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Hiding in plain sight

Police call it an “agency assist” when one department comes to the assistance of another, as happened in Sonoma on Feb. 22, after the Rohnert Park Police Department asked Sonoma police for help locating a suspect in a domestic assault case.

The Rohnert Park authorities had information that the man lived at the Moon Valley mobile home park off Fifth Street West, and that he was believed to be employed there as a maintenance worker as well. They explained he was wanted for assaulting his girlfriend.

When Sonoma officers arrived at the park, they got no response at the address given as his residence, but a neighbor informed them that, while the man no longer lived at the address, he was still employed by the park and, in fact, had just driven in and was probably at the maintenance structure at the back of the property.

Police found the truck, as directed, with the hood still warm. But when they knocked on the door and called the suspect’s name, no one answered.

One officer walked around the structure, peered in a window and saw the suspect watching the waiting officers on a closed-circuit TV system.

Officers called out to him again, so the man moved behind a curtain out of the field of view, but for his feet.

At which point an officer shouted, “Ron, I can see your white tennis shoes.” The suspect then backed further out of sight.

Officers then called for back-up and the K-9 unit, set a perimeter around the building and announced their intention to enter the building with the dog and search it.

The man did not answer, but officers heard the noise of something breaking. They entered the building and the dog promptly alerted them to a hole in the sheetrock that gave access to the attic, where they easily spotted the suspect hiding.

Ronald Cooper, 35, of Rohnert Park, was arrested without incident and booked into the Sonoma County jail, charged with felony domestic violence, felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor child endangerment.

In other incidents reported recently to Valley law enforcement:

Thursday, Feb. 13:

10:06 a.m. – Inside job? A resident in the 21000 block of Arnold Drive reported that she discovered some silver and gold jewelry from Mexico missing on Feb. 8. The woman told deputies that numerous family members had been staying at the house recently. There were no leads on who could have stolen the jewelry.

5:19 p.m. – Woman walks off with Ruger. A resident in the 17000 block of San Jacinto Drive reported missing a .44 Ruger revolver after a female acquaintance had spent the night. The man told deputies the pistol, which had sentimental value, was on the nightstand in plain sight and he noticed it was gone after his female friend left. The female later said she gave it to another acquaintance of the victim and he would return it, but he hadn’t.

Friday, Feb. 14:

9:36 a.m. – Bogus checks on son’s account. A resident in the 100 block of Vista Circle reported that sometime in January, after she opened a checking account with her son, somebody wrote two checks using her bank routing number and name. One of the checks was for $3,200 and the second was for $180, and they were both cashed by the same bank in Vallejo. She told deputies her son didn’t write the checks and he had been a victim of fraudulent activity in Richmond.

5:13 p.m. – The fruits of searchable probation. While on patrol in the vicinity of Verano Avenue and Main Street, a deputy noticed a man who matched the description of a wanted person. As the deputy approached, the man dropped a glass pipe on the sidewalk, breaking it. The man continued over to a nearby car, where a woman sat in the passenger’s seat. The woman turned out to be on searchable probation, and during a search of the vehicle the deputy found a small bag of a white powdery substance. The 37-year-old woman was cited and released on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and a probation violation. The 37-year-old man was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.

8:26 p.m. – Scooters powered off by humans. A resident in the 200 block of DeChene Avenue, reported that two human-powered scooters were missing from his garage. The scooters were valued at $500 each.

Saturday, Feb. 15:

8:58 a.m. – The price of online pleasure. A resident in the 600 block of Oman Springs Circle told deputies her son was a victim of a possible extortion. The 16-year-old boy was on a Skype call with a female and was busy fondling himself when a man’s voice came on, saying he was a hacker and that he had been taping the teen’s activity. The voice told the teen that if he didn’t pay, the tape would be sent to all the boy’s contacts and posted on the Internet. The boy reported this to his mother who told the hacker she was calling the police and then she shut down the computer.

Tuesday, Feb. 18:

10:26 a.m. – Another bad check scam. A resident in the 16000 block of Calle de la Luna told deputies that after returning home from a vacation, she was notified by her bank that there was suspicious activity on her checking account. Two checks, both for $1,223.14, had been cashed. The checks were out of sequence and were made out to a female, whom the woman didn’t know, with a Florida driver’s license.

5:55 p.m.  – A bunch of tools and a truck to steal them with. A resident in the 18000 block of Madera Road told Sheriff’s deputies that he and his wife had left home at around noon, after locking all the doors, except for the garage back door, which they left open. When the couple returned at 5:30 p.m., the garage door was open, a locked pickup truck in the driveway was missing, the garage and a locked shed had been ransacked and numerous power tools were missing. The man is a contractor who hired about 25 day laborers recently and they all knew where the keys were kept. The burglar or burglars didn’t get into the house. The man estimated the missing goods were worth about $3,000, plus whatever the truck was worth.

Wednesday, Feb. 19:

8:53 a.m. – Return of the taggers. La Luz, in the 17000 block of Greger Avenue, reported that it had again been hit by taggers over the long weekend.

9:49 a.m. – Yet another check scam. An employee of a winery in the 19000 block of Orange Avenue, reported that receiving a call from a woman who had received a $2,310 check on an account that had been closed since June 2013 and that the winery didn’t issue. The woman told the employee that she had been looking for a job in Virginia on Craigslist, and was contacted via email by someone who offered her a job as his assistant. For unexplained reasons,  the man mailed her the check and asked her to cash it. The woman found the request odd, since she had never even met the man. She called a phone number he provided and a man who spoke halting English answered and then promptly hung up. The woman decided she should call the winery and report the incident to them.

10:10 p.m. – He said, she said, he went to jail. Sheriff’s deputies were sent to a residence in the 700 block of East Verano Avenue to investigate a domestic disturbance. A woman at the residence told deputies her husband returned home upset with the sale of their house and was screaming and hitting things. When the woman tried to call 9-1-1, she said, he shoved her and grabbed her cellphone to prevent the call. The 52-year-old husband didn’t see things quite the same way, but he was nonetheless arrested and charged with domestic battery and damaging a wireless device, and transported to jail.

Thursday, Feb. 20:

4:42 p.m. – Illegal use of a torque wrench. Deputies were sent to the 100 block of Vista Circle in response to a disturbance that turned physical. The victim told deputies that he, his wife and children were going to meet some neighbors and were waiting at the corner, when another car pulled up behind him. The driver of the second vehicle was reportedly screaming and swearing at the victim, and after both men were out of their cars, driver number two grabbed a torque wrench and hit the victim with some glancing blows. The victim then hit the suspect with his fists, causing the suspect to drop the torque wrench. The victim picked it up and shattered the suspect’s windshield. The suspect told deputies that he was the one who was attacked, but the deputies arrested him anyway. Jose Olvera-Gonzalez, 35, was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon, not a firearm, and two outstanding bench warrants.