RAPE CONVICTION NETS 50-YEAR SENTENCE: Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Donald Shaver on Friday sentenced a Modesto man to 50 years to life in prison for raping a relative. According to the district attorney's office, Joseph Victor Foster Jr., 47, was on parole after serving time for a sexual assault when he offered to take a 26-year-old woman to lunch to celebrate her birthday. Foster subdued the woman with a stun gun during the Aug. 25, 2006, attack, then tied her to a bed and raped her. Next, he made her drive him to the Modesto Reservoir, then he changed his mind and ordered her to drive to Waterford. The woman jumped from her car as she slowed for a traffic light at Albers Road and Highway 132, then ran to the Fruit Yard Restaurant to get help. Modesto police arrested Foster three days later. He pleaded guilty as his trial approached. People convicted of forcible sex crimes do not qualify for early release, so Foster will be 97 before he can become eligible for parole.
SUSPECT LINKED TO THREE HOLDUPS: A south Modesto man has been arrested by Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies in connection with three robberies in Ceres over eight days. Ceres police Cmdr. Mike Borges said Adam Macris, 28, was in jail Monday, charged with six counts of robbery. Borges said a single bandit struck a Quizno's on Sept. 7 and a Subway on Sept. 11 on Mitchell Road. Borges said Detective Keith Greble spotted the suspect on Thursday but lost him in a Hatch Road shopping center. Greble broadcast the license number of a car he saw the suspect in. Friday, the Payless shoe store was robbed at noon in the same Hatch Road shopping complex where the suspect had been seen the night before. Sheriff's deputies stopped a car on Lassen Road in south Modesto on Friday afternoon that matched Thursday's vehicle description. Deputies detained four suspects, and one turned out to be Macris. The description in each robbery had been a white or Latino male in his 30s with sunglasses, hat and a goatee. Borges said authorities recovered some of the cash from Friday's robbery and a replica weapon matching witnesses' description of a black semiautomatic pistol used in the robberies.
SEARCHERS FIND MISSING MAN: Rescue crews scouring a portion of Yosemite National Park for a missing Corcoran city official found him, dehydrated but not hurt, Monday morning. Ronald Hoggard, 58, is Corcoran's city manager and an avid photographer. He had last been heard from Friday afternoon when he called his wife from his car. He was reported missing to park officials Saturday afternoon. Hoggard's truck was found near the Glacier Point Road in the park. An initial search lasted through the night. Sunday morning, Yosemite park staff were joined by about 70 searchers from around California, as well as rescue teams from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and other parks. Hoggard, who was not an experienced hiker but was in good health, was found Monday morning in the Taft Point area, near Glacier Point.
THOUSANDS OF POT PLANTS AXED: Tuolumne County narcotics investigators destroyed 8,212 marijuana plants Saturday near Hardin Flat and Golden Arrow roads, about 1½ miles from the Yosemite National Park border. The plants could have had a street value of tens of millions of dollars, the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department reported. Investigators saw two or three men flee the garden when law enforcement agents arrived. Agents found two loaded shotguns, a loaded handgun and two pellet rifles. The plants were heavy with a lot of budding, sheriff's spokesman Lt. Dan Bressler said. Since July 1, Tuolumne County officials have destroyed nearly 94,000 marijuana plants, 10,000 more than last year, when a record was set.
SEARCH ON FOR HACKERS: Officials at Columbia College are looking for someone who may have hacked Columbia College's Web site, causing its shutdown 10 days ago. Law enforcement officers have no suspects or motives, and Columbia spokesman Doug Lau said Monday he didn't know whether an investigation was forthcoming. People noticed the hacking when Columbia's homepage appeared blank Sept. 7. The problem was fixed until the next morning, when the main page was blank again. The problem has since been corrected, Lau said. A campuswide e-mail was sent notifying students and staff about the intrusion. No confidential student or staff data were online, Lau said. Columbia uses two servers, one for the Web site and one for the school's data. Columbia and the Yosemite Community College District's information technology teams have spent days fixing the Web programs, Lau said. The site was back up and running, but some links were not working Monday.
GIRL RECANTS RAPE STORY: Stanislaus County sheriff's investigators arrested a Modesto man on charges of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. The case started as an investigation into a possible rape and kidnapping, sheriff's spokesman deputy Royjindar Singh said. A 15-year-old girl had said she had been dragged into a car Sunday before being raped in an abandoned house. During an interview with Singh, KCRA Channel 3 cameraman Manny Meza spotted the lime green vehicle with black rims the girl had described after the alleged attack. Deputies stopped the car in the 500 block of Butte Avenue in Modesto, where they detained Luis Mendoza, 26, and his brother. Deputies interviewed the men and reinterviewed the victim, then arrested Mendoza after the victim said she had made up the rape and kidnapping charges.
TURLOCK BANK ROBBED: The Bank of America inside the Geer Road Save Mart in Turlock was robbed Monday afternoon after a suspect, without a weapon, demanded money from a teller, police said. Police were called about 1:30 p.m., but the robber had fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, Sgt. Steve Williams said. The suspect is described as a Latino male in his late 20s to early 30s, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 130 pounds, with black or brown shoulder-length hair. He was wearing a black and beige baseball cap and black T-shirt, police said. Anyone with information should call Detective Lee Peters at 668-5550, ext. 6766.
SECRET POT OPERATION UNCOVERED: Turlock police found a fake wall hiding a trap door leading to a secret room where they said they uncovered a marijuana-growing operation on Berea Drive. Police were called Saturday evening to the 1100 block of Berea after neighbors noted a strong smell of marijuana, Sgt. Steve Williams said. Inside the master bedroom, police found a large hole in the wall that led to a concealed room, Williams said. At the end of the concealed room was a hole in the cement foundation, which led to a basement-type room and numerous marijuana plants, finished marijuana ready to be sold, grow lights and other materials used for the cultivation of marijuana, he said. Grant Sutton, 36, of Turlock was arrested on felony charges of cultivation of marijuana, felony possession of marijuana for sale and an outstanding Merced County warrant for contempt of court.