Contra Costa

Scammer poses as fake sheriff's deputy

The Contra Costa Sheriff's Office has a simple instruction for anyone who answers the phone and is greeted by a man identifying himself as "Lt. Jackson": Hang up.

A man pretending to be an employee of the Sheriff's Office has offered up that name in recent days in what the agency said is an attempt to scam people out of money. And an unknown number have fallen victim to the man's strategy.

According to Sheriff's Office spokesman Jimmy Lee, the caller identifies himself as "Lt. Jackson of the Warrant Unit," and threatens to arrest the person on the other end of the phone unless money is paid immediately. The caller tells his targets that they failed to appear for jury duty or for a traffic violation, and that the fines and feeds must be paid immediately or a warrant will be issued for an arrest.

The man says that payments can be made over the phone through reloadable prepaid cards that can be purchased at stores.

Lee said there is no Lt. Jackson employed by the Sheriff's Office and that no law enforcement agency allows the practice of avoiding an arrest warrant by paying through reloadable prepaid cards.

Lee said some people have been victimized by the strategy but did not specify how many.

After hanging up, anybody contacted by the caller is urged to call the Sheriff's Office at 925-335-1500 or any local police agency.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

OAKLAND

BART station entrance enclosure planned

Work will begin in March on an enclosure over the 19th Street BART station entrance in Oakland.

The BART board on Thursday awarded a $969,000 contract to Blocka Construction Inc. Work is estimated to be completed by December.

The agency believes the modular, glass enclosure with a retractable gate will shield passengers from rain, improve security and reduce weather effects on the escalators.

"This will protect our mechanical systems and our passengers from the elements," said BART Director Robert Raburn of Oakland. "It will also protect our station agents."

If the enclosure proves popular with passengers and can be maintained without excessive costs, BART will construct similar structures over station entrances elsewhere.

-- Lisa Vorderbrueggen, Staff

HERCULES

Overpass to be named for late mayor

A dedication ceremony officially naming a Highway 4 overpass in memory of late mayor and councilman Joe Eddy McDonald will be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 17 in the Family Life Center at Valley Bible Church, 1477 Willow Ave.

McDonald and his wife, Mary Ann, had successfully campaigned to make the highway safer by widening and dividing it after the death of their daughter Kimaree McDonald, 25, and their niece, Tiffane Spencer, 17, in a 1994 traffic accident.

The Willow Avenue overpass will be renamed for McDonald in recognition of his efforts, which resulted in the $86 million project that added two lanes and was largely completed in 2001.

McDonald, the city's former postmaster who died at 67 on June 9, 2012, served on the Hercules City Council from 2006 to 2010 and the Planning Commission from 2002 to 2006.

-- Chris Treadway, Staff

RICHMOND

Salesian High two-day crab feed returns

Crustacean connoisseurs are sharpening up their claw crackers for the next installment of one of the area's longest running fundraisers when the 49th annual Salesian High School crab feed comes to town next week.

The event takes place Jan. 17-18 in the high school's gymnasium at 2851 Salesian Ave., with each night featuring a no-host bar, all-you-can-eat crab, macaroni salad, bread, a silent auction and raffle to benefit the school.

The Jan. 17 serving starts with a 7 p.m. social hour. The Jan. 18 event starts with a 6 p.m. social hour and includes live music by the GTS Band.

Tickets for either night are $45 each and can be purchased at the school office or by leaving a message at 510-234-4433, ext. 1126.

An order form can also be downloaded at www.salesian.com. Click on the "Crab Feed Fundraiser" link on the right side of the page.

-- Chris Treadway, Staff

Oakland

City settles with robber shot by police

A man shot by an Oakland police officer shortly after he committed a robbery stands to receive a $125,000 settlement from the city.

The City Council later this month is slated to give final approval to a settlement with Tony Ray Jones, who was shot in the back as he fled the area of the robbery in February 2012.

Jones, a cousin of the late Oscar Grant III, who was shot to death by a BART police officer on New Year's Day 2009, had filed a civil rights lawsuit seeking $10 million from the city. Council members tentatively approved the settlement during a recent closed-door meeting.

The case is the latest instance of Oakland opting to settle high-profile lawsuits rather than paying for an expensive legal trial and risk losing the case. Jones' attorney could not be reached late Thursday.

Jones, who has a criminal record dating back nearly a decade, was found guilty of second-degree robbery and sentenced to 15 years in prison in connection with the Feb. 19, 2012, robbery of a man outside an East Oakland liquor store.

-- Matthew Artz, Staff