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Davis, California

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Yolo County crime briefs

Oct. 29, 2010

A Madison man was convicted of identity theft after stealing his son’s Social Security number. In order to avoid tax liability, Thomas Wesley Bertram, 55, used his son’s information to apply for a job at a farming operation. Upon discovering his identity had been stolen, the victim informed the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department.

Bertram initially denied the charges and then tried to place the blame on his ex-brother-in-law, an undocumented immigrant. However, the owner of the farming operation confirmed that Bertram had worked for him and disproved Bertram’s original story.

Records show that in 2004 Bertram used his son’s Social Security number to apply for a credit card at Home Depot. At trial, Bertram’s son maintained that he did not give his father permission to use his Social Security number.

“Identity theft is a danger that we all have to protect against, but this man violated a fundamental duty as a parent and the jury held him accountable,” said Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig in a press release.

Bertram faces up to 3 years in prison.

Oct. 29, 2010

A Woodland man was convicted of 11 felony counts of child molestation as well as one count of lewd and obscene conduct against his 11 year-old stepdaughter.

Eric Franklin Sass, 43, was charged after his stepdaughter told her mother about the molestation. After the mother confronted Sass, he confessed to the crime. The victim’s mother reported Sass to Yolo County Child Protective Services.

After an investigation by the Yolo County Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center, there was enough evidence to take Sass to trial. At trial, Sass’ defense claimed he had a cyst on his brain and that he had Lyme disease and that these medical issues affected his ability to control his impulsive behavior, resulting in the molestation of his stepdaughter.

The prosecution’s case consisted of presenting Dr. Jason Roof, a forensic psychiatrist from the UC Davis Medical Center, to counter Sass’ defense. Roof’s testimony found that Sass did not display any behaviors that would suggest that he had an impulse control disorder that would lead him to molest his stepdaughter.

The jury found Sass guilty of all charges. He faces up to 28 years in prison.

Nov. 1, 2010

A Sacramento man, Willie Vains Jr., was sentenced to six years in prison for stealing $17,000 from an elderly resident of Davis.

Vains, 49, and his partner, Claude Gaither, forced an elderly woman to pay them $17,000 for handyman work, which only cost about $1,000.

Neighbors and friends became aware of the scam and the Davis Police Department investigated the case for several months.

During the investigation, it was discovered that Vains had committed similar crimes in the ’90s.

Nov. 3, 2010

Thomas Leroy Kemnitz, 50, of Woodland and Pedro Omar Delatorre, 33, of Dixon were found guilty of methamphetamine trafficking. The defendants carried out a meth trafficking operation from April to August of 2009, between Woodland and Dixon.

The Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team conducted a four-month investigation, which involved the help of four other agencies. In total, the investigation involved over 30 officers from these different agencies.

The two men will face sentencing in December. Kemnitz could face up to 17 years and eight months in prison and Delatorre could be sentenced up to eight years in prison.

ANNABEL SANDHU can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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