just two beers. Police spotted a green Ford Explorer at Maxwell Village shopping center with no rear license plate and a broken brake light. The 56-year-old drive from San Lorenzo exhibited symptoms of intoxication, but explained to the inquiring officer that only had the proverbial "two beers" at a local tavern. He nevertheless failed his field sobriety tests and blew a .091 BAC on the preliminary breath test. He was arrested, charged with DUI, chose to take a blood test and was cited out to a responsible adult.
Saturday, June 4:
11:31 p.m. - DUI, again. A Sonoma police officer spotted a white Toyota 4Runner swerving on Highway 12 near Agua Caliente Road. The officer made a traffic stop and contacted the driver, a Glen Ellen man who displayed symptoms of intoxication, failed to successfully perform the field sobriety tests and blew an indicated .16 blood alcohol content on a preliminary breath test.
At the county jail the driver blew a .14 and was subsequently booked, in part for a previous DUI for which he was on probation. He was charged with DUI and probation violation.