Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff are investigating a Deprivation of Custody case.
A relative was recently awarded temporary guardianship of 3-year-old Jahkai Smith by the Contra Costa Superior Court. The child’s father, 25-year-old Jahron Smith, has ignored the court order and refused to turn over the child. Jakhai is considered to be at risk due to age.
Jahkai Smith – Male, 3′ tall, 50 pounds, black hair and brown eyes.
Jahron Najee Smith – Male, 5’11”, 155 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes. Jahron may be in the Bay Point or Antioch areas and has ties to Oakland.
Anyone who has information on the whereabouts of Jahkai or Jahron is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 383-9795. For any tips, please email: email@example.com or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.
The alleged suspect in the bank robbery that occurred at the U.S. Bank branch in Lafayette on August 23, 2016 was arrested. He is identified as 55-year-old Robert Keith Dennis of Oroville.
During the investigation, Lafayette police detectives, assisted by the FBI, determined the alleged suspect may be tied to a series of recent bank robberies in Northern California. Bank robberies involving a similar suspect were also being investigated by police in Brentwood, Napa, Roseville, and Sacramento. The Davis Police Department was also investigating an attempted bank robbery allegedly by the same suspect.
On Wednesday, August 31, 2016, an officer with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office saw a law enforcement bulletin with a picture of the alleged bank robbery suspect and was able to identify him as Dennis. He was already in custody in Butte County Jail for a drug violation.
On Thursday, September 1, 2016, Lafayette police detectives served arrest and search warrants at several locations in Oroville. They were assisted by the Napa Police Department, Oroville Police Department and Butte County Sheriff’s Office. Police arrested 47-year-old Elizabeth Fay Morse of Oroville after Napa police detectives were able to confirm her alleged involvement in some the robberies.
Dennis and Morse are currently being held at the Butte County Jail.
Morse was arrested on a Ramey Warrant for robbery and conspiracy. She is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and will be transferred to Contra Costa County.
Dennis is in custody on unrelated felony drug charges. When he is released from Butte County Jail, he will be arrested on a Ramey Warrant and will be transferred to Contra Costa County.
Please join us and tour the new BART to Antioch Train!
Testing has begun on this new Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) vehicle – you may have already seen it traveling in the center median of Hwy 4.
This is your opportunity to view it in person at a public open house.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
BART’s Antioch Maintenance Facility
End of Slatten Ranch Road (formerly Sunset Drive), Antioch
Just east of the Park & Ride lot at the new Antioch BART Station at Hillcrest Avenue and Sunset Drive, Antioch, CA.
To RSVP please visit: eventbrite.com/e/bart-to-antioch-train-preview-open-house-tickets-27182466489 or call (510) 464-6257.
For more information about the project: http://www.bart.gov/about/projects/eccRead More
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff is requesting the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in a lewd conduct incident that recently occurred at the Safeway grocery store at the Alamo Plaza Shopping Center in Alamo.
On August 22, 2016 at about 9:07 PM, an adult female shopping in the store was followed by a man she did not recognize. At one point, this person masturbated next to the woman in the store aisle. When the woman turned toward the man and questioned him, he quickly left the store.
Please see the video and pictures of the suspect. The video can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se9JqsHV7Iw
He is described as a white male, early 20’s, dark hair, wearing a purple colored top, dark pants and carrying a backpack.
The investigation into this incident is ongoing. Anyone who can identify this suspect or has any information on this incident is asked to immediately contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600. For any tips, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.
The DSA was recently made aware of the below incident that occurred in the the City of Orinda, which is patrolled by Deputy Sheriffs. I am sharing this story with you to show Mr. Dewitt our appreciation, not to encourage the citizens of Contra Costa County to put themselves in danger. That being said, Mr. Dewitt thank you for being there for one of our brothers.
August 25, 2016
Mr. Jason Dewitt,
On the afternoon of August 19, 2016, Orinda police officers attempted to contact a subject that had just committed a theft from a local retailer. Officer Ladner began to chase the subject on foot through the Theater Square shopping center. As Officer Ladner closed the distance between himself and the suspect, the suspect decided he would rather fight with Officer Ladner. Rather than continue to run away or comply with Officer Ladner’s lawful orders to stop running and cooperate, the suspect turned around and assaulted Officer Ladner by punching him in the face.
Officer Ladner then engaged in a violent struggle with the suspect, the suspect continuing to physically resist and conceal his hands beneath his body. Officer Ladner was only able to apply his handcuffs to one of the suspect’s hands and was fighting with the suspect, attempting to gain control of the second hand and place him in handcuffs. It was at this point, while enjoying coffee at a nearby restaurant, that you heard the struggle and Officer Ladner’s commands to the suspect.
With complete disregard for your own safety, you approached Officer Ladner; actively fighting with the suspect, and asked if he needed help. Officer Ladner stated, “Yes.” Without hesitation you assisted Officer Ladner in gaining control of the suspect’s free hand and successfully placed him in handcuffs. Your assistance prevented further injury to Officer Ladner. Furthermore, without your assistance, the suspect’s continued fighting and resistance would have likely resulted in Officer Ladner having to escalate his own use of force. Your assistance prevented the escalation of force and likely prevented injury to the suspect.
The actions you took were nothing less than selfless and courageous. You took these actions not knowing if the suspect was armed with a weapon. Additionally, you took these actions not knowing that the suspect you were helping to detain had a long and violent criminal history. The Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriffs Association could never express how sincerely grateful we are for your assistance. Your actions are an incredible reminder of our community’s appreciation and support for our services.
Mark Peterson, District Attorney of Contra Costa County, is reminding residents to beware of widespread telephone scams. “The best way to ensure our residents are protected is to make sure they are informed and are skeptical of callers demanding money,” said District Attorney Mark Peterson, “There are many scams out there. The more aware people are of scams in general, the more vigilant they will be.”
Recently reported scams include:
- Calls from a person claiming to be a police officer stating that the victim has an arrest warrant pending and that the victim will be arrested.
- Calls from a person claiming to be a police officer stating that there is a problem with the victim’s Social Security Number or Identification Number and that an officer would be coming to the victim’s home within the hour.
- A “robocall” stating that the local county sheriff will arrest the citizen for criminal violations.
- A phone call from someone pretending to be a family member saying they were arrested or had an emergency while traveling in a foreign country.
- Fake IRS agents are calling taxpayers claiming they owe taxes and must make a payment immediately or risk going to jail, being deported, orlosing theirbusiness or driver’s license.
- Calls threatening the victim with prosecution for failing to comply with a summons for jury service in federal or state courts.
- Calls reporting that there is something wrong with the victim’s computer and the victim should give someone remote access.
During these calls, recipients are pressured to send money or prepaid credit cards, or to provide confidential personal information, which can lead to identity theft and fraud.
These calls can appear legitimate because the scammers may even know the last four digits of the victim’s social security number or other personal information, including a relative’s name.
Generally,the scammers rent or purchase phone numbers in bulk that can, in turn, be used by a software program that automatically dials victims. The scammers’ phone number can either be masked to make it appear that they are calling from the IRS or from local law enforcement, or the scammersuse the numbers for a short period of time and then get new numbers to continue their scams. Unfortunately, this makes the fraudsters difficult to locate and prosecute. Sometimes, the callers are even located outside the United States.
Here’s how to help protect yourself:
- Know that IRS agents usually contact individuals by mail first. They NEVER demand payment by debit card, wire transfer or credit card.
- Know that law enforcement agencies will NEVER ask for payment over the phone or offer to negotiate an outstanding warrant for a reduced payment, in lieu of arrest.
- Ask questions – When you receive a suspicious call, be skeptical and ask for details to find out why the person is calling.
- Verify the answers – If the person is claiming to be a relative, call the relative or their immediate family on a known phone number to verify if they were travelling and if they are ok. If the person is calling from a department or agency, call the public number for the department and see if the person really works there and whether there is really a warrant, etc.
- Never provide your social security number or other personal identifying or financial information to an unsolicited caller.
- Don’t send cash bymessenger, overnight mail, money transfer, or prepaid credit card. If you use cash or a money transfer — rather than a traditional credit card — you may lose your right to dispute fraudulent charges.
- Always check with a loved one or trusted advisor before sending money.
