Union City — Crime News of the Week

  • On Thursday (12/6) at about 2:12 pm, officers responded to the area of Peco Street and Kennedy Avenue to investigate a report of suspicious subjects possibly casing a residence to burglarize. The first arriving officer spotted the three subjects crossing Decoto Road and attempted to stop them, but they took off running. Additional officers responded to the area and set up a perimeter around the neighborhood, as the subjects began to jump fences in an attempt evade the officers. All three subjects were apprehended hiding in the back yard of residences on Silsby Street and Cherrywood Avenue. The three subjects turned out to be juveniles and were arrested for attempted burglary, trespassing, and resisting arrest.
  • On Friday (12/7) at about 12:20 pm, an officer on routine patrol on the 3000 block of San Andreas Drive was flagged down by a homeowner. The homeowner advised the officer that his residence is currently vacant, but the front door appeared to be barricaded from the inside. The owner asked the officers to breach the door and investigate if anyone was inside illegally. The officers breached the door and found that someone had established an illegal marijuana grow inside the residence with over 100 marijuana plants. The Investigations unit is following up to determine who was renting the home.
  • On Monday night (12/10) at about 11:33 pm, an officer on routine patrol through the Safeway parking lot at 1790 Decoto Road noticed a suspicious person standing in front of the store. The officer contacted the subject, found him to be under the influence of a controlled substance, and arrested him.
  • On Tuesday night (12/11), a female victim reported to Fremont PD that she had been the victim of a sexual assault that occurred in Union City.  Upon further investigation, it appears that any assaults that may have occurred happened overseas.  Officers did document the victim’s concern in regards to domestic violence that was currently occurring in an on-going relationship involving the victim’s husband.
  • Also on Tuesday night, a male subject contacted UCPD dispatch and stated that he was “under the influence of crack”.  The subject was contacted, evaluated, and subsequently arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance.
  • On Wednesday (12/12), a stabbing occurred during an argument that resulted in minor non-life threatening injuries.  The suspect slashed a family member with a knife at a residence on Galano Plaza.  The suspect was arrested and charged with felony assault with a weapon.

Thoughts and prayers go out to Newtown, Conn.

Story by wire reports

NEWTOWN, Conn. — In one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, 27 people — including 18 children — died Friday morning during a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

The shooter was one of the dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in western Connecticut, about 60 miles northeast of New York City.

Story here.

Photos here.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and the Sandy Hook school and Newtown communities.



Union City: Dutra-Vernaci and Navarro sworn in, Green leaves

Carol Dutra-Vernaci was sworn in at a City Council meeting Tuesday night — exactly five weeks after she was elected Union City’s first female mayor.

She replaced Mark Green, who had served as Union City’s mayor since 1993. Dutra-Vernaci, 58, addressed the standing-room-only crowd that packed the council chambers, praising Green for his 19 years of service.

Dutra-Vernaci was elected after running unopposed. She previously served three terms on the City Council from 1997-2010, and has headed the city’s Economic Development Advisory Team and the Community Emergency Response Team.

Union City Councilman Jim Navarro, who captured his third term and nearly 67 percent of the vote while defeating challenger Jose Estrella last month, also was sworn in at the meeting.

Green, who frequently ran council meetings with a fun, wise-cracking tone, opened the meeting on familiar terms, making jokes about his shrinking time in office.

“This may be a good time to do a three-hour filibuster,” he said, moments before he was to leave the dais for the last time. The packed crowd, which was buzzing in anticipation well before the meeting, laughed loudly.

“Best of luck to Carol,” Green added. “Not that you need luck, but it’s always good to have.”

Dutra-Vernaci was sworn in by her husband, Mike Vernaci. She delivered a speech that praised Green for the solid state in which he’s leaving the city. Dutra-Vernaci, perhaps taking a page from Green, also was joking around and showing a feisty side. When she mentioned the local CSU campus, she emphasized that it was once called, “Cal State Hayward — let’s not have any of this ‘East Bay’ stuff.” (The university changed its name several years ago to Cal State East Bay.)

When she was done, Dutra-Vernaci called the other four council members — Navarro, Pat Gacoscos, Emily Duncan and Lorin Ellis — to join her onstage to formally introduce the new City Council to the community.

Green joined them, but only for a second, as he handed the mayor’s gavel to Dutra-Vernaci. With the changing of the guard complete, the crowd applauded the new mayor and council, and Green walked away, exiting stage left.


