Tuesday January 31, 2006

Firefighter porn bust 

A 17-year veteran of the Berkeley Fire Department has been arrested on misdemeanor charges of possession of child pornography after evidence surfaced at the fire station where he works. 

Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Ed Galvan said that an audit of a computer that 49-year-old Luis Ponce used but did not solely control led to further investigation. 

“A discovery was made of child pornography on a city computer that was linked to Ponce,” Galvan ex-plained. 

As a result, search warrants were issued for the computer, his living quarters and locker at a Berkeley fire station and for his home in Grass Valley. 

Galvan declined to comment on evidence that may have been discovered during the searches. 

Berkeley policy is that “employee lockers belong to us [employees] and a search warrant is necessary to enter them,” Galvan explained. 

Ponce was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home in Grass Valley and booked into Nevada County jail on three counts of possession of photos of underage sexual activity. 

The firefighter is expected to be returned to Alameda County for arraignment Thursday, Galvan said. He is currently on administrative leave from his job. 


Missing man 

Berkeley Police are asking the public’s help in locating a 40-year-old deaf man reported missing by his mother on Dec. 21. 

Officer Ed Galvan said Rodney Texera had emailed his mother on Dec. 1 to say he was going to Oroville to help a friend move. 

The family hasn’t heard from him since, and anyone with information is asked to contact BPD Homicide Detective Rob Rittenhouse at 981-5741. 

Texera is a white male who stands 5’3” and weighs 150 pounds. He is bald, has hazel eyes and wears a mustache. He was born on Aug. 21, 1965.  


Dastardly scoundrel 

Person or persons unknown used a lock pry to burglarize a disabled person’s vehicle while it was parked at the Ashby BART station Thursday, making off with the owner’s disabled placard and a collection of audio tapes. 

The victim was a 43-year-old Berkeley man.  


No charges 

Police were called to a board and care home in the 1600 block of Alcatraz Avenue Friday, where a resident had choked a 47-year-old attendant. 

The woman wasn’t seriously injured, and no charges were filed against the patient, though the woman’s injuries were documented by a department evidence technician, said Officer Galvan. 


Shot hits apartment 

Calls of “shots fired” flooded the Emergency Services Center switchboard at 5:04 p.m. Friday—but there’s still little certain about just what happened in the 1600 block of King Street. 

Callers reported anywhere between two and seven shots, and a car connected with the incident was variously described as red, green and black. One caller reported that they’d also heard someone hurrying through their back yard. 

But investigating officers did find clear evidence of a shooting—a bullet hole in the stucco of an apartment dwelling and another in the window of a parked car. 

No arrests have been made in connection with the incident, said Officer Galvan. 


Armed robber 

A 40-something gunman robbed a teenager of his cash as he was walking along the 2300 block of Sixth Street about 7:20 p.m. Saturday. 

The young man said the robber confronted him with a black pistol, then fled on foot in the direction of Aquatic Park after pocketing the youth’s small amount of cash. 


Bat attack 

Motorists and pedestrians passing the 1600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way early Sunday afternoon found themselves confronted by a young man with a bat. 

The fellow, accompanied by two or three friends, swung on pedestrians and cars alike, and managed to connect with at least one of the vehicles, driven by a 27-year-old woman. 

Alerted to the incident, police arrived at the scene and during the following search found five youths in Ohlone Park, one of whom was taken into custody and cited for the incident.›