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.