News briefs
Published - 08/16/13 - 04:15 PM | 4712 views | 0 0 comments | 416 416 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Teenage victim locked in closet, had wallet items, hats stolen —Surpised by three males while home alone, a teenage victim was forced into a closet and had some hats stolen, as well as items from the teen’s wallet, in a home-invasion robbery that occurred Aug. 2 at 1:50 p.m. on Cather Court in University City.

The suspects left and the victim was able to call police. No weapons were seen and the victim was not injured. The police robbery unit is investigating.

— Dave Schwab La Jolla brokers indicted for fraud — Two La Jolla insurance brokers and two attorneys have pleaded not guilty to charges they committed mail and wire fraud by causing life-insurance companies to issue more than $50 million worth of policies to unqualified applicants.

A federal grand jury indicted Byron Frisch and Kristian Marcus Giordano, both 36, who conducted business from their La Jolla offices and San Diego attorneys Kasra Sadr and Brenda Barrera Merriles, both 43.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the defendants obtained more than $1.6 million in fees from insurance companies. They allegedly falsified some elderly applicants’ net worth on life-insurance applications. The attorneys paid the policy premiums and acted as trustees, the indictment says.

Both Frisch and Giordano posted $75,000 bond and remain free until their next hearing in U.S. District Court on Sept. 6. Sadr and Merriles also posted bonds of $50,000 and $75,000 respectively.

— Neal Putnam 'Backdoor Bandits' arrested — On Aug. 4, four suspects believed to be the “Backdoor Bandits” associated with a dozen or more commercial robberies, including two Rigoberto’s Taco Shops in La Jolla, were apprehended minutes after a robbery at Smashburger at 1000 Prospect St.

A Smashburger employee exiting the rear door of the restaurant at 10:19 p.m. was confronted by two male suspects dressed in all black and wearing ski masks. The suspects grabbed the employee, pointed a black handgun at his head and pushed him back into the store.

Inside the restaurant, one suspect held three employees at gunpoint while another put cash and a cashbox into a black backpack. Both suspects then fled.

Four suspects were arrested minutes later when a police officer, who had pulled them over for a traffic stop on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, identified their vehicle as the one wanted in the string of burglaries.

The suspects were identified as Thomas Nelson, 23, Duran Caldwell, 23, Ryan Churchill, 22, and a juvenile.

A search of the vehicle uncovered a replica handgun, the metal cashbox and a large amount of currency allegedly stolen from Smashburger.

A search of one of the suspect’s residences resulted in the recovery of items consistent with a series of robberies dating back to May.

The three adult suspects were booked into jail and the juvenile was transported to Juvenile Hall.

— Dave Schwab
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