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Brazen Oakland Drive-By Catalytic Converter Theft Captured on Video

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Even during the surge of catalytic converter thefts across the San Francisco Bay Area, the quick-working thief recorded on cell phone video in Oakland drew a stunned reaction.

A couple told KPIX 5 they were driving in the Eastmont neighborhood near 73rd and Outlook avenues Wednesday when the car in front of them came to a stop. A passenger jumped out, crawled under a parked car and removed the converter. It all took just a matter of minutes.

The couple said they reported the crime to police. There was no word on any arrests.

Since the start of the pandemic, investigators say, the Bay Area has experienced an increase in catalytic converter thefts. Many of the thefts have become increasingly brazen and suspects are often armed with guns.

Dozens arrests have been made as cities across the region have launched intensified police operations targeting the surge, but the thefts continue.

Earlier this week, a six-month-long investigation in San José busted up a ‘Black Market Costco’ of stolen converters.

Police arrested 15 suspects, seized illegal weapons, over $50,000 in cash and the recovered over 1,000 converters believed to have been stolen from vehicles throughout the Bay Area.

Named ‘Operation Cat Scratch Thiever’ the investigation targeted prolific catalytic converter thieves and the illegal underground market that has fueled the surging crime trend.

There were 84 catalytic converter thefts reported in San Jose in 2019, 724 in 2020 and 1,087 so far in 2021.

“The message is simple. This is not the conclusion. If you’re out participating in this activity, we’re gonna be looking for you. If you’re a business buying these illicitly, we are going to target you, and we are going to shut you down, just like we did to these other three (businesses),” said San Jose Police Sgt. Christian Camarillo.

Among the 15 suspects was 52-year-old Robert Frank, the owner of Green Metal Recycling in Campbell. He has been charged with possessing about $3 million worth of stolen converters. After identifying Frank as a suspected “fence” officers searched Frank’s business and home to uncover the illegal stockpile.

“It was like a black market Costco,” said Jeff Rosen, Santa Clara County District Attorney. “This crime is causing car owners and sellers to spend hard-earned money to replace parts and protect their cars. We won’t stand by and let thieves profit by stripping your car in its parking space.”

Original Post: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

Legislation

A First As the World Warms: New Forecasts Could Help Predict Marine Heat Waves

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Scientists have developed a new system to predict when and where marine heatwave is likely to develop.

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Collisions Cause Major Traffic Backups in Bothell and Arlington

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Traffic in the Puget Sound region came to a stop Wednesday morning due to two separate incidents, one in Bothell and the other near Arlington. On southbound Interstate 405 in Bothell, a collision near Highway 527 closed the two right lanes, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced on Twitter. The resulting traffic backup is […]

Source Here: seattletimes.com

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DISH Network to Pay $5.5M Settlement Over Alleged Hazardous Waste Disposal Violations

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Satellite TV provider DISH Network will pay $5.5 million to settle a lawsuit accusing it of illegally disposing of hazardous waste in Alameda County and elsewhere in the state.

DISH Network is alleged to have violated California environmental laws by sending hazardous waste to local landfills that are not equipped or authorized to receive the waste.

According to state Attorney General Rob Bonta, audits of DISH facilities in California found that DISH repeatedly disposed of hazardous waste since 2005 in violation of the Hazardous Waste Control Law and Unfair Competition Law.

“If you break the rules, we will hold you accountable,” said Bonta in a press release. “For years, DISH carelessly disposed of and sent hazardous waste to local landfills, ignoring the consequences for our communities and our environment. From there, hazardous chemical elements from electronic devices, batteries, aerosols, and more could seep into soil and contaminate our environment. Today’s settlement is critical. Large corporations like DISH have a responsibility to respect our environmental laws and do their part to protect our state’s precious resources.”

“My Office is committed to holding corporate polluters accountable for violations of state environmental laws,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in a statement. “Hazardous electronic waste is ubiquitous, and everyone must do their part to keep these items out of the landfill, especially large corporations who handle high volumes of electronic waste.”

As a provider of TV and video services to residential and business customers, DISH employees manage large volumes of electronic equipment, such as remote controls, transformers, and power adapters, various batteries, aerosol cans, and other items classified as hazardous waste.

The Colorado-based company will pay for penalties, costs, and supplemental environmental project to benefit the community while making significant changes to its operations and practices to come into compliance with state law.

Specifically, DISH must:

• Pay $5.5 million, including $3.32 million in civil penalties, $835,500 in litigation costs, and $845,000 for supplemental environmental projects. DISH must also spend $500,000 to implement enhanced environmental compliance measures to ensure proper management of hazardous waste at its California facilities.

• Hire an independent third-party auditor to perform environmental compliance audits at DISH’s 25 facilities across the state;

• Conduct regular inspections of facility trash dumpsters and roll-off containers to ensure the containers do not contain hazardous waste; and

• Provide training to employees to ensure compliance with California’s hazardous waste laws.

According to the attorney general’s and Alameda DA’s offices, the DISH settlement is the fifth case of a telecom industry giant addressing unlawful disposal and management of hazardous waste. The two offices have also successfully prosecuted AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, and Cox Communications for similar environmental violations related to illegal disposals of large volumes of electronic waste from their cable and satellite video services.

Source Here: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

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