- If you get a call from a scammer, hang up the phone.
- Report scam calls to the Federal Trade Commission (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/) or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
- Report IRS scams to the federal reporting system. The IRS tracks complaints regarding IRS scams and is interested in the information gleaned from those complaints. Make reports at: http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml
For more information on IRS scams, please click here.Read More
By Allen Payton
As a Registered Nurse for 35 years, Constance Tolbert knows what it means to serve the needs of others. She got an early start in health care by serving as a candy striper while a school girl in Connecticut.
“She was born to care for people,” said husband and co-owner James.
Her service in the Army Nurse Corps brought her to California in 1982 when she went on active duty. Then, after being in the reserves, her medical unit, the 6253rd, was activated and transferred to the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm in 1990. Constance served in Fort Carson, Colorado, replacing a nurse who had been deployed.
After briefly retiring in 2013 from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, she wasn’t done helping others and chose to work as a traveling nurse for a year.
Then in 2015, after being inspired by her mother who had owned a residential care facility for the elderly, Constance and James chose to buy a franchise of Seniors Helping Seniors.
“It was divine intervention,” Constance said. “We liked the mission of the company, which is based on Mother Teresa’s life work of serving others.”
The founder of Seniors Helping Seniors, Karen Yocom had worked with the soon to be Catholic Saint for 14 years in India.
“What also inspired us to go with this company is they have a different marketing model to reach seniors,” James shared. “Based on our previous work at our church, everyone we dealt with there were seniors. So, we liked the idea of hiring seniors to help other seniors.”
Their definition of senior is anyone age 50 or over for both the caregivers and the clients.
Since starting their franchise, which covers a territory of Concord to Discovery Bay, and including all East County communities, they’ve grown to a multi-cultural staff of 40. They include seniors from Puerto Rico, Guam, Fiji and Philippines, as well as others who are Japanese, African American, Hispanic and Caucasian.
“We can provide a caregiver so that people can be cared by those from their same culture,” Constance said.
“We cover the rainbow,” said James, who adds his years of experience and Masters Degree in organizational management. He’s also an Air Force veteran who currently works for the U.S. Department of Labor.
Most of the caregivers work part-time, as they’re either retired or in their second careers. Their clients range in age from as old as 98 and some as young as age 52.
“We try to match clients with senior caregivers with similar life experiences,” said James. “We had one client who was a Gulf War veteran. So, we were able to match her with a caregiver who is a fellow veteran and knows all about the VA in Martinez.”
They have a special program for low-income, military veterans or their spouses, called VetAssist which taps the Aid & Attendance benefits they qualify for.
“We’re able to access those benefits, quicker than if they were left to just go through the VA system,” James shared. “That could take six to eight months. We’re able to get it done in one or two months.”
“It’s critical for us to provide services to veterans, because they’re a forgotten group,” Constance said. “It’s definitely an honor for us to serve our fellow war time veterans who served this country.”
The services Seniors Helping Seniors provide include companionship, meal preparation, transportation for doctor appointments and others, light housekeeping, personal grooming and dressing, medications, showering assistance, and respite care for the main, family caregivers. Some seniors they serve have permanent disabilities, such as those who are blind, have dementia or are amputees, and are not ambulatory. Some younger seniors need help for temporary disabilities due to accidents, surgeries or injury.
“We have a transition program with hospitals, to reduce the readmission rate,” James shared.
“If a Medicare patient is readmitted within a 30-day period for the same diagnosis, they are responsible to pay the costs,” Constance explained. “With in-home care we are able to help them stay at home with the needed care, with such things as medication reminders, and proper nutrition. That’s critical, because so many who forget to take their medicine or don’t eat right, end up getting readmitted to the hospital.”
“Those costs can be as much as $5,000 a day,” she added.
“We’re able to help them avoid spending their savings and borrowing from their retirement account,” James said. “They could pay $30,000 at the hospital or just a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, with us. Plus, they’ll have someone who will provide them one-on-one care.”
The rates for the services of Seniors Helping Seniors are $26 to $28 per hour with a minimum of two hours per day, based on care needs. They also offer overnight stays and 24-hour care, seven days a week.
