By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY – Senior Writer
On Thursday, June 8, sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers gathered at SkyPark at Santa’s Village, for the second time in as many years, to meet with mountain area residents in a casual, non-threatening atmosphere where they could get better acquainted with each other and exchange information and ideas on how to better assist the public in fighting crime.
The event kicked off at 8:30 a.m. with coffee, tea, pastries and breakfast sandwiches available at Kringle’s Coffee & Gifts. About a dozen sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers and a half-dozen local residents retreated to the outdoor patio to enjoy their food and drinks while chatting with one another.
As for crime, the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station commander, Capt. Don Lupear, told the Alpine Mountaineer that burglaries and narcotics offenses are about the same as usual and that there are still some catalytic converter thefts, though not as many as a year ago.
“Retail thefts are completely out of control all over the mountain,” Capt. Lupear said. “They’re occurring every day and the theft laws need to be changed. Currently, anything under $950 is considered petty theft, which is treated as a misdemeanor. They can do this over and over and all they get is one night in jail. It might help if people contacted their state legislators with the hope of putting more teeth into the law.”
Lupear also warns people to be wary of unsolicited phone call scams. “Never give out sensitive information like credit card, Social Security or bank account numbers to anyone you don’t know.”
According to CHP Public Affairs Officer Ubaldo Gonzalez, traffic violations were sluggish during the recent period of extreme winter weather. “As we transition closer to summer, we see more people on the road and more speeders. We also get more DUIs (driving under the influence) in warm weather.” Gonzalez said most of the speeding is done on the long straightaways on Highway 18 and in the passing lanes of Highway 330. He advises motorists to drive with caution while Caltrans crews continue their lane construction project and filling in potholes on Highway 18.