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Crash closes El Cerrito CVS store

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El Cerrito police and fire crews were called to the CVS store at the Moeser Lane shopping center this afternoon when a BMW X5 SUV went over the curb into outside racks of plants for sale and through the store’s plate glass window about 1 p.m.
A store employee said there weren’t any injuries from the crash, “except maybe mentally.”
Another employee who was working at the checkout stand said she first thought it was an earthquake.
The crash forced the store to close for business this afternoon.
Accidents of this type are not uncommon at the store. Employees said there have been at least seven crashes of this type over the years.

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Watch your step: Rattlesnake safely removed from Hercules yard

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Fire Capt. Chuck Coleman examines the rattlesnake found in a yard this week.
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Firefighters from the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District handled an unusual early evening call June 11 when a resident reported discovering a rattlesnake in a yard on Dorada Court, in easternmost Hercules.
The 3-foot poisonous snake was rounded up and safely removed by a district crew.

From our files:

HOW TO AVOID A RATTLESNAKE BITE

There are several ways people can avoid or reduce the likelihood of startling and being bitten by a rattlesnake.

Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through wild areas. Wear hiking boots.
When hiking, stick to well-used trails and wear over-the-ankle boots and loose-fitting long pants. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.
Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see, and avoid wandering around in the dark. Step ON logs and rocks, never over them, and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood. Check out stumps or logs before sitting down, and shake out sleeping bags before use.
Never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming in lakes and rivers. Rattlesnakes can swim.
Be careful when stepping over the doorstep as well. Snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.
Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.
Do not handle a freshly killed snake, it can still inject venom.
Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone. Children are naturally curious and will pick up snakes.
Source: Belmont Police Department

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Pinole: Pair survive with moderate injuries after vehicle overturns several times

The Rodeo Hercules Fire Protection District issued the following news release about the accident tonight on Pinole Valley Road at Interstate 80:

DATE: May 26, 2014
TIME OF ALARM: 19:58
TYPE OF INCIDENT: Vehicle Accident
LOCATION: Pinole Valley Road and I80
RESPONSE: 2 Engines, 1 Rescue, 1 Battalion Chiefs
ASSISTING AGENCIES: Pinole Fire Department, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, Rodeo-Hercules Fire District, Pinole Police Department, American Medical Response West, California Highway Patrol.

TOTAL FIRE PERSONNEL AT SCENE: 8

INFORMATION:

Control Time: 21:39

Cause: Unknown

GENERAL STORY: All Concerned-

At 19:58, Pinole Fire Department and the Rodeo-Hercules Fire Protection District, responded to the report of a vehicle that had left the roadway at I-80 and Pinole Valley Road. The vehicle had left the freeway approximately 300 feet from where it landed, turning over several times, before coming to rest in the center divider of the intersection of I-80 and Pinole Valley Road. When crews arrived on scene they found the vehicle on its roof with two occupants inside the vehicle. Two Medical Helicopters were dispatched to Doctors Hospital in Pinole. After the occupants were extricated from the vehicle they were found to have moderate injuries and were transported to the Hospital by AMRW units. Two Engine Companies, One Rescue Company, and One Command Vehicle responded staffed by 7 Firefighters and 1 Battalion Chiefs.

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Fire units from El Cerrito and other East Bay cities assisting battle with wildfires in Southern California

El Cerrito issued the following news release about firefighters sent to help battle the wildfires in San Diego:

El Cerrito Firefighters Deployed to Assist with Southern California Wildfires
El Cerrito, CA: Two units from El Cerrito have been deployed to assist with wildfires in Southern California.
At 10:30 PM on Thursday night, El Cerrito Fire Engine 372, along with units from Crockett, San Ramon, Moraga, and Alameda County were dispatched to the Las Pulgas Fire located at Camp Pendleton CA. This is near the City of San Diego. The Las Pulgas fire first reported at 3:15 p.m. Thursday and at 5:00 a.m. Friday morning was reported to have grown to 8,000 acres burned and 5% contained.
Additionally, at 1:00 a.m. Friday, May 16, OES 300 out of El Cerrito was called to the San Diego Complex involving nine major wildfires burning in that area. OES 300 is part of Strike Team 2802A and is made up of units from San Francisco, Marin County (3 units) and El Cerrito.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) provides updated information on the size and containment of these and other major fire incidents online at http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_current
Already this year, CAL FIRE has already responded to nearly 1,300 wildfires, more than twice as many fires as average. All homeowners in California are encouraged to be prepared for wildfires. For more information on preparing for wildfires and creating a 100’ Defensible Space around your home are online at www.ReadyForWldfire.org.
CAL FIRE is an emergency response and resource protection department of the State of California.

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Smartphone thefts prompt warning from Berkeley police about distracted walking

Berkeley police have issued the following advisory this week in the wake of ongoing street robberies of smartphones:

Berkeley Police Reminder: Avoid Distracted Walking

If you’re reading this message on your smartphone while walking alone, put your phone away and look around.

Smartphone robberies from lone pedestrians at night account for the largest number of robberies in Berkeley. Some simple steps can reduce your chances of being a victim.

Don’t use your smartphone while outside. Walk with others when possible. Be aware of your surroundings.

Of the 309 pedestrian robberies last year, 63 percent occurred with people who were walking alone and 58 percent had their smartphone in their hand.

Some victims had phones forcibly taken from them. Others were convinced by seemingly friendly strangers to take their phone out of their pockets or let a stranger borrow it.

Be aware of locations and situations that could make you more vulnerable to crime – such as alleys, doorways, parking lots and stairwells.

Berkeley is not unique. Smartphone robberies have become a problem throughout the country due to their high value and easy sale on black markets. They are sold for hundreds of dollars and often shipped abroad.

Using your phone’s security features can also be a deterrent. For example, people using Apple products with the latest operating system, iOS7, can permanently disable a stolen phone using the Activation Lock feature.

Please report suspicious activities by calling the Berkeley Police Department at 510-981-5900. If it is a life threatening emergency or a crime in progress dial 911.

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El Cerrito shop’s Little Free Library is recovered

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The Little Free Library that was stolen from in front of The Glenn Custom Framing shop on Stockton Avenue on Monday night or Tuesday morning has been recovered.
Shop owner Kathleen Glenn, who received the take-a-book, leave-a-book library last year as a birthday gift from her daughter, plans to have it back on the sidewalk as soon as weather permits and possibly with some modifications to make it harder to take.
The library had been secured to its post with long screws, but the perpetrator was able to pry it off.

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Police offer tips on how to avoid being “skimmed”

Police are circulating this flier explaining “skimming” and how to avoid falling victim to a thief when using a debit card at an ATM or a store checkout counter.
An incident involving a “shoulder surfer” was reported in Hercules last week.

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El Cerrito police seeking robbery suspect

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El Cerrito police today issued an advisory and photos of the suspected perpetrator of a robbery on Kearney Street on Dec. 20:

Advisory: Robbery Suspect

On Friday, December 20th, at approximately 1330 hours, the pictured suspect followed a woman into the 400 block of Kearney Street. He then yanked her purse off her shoulder and fled on foot. The victim had just purchased a pot and began to strike the suspect numerous times in the upper body region. The suspect was able to wrench the victim’s purse free and flee on foot. The suspect may now have a contusion on his face. The El Cerrito Police Department is asking the public’s assistance in this case. If you can identify this suspect, please contact the ECPD (510) 215-4414 ext 40, reference case number 13-24069. You can always be an anonymous. Let’s solve this one together.