14July2014

Safety and Public Awareness

Safety and Public Awareness

News reporting arrests, weather warnings, product recalls, and other important information relating to safety and public awareness, are found in this category.

According to a presss release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, dated September 22, 2011:

On 09-22-2011 Humboldt County Sheriffs Detectives arrested Anthony Patrick Cotham, 31 years old of Eureka and Robert Joseph Mann, 35 years old, for several theft of copper wire cases and vehicle arson. The detectives were able to tie the two suspects to the following cases:
 
The first case, #201007820 occurred on November 25th, 2010. The suspects stole approximately $15,000.00 worth of copper wire from a business at the Fairhaven Business Park, 1900 Bendixsen Street, Samoa.  During that theft the suspects also cut a live 15000 volt wire which powered the entire business. The damage to the plant and power line was estimated to be over $250,000.00. The second case, # 201103759 the suspects entered a pump house at the Fairhaven Business Park on 03-19-2011 and using a torch to cut into a transformer and steal about $4000.00 worth of copper wire. The third case, Case Number # 201103020 occurred on 05-29-2011.  At 7:00 a.m., the Samoa–Peninsula Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire at the north end of the Fairhaven Business Park, off Vance Avenue, Fairhaven. Upon their arrival they located a Pacific Gas and Electric (P.G. & E.) Bucket Truck engulfed by fire. While fighting the fire, personnel also located another Pacific Gas and Electric (P.G.&E.) Ford F-150 pickup truck parked near by.  Fire personnel saw the pickup trucks interior had also been burned. Damage was estimated at $400,000. The last case number # 201104495 occurred on 08-14-2011. The suspects allegedly broke into the Three Corners Market, on Myrtle Avenue, Freshwater and attempted to steal the ATM Machine. 
 
Both Cotham and Mann were already in jail on other theft and drug related charges when detectives arrested them on these new charges. Cotham was booked into the Humboldt County correctional facility on additional charges of two counts burglary, one count of attempted burglary, arson, vehicle theft and felony vandalism. Bail is set on the new cases at $310,000.00. Mann was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on new charges of burglary, grand theft, arson and vehicle theft. Bail was set on the new cases at  $225,000.00
 
Anyone with additional information regarding these cases is requested to contact  Humboldt County Sheriffs Detective  Cheryl Franco 707-445-7251.
 
Patrick Cotham
 
 
Joseph Mann
Thursday, September 22, 2011

Update on acid bomb explosion at Bayshore Mall

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According to a press release from the Eureka Police Department, dated September 22, 2011:

On 9/05/11, at about 1:43 PM, officials with the Eureka Fire Department (EFD) and Eureka Police Department (EPD) were dispatched to the Bayshore Mall (3300 Broadway) regarding an explosion in a hallway there.  Upon arrival, they found remnants and scattered debris from an apparent “muriatic acid and aluminum foil bomb” packaged in a 2-liter plastic soda bottle.  (See original press release below).  
EPD Criminal Investigation Services detectives reviewed video surveillance footage of the incident, which depicted four juvenile suspects who were involved in planting and detonating the homemade explosive device in a hallway.  Detectives developed several leads and eventually identified the suspects:  three males and a female ranging from 13 years old to 15 years old.  According to the lead investigator, Senior Detective Ronald Harpham, evidence suggests three of the juveniles violated criminal conspiracy laws and a 13 year-old male suspect violated a law pertaining to possession of an explosive device in a public place.  None of the juvenile suspects had prior criminal histories or negative contacts with local law enforcement.  The investigation is now complete and the criminal case has been forwarded to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.  
 
Original Press Release from  9/06/11:
On 9/05/11, at about 1:43 PM, the Eureka Fire Department (EFD) was dispatched to the Bayshore Mall (3300 Broadway) regarding an explosion in a hallway there.  Upon arrival, EFD officials found remnants and scattered debris from an apparent “muriatic acid and aluminum foil bomb” packaged in a 2-liter plastic soda bottle.  At approximately 2:00 PM, Eureka Police Department officers were dispatched to the mall to assist EFD with the resulting criminal investigation and evidence collection.  EPD investigators reviewed mall security surveillance footage, which depicted four juvenile suspects (3 males and one female approximately 13-years old) who were involved in planting and detonating the homemade explosive device in a hallway.  In the video, the juvenile suspects were seen entering the mall hallway together through an entrance/exit on the south side of the mall near Spencer’s.  One of the male juveniles is then seen returning to the door alone moments later, removing the 2-liter plastic bottle/explosive device from his backpack and mixing/shaking its components together.  The suspect then sets the device on the floor near the door and walks quickly away from it.  Approximately 3 minutes later, the bomb detonates.  As the suspect walks away from the acid bomb he just planted, an unsuspecting woman is seen on video walking past him and the device and exiting through the doorway.    
 
