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POSTED January 16, 2014 10:05 p.m.

SAN JOSE WOMAN VICTIM OF DATING SITE FRAUD: SAN JOSE  (AP) — Prosecutors in Santa Clara County are warning people about the possibility of dating website fraud after a 66-year-old San Jose woman was bilked out of more than $500,000 by a man who befriended her through the site, ChristianMingle.com.

The unidentified man allegedly purported to be a citizen of the United Kingdom working on a Scottish oil rig. Prosecutors say he wooed the victim with phone calls, text messages and flowers before asking her to invest or loan him money.

His Skype account and email addresses were later traced to Nigeria.

Prosecutors say the victim was able to recover about $200,000 she sent to a bank account in Turkey, where an associate of the suspect was arrested.

ChristianMingle spokeswoman Arielle Schechtman says the site has reached out to Santa Clara prosecutors to offer its assistance. It requires potential new members to sign a pledge not to send money to anyone they meet online.

 

FED BOARD REJECTS REFINERY SAFETY RECOMMENDATION: RICHMOND (AP) — The federal officials probing a 2012 fire at a Northern California Chevron refinery have voted against recommending a tougher, European-style refinery safety system.

A divided U.S. Chemical Safety Board voted Wednesday against recommending implementation of the so-called "safety case structure," which forces a company to document how it's reducing risks.

Those who voted against the safety case recommendation say it's too complex and would take too long to implement.

The investigation stemmed from an Aug. 6, 2012, fire at the Richmond refinery caused by an old, corroded pipe that Chevron failed to properly monitor and replace. More than 15,000 people sought treatment for respiratory and other discomforts after the blaze.

 

POLICE ARREST SUSPECT IN SILICON VALLEY ARSONS: SAN JOSE  (AP) — In the heart of affluent Silicon Valley, a working-class, largely immigrant neighborhood breathed a collective sigh of relief after police arrested a suspected serial arsonist believed to have set at least a dozen fires within a week, sending fire trucks racing down the narrow, tree-lined streets day after day as smoke poured from churches, a warehouse and several homes.

"We've been keeping porch lights on, passing around the composite drawing, looking over our shoulders. So yeah, today I'm breathing a little easier," said Linda Dean, who runs sober-living homes and works with severely mentally ill men in the neighborhood.

San Jose police said Thursday they had charged William Patrick Brennan, 48, of San Jose with two counts of arson, with additional charges expected.

Police believe Brennan acted alone, Assistant Police Chief Eddie Garcia said.

Residents of the older neighborhood in central San Jose dotted with Vietnamese hair salons, a Mexican supermarket and the Portuguese Community Center said they hoped police were right.

 

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