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Archive for April, 2007

Some really big hauls

In Orinda, police were busy with numerous theft cases:

Wednesday, April 4
BURGLARIES — There was a rash of burglaries, including:
* An attempted burglary that set off an alarm reported at 2:41 p.m. on Woodland Road.
* An attempted burglary that set of an alarm reported at 2:29 p.m. on Oak Road.
* Someone stole a handgun and magazine rounds from an Underhill Road residence, reported at 4:44 p.m.
* Someone stole $4,400 worth of electronics and games, reported at 4:45 p.m. at Brookwood Road.
* Someone stole $1,750 of jewelry, change, a camera and documents after forcing the front door and ransacking the house, reported at 5:53 p.m. on Oak Road.
* Someone stole $38,400 of valuables, including a TV and jewelry, after entering through an unlocked front kitchen window, reported at 7:16 p.m. on Southwaite Court.

BREAK IN — Security at a Martha Road elementary school reported at 9:40 p.m. that someone broke into a classroom, leaving behind a Taco Bell cup and a black knit cap.

SHOPLIFT — Security at the Safeway on Camino Sobrante detained a suspected shoplifter around 6:41 p.m. When police took him in custudy, he experienced a medical problem and had to be hospitalized.

Friday, April 6
THEFT — A Claremont Avenue resident reported at 1:01 p.m. that someone stole $830 worth of tools from his unlocked garage.

Monday, April 9
THEFT — A Lombardy Lane resident reported at 4:42 p.m. that someone stole a riding lawnmower from the house.

Wednesday, April 11
PURSUIT — Police attempted to stop a speeding vehicle around 12:41 a.m. at Camino Pablo and North Lane, but the driver refused to pull over. A high-speed pursuit ensued, with the car on Highway 24 toward Oakland at speeds greater than 110 mph. The car finally stopped at a middle school in Oakland, and four people fled on foot. Two Richmond men, including the driver, were arrested. The driver was found to be under the influence of alcohol., police said.

Posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lamorinda, Orinda | No Comments »

Counterfeit bills

Both Lafayette and Orinda police received reports of counterfeit $100 bills in circulation. Lafayette’s case was Tuesday, March 20:

COUNTERFEIT BILL — A woman reportedly tried to buy a hammer with a counterfeit $100 bill at 7:35 p.m. at Ace Hardware on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. The store clerk and manager recognized it as fake. The suspect left the store when questioned by the manager.

And in Orinda on Thursday, April 5:
COUNTERFEIT — A Brookwood Road ice cream store reported at 4:47 p.m. that someone paid for his ice cream with a counterfeit $100 bill. The clerk noticed the bill looked unusual, but the suspect said he accidentally washed it. A bank verified the bill was counterfeit,

Posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Lamorinda, Orinda | No Comments »

No arrest. no charges, no name

The BMW driver who caused last month’s fatal six-car collision in Lafayette has not been named because the case remains under investigation and officials are trying to determine if a crime occurred, police Chief Mike Hubbard says.

At a meeting on slowing traffic Wednesday, Hubbard told residents the driver is a 39-year-old man who is not a Lafayette resident. He gave no other details about the man’s identity.

The driver was headed westbound on Stanley Boulevard on March 22 and collided with a Mazda at Pleasant Hill Road, causing a chain reaction involving four other cars. The Mazda driver, Dale Zenor of Walnut Creek, died.

Police are reconstructing the crash scene and it could be months before officials have “solid answers,” Hubbard said. No one has been arrested or charged so far.

— Katherine Tam

Posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Lamorinda, Roads | No Comments »

Film festival showcase at Moraga’s Rheem Theatre

Scream at the silver screen this Sunday when the California Independent Film Festival shows a short-film showcase at the Rheem Theatre.

Two showcases, actually: The first features student-made films, and the second is horror shorts, each followed by a Q & A session with filmmakers.

It’s the latest event at Rheem in a campaign to convince patrons that the theater has more to offer than the usual blockbuster fare — the new operators (the owners of next-door Ristorante Amoroma) have also done things like showing the World Cup finals and the Super Bowl, and instituting themed movie nights paired with wine and appetizers.

Sunday’s showcase of student films begins at 5 p.m., and features “Just,” about an idealistic attorney who wants to do what’s right, even if it means doing wrong along the way; “Pop Foul,” about a boy who sees his father attacked by a local thug; “My Backyard Was A Mountain,” about a Puerto Rican boy who has one day to find a home for his pet goat before his family relocates to New York City; “My First Time Driving,” about a teenager whose mother won’t let her behind the wheel; and “When They Could Fly,” about a group of African slaves who believe they can gain the ability to fly.

