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POSTED March 21, 2013 8:58 p.m.

SUPSCIOUS DEVICE CLOSES HIGHWAYS: STOCKTON - A suspicious device discovered on the Waterloo Road overpass prompted officials to close the overpass, as well as portions of Highways 99 and 88 in Stockton Thursday morning.

Caltrans said Highway 88 was closed at the junction of Highway 99.

The southbound connector of Highway 99 to eastbound Highway 88 was also closed to traffic.

Spokesman Les Garcia of the San Joaquin Sheriff's Department said a robot was brought to the scene, but was unable to detonate the device.The device was subsequently rendered safe, and all roadways were reopened by 11:20 a.m.

 EXTRA HOT LOAD OF HOT SAUCE: GALT- A burning big rig is slowing traffic to a crawl on northbound Highway 99 at Twin Cities Road in Galt Thursday afternoon.

California Highway Patrol says the truck had hit several other cars. Cosumnes Fire Department tweeted information that at least one person had been taken to the hospital. The truck was reportedly carrying hot sauce.

SUSPECT IN ST. PATTICK’S DAY KILLINGS: STOCKTON - Stockton Police have identified who they think was involved in killing a mother and her son, and injuring three other family members. Now they need the public’s help to find him.

A gathering outside a Stockton home on St. Patrick’s Day ended in gunfire, leaving a family mourning and asking questions. They remember seeing a few men walk toward the home, then opening fire; Juan Sarrarez and his mother, Juanita Maldonado, died, three other relations were injured.

Investigators now say they are looking for 20-year-old Sergio Hernandez in connection with the shooting. Cops say he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information about Hernandez’ whereabouts are asked to call Stockton Police at (209) 937-8377 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600. Callers can remain anonymous.

Citizens may also text information from their cell phones to ‘CRIMES’ (274637) and type the keyword TIPSPD and then their tip, or logon to the Stockton Police Department’s Facebook page and click ‘Submit A Tip’.

 

BEE THEFTS STING: WATERFORD - A commercial beekeeper is offering a $10,000 reward for the return of 80 bee hives stolen from an almond orchard just outside Waterford in Stanislaus County.

Darren Cox has 5,000 bee hives in his operation based in Utah. Thefts of bee hives are not unheard of because they are often left unattended for weeks at a time in orchards that rely on bees to pollinate their crops.

But this heist probably involved a flat-bed truck and a fork lift because there are four hives placed on a pallet.

He lost about $13,000 in rental fees on top of the value of the relatively new hives, meaning he took about a $50,000 hit.  The orchard owner was also stressed because it’s hard to find replacement hives.

Cox is the vice-president of the Honey Producers Association and says the biggest winter kill in the country’s history has caused a shortage of honey bees.

He says other beekeepers or perhaps even a desperate orchard owner might be responsible for the theft.  Cox says a beekeeper lost 450 hives to a thief earlier this year.

Cox says it’s unlikely that his hives were picked up by mistake by another beekeeper.  His equipment, including pallets, hives and the honeycomb frames inside are branded with his name “Cox” or the name of his operation “CVH.”

He says Ag inspection stations at California border crossings can help find his hives because hives are often transported across state lines.  For now he will lose the use of his hives during cherry and apple blossom seasons.

 

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