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The case of the telltale wire cutters

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Good judgment does not always accompany criminal ambition and it appears that a 16-year old student at Sonoma Valley High School was not thinking about appearances as he wandered around campus with a pair of wire cutters in his pocket. It was Tuesday, Sept. 3, at around 12:45 p.m., when the school resource officer noticed the wire cutters in the student’s pocket and stopped him to chat. The observant officer also noticed the odor of alcohol emanating from the young man, and when he conducted a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS), it revealed the teen registered a .076.

During a search, the officer found a set of pliers in the teen’s possession, and an examination of the contents of the young man’s backpack turned up a tiny, round, white-plastic disc of the sort commonly found as part of the anti-theft devices that department stores use on clothing items. The officer also uncovered three new men’s shirts that personnel at McCaulou’s department store recognized as having been stolen. Also in the backpack was a computer flash drive that had been stolen from an economics class at the school. The shirts were valued at $125.

The Agua Caliente resident was charged with felony burglary, felony possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, minor in possession of alcohol and consumption of alcohol by a minor. He was charged and booked into juvenile hall.

In other incidents reported recently to Valley law enforcement:

Friday, Aug. 9:

12:34 a.m. – Driving under a variety of influences. Sonoma police spotted a blue Chevy Blazer driving erratically while making a left-hand turn onto West Napa Street, crossing the double line and swerving almost into the curb. The vehicle was stopped near Highway 12, Railroad Avenue and Petaluma Avenue, and when a police officer contacted the driver, his pupils were unusually dilated and there was an open bottle of beer spilled on the passenger side floor. Additionally, the driver, who had recently been released from the Alameda County jail, had a suspended driver’s license. Asked if he had anything illegal in his possession, 21-year-old Jose Mendoza pulled a small velvet bag from an inside pocket and handed it to the officer. Inside was a baggie of meth and a rolled up dollar bill containing some cocaine. Total weight of the drugs was 5.3 grams, and Mendoza was arrested on charges of felony possession of a controlled substance, possession of a narcotic controlled substance and driving DUI on a suspended license. He was booked into the Sonoma County jail.

Wednesday, Aug. 14:

11:20 a.m. – Automotive meth making. Deputies were sent to a residence in the 13000 block of Arnold Drive on the report of an arson. The vehicle owned by the resident had burned, but items found in the vehicle, which included a bottle of acid, fuel and other things used to manufacture methamphetamine, were discovered. Deputies have no leads on who may have been cooking meth in the vehicle.

Thursday, Aug. 15:

11:30 a.m. – Piping on parole. During a probation search at a residence in the 700 block of Arroyo Way, probation officers found a glass pipe in the possession of the resident. James Heywood, 36, of the Springs, was arrested on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and a violation of county parole.

5:15 p.m. – A little roadside assistance? While on patrol on Highway 12 near Dunbar Road, a deputy noticed a vehicle sitting alongside the road. He stopped to find out what was wrong, and a woman told him the vehicle had run out of gas and that someone had gone to fetch some. The deputy ran the plate and discovered that the owner, Raymond Rochioli, 44, of Windsor, had two outstanding arrest warrants. The deputy hung out for a while but decided to drive down the road a bit. Shortly thereafter, the vehicle passed him. The deputy pulled the vehicle over to arrest Rochioli and during a subsequent search, found some morphine pills that didn’t belong to Rochioli, who was arrested on charges of felony possession of narcotics and the two warrants.

Tuesday, Aug. 20:

10:12 a.m. – A blowgun? During a probation search in an ongoing investigation at a residence in the 17000 block of Highway 12, deputies found pictures of the 28-year-old suspect tattooing her younger sister. They also found a blowgun and a county jail pass that was to be turned in when leaving the facility. Deputies forwarded a report to the district attorney’s office recommending that it file charges of tattooing a person under 18, possession of a blowgun and misappropriation of county property.

Wednesday, Aug. 21:

Midnight – Owner of hidden rifle sought. While contacting a subject at a gas station in the 18000 block of Sonoma Highway, a Sheriff’s deputy was approached by another man who told him that someone had left a rifle at his house and he was upset because there were children in the house. The man had the gun in his car and gave it to the deputy, along with the name of the person who had hidden it at his residence on Manzanita Road. Deputies were unable to immediately locate the person who hid the gun, but because he was not legally allowed to own a firearm, they sent a report to the district attorney.

3:07 p.m. – Rogue ATVs. A resident in the 1000 block of Felder Road reported that someone tore down a 15-foot section of a rock wall on his property and left ATV tracks behind. He told the deputy that, the day before, he saw two juveniles on ATVs picking berries in the area.

Saturday, Aug. 24:

11:13 a.m. – Stolen ID equals $2,900 computer. A resident in the 18000 block of Carriger Road told Sheriff’s deputies that Discover called to see if she had applied for a credit card. She hadn’t. She then found out that someone had accessed her GE Credit Card account and had made some changes in her personal information that allowed them to charge a $2,900 computer from Dell.