No property appeared to have been damaged by the explosion and there were no reported injuries.  However, debris and muriatic acid from the device was scattered across the floor and walls.   EPD investigators are currently following up on leads they’ve developed.  EPD would like to emphasize that this is not being treated as a mere “prank,” but rather as a serious crime.  The suspect(s) committed at least two felonies:  1) possession and detonation of an illegal explosive device in a public place, and 2) releasing noxious/injurious gases/liquids in a public place.  Muriatic acid (also called hydrochloric acid) is available over the counter at many hardware stores.  It is a highly corrosive, strong acid commonly used for many industrial applications such as leather processing and cleaning masonry surfaces.  When mixed with aluminum foil, a chemical reaction occurs which creates hydrogen gas.  When these ingredients are put together inside a sealed container such as a 2-liter water bottle, the resulting gas expands inside the container until a loud explosion with an ensuing noxious white cloud occurs.  Muriatic acid is irritating and corrosive to living tissue (mild to severe burns of the eyes and skin can occur). Brief, low level exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory system.  Higher level exposure can result in chemical burns, breathing difficulties, swelling and spasms of the throat, accumulation of fluid in the lungs and even suffocation and death. 
Additionally, if an individual were to be in close proximity to a muriatic acid and aluminum foil bomb when it exploded, the explosion itself could cause significant tissue damage.  
 
Anyone with information concerning the suspects’ identities is asked to call the Eureka Police Department.  Please direct your inquiries/information to the lead investigator, Senior Detective Ron Harpham, at 707-441-4305.  
 

According to a Press Release from the Eureka Police Department, dated September 22, 2011:

On 9/21/11, at about 2:22 PM, investigators with the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit executed a search warrant at a residence on the 2600 block of Union Street, Eureka.   The warrant was obtained after the POP Unit developed information residents there were selling heroin from the property. During a search of the residence, investigators located and seized approximately ½ ounce of tar heroin, over $4,700.00 cash (suspected illicit drug sales proceeds), digital gram scales, drug sales packaging materials, and a stolen .40 caliber Springfield Armory XD semi-automatic handgun with ammunition.  The handgun had been reported stolen during a recent residential burglary in Eureka.  
 
Residents Derick Johnathan McElroy (22 of Eureka) and Ashley Rose Stogner (22 of Eureka) were arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where they were booked for possession of heroin for sale and possession of stolen property.  
Anyone with information concerning suspected drug sales activity occurring in Eureka is encouraged to call the Problem Oriented Policing Unit at (707) 441-4373 or the Humboldt County Drug Task Force at (707) 444-8095.
 
 
 Derick Johnathan McElroy (22 of Eureka) and Ashley Rose Stogner (22 of Eureka)
 

According to a Press Release from the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office, dated September 21, 2011: 

Over the past several months, several local attorneys have had their email servers “hacked”, or accessed, by unknown persons. After accessing the email account, the hacker posed as the attorney and sent emails to local residents requesting money.
 
The most current incident of email “hacking” involved the Arnot Law Firm of Eureka.  Emails were sent from Mr. Arnot’s account to several current and former clients asking for money to be wired to Spain, stating that Mr. Arnot had misplaced his wallet while on vacation.  The emails were signed “Phil” with the Arnot Law Firm footer at the bottom of the email.  One recipient of the email recognized it as being suspicious and contacted the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office (HCDA). HCDA investigators contacted Mr. Arnot and confirmed that his email server had been hacked and that the email recipients were targets of an Internet based scam designed to fraudulently acquire money under false pretenses.  
 
The HCDA Criminal Investigations Bureau is in the process of investigating the matter.  Chief Investigator Mike Hislop encouraged the community to be suspicious of unsolicited emails or phone calls that ask for money or any personal identifying information even if the other party appears to be someone they know and trust.  “Email, Internet and telephone based scams are becoming more and more popular and have resulted in significant financial losses throughout our nation and in our own community.  Use common sense as your guide and if something doesn’t seem right, seek more information or contact local law enforcement,” Hislop added.   
 
For more information on this or other frauds, call the District Attorney’s Office Consumer Fraud Investigator at (707) 445-7411. 
 
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