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Detectives find 16,721 pot plants in Placer Co.

PLACER COUNTY, CA -Placer County sheriff's detectives uncovered a massive pot growing operation northeast of Colfax on Wednesday.

Placer County Sheriff Edward Bonner said detectives were conducting a helicopter surveillance mission when they spotted a massive collection of marijuana plants on a plot of private property bordering BLM land at Secret Ravine.

Due to the threat of possible booby traps on the land, the Placer County Special Enforcement team was utilized to secure the scene. While investigating the area, an Hispanic man fled the area on foot and was not caught, said Bonner.

Bonner said 16,721 marijuana plants were found at the property, along with a handgun.

After the plants were cut down, a helicopter was required to airlift the excessive seizure from the area in cargo nets.

Teen accused of sexually assaulting child at Auburn daycare

AUBURN, CA - A teen was arrested Tuesday afternoon for allegedly sexually assaulting a child under the age of 14 at a day care center.

The 14-year-old boy is accused of committing lewd and lascivious acts and was arrested at Colored Pencils Preschool and Child Care, located at 13335 Luther Road, Placer County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Dena Erwin said.

The boy is related to the preschool owner and lives in the home that is part of the day care center, Erwin said; his name will not be released because of his age.

The center was shut down by the California Department of Social Services after the arrest.

A criminal complaint accuses owner Alma Rosa Arroyo's 14-year old relative of sexually molesting "child number two in June or July," and sexually molesting another child, also in June or July.

Man arrested after holding 2 hostage in Yuba City store

YUBA CITY, CA - A man suspected of taking two people hostages inside a Big 5 sporting goods store in Yuba City for four hours was arrested by police Sunday afternoon.

The man has since been identified by police as Juan Carlos Alvarez.

Yuba City police believe that Alvarez, armed with a semi-automatic handgun, entered the store at 1252 Colusa Way around 11:30 a.m. to rob it, but then took two employees hostage instead.

Police said it is unclear why he held the 18-year-old woman and 20-year-old man hostage.

Witnesses at the scene said the man fired a single shot into the ceiling; customers were able to run out of the store and to safety.

Negotiators were able to convince 29-year-old Alvarez to release the hostages and surrender.

Yuba City police said they had some trouble with controlling the crowd outside of the store.

String of potential arsons investigated in Grass Valley

GRASS VALLEY, CA - The Grass Valley Fire Department was kept busy overnight responding to three fires within an hour and a half that per the preliminary investigation, appeared to have been intentionally set.

The first possible arson was at a structure fully on fire at 404 S. Auburn Street at approximately 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Grass Valley police Capt. Rex Marks. Fire investigators also reported finding where an attempt had been made, unsuccessfully, to start a fire at a nearby property, 402 S. Auburn Street.

About 12:24 a.m. