Woman hides as robbers ransack home
Five intruders ransacked a house and robbed a female resident who tried to hide in an upstairs bedroom, police said.
The five robbers made off with jewelry and electronics, including a necklace that was ripped from the woman's neck. She was not seriously hurt.
It was about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday when the 27-year-old woman heard a loud noise at the front door of her home in the 35000 block of Armour Way in the Northgate neighborhood, where she lives with her husband, police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques said.
The woman, realizing someone was trying to break in, ran upstairs, locked herself in a bedroom and called a family member who notified police.
The intruders, meanwhile, forced their way into the home by kicking down the front door. They started ransacking the home, and at one point kicked in the door of the bedroom where the woman hid, Bosques said. That's when three of the men -- one with a gun and another with a knife -- demanded the woman's belongings.
The woman tried to take off her necklace, but was frightened and shaking so the men ripped it from her neck before fleeing, police said.
-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff
BART passengers to get safety escorts
BART has a holiday gift for passengers: Safety escorts will walk riders to their cars at the Fruitvale, West Oakland and Bay Fair stations on Friday evening.
Safety escorts will be at the three stations between 5 and 8 p.m. Friday to make sure passengers -- many of whom will be wrapping up their holiday shopping -- get to their cars safely.
BART, Oakland, and San Leandro police will provide the escorts, who will also distribute materials with safety travel tips to help passengers better protect themselves while riding BART trains.
Escorts will either be in police uniform or wearing yellow safety vests and will walk passengers to their cars parked within a three-block radius of the three stations. At the West Oakland station, there will also be two patrol vehicles available to take riders to their cars.
-- Kristin J. Bender, Staff
Minor injury in crash involving school bus
At least one person was injured in a multivehicle crash Thursday in Alameda County involving a school bus, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Officers were called at 7:54 a.m. to the intersection of East Stanley and Murrieta boulevards just north of Oak Knoll Pioneer Memorial Park for a report of a crash, said Officer Ron Simmons.
When they arrived they discovered a school bus carrying eight children and a driver, and two other two vehicles that had been involved in a collision.
At least one person suffered minor injuries, Simmons said, but it was not known whether the person injured was a student.
Officers also did not know where the bus was headed.
An ambulance and a tow truck responded to the scene, and the cause of the crash remained under investigation.
-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff
Fleeing driver hits pumps at gas station
A suspected drunken driver being chased by Alameda County sheriff's deputies in East Oakland early Thursday crashed into a gas station, setting fuel pumps on fire and forcing the evacuation of nearby apartments, authorities said.
One of the pursuing deputies rescued the driver, who was trapped after his car crashed.
He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and taken to a hospital with a broken leg. A passenger, who was not injured, was questioned and released.
The pursuit began about 2:20 a.m. when the driver of a BMW failed to stop at a checkpoint set up as part of an enforcement action called Avoid the 21. Deputies began chasing the vehicle in the southbound lanes of 98th Avenue where it crashed at a 76 station at 98th and Edes avenues, causing the pumps to catch fire.
Battalion chief Eleanor Bolin-Chew said safety systems at the station worked promptly to shut off the pumps and firefighters used a mostly foam mix to control what fire there was.
About 20 residents of a nearby apartment complex were taken to a nearby school as a precaution and streets in the area were temporarily shut down.
-- Harry Harris, Staff
Pit bulls trained for fighting seized
Eleven scared and injured pit bulls were seized from a home in East Oakland on Thursday after police found what was described as a training site for dog fighting.
Police were serving a search warrant at a home in the first block of Eldridge Avenue around noon. No one answered the door, but police said they heard animals could be in the home and went to the backyard to check.
They found nine pit bulls outside, both male and female, without food or water. Inside, they found two more dogs in crates.
The "tired and terrified" dogs ranged in age from roughly 10 months to 3 years and suffered from numerous wounds that were consistent with fighting injuries, said David Cronin, interim director of Oakland Animal Services. One dog was missing part of its ear.
Cronin said one of the dogs also bit him as he as an Oakland police officer tried to wrangle it into a collar and leash.
Treadmills that had been modified for dogs as well as weighted vests used to build muscle were found inside the home. Officers also discovered medication and syringes used to treat wounds, police said.
Police have begun an animal cruelty investigation, but no one has been arrested.
-- Katie Nelson and Harry Harris, Staff
Suspect arrested after failed armed robbery
A suspected gang member who police said pointed a gun at a couple and unsuccessfully tried to fire it while attempting to rob them was arrested Wednesday at his Oakland home.
Alejandro Mendoza, 27, was wanted in connection with the Nov. 8 incident near the 1400 block of Park Avenue in Alameda, police Lt. Jill Ottaviano said.
The couple had left a dance studio about midnight when they saw a man with a gun. They ran to their car, but the suspect got to them before they could close the passenger-side door, leaned in and demanded valuables. He then pointed the gun at one's head and pulled the trigger. When the gun did not discharge, the driver sped away, knocking the suspect to the ground.
Police arrived and checked the area for the suspect but did not find him. They later learned that he had just left a local business, La Pencha Azul, where police say he had pulled a semi-automatic pistol, pointed it at the ceiling and pulled the trigger several times. The gun did not go off.
An investigation led detectives to Mendoza, who police say is a known gang member with a criminal history.
A judge issued a warrant and police arrested him without incident at his Oakland home on suspicion of attempted armed robbery and criminal threats.
-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff
Police, youth center get anti-gang grant
The San Leandro Police Department and the REACH Ashland Youth Center have been awarded a $500,000 two-year gang intervention grant.
The Police Department and youth center will use the California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention grant to fund a REACH Out initiative, with a goal of providing prevention and early intervention services for 2,000 local youth and intensive intervention for 150. The program also plans to reach 400 parents through education outreach, with 100 parents each year receiving follow-up services such as home visits and additional counseling.
Local school districts, other government agencies and nonprofits also will be involved in implementing REACH Out.
San Leandro was one of 20 cities sharing $9.2 million in CalGRIP grants for 2014-15.
The CalGRIP initiative addresses problems associated with gangs. San Leandro was the only city in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to receive a CalGRIP grant this go-round, though Hayward was awarded one for 2013-14.
-- Rebecca Parr, Staff