People Behaving Badly has seen more than its share of miscreants and foolish hooligans through the years. Now in its 10th edition at this quality online media outlet, this approach to crime, and sometimes punishment, focuses on the strange and unusual, gruesome and innocently hilarious, along with the usual share of death, destruction and eternal damnation.
In the age of covid, a new category of bad behavior includes refusing to wear masks or social distance and acknowledge facts like the disease that kills and its virus war criminal enablers.
Which brings us to Item #1, involving hookers, er “exotic dancers,” and covid rules. We’ll sort out some of the other (alleged) crimes in a bit.
COVID be damned, judge rules strip cubs can stay open
Maybe fewer clothes diminish coronavirus exposure, or something, but San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil late Wednesday, Dec. 16, issued a 9-page ruling, affirming, in part, a temporary restraining order he issued that Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club and Pacers Showgirls International, could not be shut down by San Diego County authorities lest covid be spread there like bacteria in a petrie dish.
In effect, the “good” judge suspended enforcement of provisions of California’s regional stay-at-home order regarding restaurants and live entertainment establishments in response to a court decision. He said that California and San Diego County had not provided evidence tying the spread of COVID-19 or lack of intensive care unit bed capacity to live adult entertainment or businesses with restaurant service.
Wohlfeil’s ruling also applied to “San Diego County businesses with restaurant service,” though it was unclear exactly what businesses that portion of the ruling would apply to.
The ruling comes after the clubs recently received cease-and-desist letters from the California Attorney General’s Office, which stated Cheetahs and Pacers were operating in violation of the Dec. 3 stay-at-home policy barring outdoor and indoor dining, as well as large gatherings.
The judge noted that before being ordered to close in October the clubs, Pacers Showgirls International and Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club, operated for five weeks during the pandemic under their own safety measures — including keeping strippers 15 feet (4.6 meters) from tables, allowing no more than one stripper per stage and requiring them and other employees to wear masks.
County supervisors had vowed to appeal if the judge extended his temporary Nov. 6 injunction exempting strip clubs.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said in a statement that it was disappointed in the court’s decision, though “we remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting the health and safety of all Californians.”
A hearing on the request for a preliminary injunction in that case is slated for Friday afternoon.
Not only that, but local casinos don’t seem hot and bothered by COVID shutdowns either. While much of California is in lockdown mode with many businesses ordered to close as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge, the nine casinos on tribal lands in San Diego County remain open, according to inewsource.org.
They began reopening in May with safety rules, including mask-wearing and social distancing, and have gradually increased operations to include more gaming, dining and events. But with the uptick in coronavirus cases, some of the casinos are voluntarily tightening health measures and canceling or postponing some events.
The nine tribal casinos in San Diego County began reopening in May with limited operations, about two months after shutting down due to COVID-19. Because they are on sovereign land, they aren’t subject to state and county health regulations that ordered other businesses remain closed.
County health officials, however, continue to track coronavirus cases with links to visiting casinos. They report 589 local residents say they visited a casino in the 14 days before testing positive for the virus or before the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. The figures are from June 5 through Dec. 12, and include 210 since Nov. 15.
So good news in the end for People Behaving Badly fans. You can sin and gamble all you want and Coronairus be damned.
You got your old school bank robbery here
There is something almost quaint, old schooly about the old bread-and-butter crime of bank robbery. The Geezer Bandit has no doubt passed away from the scene to due old age, but on Thursday, Dec. 17 we got your man robs San Marcos Chase Bank teller sort of crime.
The thief, who was carrying a red, white and blue skateboard, waited in line until a bank teller called him to a counter. He then handed over a handwritten note that read, “Give me all your 50’s and 100’s and give me the note back,” FBI Agent Peter Casey said.
The teller gave the man an undisclosed amount of money, and the thief left.
Someone at the bank, in a shopping center on South Twin Oaks Valley Road near East Barnham Drive, reported the heist about 11:50 a.m. Sheriff’s Lt. Glen Twyman said the witness did not see any weapon.
