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Cash card scam nails another victim

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In a repeat case of a common scam, Sonoma police were alerted on July 8 that a 70-year-old man had purchased a $500 Green Dot card at a West Napa Street convenience store after receiving a phone call from a man claiming to be “Mark Rogers” with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. “Rogers” informed the man that his wife had not showed up for jury duty and that he would have to pay an immediate fine or she would be arrested.

He was instructed to purchase a “Vanilla gift card” and then pass on the card pin number to the caller. The man went to his bank and withdrew $500, then went to the convenience store.

The convenience store did not have Vanilla cards, but they sold the man a $500 Green Dot card and police arrived at the store to find the man in his car and on the phone to “Mark Rogers.” They tapped on his window to intervene moments after the man completed transfer of the card’s pin number to the fraudulent Mr. “Rodgers.”

The incident inspired Sonoma police to remind residents they should never respond to demands for cash card payments from people they don’t know, and that no legitimate government agency or business will transact business is such a fashion over the phone or with cash cards.

In other incidents reported recently to Valley law enforcement:

Sunday, July 15:

10:05 a.m. – Diabetic on meth? While on patrol in the area of Comstock Avenue and Riverside Drive, a Sheriff’s deputy saw a man leave a residence on Comstock that the Sheriff’s Office considers a known drug house. The deputy stopped the man and noticed that his speech was rapid and his eyelids were fluttering. During a pat down, the deputy found a syringe, which the suspect said belonged to his diabetic girlfriend. He was just holding it for her, he said. But the deputy also discovered some drugs later determined to be methamphetamine in the man’s pocket. Aaron Murray, 34, of the Springs, was arrested on charges of felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, and was transported to the county jail.

Wednesday, June 18:

5:55 p.m. – One punch and some crushed Norco. Deputies were sent to a residence in the 1000 block of Central Avenue on the report of a fight. Two roommates had gotten into an argument and at least one punch was thrown. The person on the receiving end of the punch declined medical aid and did not want to file a citizen’s arrest. But the deputy ran background checks on the combatants and found that the man who got punched had an outstanding warrant. The deputy searched the punchee and found a container in his possession with a white powdery substance. The man informed the deputy the powder was crushed Norco that he was taking for a bad back – but the man didn’t have the prescription for the drug. The deputy also found an empty pen body with a white substance on one of the ends.

Danny Klavinger, 48, of the Springs, was arrested on charges of felony possession of a narcotic controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and the outstanding warrant, and received a ride to the county jail.

9:32 p.m. – To pee or not to pee? While deputies were investigating a missing person in the 100 block of Meadowbrook Avenue, a neighbor told them the person had been seen with a man who was on PRCS (post release community supervision). At that moment, the man on PRCS walked up to the deputy, who put him in cuffs in order to question him. During questioning, the deputy asked the man when he last used drugs, and the man said it had been three days, but that he had tested “dirty” the day before.

The man refused to take another urine test and was told if he refused to be tested, it would be a violation of his PRCS. At the Sheriff’s Valley Substation, the man again refused to provide a urine sample, and therefore, Christopher Willis, 36, of the Springs, was arrested on charges of felony violation of PRCS and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Saturday, June 21:

1:40 a.m. – Should have gotten that taillight fixed. While on patrol in the 800 block of West Napa Street, a deputy saw a vehicle with a bad taillight. After the motorist – who had three active warrants –was pulled over, she admitted that her license had been suspended, but said her passenger had a license.

The passenger, however, told the deputy that he had left his license at home. During a search of the passenger, the deputy discovered a knife and several pills – 20 Vicodin and eight unidentified oblong pills – in his back pocket. The man told the deputy the Vicodin was for his back but, alas, the prescription was also at home.

The deputy then asked the driver, 24-year-old Kathleen Patterson, of Sonoma, if she had anything illegal on her person, and she admitted to having a packet of meth in her bra and paraphernalia in the vehicle. The deputy also discovered a checkbook that didn’t belong to the woman. Patterson was charged with the three bench warrants, felony possession of a controlled substance, felony possession of stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia, a probation violation and driving while suspended. The passenger, Ignacio Valencia, 35, of Sonoma, was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. The pair were booked into county jail.

7:55 p.m. – Felon with a dagger. While on patrol in the area of Main Street and Verano Avenue, a deputy recognized a pedestrian, from prior contacts, who was on probation with terms permitting search and seizure. The deputy asked the man if he had anything that might stick him, and was told the man had a pocketknife locked in the open position and that he carried it for protection because had had been getting jumped. The deputy arrested Robert Proctor, 37, of Sonoma, on charges of felony possession of a concealed dirk or dagger and a probation violation. Proctor was booked into county jail.

Thursday, June 26:

11:15 p.m.– All for the sake of a vapor cigarette. At a convenience store in the 500 block of West Napa Street, a deputy recognized a woman from prior contacts. The woman had reportedly tried to sell the clerk a coin and, when that transaction failed, some drugs, reportedly so she could buy vapor cigarettes. When the clerk refused the second offer, the woman reportedly began screaming.

The woman denied trying to sell either coin or drugs to the clerk, but the deputy noticed her rapid speech and asked if she had used drugs lately. The woman said she had used pot that morning and meth five days ago, but after doing poorly on some field tests, the deputy took her into custody and asked if she had anything illegal on her person. She said she didn’t, but wasn’t sure about her vehicle. A drug-sniffing dog was brought in and alerted to a purse on the passenger’s seat, which contained a plastic grinder and pills, a pipe and other paraphernalia.

Adrienne Garrison, 31, of Sonoma, claimed she had a prescription for the pills, but didn’t have it with her. Deputies arrested her on charges of felony possession of a controlled substance, felony possession of a narcotic controlled substance without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of a controlled substance. She was transported to county jail.

Friday, June 27:

11:09 p.m. – Twitching on probation. While on patrol in the vicinity of Laurel Avenue and Linden Street, a Sheriff’s deputy noticed a bicyclist who didn’t have the required light. The deputy stopped the bicyclist, who was on probation, couldn’t stand still, was twitching and did poorly on field tests. The deputy asked the man to supply either a blood or a urine sample, and the man refused twice. The 39-year-old Sonoma resident was arrested on charges of being under the influence of a controlled substance and a probation violation. He was transported to county jail.

Saturday, June 28:

11:34 p.m. – From domestic violence to county jail. Deputies were sent to a domestic disturbance in the 19000 block of Franquelin Place. An argument between a husband and wife turned physical and the 52-year-old man was charged with felony domestic violence with injury and damaging a wireless phone. He was transported to county jail.