Rape suspect arrested
A man wanted on suspicion of stealing his sister's car, posing as a police officer and raping a woman in Lodi was arrested early Monday in Stockton.
Rodrigo Avalos Magallon, 26, of Madera, was sitting in a white Pontiac in the parking lot of an empty auto garage business around 12:40 a.m., San Joaquin County Sheriff's spokeswoman Nellie Stone said.
Deputies checked the vehicle's plates, learned that it had been reported stolen and stopped the car on the corner of Wilson Way and Alpine Avenue, she said.
Magallon was booked into the county jail and the car was impounded and sealed because it is considered a possible crime scene, Stone said.
On March 31, Magallon allegedly posed as a Madera police officer and raped a Galt-area woman, Lodi police Detective Virginia Elder said.
The two became acquainted in an Internet chat room and met several times before the March 31 incident, Elder said.
Magallon is being held in the county jail in French Camp and investigators were expected to interview him, Lodi police said.
Supreme Court denies city's second petition
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a second petition filed by the city of Lodi in a long-running groundwater contamination case.
In the petition, the city had asked the court to look at a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in which judges ruled that a local ordinance could not be enforced because it conflicted with a federal law.
In 1997, the city created an ordinance that allowed city officials to force local businesses to clean up environmental pollution. Several insurance companies challenged that law, and the 3rd District Court sided with the city.
The insurance companies appealed the case to the 9th Circuit in 2000, which then sided with the insurance companies.
Monday was the second time in as many weeks that the Supreme Court denied a petition filed by the city. On March 31, the justices declined to hear a petition in which the city asked to be able to represent itself as the People of the State of California.
In both cases, because the Supreme Court denied the petitions, the 9th Circuit rulings will stand.
Vehicle burglary suspect arrested
A Lodi man who police say may be responsible for several vehicle thefts in which the suspect left behind notes and pornographic magazines was arrested early Sunday.
Shortly after midnight, Lodi police Officer Nick Welton saw a man identified as 36-year-old Cody Shane Spenst walking on Church Street near Locust Street, police said.
Welton recognized him as a man wanted on warrants, and a search revealed several items linked to previous auto burglaries, including women's shoes, Virginia Slim cigarettes, lotion and a black marker, according to a police report.
Police believe Spenst was involved in several other vehicle burglaries, including a February attempted vehicle theft at a State Farm Insurance parking lot on Kettleman Lane, Lt. Chet Somera said.
In that incident, an employee found a broken steering column and scrape marks on the ignition of a Dodge Stratus.
Though nothing was stolen, numerous things were left in the car, including five Virginia Slim cigarette butts, a pornographic magazine and a note detailing the suspect's sexual preferences and describing him as a man named "Shawn who is a crossdresser," according to a police report.
Spenst was arraigned in court Monday and was then taken to the county jail in French Camp, according to jail records. His next court date is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 14 in Lodi, where he will be arraigned on one count of tampering with a vehicle, one count of auto burglary, four counts of auto theft and four counts of vandalism. Spenst is being held at $40,000 bail.
Street racing suspect pleads not guilty
A Lodi man pleaded not guilty Monday to second-degree murder charges in connection with an October vehicle accident and his attorney is hoping to "find a resolution" in the case.
Carlos Paz, who turned 20 Sunday, is being held on $250,000 bail in the county jail in French Camp.
Arrested March 20 in connection with an October vehicle accident, he is charged in the death of 19-year-old Rafael Leyva of Stockton.
Police allege that Paz and Leyva challenged one another to a high-speed race as they drove north on Ham Lane, and Leyva's car crashed shortly after crossing Lodi Avenue. He died of his injuries four months later.
Judge David P. Warner denied a request Monday that bail be lowered, noting that it had already been lowered once from $1 million.
Paz's Stockton attorney, Patrick Piggott, did not say what sort of resolution he was hoping for, citing the fact that, because he was just retained Friday, he has not yet seen 172 pages of police reports.
"I think this case is way overcharged and when we look over all the information and talk to the (district attorney), we can find a different route other than murder," Piggott said after court.
Paz will return to Lodi court April 21 for a pre-preliminary hearing.
Drive-by shooting investigation ongoing
Galt police continued their investigation Monday into a drive-by shooting in the 200 block of Creekside Drive in southwestern Galt.
Ignacio Arizaga, 22, of Galt was shot in the arm and knee at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday while standing on a sidewalk in front of a driveway, but he gave police no clues about who may have shot him, Galt police Lt. Ken Erickson said.
Arizaga was taken by ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento for treatment. His injuries are not life threatening, police said. Information on his condition was not available from the hospital.
Neighbors told police they heard four gunshots, but none of them saw the person who shot Arizaga or the car the person was in, Erickson said.
Arizaga he no idea what make or color the car was and whether the car was going eastbound or westbound, Erickson said.
Police are investigating the incident as an attempted murder, according to Erickson. Anyone who may have witnessed the incident may call Galt police at 745-1535.
Galt plagued by auto burglaries
At least 11 burglaries have been reported to the Galt Police Department over the past week.
The seven most recent burglaries were reported Friday, at 5:57 and 8:40 a.m. in the 800 block of south Lincoln Way, at 6:49 a.m. in the 400 block of D Street, at 8:52 a.m. on Benner Court, at 10:04 a.m. in the 800 block of Retriever Way, at 3:35 p.m. in the 100 block of E Street and at 3:58 p.m. on Vanstom Court.
Galt police Lt. Ken Erickson said he has no leads on the burglaries.
Woodbridge irrigation board to vote on water sale to Lodi
Woodbridge Irrigation District directors, meeting at 9 a.m. today, will consider adopting a final draft of a proposal to sell 6,000 acre-feet per year to the city of Lodi for $1.2 million.
If the Woodbridge board approves the sale, the Lodi City Council will decide in late April or sometime in May whether to buy the water.
In other action today, the Woodbridge board will hear a report from the East Bay Municipal Utility District on Mokelumne River conditions and receive its audit report for 2002.
The meeting will be held at the district office, 18777 N. Lower Sacramento Road.
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