ANOTHER ASSAULT NEAR UOP: An 18-year-old University of the Pacific student reported Tuesday that she had been sexually assaulted by an 18-year-old man, also a student, at an off-campus party last weekend. Stockton police are investigating the case, according to university spokesman Patrick Giblin. Police have identified the man. The suspect in this case is not the one in last week's alleged assaults, in which a University of the Pacific man reportedly raped three of his friends. No arrest has been made, said police officer Pete Smith. All the assaults involved what Giblin called "the excessive use of alcohol just prior to the attack." Because of this, the university will hold a series of "town hall" meetings with students to discuss alcohol use, substance abuse, acquaintance rape and personal safety. All questions about these sexual assault investigations should be referred to the Police Department, 937-8377.
THIEF TURNS CATTLE LOOSE: San Joaquin County sheriff's officials are looking for a man who tried to sell a stolen vehicle Tuesday afternoon before distracting the victim and stealing his wallet and a loaded handgun from inside the man's Tracy home. The suspect fled in a 1966 Chevrolet pickup stolen from Merced, said deputy Dave Konecny. The pickup headed south into Stanislaus County before the driver parked next to a vacant mobile home and ran away, Konecny said. The attempted sale and theft occurred at a ranch house in the 29000 block of South Kasson Road, just north of South Airport Way. When it became apparent that the victim was going to verify the vehicle's registration, the suspect left the house, opened a gate and released cows from the pasture, according to sheriff's officials. While the victim and his granddaughter were getting the cows off the street, the man entered their home and took the revolver and the wallet, Konecny said. The granddaughter followed the suspect into Stanislaus County, where he abandoned the vehicle. San Joaquin and Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies found the stolen vehicle, but there was no one inside the mobile home, Konecny said. Authorities ask anyone with information about this crime to call the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department at 468-4400.
BUSINESS MANAGER ARRESTED: Police on Wednesday arrested a manager of a Manteca business suspected of buying stolen catalytic converters. Stockton police have tracked a wave of 320 catalytic converter thefts since Jan. 1, according to officer Pete Smith. Investigators homed in on Dorene Carlson, 44, manager at Miller Catalyzer Corp. on Button Avenue. Smith said undercover officers on three occasions sold Carlson catalytic converters "made blatantly clear" to have been stolen. He would not elaborate. Replacing catalytic converters can cost motorists up to $1,000, Smith said. "This is just one of many," Smith said. "And we're not going to let up until we see some significant decrease or the complete eradication of this activity so it's not happening anymore."
CONVICTION IN SHOOTING: A jury Tuesday convicted a 32-year-old Merced man who shot at a CHP officer following a traffic stop, led police on a 100 mph chase and then shot at Merced County Sheriff's Department SWAT members during a seven-hour standoff last year. A jury convicted Elisondro Chiprez of three counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a firearm, felony evading arrest and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The charges stem from a July 8, 2006, incident during which Chiprez shot at CHP officer Jerry Elrod after a routine traffic stop, then after a chase, holed up in a rural Merced County home. After a standoff, he shot repeatedly at SWAT team members as they entered the residence. "The jury did a fine job of sifting through a large amount of testimony and evidence," said prosecutor Robert Carroll. Chiprez will return to court Tuesday; because of his convictions, he faces multiple life terms in prison.
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BURN PERMITS SUSPENDED: The Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has suspended all burning permits it issued in Tuolumne County, Calaveras County, eastern Stanislaus County and eastern San Joaquin County, as of 8 a.m. today. Campfires will be allowed in designated campgrounds with permission of the jurisdictional authority. Officials said anyone with questions about this declaration may contact the nearest CalFire facility.