The Tolberts are also able to reach outside of their franchise territory to serve those who aren’t currently being served by a franchisee, such as in Martinez, and even San Joaquin Valley cities like Tracy, Manteca and Modesto.
Should you, a loved one or other senior you know have a need for in-home care, contact Seniors Helping Seniors 24-hours a day at (925) 698-6145 or email@example.com for a free RN consultation and assessment. They are bonded, insured and licensed with the State of California, and are in compliance with the new regulations that went into effect as of January, this year. For more information visit their website at www.seniorcarebrentwoodca.com.Read More
By Allen Payton
While attending Antioch High School, Anthony C. Ferrante took a film course at Los Medanos College. The movie director, who gained fame with his four Sharknado films, has been back in Antioch, over the past two weeks, filming a TV thriller entitled Forgotten Evil.
“My very first film I shot at the El Campanil Theatre but the lights went out,” Ferrante said in an interview this week. “I shot a whole other horror film in the basement and at the Riverview Lodge.”
“I filmed a lot of different things in Antioch,” he added.
Besides his course at LMC, Ferrante earned his liberal arts degree in film studies from San Francisco State. He also used to be the entertainment critic for the former Antioch Ledger-Dispatch newspaper, for years.
He shared how the idea of returning to his hometown came about.
“I actually had been trying to find something I could do in Antioch for awhile,” Ferranted stated. “We shot for a day in San Francisco for Sharknado 4. Then after I said ‘Let’s drive back through Antioch on our way back to L.A.’”
“I forgot how cool downtown was,” he offered.
That was earlier this year. Then he was asked to direct his latest film.
“When this project happened, they asked me where I wanted to shoot. I said ‘why don’t we look at Antioch,’” Ferrante said. “I got to revisit the place I did my first short films.”
“I wrote the script four weeks ago, and I kept thinking about Antioch and it was perfect,” he continued.
So, he and his crew arrived a few weeks ago and began recruiting family, friends and other local residents to be extras in the film
“We shot a few days at the high school. We changed the script to fit where we were shooting,” Ferrante explained. “We decided to call Antioch, Antioch in the script. But we’re also shooting in a coastal city.”
They also shot at the site of his first film, the El Campanil.
“One of our producers back in L.A. said they were stunned at how good the theater looked,” he stated. “It’s such a beautiful downtown. Film companies are always looking for places that are easy to do it without a lot of hassle.”
Ferrante said he is “hoping by setting the movie in downtown that other movies will be made here.”
“It still has a small town feel and attitude,” he added.
Ferrante offered his appreciation and thoughts about Antioch.
“Everything you’re trying to do to revitalize it, like the concerts,” he offered. “It looks like you’re looking at a town out of time. It’s just gorgeous.”
He wanted people to know how supportive and how positive that everyone has been.
“It’s been really cool,” Ferrante stated. “A lot of friends have been coming out and hanging out. Every time we’ve turned around there’s been generosity.”
He was grateful for the support of the Antioch Police, the Chief, the Antioch High School, the principal.
“We also used Martin Gonsalves’ law offices,” he explained. “Rick Carraher of the El Campanil has been amazing. City hall has been great getting us the permits and allowing us to shoot here. Lynn [Kutsal, owner] of Nature’s Bounty has been catering for us and making great food. The carrot cake with cream cheese on top has been the best thing ever. The enchilada chicken salad everyone just loved.”
They also shot some of the film at the Antioch Police Facility and the marina, this week.
“This all kind of worked out,” Ferrante continued. “We used the locals for extras. We’ve been low maintenance for the most part.”
On Monday, August 22nd they filmed inside and outside of the El Campanil Theatre, including in the basement in one of the “creepy rooms” in the front of the building, as described by a member of the film crew. That was also when they needed the most extras, to play members of the audience inside the auditorium. About 100 residents were there. A few were asked to remain for the shooting of the outside scenes. The extras were paid $10 per hour for their participation.
They also shot some of the footage at the Antioch Police Facility and the marina, this week.
Today and Friday will be their last days of filming, in Antioch.
“Then we’re done and start working on editing,” Ferrante said.
The main actors of Forgotten Evil include Masiela Lusha, who was in Sharknado 4 but gained her fame as the daughter of George Lopez in the TV series of the same name.
