Police Report

Hot on the trail of ATV bandits
Police following the trail of an ATV stolen Jan. 18 from a Watmaugh Road strawberry field arrested four men on a variety of charges last week. The initial crime was reported Jan. 18 when the owner discovered that thieves had broken the padlock on a storage shed made off with the $9,000 rig, Canvassed by cops, a neighbor reported strange doings in the field on Jan. 16, when two vehicles, one a Ford Bronco, were seen on the crime property. The caper was delayed when one got stuck in the mud; a tow truck arrived to pull it out, the neighbor said. (The driver of the tow truck verified the story to police but said he knew nothing of the heist; he has not been charged.) The determined thieves returned to the field and ultimately obtained the vehicle. The Bronco was linked to a person of interest living on Fifth St. West near Spain, and the resulting search warrant lead to the arrest of three Sonoma men: James Sorrells, 31, in connection to the ATV heist; Don Portelli, 37 on drug charges and an outstanding warrant; and Michael Dewitt, 34, wanted on a no-bail warrant for auto theft. The investigation then lead to the Santa Rosa warehouse/loft of David Deringer, 31. He said his vehicle had been stuck in the strawberry field, but denied involvement in the heist. Derringer, on felony probation for auto theft, was arrested for being in possession of a meth pipe with a “useable amount” of the drug, and motorcycle with its ID number illegally filed off. Police said they would continue to visit properties connected to the suspects in the search for the ATV.

Jailhouse rock
When you’re a 47-year-old man on probation for a drug charge and you remove the back seat of your car to make room for a gigantic, blaring music speaker, here’s what it sounds like to a nearby cop: “Hey, pull me over.” The ultra-loud music got the deputy’s attention on Jan. 21, but it was the methamphetamine hidden inside the dashboard, sniffed out by a police dog, that really got the Sonoma man in trouble. The drug scale and a syringe, tucked inside his pants, didn’t help.

Lame Excuse of the Week
Drunk driver to cop at 2:40 a.m. on Jan. 20 after being pulled over for doing 63 in the 35 m.p.h, zone: “I was driving fast to stay awake.” The man, 25, from Morgan Hill, was jailed.

Sorry, wrong numbers
The commercial plate didn’t jibe with the passenger vehicle, so the officer pulled over a Sonoma man, 50, on W. Macarthur near Fifth on Jan. 17. Why the discrepancy? “The car isn’t registered, so I put on the plate from my truck.” Loose cans from a 12-pack of Budweiser were noted on the floor of the passenger side, as was the aroma of said brew emanating from the driver. As he exited the car to perform sobriety tests (which he passed), he crumpled up a cigarette wrapper and threw it on the seat of the car. The gesture, however nonchalant, drew the attention of deputies who found within the wrapper 3.2 grams of meth. A bottle of morphine pills was also discovered. The suspect was jailed on multiple felony charges and the car was towed.

Retched behavior
That’s no prowler, just a drunk teenager banging on the back door and vomiting all over the back yard. The lad, 17, told officers responding to a call from an alarmed resident, 73, of Chiquita Camino at about 9:30 p.m. Having consumed “a bottle of tequila,” he said he was looking for a friend’s house. He was cited for Drunk in Public, and released to his grandmother, who happened on the scene while out looking for the boy. Part of the deal was a promise to return the next day and clean up the mess.

Coroner case
The death of a 40-year-old Sonoma man, found in his bed Jan. 16 with a loaded gun nearby, was initially thought to be suspicious, But authorities quickly determined the gun had not been used and there were no signs of trauma. A friend said the man was a heavy drinker and had been in declining health for many years.

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