ACWD: Some Union City Homes May Have Temporary Water Discoloration

The Alameda County Water District posted this note on its website today:

“A fire hydrant near the intersection of Whipple Road and Horner Street in Union City was sheared off in a hit and run incident on Wednesday morning, causing localized flooding. The water main serving the hydrant was isolated at 9:40 AM, resulting in loss of water service to 22 customers. Water service was restored at 11:30 AM. If you live in the vicinity of the incident you may experience temporary water discoloration, but your tap water still meets all federal and state standards and is safe to drink.”

To learn how to remove the sediment causing the discoloration, residents can call 510-668-6500 or visit www.acwd.org.


Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler to retire Dec. 30

I’ll do a longer profile on Steckler as his retirement date approaches. Until then, here’s a basic story about the details of his retirement, which he announced yesterday (Tuesday).

Police Chief Craig Steckler, Fremont’s top cop since 1992, is retiring.

Steckler, a law enforcement veteran of 45 years, is scheduled to step down Dec. 30.

Steckler, 68, said Tuesday the stability of both the police department and the city’s finances allowed him to decide now to retire.

“That made it the right time to say ‘I’ve taken this as far as I can take it,'” he said. “It seems like a good time to say, ‘Thank you, it’s been a great ride.'”

Steckler joined Fremont police as deputy chief in 1986, serving under then-Chief Bob Wasserman, who later became mayor. Steckler started his career in Southern California, serving with the San Clemente Police Department from 1968-1980. He later was police chief for the city of Piedmont.

For more of the story, click here.


New Haven Unified wins $29.3 million federal grant

From today’s Argus newspaper:

The New Haven Unified School District on Tuesday won a $29.3 million federal grant, overcoming long odds while besting more than 350 other districts to be named one of 16 nationwide winners in the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top-District competition.

The district, one of just three state winners, finished second out of 372 applicants and 61 finalists competing for a pool of $400 million.

“This is a tremendous validation of the work that teachers and staff have doing; they’ve been coming together and working very hard the past few years, amid times unforeseen in the state’s history,” said Kari McVeigh, New Haven’s superintendent of schools. “This grant will enable us to … fulfill our mission to help every child reach his or her potential.”

For more of the story, click here.


Fremont Crime News of the Day

Fremont Police Blotter

Two armed robberies, a residential burglary and an attempted robbery of a woman who was in her car on the side of the road. Be careful out there, folks.

#004 Armed Robbery PC211, Union 76 Station 34867 Ardenwood Blvd : A man in his early 20’s wearing a mask enters the 76 Station’s mini mart and sticks the clerk up with a shotgun. Suspect steals $123.00, flees, and possibly gets into a green sedan west bound on Highway 84.

#29: Attempt Robbery at Stevenson/Sundale. Female victim was in her car, stopped by the side of the road when she was approached by the suspect who demanded she give him money. She retrieved her can of OC and sprayed the suspect. She drove away in her car and called us. Suspect is black male, 20’s, Med height, slim build, disheveled looking, wearing black hoody with red shirt under it. No loss.

#35: Armed Robbery in custody at BART. Male victim was walking through the lot when he was accosted by two males who demanded his cell phone. One suspect appeared to have a handgun. After a short struggle the suspects fled without the phone. Victim immediately called us and responding officers located both suspects walking to the rear of the Archstone complex off of Civic/Walnut. Both suspects fled on foot, but one suspect was quickly apprehended. An extensive search was conducted but the second suspect was not found.

#043, Residential burglary on Hackamore Common. Loss was jewelry.


Union City mayor to bid goodbye after 19 years, 5 elected terms

For several of the 19 years that Mark Green served as mayor of Union City, he had strong disagreements with Fremont Mayor Gus Morrison over proposed changes to state Route 84, a plan to build a major thoroughfare along the cities’ border.

Green aggressively pushed for the project to accommodate Union City’s growth. Morrison disagreed, saying it would push too much traffic onto Fremont streets. In 2004, before the plan was eventually shelved, Morrison retired and soon received a parting gift from Green: a T-shirt bearing the number 84, a reference to their epic battles over the roadway.

Now, Green’s time as mayor is just about up. He has been termed out and, on Tuesday, Carol Dutra-Vernaci will replace him, ending the longest continuous mayoral tenure in Union City’s history.

To his many supporters, his vision, quick decision-making and hard-charging manner — coupled with his sharp-edged humor — are political strengths that helped him win five consecutive mayoral elections.

“I always try to deal off the top of the deck, face up,” Green said. “I’ve never been afraid to make a decision and then try to convince others.”

For more of the story, click here.