uREDDING (AP) — California authorities have returned a pet tortoise to its owner after the wandering animal was spotted in another resident’s backyard.
The Record Searchlight reported the 41-year-old tortoise named Dino ambled away after a storm blew open the latch on its outdoor enclosure in Red Bluff.
An animal regulation officer says the tortoise was found about a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) from the home of owner Cindy Haase.
Authorities used watermelon to lure the 150-pound (68-kilogram) tortoise before lifting it into a vehicle for transport.
Tehama County sheriff’s deputies and the state forestry and fire protection department helped return Dino to Haase.
Tortoise Acres Rescue and Sanctuary owner Katie Hoffman says this is breeding season and roaming pet tortoises seeking companionship are “a daily occurrence this time of year.”
uSOCAL WOMEN ARRESTED FOR THEFT IN $900K GIFT CARD SCAM: SAN BERNARDINO (AP) — Authorities say two California women have been arrested on suspicion of participating in a gift card scam that netted about $900,000 in stolen merchandise.
The San Bernardino Sun reported Saturday that 25-year-old Ailing Lu was arrested on suspicion of theft by false pretenses and conspiracy and 25-year-old Ji Hyun Lee was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy.
Fontana police say the women were part of a well-known scam before their Sept. 19 arrest.
Authorities say an investigation began after someone impersonating an IRS employee contacted a man and threatened arrest unless he purchased $2,200 worth of Target gift cards.
Police say officers serving search warrants at two locations recovered about $900,000 worth of electronics, gift cards and other items purchased with cards supplied by victims.
uRIVER GRAVEL PROJECT AIMS TO REPLENISH FISH NURSING AREAS: RANCHO CORDOVA (AP) — Crews are laying tons of gravel in the American River near Sacramento to re-establish a crucial spawning area for native salmon and steelhead trout.
The Sacramento Bee reported Saturday that the project started this month will allow female salmon to use the loose stones to build redds, a kind of nest, to deposit their eggs.
Officials say because of dams upriver, sediment and debris that would otherwise settle along the river are blocked, making the area less hospitable to fish.
Also part of the project is a new side channel that will create a protected stretch for juvenile fish to grow. The shallow, slower moving water will allow insects and vegetation to flourish for feeding.
Similar restoration projects are planned for the American River over the next 15 years.
u8 HURT AFTER CARS CRASH INTO RESTAURANT IN SACRAMENTO: SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say eight people were injured when two cars collided and then crashed into a corner restaurant in downtown Sacramento.
City fire officials say three people inside the Thai restaurant were hurt in the crash Saturday afternoon. Four people in one car and one person in the other vehicle were also hurt.
The Sacramento Bee says two victims suffered moderate injuries and everyone else had minor injuries.
Officials say speed appears to have been a factor. The restaurant had recently reopened after repairing damage from another traffic accident five months ago.
u$6,000 IN STOLEN QUARTERS FOUND IN BABY STROLLER: BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a woman stole $6,000 worth of quarters and her getaway car was a baby stroller.
Bakersfield police officers noticed the woman Friday struggling to push the stroller but quickly realized there was no baby inside, according to the Bakersfield Californian .
Police discovered the quarters, which 29-year-old Darrin Fritz is alleged to have stolen from a home, the newspaper reported. Fritz allegedly tried to flee from the officers.
She was arrested on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, possession of methamphetamine, resisting arrest and two outstanding misdemeanor warrants.
DOG KILLS 1-YEAR-OLD IN ‘UNPROVOKED ATTACK’ IN GRANITE BAY: GRANITE BAY (AP) — Authorities say a pit bull fatally mauled a 1-year-old boy in an unprovoked attack in the child’s home.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office says the boy died in a “horrible tragedy” Friday in Granite Bay, which is about 25 miles (northeast of Sacramento.
Officials say deputies responded to the home around 3 p.m. Friday and rushed the child to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The dog was seized by Animal Control and detectives are investigating the fatality.