Wednesday, Aug. 28:

4:11 p.m. – Welcome to Wine Country. A pair of tourists from Montreal had parked their rental car in a parking lot at a winery in the 500 block of Pythian Road. When they returned a little more than an hour later, they found that someone had shattered a rear window and made off with $700 worth of clothes, running shoes worth $200, a $700 iPad and eyeglasses worth $1,200 that were lying in plain sight. There were no witnesses.

Friday, Aug. 30:

2:40 a.m. – Irrelevant and none of your business? After making contact with three known drug users in the 700 block of Broadway, a Sheriff’s deputy saw a man with an unsteady gait approaching. When the man stopped about four-to-five feet behind the deputy, the deputy asked him if he needed anything. The man wanted to know what was going on and the deputy told him it was none of his business and that he needed to move along. The man insisted on knowing what was going on, so the deputy asked the man how much he had to drink, to which the man replied, “It’s irrelevant and none of your business.”

The deputy then told the man to leave or he’d go to jail because he was interfering with an investigation. The man still refused to leave so the deputy arrested the 32-year-old Sonoma resident on charges of obstruction, public intoxication and a probation violation.

8:41 p.m. – You can run but we know where you live. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the report of a battery at a market in the 18000 block of Sonoma Highway. When deputies arrived, they found that a suspect had walked up to a woman coming out of the market, punched her in the face and fled. Because of prior contacts with the man, deputies were able to find him at a residence on First Avenue and charged Christopher Collins, 29, of Sonoma, with felony battery with serious bodily injury and a probation violation. Collins was arrested and transported to the county jail.

Saturday, Aug. 31:

11:06 a.m. – Forced entry, minor theft. A resident in the 300 block of First Street East reported that sometime between Aug. 29 and Aug. 31, someone gained access to the residence, which is undergoing a major renovation. Several dressers had been ransacked, but the only thing missing was $10 to $15 from a nightstand.

10:45 a.m. – Was that a Bud Light on TV? On Thursday, Aug. 29, at about 4 a.m., two individuals walked into a convenience store in the 18000 block of Railroad avenue, grabbed three 18-packs of a well-known, but lightly regarded beer, and ran out of the store. A deputy reviewing the report went back to the store to see if there was any video. There was, and the deputy recognized both individuals as frequent fliers. The deputy went to the residence of one of the men, Henry Morgan, 20, of the Springs, and asked him about the incident. After first denying he had anything to do with the beer heist, he muttered an expletive when the deputy showed him a picture of the theft in progress. Morgan was arrested and charged with felony burglary and felony conspiracy to commit a crime, and was transported to the county jail.

Sunday, Sept. 1:

1:06 a.m. – Wrong time to run stop sign. While on patrol in the vicinity of Second Street West and West Napa, a Sonoma police officer stopped a female motorist who failed to stop at a stop sign. As the officer talked with the driver, he detected a strong odor of alcohol. The 36-year-old Santa Rosa resident admitted to drinking several pints of beer. After administering field sobriety tests, the officer took the woman to the police department where she registered a .153 on a PAS. She was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

2:25 a.m. – Wrong place to drive fast. While on patrol in the area of Fifth Street West and West Spain Street, a police officer saw a vehicle coming toward him at a high rate of speed and the motorist slammed on the brakes at the stop sign. Once confronted, the motorist admitted to drinking an unspecified amount of alcohol. It was enough that the 37-year-old El Verano resident registered a .129 on the PAS. The man was arrested on charges of driving under the influence.

10:46 a.m. – Burglary nets nothing. Sometime overnight, someone cut the padlock and entered a barn at the Sonoma Garden Park in the 19000 block of Seventh Street East. The burglar made off with a cash register that contained no money.

Monday, Sept. 2:

2 a.m. – Wrong time to navigate negligently. A police officer noticed a vehicle that had left a saloon on Sonoma Highway navigating erratically. After stopping the vehicle in the 19000 block of Sonoma Highway, the officer noticed all the usual signs of someone who had been imbibing. The female motorist registered a .23 on the PAS and she was cited for driving under the influence.

8:38 a.m. – Shop, grab, drop, run. In an incident that occurred on Aug. 28, a man in his 20s was observed putting things in a backpack at a business in the 200 block of West Napa Street. After the man left the store, the manager confronted him and the suspect dropped the backpack and fled. After determining the backpack contained $1,400 in shoplifted goods, the manager decided to report it based on the cost. Officers looked at the security video and are currently looking for the suspect.

11:40 a.m. – Old car, easy to open. A motorist who parked his vehicle in a lot in the 18000 block of Sonoma Highway, returned a few minutes later to find an iPhone and an iPad that he had left on the passenger seat, missing. The man had locked the vehicle, but it was a 1980s model with windows that could be easily pried open. The loss was estimated at $600.

Thursday, Sept. 5:

9:57 a.m. – Troubled teen. The school resource officer at Sonoma Valley High was contacted by an administrator about a 15-year-old girl who was having behavior issues. When the officer started talking with the teen, she told him that she was an undercover cop and needed to know about Napa. She also told the officer, among other rambling statements, that her mother had stabbed her in the stomach the day before. She also admitted to using methamphetamine and she was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance and taken to juvenile hall.