PITTSBURG, CA – A Sheriff in California has decided to warn those in his community that he was against a group of men being released from jail pending their court dates.
The Sheriff noted the nature of their alleged violent crimes should have prohibited them from being released.
Police in Pittsburg on Friday announced that three men who are facing 19 counts of felony armed robbery for a crime spree across the East Bay dating back to August were released from custody on a judge's order earlier this week. https://t.co/1g2K2p90Bt
— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) January 8, 2022
Three men were arrested and charged with 19 different armed robberies in November of 2021.
On November 29th, the three suspects faced a judge at a preliminary hearing which ordered the three to be released under the supervision of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in the Custody Alternative Program.
This program allows offenders to be released on GPS as well home detention in lieu of staying in custody while awaiting court appearances.
The problem with the judge’s decision in this case was that Contra Costa Sheriff, David Livingston, noted that the three suspects were not eligible for the program due to the violent nature of the crimes and rejected the initial order.
When the presiding judge heard that Livingston refused to accept the three suspects, the judge then ordered the Sheriff to accept them, and they were released on January 5th to the Sheriff’s Office.
After being forced to accept responsibility for the three suspects, 18-year-old Samuel Banalas-Melena, 20-year-old Jonathan Medina-Flores, and 18-year-old Rogelio Medina-Flores, Livingston took to social media to note his concern with their release into the program.
“My priority has always been public safety in this county. As suspects in 19 robberies in Contra Costa and based on the seriousness of their offenses, these three did not qualify for the Sheriff’s Office Custody Alternative Program and should have remained in custody in jail.”
After the trio’s release from jail, the Pittsburg Police Department released a statement to warn the citizens in the area that these three alleged violent men were back on the streets.
On Facebook, they wrote:
“Unfortunately, the Judge was unwilling to allow the men to remain in custody and overruled the rejection [of the Sheriff], and authorized the release of all three men to a private contracted company to be placed into that company’s alternative custody program with an electronic ankle monitoring system. All three men were released to this program on January 5, 2022 and are no longer in jail.
“It is with concern for our community and our commitment to keep our citizens and businesses safe, the Pittsburg Police Department is providing this information.”
The three men are accused of committing several armed robberies throughout the county, from August of 2021 until their arrest in the beginning of November. Police allege the three hit 19 businesses in Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Bay Point, and Clayton.
3 men were held to answer for nineteen (19) counts of armed robbery. The judge was unwilling to allow the men to remain in custody and overruled the rejection, and authorized the release. Read more on our FB page https://t.co/pWQM5c10Ix
— Pittsburg Police, CA (@PittsburgPD) January 7, 2022
Police were able to work together to determine that all the robberies were allegedly related and committed by the same people which led to investigators gaining a vehicle description.
Police in Pittsburg located the vehicle and was able to stop it and take the three men into custody.
Police noted that they found evidence of one of the robberies in the trio’s vehicle. Additionally, Antioch police searched several homes in Pittsburg which revealed additional evidence of other robberies committed by the group.
NEW YORK, NY- According to a report from The New York Post, a career criminal in connection with a slew of burglaries across Manhattan and Brooklyn, has been set free to keep committing crimes thanks to what he calls the state’s “great” bail reform laws.
In a phone interview with The Post on Friday, January 7th, 58-year-old Charles Wold said in a statement:
“I’m grateful for [bail reform] because I’m too old to go to jail, I’m way too old, I can’t do it.”
Wold, who has had a substance use disorder for years, has been accused of burglarizing seven different businesses in Brooklyn alone, plus another three in Manhattan all in the course of just three months.
However, each time he was arrested by NYPD, he was subsequently released because of the state’s controversial bail reform laws. While at his mother’s house, Wold told The Post that freedom “feels good,” adding:
“Rikers Island is not the key, you know what I’m saying? I’ve been in jail all my life, I can do that standing on my head, it’s not teaching me anything. I can get more drugs in there than I can out here. Hopefully, the DA will see that I did not do all these crimes that they are accusing me of and they will get dismissed.”
According to police and court records, Wold, who has 32 prior arrests mostly from burglary and theft dating back to 1983, including 11 from 2021 alone, was arrested on November 24, 2021 after police stated he broke into two Manhattan businesses and stole from the cash registers.
During his arraignment a day later, a judge released Wold because the felony burglary charges were not eligible for cash bail and within three days of being back on the streets, he was allegedly back to committing crimes.
Prosecutors stated that he was caught on surveillance footage on November 28, 2021 breaking into the Hipster Deli Grocery in Park Slope where he stole a cash register. Then, over the nine days after that, he allegedly hit another four businesses. The deli’s owner, Hazim Annisafee, said:
“It’s a headache, then the customers come in the next day, we don’t have money, we don’t have machine.”
Annisafee said that he lost between $400 and $600 from the initial burglary and the cost to fix the door and cash register cost him another $1,400.
Court documents show that on December 1, 2021, Wold is accused of stealing five electric scooters, a bike, and two Macbook Airs from Fridge No More in Gowanus and then on December 5, 2021, he is being accused of breaking into Artisan Barber Shop in Park Slope and stealing their cash register.
Rron Dulatahu, a barber and manager at the shop, said in a statement:
“The guy keeps going in and out, I think that’s wrong … They should give him time, leave him more in the jail so he understands more maybe. We’re frustrated because it could happen again and it keeps happening in this neighborhood. It’s not safe.”
Wold admitted to The Post that he has committed some burglaries, but not all that he is accused of doing. He added:
“I might’ve did one or two of ’em, but that was in the beginning of the summer. I didn’t do all of them. Whoever’s doing it has glasses and a bald head and he looks just like me.”
Wold then pointed to his struggles with opioid abuse and his many troubles with the law. He said that he is trying to get into an inpatient rehabilitation program so he can clean up his life. He added:
“People need to understand what addiction is. I don’t want to do crime. I don’t want to hurt people. I don’t want to steal from people. I really feel really, really bad about my situation and some of the people I have hurt … If I did it, I apologize.”
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