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Mom leaves 7-year-old alone in Plaza

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When a woman dropped her foster daughter off at the Plaza to play while she drove home, it was a little after 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4, and the daughter remembers her foster mother saying she would be back before dark. That might not have drawn attention but for the fact the daughter was 7 years old.

The girl played happily with other children until one parent asked where her mother was. The girl explained she had gone home but would be back before dark. That didn’t sit well with the concerned parent, who called police to report what might have been an abandoned child.

Sonoma police officers arrived quickly and gently questioned the girl, who told them her mother had gone home to drop groceries off and would be back before dark. The child referred to her foster mother as “Mo” and said she had lived with her for “most of her life.”

Police waited with the child in the Plaza for 50 minutes before taking her with them back to the police station. A short time later the mother called, having been told by children at the Plaza that police had taken the girl.

The mother claimed she had only been gone 15 or 20 minutes, and when police said that was impossible because they were with the child for 50 minutes in the Plaza, the mother claimed she must have been there but not seen the officers. She said she had gone home because she didn’t want her ice cream to melt.

After consulting with officials from Child Protective Services, police were advised to release the girl to her foster mother. Police said a report was subsequently prepared on the behavior of the 55-year-old El Verano foster mother and submitted to CPS.

In other incidents reported to local law enforcement:

Monday, Sept. 30:

11:30 a.m. – Miscue of a not-so-master forger. A clerk in a market in the 18000 block of Sonoma Highway reported a man cashed a check that the clerk thought was not legitimate. Deputies investigated and discovered that the man apparently stole a $130 child support check, forged the payee’s name and then signed it over to himself. James Cloud, 30, a Springs transient, was charged with felony burglary, felony forgery, felony passing a fraudulent check and a probation violation, and was booked into the county jail.

Tuesday, Oct. 1:

1:30 a.m. – Husband arrested for hitting wife. Deputies were sent to a residence in the 18000 block of Railroad Avenue on the report of a domestic disturbance. The victim told the deputies that her husband hit her in the face and that the attack was witnessed by their children. The 37-year-old man was arrested and charged with cruelty to a child and domestic battery. The deputies also got an emergency protective order for the wife.

8:05 a.m. – A laptop, a bike and … six pairs of shoes? A resident in the 200 block of Old Maple Avenue reported that when he awakened that morning, he discovered a laptop computer that had been in the family room was missing. He found the backdoor unlocked, and six pairs of shoes that were outside the door, also missing. A garage door opener was also taken as were some tools and a bike from the garage. There was no sign of forced entry.

At 6 p.m., a deputy found the shoes in a box in a nearby creek. Deputies are also reviewing videos from a nearby apartment complex to see if they can get a look at a suspect.

9 a.m. – Drugs and domestic dispute. Deputies responded to a residence in the 1000 block of Grove Street to investigate a domestic dispute. The victim told the deputies that she was thrown to the ground by her 53-year-old husband. The husband appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance, so in addition to the domestic violence battery charge, he was also charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance and transported to the county jail.

Wednesday, Oct. 2:

2:20 p.m. – Dude, where’s my refrigerator? Following a landlord-tenant dispute in the 18000 block of Sonoma Highway, a tenant who was moving out reportedly didn’t pay her last month’s rent, left behind two sofas and allegeldy took a refrigerator. But the landlord couldn’t supply a brand or serial number for the refrigerator, because she had bought it five years earlier. The investigating Sheriff’s deputy told her there was no way to recover the appliance since the description was too vague.

Friday, Oct. 4:

7:10 a.m. – Work site burgled. A construction worker on a site in the 9000 block of Highway 12 in Kenwood, told deputies that he put his tools in a trailer the night before and locked the trailer. When he arrived on-site the next morning, the trailer door  had been cut and a number of tools were missing. He was to supply a list of missing items at a later date.

Saturday, Oct. 5:

9:30 a.m. – Was it a cold night? A resident in the 18000 block of Sierra Drive reported that sometime overnight, someone got into her locked vehicle and took a designer blanket. She said she heard the car alarm go off sometime during the night, but didn’t check at the time. In the morning, she came out of the residence and found the front driver’s door open and the blanket missing. Other valuables left in the car were not taken.

3:15 p.m. – Unscrewing and entering. A resident in the 200 block of Old Maple Avenue, reported that someone had entered a locked barn and stolen a $280 Skillsaw. The perpetrator took the screws off the latch on the door to gain entry. The victim didn’t have a serial number for the saw.

6:45 p.m. – Smash-and-grab of gym bag. A resident in the 100 block of Shaw Avenue reported that his wife’s vehicle had been broken into sometime overnight. The thief reportedly broke a window to gain access to the vehicle and made off with a gym bag containing an iPod Nano and miscellaneous clothing. The victim estimated that it would cost $500 to replace the shattered window.

Sunday, Oct. 6:

4:07 p.m. – “Shouldn’t be driving.” Sonoma police received a call from an employee of the Sonoma Safeway store reporting that a customer who could barely walk had gotten into a white Dodge sedan and driven out onto West Napa Street.

Police caught up to the woman at the intersection of Highway 12 and West Spain Street, and the woman behind the wheel promptly told them, “I shouldn’t be driving.” Her speech was extremely slurred and she explained that she had taken “a lot” of prescription drugs and was under the care of a mental health provider.

Police said she could barely stand up while performing field sobriety tests. The 55-year-old woman was charged with DUI and cited out to her husband.