GROCER TRIES TO PROFIT OFF BOTCHED BURGLARY: REDDING (AP) — A Northern California grocery store owner is trying to profit from a suspected thief's botched burglary attempt that was caught on video and went viral.
Footage shows the man breaking the Redding store's window last month and tripping twice as he ran away.
Now store owner Kent Pfrimmer has turned it into a television commercial for his business, Kent's Meats and Groceries.
The ad for the store's pastrami features footage of the suspect throwing something at the store's window. The sound of shattering glass can be heard before pastrami appears on camera, followed by the voice-over: "So good, some people will do just about anything to get more."
REALIGNMENT WILL NOT AFFECT INMATE FIREFIGHTING: SACRAMENTO (AP) — The state expects to have nearly as many inmates available to help during this year's firefighting season as it did before a 2-year-old law began sending lower-level felons to county jails instead of state prisons, officials said Wednesday.
Currently, 3,820 inmates are training in the state's 44 fire camps, said state corrections department spokeswoman Dana Simas.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors this week approved a five-year contract sending up to 200 of its offenders to the state-run camps as an alternative to keeping them in jail. The contract will cost the county $46 a day per inmate.
That would boost the camp population to more than 4,000 inmate firefighters, about the same as before the law enforcement realignment law took effect in October 2011.
California relies heavily on inmate firefighters to dig fire lines and cut brush to halt the spread of wildfires. In a typical year, the inmates work more than 2.5 million hours fighting fires and responding to floods, earthquakes and other disasters. The state projects that it saves more than $80 million annually over what it would cost to hire employees to do the same work.
CALIF. FAMILIES WANT CHANCE AT 9/11 SCHOLARSHIPS: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Many of the relatives of Californians killed in the Sept. 11 attacks say they never knew that millions of dollars were raised in their name for college scholarships. Now lawmakers want to give them another chance to apply for money that an Associated Press investigation and subsequent audit found was poorly administered.
The state collected more than $15 million from selling 9/11 memorial license plates after the terrorist attacks, but only a sliver of it went to scholarships, partly because a state agency failed to notify everyone who was eligible to apply for the $5,000 stipends. The state auditor reported last week that dozens of California families were not told about the scholarship fund in time to apply.
"To think that they preyed on people's emotions to sell these plates, and then they lied to us about it. It really bugs me," said Neda Bolourchi, 46, whose mother, a retired nurse, died when her return flight from Boston was hijacked.
Residents of California, where all four jetliners were bound when they were hijacked, have bought or renewed the memorial license plates more than 200,000 times since 2002, spending $50 apiece to buy the plates and $40 a year to renew them. They believed they were helping family members of Sept. 11 victims attend college as part of a law passed in May 2002.
LA RAID NETS MAN ALLEGED TO BE CHILD PORN TRADER: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man alleged to be California's most active trader of child pornography was arrested Wednesday in an early morning raid on his Los Angeles home.
Alvaro Rosas, 34, was booked for investigation of distributing child pornography, said Los Angeles police Detective Tracie Noggle, who led the investigation.
The raid was conducted by LAPD, Homeland Security Investigations and FBI agents who are part of the regional unit of the federal Internet Crimes Against Children task force.
Investigators said they found on Rosas' computer hard drive at least 1,000 videos and 200 photos with file titles that referred to children, including mention of toddlers, 4-year-olds and pre-teen hardcore. An investigator was able to confirm dozens of the videos and photos as child porn.
BEVERLY HILLS BMW DRIVER SOUGHT FOR RAMMING BIKE : BEVERLY HILLS (AP) — Beverly Hills police are seeking the driver of a white BMW who rammed a man on a bicycle who had punched him during an apparent road-rage exchange.
Lt. Lincoln Hoshino says surveillance video shows the luxury vehicle's driver intentionally running into the bicyclist, pinning him to a metal trash bin.
Investigators believe the April 3 incident started with a road-rage confrontation during evening rush hour, when the bicyclist punched the driver in the face.
Police say the driver threatened to kill the cyclist, drove after him into an alley and rammed him.
The bike rider's injuries were not life-threatening. His name has not been released.
The BMW driver is being sought on suspicion of attempted murder.
YELLOW FROG, YOSEMITE TOAD CLOSE TO ESA PROTECTION: SACRAMENTO . (AP) — The Yosemite toad and the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog share some critical mountain habitat and now an unenviable distinction: both are being proposed for federal Endangered Species Act protection.
Yellow-legged frogs, which live throughout the Sierra, have declined in numbers in recent years due to habitat destruction, predation by non-native trout in mountain waterways, the drifting of pesticides to the mountains from farm fields and climate change.
Yosemite toads are threatened primarily by livestock grazing, climate change and pesticides, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which has pushed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to speed up protection decisions.
"Not too long ago, yellow-legged frogs and Yosemite toads were a common and popular sight in the high Sierras," said the center's Jeff Miller in a release. "Their declines are a warning of the failing health of our high Sierra ecosystems, which are being hurt by habitat loss, rapid climate change, introduced species, pesticide contamination and an amphibian disease epidemic."
The proposal, announced Wednesday, includes designating 2 million acres of critical habitat for the amphibians.
The listings could impact some federal permits on grazing land, a situation that is frustrating members of the California Cattlemen's Association.