Ferrante shared more about the made for TV movie.
“I started the script in mid-June,” he explained. “The company came to me with a bunch of thrillers. I picked out the one I was most interested in and gave it some treatment.”
“Sharknado 4 we started in February and delivered it to the network in July,” Ferranted shared. “It was a very short time period for making a movie.”
Asked about when we can see Antioch in his new movie, he replied “I have to have it finished by the end of the year. It probably will air early next year.”
The movie will be sold, once it’s finished. Ferrante isn’t sure yet to which company that will be nor on which channel it will air. But, he hopes to let Antioch residents see it, first.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to do some kind of screening or something,” Ferrante added. “Possibly at the El Campanil Theatre. That’s where we’d love to have it.”
Ferrante is married. They have one daughter and live in Los Angeles. One of his sisters still lives in Antioch and the other lives in Napa.
So, expect to see him back in town, not only for the screening, but hopefully more movie making in the future.Read More
Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark A. Peterson announced a major expansion of Contra Costa County’s ongoing efforts to combat school truancy. The Thomas J. Long Foundation has awarded a $625,000 grant to the Lincoln Child Center to allow the Center to collaborate with the county in the effort to reduce chronic absenteeism. The county’s Behavioral Health Services will provide in-kind matching funds toward that effort. Thus, the total value of the increased effort to fight chronic absenteeism is $1.25 million.
Chronic absenteeism has been identified as one of the most serious, and life long, threats to our nation’s youth. Long term studies have repeatedly shown its devastating impact on our children, and on our society.
We know that 80% of prisoners in the United States are high school dropouts, and that chronic truancy is one of the best indicators of who will later drop out. We also know that if a child does not read at grade level by the end of the third grade, the chances he/she will later drop out are four times higher than their peers. This often dooms some of our most vulnerable kids to a lifetime of poverty, or crime. District Attorney Peterson stated “It is far better to keep a child in class today, than in a jail cell in the future.”
To address this issue, in 2015 Contra Costa County’s leaders developed a system-wide plan involving schools, the Office of Education, law enforcement, the courts, and the private sector. The Contra Costa Superior Court established a Parent Truancy Program to combat absenteeism in elementary and middle-schools by requiring parents of truants to appear in court.
Contra Costa County Superior Court Judges Rebecca Hardie and John Laettner have spent countless hours coaching parents on the need to get their kids to school. Often, truancy is a symptom of a much deeper problem, and many of the families are in desperate need of social services they cannot afford.
This grant will allow us to provide personalized assistance to the truants or their families to ensure the children get to school. This fund can be used for transportation services, therapy and coaching for the kids and their families, other services, or referrals to other providers.
The Lincoln Center’s mission statement exemplifies our county’s goal “To disrupt the cycle of poverty and trauma, empowering children and families to build strong futures.”
“We are truly grateful to the Foundation and Lincoln Child Center for joining us in this cause,” Peterson added.Read More
Washington, D.C – Today, Wednesday, August 31, 2016, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) announced that $750,000 in federal funds will be awarded to the California Department of Transportation under the Federal Highway Administration’s Surface Transportation System Funding Alternative Program (STSFA). These funds were awarded to further build upon the Mileage-Based Fee Pilot Program (SB 1077) that DeSaulnier established during his time in the California State Senate. This pilot program will explore alternative funding mechanisms necessary to advance the construction and maintenance of California’s roads, bridges and transit systems. This funding was authorized in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on December 4, 2015.
“Given the inability of the Highway Trust Fund to sustain needed roadway and bridge repair across the country, states are leading the way in identifying innovative funding alternatives. I am pleased California was well positioned to take advantage of this federal funding opportunity as a result of SB 1077. Our state will be at the forefront of finding innovative ways to improve safety and reduce congestion for Bay Area commuters,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.
The FAST Act established the Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives Program to provide grants to states or groups of states to demonstrate user-based alternative revenue mechanisms that utilize a user fee structure to maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.
Earlier this year, Congressman DeSaulnier was a keynote speaker at the Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance’s Annual Conference, where he encouraged transportation leaders to adopt similar state policies to replace the losses in gas tax revenue.Read More