He was described as a White man in his late 20s, 5 feet 11 inches tall, about 150 pounds, with a thin build. He was wearing a black hoodie with a gray logo, black baggy pants, black sunglasses, black shoes and a “colorful” neck gaiter-like mask over his face.
Aided by a sheriff’s helicopter crew, deputies searched the area, but did not locate the robber.
Anyone with information about the robbery was asked to call the San Diego FBI at (858) 320-1800 or fbi.gov/tips or San Diego Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 or sdcrimestoppers.org.
Meanwhile, back to COVID-related crime
A San Diego woman and former contract employee with the state’s Employment Development Department was charged with a dozen federal wire fraud and identity theft counts Thursday stemming from allegations that she conspired with her prison inmate boyfriend to steal hundred of thousands of dollars in pandemic unemployment aid.
Nyika Gomez, 40, was employed by an EDD contractor as a call center agent assisting people in processing their unemployment insurance claims.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Gomez submitted false unemployment insurance claims using personal identifying information she acquired from inmates, with the help of her boyfriend, an unidentified inmate serving a 94-year-to life sentence for murder at California State Prison, Sacramento.
Gomez’s boyfriend also allegedly helped her buy stolen personal identifying information from out-of-state residents to submit additional false unemployment claims.
The benefits were allegedly paid out in the form of debit cards, which were mailed to Gomez’s residence or the home of someone working with her. She allegedly returned some of the proceeds to inmates by transferring money to their prison accounts.
Gomez was arrested Wednesday at her home and made her initial court appearance Thursday afternoon.
Escondido drug run messes with North Texas
When not doing local mischief, some of Escondido’s less-than-finest like to mix it up on the national level, bringing notoriety back on home.
The Parker County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office seized a large amount of marijuana and illegal liquid Tetrahydrocannabinol after a traffic stop earlier this month at the 397 mile marker of East Interstate 20. For those unfamiliar with Texas interstate mile markers, that’s just outside Brock Junction, Texas, an area about 40 miles west of Fort Worth.
The driver of a grey 2020 Nissan SUV failed to reduce his speed and yield the right-of-way when passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the interstate with its lights activated, deputies said. Deputies said the driver of the Nissan was traveling at an average speed of 70 miles-per-hour.
Lo-and behold, zut-and-ehe’, that alleged driver turned out to be none other than 44-year-old homeboy, Joey Salvador-Galvez, of Escondido. He told deputies he was transporting marijuana to be broken down for illegal sale, deputies said.
Sheriff’s Cpl. Jeremy Vandygriff conducted an open air search of the vehicle using K-9 Deputy Ussa and found illegal narcotics within the vehicle, deputies said.
Sheriff’s deputies said after searching the vehicle, they located and seized 107 sealed packages of marijuana and 21 vials of liquid. A presumptuous field test indicated that the vials contained Tetrahydrocannabinol.
Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said the total amount of marijuana seized was approximately 100 pounds, and the vials contained about 21-grams of liquid Tetrahydrocannabinol.
Salvador-Galvez was charged with manufacturing delivery of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana under 2,000-pounds. He was held the Parker County Jail, on $55,000 bond.
Escondido loan shark jumps the crime shark
Authorities put out a call this month for any additional alleged victims of a 35-year-old man accused of running a loan sharking scheme primarily targeting Latinos in San Diego County.
FBI agents and Escondido police detectives arrested Hamze Mohamad Karnib, who goes by Alex Karnib, Thursday at his San Marcos home on suspicion of extortion and making criminal threats, FBI spokeswoman Davene Butler said.
Karnib allegedly targeted Latinos and demanded repayment well above the amounts borrowed by his victims, Butler said. He then allegedly intimidated and threatened borrowers who couldn’t meet his demands.
He was being held in lieu of $50,000 pending arraignment, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 8, according to jail records.
“Threatening and criminal behavior that targets the Latino or any other members of our community will not be tolerated,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement. “Our prosecution team is reviewing the thorough and dedicated investigation by the FBI and Escondido Police Department to determine the appropriate criminal charges that will hold him accountable.”