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Ripon combating catalytic converter theft

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Ripon combating catalytic converter theft

Ripon Police officers Danny Sauer and Mike Perry talk with residents from their Patrol Area 2 at the second informational session held at the Ripon Police Department Wednesday night.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED February 10, 2011 1:55 a.m.
RIPON — The second in a series of informational sessions designed for the public to meet the officers who patrol their home neighborhoods in Ripon was held Wednesday night at the Ripon Police Department squad room.

Led by Sgt. Richard Kalebjian – with 32 years in law enforcement – the residents were given an overview of patrol policies and enforcement in the area north of Highway 99 and east of Stockton Avenue and North Ripon Road.

Citizens quickly learned through prepared graphs of crime statistics that their immediate beat neighborhoods had far less crimes occurring than the remainder of the city – all low in contrast with the Central Valley’s other cities on a per capita basis.

Some of those crime areas included burglaries, auto burglaries, thefts and vandalism as well as stolen cars and physical altercations.

Sgt. Teri Jensen told of her planned catalytic converter program designed to combat thefts of those devices from beneath motor vehicles throughout the county.  She said that thieves can’t recycle the units for their precious metal content if vehicle owners have their license number etched on the converters.

Jensen explained that officers have no way of proving catalytic converters they find during car stops are actually stolen if they don’t have some type of owner identification marked on the heat shield.  She noted that victims can pay up to $400 to replace the stolen part.

The sergeant is hoping to see a volunteer program to actually mark converters on citizens’ cars where they would first be marked with a felt pen and then etched over to create a permanent identification that can’t be removed.

In addition to the two sergeants, officers Danny Sauer, Mike Perry and Scott Lindsay participated in the hour-long program.  Traffic officer Steve Meece along with Gordon West, Sgt. Tim Bailey and Sgt. Don Luthey were at the back of the room to answer questions.

Officer Sauer outlined the city curfew for the youth of the community as laid out in the Ripon City Municipal Code.  The law also allows officers to cite parents for allowing their children to violate the curfew law due to insufficient control on their parts.  Teens may not be on the street after 10 p.m. or before 6 a.m. in the morning, he said.

Officer Lindsay said that often teens will tell their parents they are spending the night with friends and they will both climb out a rear window for a night out on the town.  If officers locate the offenders they will give them a ride home and in extreme cases issue citations to them and to their parents.

Sgt. Kalebjian said that the Ripon department is known for its many traffic stops.  But in those stops they find drugs, stolen property and people on parole or on probation during the stop for something as simple as a license plate light malfunctioning.

Jack Mendonca, a resident in Area 2, asked about the procedure to get boulevard stops installed near his home at Pecan and Harvest drives.  

“When I back out of the driveway it’s like going into a battle zone – but nobody has been hit yet,” he said.  “People don’t slow down, they just go around me – all ages.”

Chief Ed Ormonde invited Mendonca to come into the department to talk with him and the city engineer about the possibility of those stop signs.  

The next session is set for the second Wednesday in March and it will involve Patrol Area 3 led by Sgt. Tim Bailey.
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