PRISON GUARD HOSTAGE NOT HURT: A correctional officer at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater was held hostage for nearly two hours by two inmates but released unharmed, prison officials said Thursday. Jesse W. Gonzalez, the prison's spokesman, said the incident began about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and ended at 4:20. "Preliminary indications are that the hostage was not harmed during the course of the incident. The inmates are currently being transferred to another institution," he said. The names of the inmates and the male guard were not released. The hostage-taking took place inside one of the housing units. All other inmates and staff were immediately accounted for and the institution was secured, Gonzalez said. Bureau of Prisons hostage negotiators worked to resolve the situation. Gonzalez said the FBI was notified and an investigation is under way.
GUNMAN ROBS WOMAN IN MODESTO: A man wearing a green and brown jacket robbed a 52-year-old Manteca woman at gunpoint in the 500 block of East Orangeburg Avenue early Wednesday, Modesto police reported. The woman was getting out of her truck around 6:35 a.m., Lt. Scott Blom said. A man walked up to her, pointed a handgun and grabbed her purse, telling the woman, "Just let me have it," Blom said. The victim ran north on Melrose Avenue. Modesto police ask anyone who has information about this incident to call CrimeStoppers at 521-4636. Callers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.
MAN ROBS SENIOR CITIZEN: A man who appeared to be about 20 years old robbed a 72-year-old woman Tuesday in the parking lot of Cost Less Market in Oakdale, at 888 North Yosemite Ave., Oakdale police reported. Around 6:50 p.m., the woman was loading groceries into her vehicle when the man, described as about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds, approached her, held something to her stomach and demanded her purse, according to police. She gave him the bag, then watched him climb into a small green car that was driven by a woman in her early 20s, who looked to be about 5 feet 3 inches tall and 130 pounds. Police do not believe this robbery is related to the Sunday robbery at the Oakdale Market. Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call Detective Sgt. Julio Rosa at 847-2231.
SUSPECT FLEES; CHP OFFICER CRASHES: A pursuit by the California Highway Patrol down Santa Fe Avenue between Empire and Hughson ended with a reckless driver escaping and a CHP officer suffering minor injuries after slamming into a utility pole and chain-link fence, the CHP reported. Further investigation revealed that the car had been stolen in Ceres from its Escalon owner, said CHP spokesman Tom Killian. Around noon Wednesday, CHP officer Bill Walton noticed a 1991 Nissan heading south on Santa Fe near South Avenue, south of Empire. Walton caught up with the car south of East Hatch Road and turned on his flashing lights to pull over the Nissan for reckless driving. The driver began to use the northbound lane to speed past southbound traffic, and Walton followed. About a mile south of Hatch, at Hughson Avenue, the Nissan swerved back into the southbound lane, narrowly missing a head-on collision with a vehicle heading north, Killian said. Walton couldn't return to the southbound lane because of a vehicle to his right, so he swerved to the left to get off the roadway and hit the pole and fence. Walton escaped with minor injuries, Killian said.
INMATE ATTACKED AT HONOR FARM: A 19-year-old inmate at the San Joaquin County Honor Farm in French Camp was attacked by about 20 inmates, the sheriff's office reported. Booking charges against some of the attackers indicated he was seriously injured. Public Information Officer Les Garcia would not release details on the injuries and said the motive, as well as how the fight occurred, was under investigation. In a news release, the sheriff's office stated that the victim told deputies he believed he was attacked Tuesday because he had been talking with black and white inmates. All of the suspected attackers are Latino, according to the sheriff's department. The release stated the victim was transported to San Joaquin County General Hospital for treatment.