Suspicious package prompts evacuation
A Social Security building on Nevin Avenue was evacuated Friday after employees found a suspicious package.
The evacuation order was lifted Friday afternoon after authorities determined the package -- a cardboard box postmarked from China -- was filled with flashlights and batteries, officials said.
Shortly before 10:30 a.m., employees at the building at 1211 Nevin Ave. took the package to an X-ray machine in the building's lobby after they noticed questionable contents inside, Richmond fire Chief Michael Banks said. Richmond police, fire officials and the UC Berkeley bomb squad responded and quickly issued an evacuation order.
"It looks like there was wiring of some sort inside the box, and that sparked suspicion it may have been more than just a package," Banks said.
According to Banks, all of the building's mail is usually screened in an X-ray machine in the mail room, but that machine is not functioning. Instead, all packages are being brought to a second machine in the lobby, where a larger number of people are typically present.
The Social Security building, open for business Friday despite the government shutdown, was evacuated for three hours while the bomb squad investigated the contents of the package and determined they were not a threat. The building reopened to the public about 1:30 p.m.
-- Erin Ivie, Staff
Woman, two others hurt in I-580 crash
A woman and two men suffered injuries in a two-vehicle crash involving a box truck along eastbound Interstate 580 in Pleasanton on Friday morning, the California Highway Patrol said.
Officers were called at 10:07 a.m. to I-580, near the East Hacienda Drive north onramp, for a report of a truck colliding with at least two other vehicles, Officer James Evans said.
At least one witness who dialed 911 reported that a woman was unconscious in a black Acura sedan that came to rest on the right shoulder of the freeway, Evans said.
When officers arrived, they discovered the 2002 four-door Acura had collided with the box truck, which subsequently overturned, officers said.
The woman, whose name and age were not released, was trapped inside the Acura, and emergency crews had to take the car apart to get her out, Sgt. Joe Azevedo said.
She was taken to Eden Medical Center for treatment of major injuries that were not considered life-threatening. Azevedo said he expected she would remain hospitalized for a few days.
The driver of the box truck, an unidentified man, and a male passenger in the truck were also taken to a hospital for treatment of cuts and bruises, Azevedo said.
Officers shut down three lanes of traffic and the Hacienda Drive northbound onramp until the wreckage could be cleaned up, Evans said.
-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff
Boy, 6, hospitalized after dog attack
A 6-year-old boy was taken by helicopter Thursday evening to Children's Hospital Oakland after a family dog bit his face, officials said.
The boy was playing in the backyard of his family's home on Amesbury Drive about 7:30 p.m. when a family member's chocolate-brown Chesapeake Bay retriever bit him, said Rick Golphin, deputy director for Contra Costa County Animal Services. The boy was taken by ambulance to a nearby medical helicopter, which flew him to the Oakland hospital with serious facial injuries.
The boy's condition was unknown late Friday, Golphin said. Authorities were still investigating what may have prompted the family pet to attack the boy.
The dog was taken from the home by Animal Services, which will hold it in rabies quarantine for at least 10 days, Golphin said. After that time, a hearing officer will make a recommendation about whether the dog should be considered a threat to the family and others.
"We offer a hearing process that will determine whether he'll be designated as potentially dangerous," Golphin said. "It's something we commonly do with dog bites, and the recommendation will take between 10 and 30 days."
No information was available Friday regarding the dog's temperament or history of threatening behavior, Golphin said.
-- Erin Ivie, Staff
Police looking for thief targeting businesses
Police are asking for help in identifying a man responsible for thefts from several local businesses in North Berkeley over the past month.
On Sept. 13, the man stole a laptop from a business in the 1500 block of Shattuck Avenue.
On Oct. 5 and again the next day, the same man stole tip jars from businesses in the 1800 block of Euclid Avenue.
The suspect is described as a black male, between 35 and 40 years old, 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall and roughly 180 to 190 pounds. He has black hair pulled back into a ponytail with a receding hairline, and he was last seen wearing dark-framed glasses.
Anyone with information on the man can call the Police Department's property crime unit at 510-981-5737 or the nonemergency line at 510-981-5900.
-- Katie Nelson, Staff
Forum offers info on new health care law
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, will hold a presentation and forum on the new federal health care law and its benefits at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Filipino Community Center, 611 Amador St.
The forum will include information on how to enroll in Covered California, the new health insurance marketplace, which opened Oct. 1.
Ann Edwards, Solano County's director of health and social services, also will attend, along with a representative of Covered California and an enrollment specialist with the Solano Coalition for Better Health.
-- Tom Lochner, Staff
Street to close during Sunday running event
Some streets in downtown and several residential areas will be closed early Sunday for the annual Run for Education, town officials announced.
Runners participating in the half-marathon portion of the event will begin at 7:15 a.m. at the intersection of Hartz Avenue and Diablo Road.
After the participants clear the starting zone, roads will reopen, and police will begin rolling closures along the race route. All roads are expected to be reopened by 10 a.m.
For a map of the closures, go to www.danville.ca.gov.
-- Jeremy Thomas, Staff
Marijuana plants seized from 11 homes
Investigators seized marijuana plants worth about $4 million from 11 homes Thursday and arrested more than a dozen people on drug and theft charges.
Authorities served search warrants at 13 homes Thursday morning as part of a long-term investigation into a suspected drug trafficking organization that uses suburban homes to cultivate marijuana. Drugs were not found in two of the homes searched.
Hayward police seized 1,750 plants in varying stages of growth from homes in San Lorenzo, San Leandro and Hayward about 8:15 a.m. and arrested 13 people on suspicion of marijuana cultivation, possession of marijuana for the purpose of sales, and theft of utility services, said Sgt. Will Deplitch.
Hayward narcotic detectives had help from the Alameda County Narcotics Task Force, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and San Leandro police.
The growers were bypassing electrical meters and stealing power, police said. The names, ages and cities of residences of those arrested were not released.
-- Kristin J. Bender, Staff