The horror showcase begins at 7 p.m., and will include “Black Gulch,” about bank robbers who encounter supernatural opposition when they set out to rob a small-town bank and “Zombie Love,” the musical tale of a zombie boy who tries to change his flesh-eating ways to win the love of a mortal girl. Other horror shorts include “Seekers” and “The Angel.”

Tickets are $8 for each showcase, and the Rheem Theatre is located at 350 Park St. in Moraga.

The California Independent Film Festival runs from April 14 through April 22 with screenings that range from feature films to shorts in venues in Moraga, Walnut Creek, San Ramon and Livermore.
For more information, go to or call 925-558-2797.

— Brooke Bryant

Posted on Wednesday, April 11th, 2007
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Vehicles targeted in Moraga

The Moraga police log shows:

Wednesday, March 28
STOLEN VEHICLE — A citizen reported that their car had been stolen from their driveway on Danefield Place. Someone stole the vehicle between 7 p.m. March 28 and 7 a.m. March 29.

STOLEN VEHICLE — A Safeway employee parked his 1991 Toyota Camry in the parking lot on the west side of the store at 10:30 a.m. His night manager saw the Toyota at 7 p.m. When the employee got off work the Toyota was missing. He had left the vehicle windows down and doors unlocked.

Saturday, March 31
COMMERCIAL BURGLARY — At about 8:07 a.m. officers were dispatched on a call of a commercial burglary at the Karate Fitness Center on Moraga Way. Upon arrival officers made contact with the business owner and the employee who reported the incident. The point of entry was a glass front door which had been shattered. Between 1:30 p.m. March 31 and 7:53 a.m. April 1 someone had entered the business by force and stolen a computer monitor. Finger prints were obtained.

Sunday, April 1
AUTO BURGLARY — At 6 p.m. officers responded to a lobby on Bollinger Canyon Road on a report of an auto burglary. The vehicle owner said she had parked it about 5 p.m. When she returned, she noticed the rear driver’s side window was broken and her purse and briefcase were missing. Total loss, including the window, was about $1,000.

Posted on Thursday, April 5th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lamorinda, Moraga | No Comments »

Man dies after bike ride

From the Orinda police log:

Monday, March 19
FOUND IPOD — A woman turned in a white iPod nano that she found at El Sueno and Camino Sobrante during an early morning walk. Police could not find the serial number in the stolen property system.

NOISY — Police cited a Modesto man for operating a bobcat tractor on Canon Drive at 7:30 p.m. in violation of the city’s noise ordinance.

VANDALISM — An El Toyonal resident reported at 2:07 p.m. that someone smashed the rear window of a car while it was parked in front of the house.

Monday, March 26
FOUND PROPERTY — A Tappan Lane resident reported at 1:11 p.m. that she found an ornamental knife with a 7-inch blade and a leather sheath buried in her front yard. She turned the knife in to police.

STOLEN CAR — Police arrested two men at 2:53 a.m. on Oak Hill Road for driving a stolen vehicle, which they had started with a shaved key.

Wednesday, March 28
BURGLARY — Someone entered a house on North Lane through an unlocked side door and stole $3,676 worth of property.

Thursday, March 29
DRUGS — An employee at a St. Stephens Drive church reported at 11:46 a.m. finding two marijuana smoking devices. One was buried in the sandlot, and one was in front of a classroom. There was also a profane word written in chalk.

BIKE ACCIDENT — Police received reports around 2:25 p.m.that a 64-year-old Orinda man crashed his bike while riding on Moraga Way at Los Cerros. Police later received a report that the man had died from his injuries.

Friday, March 30
DRUGS — Police cited two men at the park-and-ride on Gateway Boulevard at 1:53 p.m. for posessing drug paraphanelia and an open container after finding an open can of beer and a glass pipe in the car.

Posted on Thursday, April 5th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda, Roads | No Comments »

Man with gun accosts children

The Lafayette police log reports:

Wednesday, March 21
DRUG BUST — A 35-year-old Lafayette man was arrested at 8:02 a.m. at Mt. Diablo Boulevard and Happy Valley Road after he was found in possession of a syringe and suspected heroin.

Friday, March 23
HOME BURGLARY — A Laurel Lane resident reported that between 9:45 a.m. and 1:20 p.m., someone broke into the home through a back door and took jewelry, a laptop and a firearm. The missing items were valued at $13,700. The cost for repairing the back door was estimated at $100.

