Concord

Police release sketch in trail sexual assaults

Police on Tuesday released a sketch of the person they believe is responsible for sexually assaulting three women over the past two months on a popular walking trail.

Police said the male suspect -- believed to be a teenager -- has groped women three times since March 22. The offenses, which Concord police Lt. David Hughes said are considered misdemeanor sexual battery, occurred in a residential neighborhood along a stretch of trail connecting North and South Larwin avenues.

In each case, the suspect approached an adult woman and groped her from behind, then ran away. None of the women was injured or threatened, and Hughes said the suspect has not used a weapon.

Police believe the youth lives near the trail.

The latest incident happened May 5 at 8:45 p.m., just four days after another attack, Hughes said. The first reported battery happened around noon March 22.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

RICHMOND

Utility truck rescued during bay cleanup

A cleanup project at Point Molate Beach Park went awry Tuesday when a Bobcat-style utility vehicle hauling tires from the surf got stuck in the mud and then became partially submerged.

Ian Wren, a staff scientist for San Francisco Baykeeper, a nonprofit environmental group that was doing the cleanup, said a tow company rushed out and rescued the machine by linking it to a steel cable and pulling it out, but not before it was mired in a few feet of water.


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The Baykeeper workers have done several cleanups in the past year at the park, which was reopened this summer after being closed for a decade because of city budget cuts.

-- Robert Rogers, Staff

Oakland

Tree trimmer faces fine for injuring birds

A Bay Point tree trimmer will face federal criminal charges for injuring five birds while cutting back trees at a downtown post office earlier this month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday.

The federal agency determined Ernesto Pulido, of Bay Point, violated the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, said Jill Birchell, special agent in charge of the California-Nevada region of U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

The misdemeanor violation can result in six months in jail and fines up to $15,000 but investigators are recommending Pulido be fined $1,500 because he has taken responsibility, paid for the care of the injured birds and expressed remorse.

On May 3, the U.S. Postal Service hired Pulido to trim ficus trees near the 13th Street post office, where numerous egrets and black-crowned herons nest. As workers pruned the trees, five young black-crowned herons were hurt falling some 25 feet.

No charges have been brought against the U.S. Postal Service.

-- David DeBolt, Staff

Hayward

AC Transit official enters not-guilty plea

AC Transit's chief financial officer appeared in Alameda County Superior Court on Wednesday morning and pleaded not guilty to charges he embezzled more than $500,000 from one of Oakland's largest churches.

Lewis Clinton Jr., 57, faces four counts of grand theft with white-collar enhancements after prosecutors say he embezzled money from the Allen Temple Baptist Church, of which he is a parishioner, from 2007 through 2013.

Officials believe he used the money that he is accused of embezzling to pay for a luxury car, private schooling for his children, mortgage payments and a golf club membership, according to court documents.

Clinton was arraigned last month on the felony charges. AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said Clinton was placed on indefinite paid administrative leave April 14.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

Antioch

Man shot while riding bike near park

A 33-year-old man is expected to survive after he was shot Tuesday evening while riding his bike near Contra Loma Park. The incident occurred at 9:40 p.m. at Mahogany and Mandarin ways.

The victim suffered wounds that were not considered life-threatening and said he did not know who shot him.

-- Karina Ioffee, Staff

DANVILLE

Blue Star Moms seek donations for troops

The Blue Star Mothers of America chapter of Danville is asking the public for donations for care packages to be sent to deployed soldiers.

Blue Star Moms are asking community members to sponsor a care package, donate items, or write a post card to thank troops for their service.

There will be two drop-off events for donations: On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Safeway, 200 Alamo Plaza in Alamo; and on Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Hall, 400 Hartz Ave., Danville.

For more information, visit www.bluestarmoms.org.

-- Joyce Tsai, Staff