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Bay Area briefs
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MODESTO HOMEOWNER SHOOTS AND KILLS MARIJUANA BURGLAR: MODESTO (AP) — Investigators say a homeowner has shot and killed a burglar who broke into his Modesto indoor marijuana garden.

Police found the 21-year-old burglar face down on the front lawn of a Modesto home on Tuesday afternoon.

He was taken to a hospital where he died. His name hasn't been released.

The man was shot about a block away by a homeowner who found the man climbing through a broken window where 100 marijuana plants were growing.

The homeowner hasn't been arrested, but detectives say the investigation is continuing.

FORMER COMBAT MARINE FACING BANK ROBBERY TRIAL: FRESNO  (AP) — A former Marine sergeant who did two combat tours in Iraq is facing trial for two California bank robberies.

The Fresno Bee says 29-year-old Marco Lopez was ordered on Tuesday to stand trial for bank heists last year in Fresno and Clovis.

Defense lawyer Michael McKneely says Lopez is bipolar and he's suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Lopez was honorably discharged in 2005 after serving four years in the Marine Corps.

Lopez is charged with robbing the State Center Credit Union in Clovis and a Wells Fargo Bank in Fresno last October. Police say a stolen truck was used in one of the robberies.

INTERNET SEARCHES CITED IN CALIF. PROF ARSON CASE: NEWPORT BEACH  (AP) — A university professor who wrote emails outlining a graphic plan to attack a California high school had been searching for information online about guns and fertilizer used in bombs in the months before he was arrested on arson charges, a prosecutor said Wednesday.


University of California, Irvine pharmaceutical sciences professor Rainer Reinscheid conducted as many as 60 such Internet searches on his home computer since March, after his teenage son committed suicide, Orange County deputy district attorney Andrew Katz told reporters after a brief hearing in the case.

The searches raised concerns by authorities that Reinscheid might follow through on plans laid out in the emails to attack the high school where his son had been disciplined before his death. Reinscheid wrote that he would shoot at least 200 students and administrators, commit sexual assaults and burn down the school before killing himself, Katz said.

Prosecutors have not charged the 48-year-old professor with making threats contained in the emails because the messages were private communications and were not sent to alleged targets, Katz said. Still, prosecutors have had him held without bail because of the messages.

CALIF. TO PROCEED WITH MALIBU LAGOON RESTORATION: MALIBU  (AP) — The California Coastal Commission will move ahead with the restoration of the polluted Malibu Lagoon, despite objections from environmental activists.

The commission voted Wednesday to deny a request to revoke the restoration permit granted to California State Parks.

Commission Executive Director Charles Lester says the request is indisputably without merit.

Craig Sap, superintendent of the Angeles district for California State Parks, says the restoration will repair decades of pollution damage to the lagoon wetlands and create a clean water ecosystem that will support plant and animal life.

But a group of environmentalists, local residents and surfers say the restoration will harm wildlife and waves at nearby Surfrider Beach, a popular surfing spot.

Under way since June, the restoration has riled the beachside community north of Los Angeles for a decade.

3 YEARS FOR MAN WHO SENT LEWD TEXTS TO GIRL: FONTANA  (AP) — A Southern California man has been sentenced to three years in prison for sending lewd cellphone text messages and photos to a 10-year-old girl.

The San Bernardino County Sun says 37-year-old Brian John Ross was also ordered on Tuesday to register as a sex offender.

San Bernardino County prosecutors say Ross, who lives in the community of Mentone east of Redlands, sent sexually explicit texts and photographs of his genitalia to random phone numbers until someone responded.

The recipients included a 10-year-old girl and her 13-year-old cousin.

The 10-year-old girl told her teacher about the messages and police set up a sting in which Ross showed up at a restaurant expecting to meet the girls.

CALIFORNIA SPECIALTY PLATE PROGRAM WILL BE AUDITED: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — California's specialty license plate program will face a state audit to determine whether the fees drivers pay for the plates are being used as intended.

The Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved the audit Wednesday, the first in the program's 20-year history.

Three lawmakers — two Democrats and a Republican — requested the review in response to an investigation by The Associated Press that found little oversight of the $250 million raised since the program was authorized.

The AP also found that Gov. Jerry Brown and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had taken $3 million raised by a memorial plate created in honor of the victims of the 2001 terror attacks.

The state will review the memorial plate program and a random sample of the 10 other specialty license plates.

POLICE: MAN CLINGS TO MOVING CAR IN FRESNO: FRESNO  (AP) — Police say a man who appeared to be high on methamphetamine jumped onto a woman's car as she left a Fresno hospital and held on as she drove through town.

Fifty-year-old Ruben Aguilar allegedly asked the woman for a ride Tuesday night from Community Regional Medical Center. Fresno Police Sgt. Rick de Jong says he jumped onto the back of her after she refused, clinging to the vehicle as she drove off.

The drive continued for about four miles before police say they intercepted the vehicle and arrested Aguilar.

According to police, the woman told investigators she feared for her life, but tried not to swerve to throw the man off.

de Jong says Aguilar is a registered sex offender. He was booked on suspicion of violating parole and being under the influence.