A couple arrested twice in nine days on suspicion of forging checks at a dozen Lodi businesses are now in jail on $1 million each.
Alvaro Lopez, 27, and Ashley Armenta, 22, both of Stockton, appeared in Lodi court again Friday, two days after they allegedly ran from police who had arrived at their home with a search warrant.
Both had initially been jailed on $100,000 after police said they were tied to forged checks at eight businesses. They were released from the San Joaquin County Jail due to a statewide court cap that limits the capacity of crowded jails.
When four more business owners contacted police, investigators went to the couple's home in Stockton. Lopez allegedly ran through a fence and Armenta hid under a car, police said shortly after both were arrested without further incident.
They once again appeared in Lodi court on more felony charges, including an allegation of committing a crime while on release from jail. That time, according to court records, a judge set bail at $500,000 on each case.
Lopez and Armenta remain in the county jail and will return to court Wednesday.
Several promoted in Lodi Police Department
Three Lodi police officers, all of whom happen to be SWAT team members, were promoted Monday during an afternoon ceremony.
Steve Carillo, a 25-year veteran, promoted from sergeant to lieutenant, filling the position left by Lt. Chet Somera, a daytime watch commander who retired last month.
Carillo, who is scheduled to finish a bachelor's degree this spring, had previously worked in the traffic division and patrolled by motorcycle. He spent 10 years on the Special Weapons and Tactics team, a stint that ended Monday with his promotion.
Steve Nelson moved from corporal to sergeant and also leaves the SWAT team due to his promotion. He will finish his bachelor's degree in April, and acting Chief David Main noted during the ceremony that Nelson has yet to use a single sick day during his eight years on the police force.
Sierra Brucia, a 12-year officer, promoted to corporal and will help train new officers. He will continue on the SWAT team and teaching an ROP class to local high school students. He has a bachelor's degree from St. Mary's College.
Hearing date set in commercial bribery case
A man accused of bribing and threatening drivers at a Lodi trucking firm appeared in court Monday, where attorneys scheduled a March 10 preliminary hearing.
James Melvin Canclini, 41, of Lodi, was arrested in October after a lengthy investigation involving his work at T&T Trucking.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges of making criminal threats, commercial bribery, threatening a witness and three counts of tax evasion. He is out of custody on $250,000 bond.
San Joaquin County prosecutors allege that Canclini, who worked as a dispatcher, bribed more than two dozen truck drivers between 1997 and 2006. He was terminated after the company conducted an internal review.
In an arrest affidavit, Sheriff's Detective Lewis Greenman wrote that Canclini bribed drivers in increasing amounts so they would get better runs.
Canclini allegedly kept records in a notebook, which investigators seized during a search of his Lodi home. Detectives believe Canclini made out with more than $100,000.
Review of subdivision likely to be delayed
The Lodi Planning Commission's review of a proposed 47-home subdivision on Turner Road at Lower Sacramento Road will likely be delayed.
Commissioners were expected to make a recommendation on the project Wednesday, but have been asked to hold off on the matter until the city's Public Works department decides whether to grant an second entrance and exit for the subdivision.
The project, pitched by Farmers and Merchants Bank, must gain a General Plan amendment, a zone change, environmental clearances and growth management allocations from the city before it can be built.
If the commission holds off on a review, it's not clear when it would again study the matter.
The City Council will have a final vote on the subdivision, following the commission's recommendation.
Lodi council to discuss applications for grants
City of Lodi leaders will begin discussing today how to divy up $945,000 in federal grant money for local community groups.
The City Council will meet at 7 a.m. at Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St., to review 11 applications for the funds, offered through the Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs. The council won't decide officially on the applications until a March 5 public hearing, also at Carnegie Forum.
Requests range from $4,500 for educational nutrition programs for a Stockton-area food bank to $500,000 for the construction of a Lodi Family Resource Center at Blakely Park. That proposed center would provide social service information, health screenings and other services geared toward low-income residents.
Birds killed after flying into traffic on I-80
SACRAMENTO - Morning rush-hour traffic just west of the state capital was slowed Monday when a flock of birds flew across a causeway and into traffic.
More than 20 birds, most believed to be varying types of waterfowl, were killed on the elevated Yolo Causeway, a section of Interstate 80 that links the cities of West Sacramento and Davis.
Yolo County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Michele Wallace says the birds were struck about 8 a.m. by vehicles traveling in both directions. Traffic slowed to about 40 mph, but there were no reports of damage to vehicles.
The causeway takes I-80 travelers over the Yolo bypass, a swath of farmland two to three miles wide and 40 miles long that acts as an overflow for the Sacramento River.