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Crime Increases As Economy Continues Downturn

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Sonora, CA — Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele admits that when the economy goes south the crime rate increases.

In just the past couple of days there have been three robberies and a violent domestic dispute in the Mother Lode.

The first robbery took place Sunday evening at the Columbia College Apartments when four men extracted money from a tenant. A short time later Charles Augustus of Columbia College Drive and Robert Johnson of Lancaster, CA were arrested and booked into the County Jail.

In the second incident which occured Monday three suspects were arrested by Angels Camp police for the theft of a collector´s firearm described as a Winchester model 94, .32-.40 caliber John Wayne commemorative rife. Those individuals have been identified as 20 year old Mitchelle Ballard, 60 year old Alin Tor Malmin and 18 year old Erik Malmin all of Angels Campl.

No suspects have been identifed in the third incident in which guitars were stolen and an individual was beaten in a residence on Woods Creek Way in Columbia Tuesday.

Finally an unidentified 32 year old male was booked into the Tuolumne County Jail Monday evening on a charge of domestic battery, criminal threats, brandishing a firearm, false imprisonment and damaging a phone line at a residence in the 15000 block of Poco Calle in Sonora.

Mele admits that with the loss of jobs and foreclosures, stress becomes a dominant factor as the cause of such crimes. He adds; “It becomes the perfect storm. It also places a great deal of stress on our deputies because of increased calls with an already understaffed patrol unit.”

Written by Bill Johnson