BRANDISHING A WEAPON — A man driving a blue Mercedes made an obscene gesture at an 11-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy who were waiting at 3 p.m. to be picked up in the area of Brook Street and Moraga Road. The car passenger brandished a suspected handgun and reportedly stated “Can I play, I will kill you.” The next day, an officer stopped a car matching the description on Moraga Road. A search found a BB gun, a replica of a 45-caliber automatic handgun and a high-tech paintball gun. The man, who reportedly admitted to brandishing the BB gun at the children, was arrested.

Sunday, March 25
CAR BURGLARY — A Carol Lane resident reported someone broke her car window and removed a camera bag with a camera and lens valued at $2,560.

Tuesday, March 27
FORGERY — A Lafayette resident reported that a check he received as payment for a car he was selling was determined by a bank to be fraudulent.

Friday, March 29
CREDIT CARD FRAUD — A Lafayette resident reported someone used his credit card to buy $1,509 worth of items, which were then mailed to his house.

Saturday, March 31
IDENTITY THEFT — A Silverado Drive resident reported someone bought a $736 laptop using his credit card.

MALICIOUS MISCHIEF — The window of a building on Mt. Diablo Boulevard was shattered with an unknown object.

Sunday, April 1
DRUG BUST — A 46-year-old Lafayette man was arrested at 1:54 a.m. at Golden Gate Way and First Street after he was found in possession of four glass smoking pipes and three bags of white crystalline substance.

Posted on Thursday, April 5th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Lamorinda, Schools | No Comments »

String of burglaries in south Orinda

Orinda police are cautioning residents to be careful after a rash of home burglaries on the south side of the city this week.

Police Chief Bill French said he strongly suggests residents have a house alarm and make sure they set it. He also urged residents to call police whenever they see something suspicious, such as a door-to-door salesman or person who looks out of place.

“We’d rather get a false call or spend our time contacting the gardener or the plumber instead of taking a burglary report,” he said.

There were two attempted burglaries Wednesday around 2:30 p.m., both foiled by a home alarm system, he said. “Most burglars would go home and call it a day,” French said. “Not this guy. He went on to hit six houses.”
The burglar made off with jewelry and even TVs in the middle of the day.

To report suspicious activity, call police dispatch at 925-284-5010.

— Brooke Bryant

Posted on Thursday, April 5th, 2007
Under: Crime, Orinda | No Comments »

Free popcorn at Orinda Theater

Look what’s popping over at the Orinda Theater this month: In a bid to appeal to munch-happy movie lovers, the theater is offering free popcorn on weekdays.

You have to buy a movie ticket to get the popcorn, of course, and the offer is only good on flicks from Monday through Thursday. Renaissance Rialto, the group that runs the theater, is also offering the same deal at its other theater, the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland.

For more theater information and movie times in Orinda, call 925-254-9060.

— Brooke Bryant

Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2007
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

From Russia, with love

To keep up with the Campolindo band during its trip to Russia, go to _Petersburg_Trip/index.php:

Here’s a report from Jackie Burrell, Contra Costa Times feature writer who is there: “Last night’s Campolindo band concert at St. Petersburg’s Cappella Hall was magical — fantastic acoustics, amazing performance, a standing room only crowd roaring its approval, dignitaries (including a representative from the Russian Federal Ministry of Culture, the American Consul-General and the dean of the Palace for Children’s Creativity, a 17K-student school) praising our teenagers for their role as cultural ambassadors, and the amazing sight of Campolindo’s musicians onstage with their Russian counterparts, in bright red military-style uniforms, performing Russian victory marches and “Stars and Stripes Forever” together. For the adults in the audience — including us chaperones, Cold War era babies, every one — the evening stood as an unbelievable, awe inspiring, beacon of hope for the future. As we boarded the buses afterward in a euphoric daze, the gentleman from the Russian Ministry of Culture came to see Mr. Benstein and our young musicians off, and to say he was relaying that message of hope to Moscow.

“We spent this morning at Peter the Great’s summer palace in a flurry of snowflakes — fat flakes that glistened on our coats and fancy Russian scarves (the kids went for the fur hats and Paul Mack has amassed a monumental collection of chapeaux, but the rest of us went for the scarves!). We’re back at the hotel now, the snow has melted and the sun is shining once more, as we scurry to pack before dinner. We head for the airport at 2 a.m., after the final festivities with our Russian musical colleagues, so the next time you hear from us, we’ll be home! ”
[Posted: Jackie Burrell, Wednesday, April 04, 2007]

Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2007
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Music, Orinda | No Comments »