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NEWS FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA

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POSTED April 30, 2014 11:21 p.m.

• Navy dolphin trainer drowns in San Diego Bay: SAN DIEGO (AP) — A contractor with a Navy program that trains dolphins and sea lions for missions drowned during a nighttime exercise in San Diego Bay, the first death for the program that started in 1959, a Navy spokesman said Wednesday.

Coll Perske, 29, was part of a team of contractors with Virginia-based Science Applications International Corp. training Navy dolphins and sea lions to intercept someone in the water, Navy spokesman Jim Fallin said. The San Diego County coroner’s office says colleagues pulled Perske out of the water Monday night, and he was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Navy is investigating the incident, but initial reports indicate the mammals had no contact with Perske before he failed to resurface, Fallin said.

 

• Firefighter plans to run OC Marathon in full gear: EL SEGUNDO (AP) — A firefighter plans to run this weekend’s Orange County Marathon in his work gear — all 45 pounds of it.

Jose Zambrano tells the Orange County Register he’ll wear his helmet, turnout coat and oxygen tank but he’ll have running shoes instead of fire boots.

Zambrano, who’s 43, is with the El Segundo Fire Department. He started competing in marathons and triathlons two years ago to build endurance.

His 26.2-mile run on Sunday will raise money for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

More than 22,000 runners are expected to take part in the marathon.

Zambrano says to train for such events, he runs 20 miles in his gear at least once a week.

Zambrano says he gets a lot of stares and people often ask: “Where’s the fire?”

 

• So. California man charged with sextorting teens : LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California man who allegedly extorted nude photos from fans of Justin Bieber has been charged with producing child pornography.

Twenty-three-year-old Jeremy Sears of Moorpark was arrested Wednesday on two felony charges. He faces at least 15 years in federal prison if convicted.

Federal prosecutors claim Sears targeted several dozen teens, many of them active in social networking groups for fans of Bieber and the group One Direction.

Authorities say he pretended to be a teen to in fake profiles. They say he would then obtain explicit photos and videos by starting an online romance or threatening a teen.

 

• State investigates colony of big-headed ants: COSTA MESA (AP) — State agricultural inspectors have identified a colony of big-headed ants — an invasive species — in a Costa Mesa yard and are searching for other colonies in the area.

The Orange County Register reports Wednesday that the ants previously were found in plant and flower shipments. This is the first time they’ve been discovered living naturally in California.

The ants — which do indeed have bulbous heads — are native to Africa. Their bite is harmless to humans.

However, state officials say the ants aren’t native and could impact the local ecosystem if they spread.

 

• Police seek 4 masked men in Tahoe jewelry heist: SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (AP) — South Lake Tahoe police say four masked men made off with thousands of dollars in a heist at a jewelry store near the California-Nevada line.

Police Chief Brian Uhler says the crooks used a sledgehammer to gain access to the Simpson’s Jewelers Store early Tuesday morning.

He told the Lake Tahoe News they were caught on surveillance tape but committed the “smash and grab” in less than five minutes. Investigators believe they fled in a stolen Ford F-250 pickup.

Uhler says it suggests the thieves were fairly sophisticated. Detectives are trying to determine if there’s any connection to a burglary in Reno last month at Devon’s Jewelers in the Meadowood Mall.

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