Crime & Punishment in Our Town Tustin

crime-and-punishmentWith all the recent stories of Federal investigations and Grand Jury reports, it would seem our little corner of the state is a hotbed of criminal activity. And, judging from recent press releases and news stories, it looks like we aren’t far from it. Since neither the city council nor the planning commission will be meeting in the next few weeks, we thought we’d do our civic duty and inform you of some of the more mundane crime in Our Town Tustin.

Sex and the City

The Tustin Police Department sent out a press release asking for the public’s help in a series of Sexual Battery Incidents that have recently plagued the city. It seems a sexual predator has been combing our streets looking for unsuspecting womens’ tushes to ply his trade on.

From the press release:

In all six incidents, the suspect approached either a lone female or females in tandem from behind. The suspect either groped the victim’s buttocks or pulled the victim’s pants down, in concert with the groping.  In each case, the suspect immediately fled after the initial contact and in some cases, apologized as he ran away.

All six incidents have occurred mid-week in the morning or late evening hours.  Locations of the incidents have varied from apartment complexes to public sidewalks in the city.

The suspect has been described a[s] a male white or light skinned Hispanic, 18 – 20 years old, with a thin build.  The suspect may also have a tattoo of an unconfirmed nature on one of his arms.  In one incident, a vehicle was associated to the suspect and it is described only as an older “boxy” black sedan.

 The Megan’s Law database lists 32 sex offenders in the city of Tustin. Most of those are in compliance with the law regarding registration and required contact with the police department. Three of them have failed to register or re-register as required and several more show they may have moved or their whereabouts are unknown at this time. Kind of scary when you think about it.

As a career law enforcement officer who works with mentally ill sex offenders, I can tell you these folks are unpredictable at best. The best defense is to walk with others although, as has been seen in this situation, that is not always enough protection in itself. And, while this offender appears to be apologetic, don’t be fooled into thinking he won’t put up a vicious fight if he feels cornered. So, if your paths cross, don’t take matters into your own hands.

The best way to fight someone like this is to carry your cellphone at all  times when you are out and make sure it is charged. If accosted, yell and scream as loud as possible while running the other way. If you can keep your wits about you, try to get a good look at the suspect to give to Tustin PD investigators. The most important thing is your safety, however. Don’t take chances.

Taking Advantage In Other Ways

Fortunately, not much of our crime is as heinous as sexual predators. On the other end of the criminal spectrum, a Tustin construction contractor plead guilty to evading taxes and theft of a workers wages, in a case file by the California Department of Industrial Relations in January, 2012.

Reza Mohammedi, owner of Irvine based Southland Construction was sentenced to two years in state prison for his crimes. Mohammedi preyed on undocumented workers he hired to work on public construction projects in several Orange County Cities. Although he was cutting paychecks for workers, paying them up to $53 dollars an hour, he would then force the employees to return most of the money to him, allowing them to keep only $150 a day.

Mohammedi, who lives in Tustin but apparently doesn’t do business with the city, used threats of deportation and firings if the workers did not return the money to him. When the Labor Commission began its investigation, Mohammedi coached his workers on what to tell them. Apparently, his threats were not enough as several of his employees filed complaints.

The Orange County DA made an offer of 15 felony counts of tax evasion, 7 felony counts of taking and receiving a portion of a workers wage on public projects, 6 counts of recording false and forged instruments, and 3 felony counts of filing false tax returns. He also had a prior strike conviction for making Criminal Threats in 199.

And, for this, he received only 2 years in prison.

Hopefully, this will deter other business owners from making the same assumptions when it comes to hiring undocumented workers. In this state, their undocumented status is irrelevant (as it should be) when it comes to paying fair wages and keeping standard working conditions.

Well, I am sure there is plenty more crime out there. Thanks to our professional, accredited police department, we can still walk our streets in safety. Makes one wonder who Jeff Parker will tag for our new chief when Scott Jordan retires next month. I’m sure he has someone in mind that he can try out his 21st Century Hiring Process on.

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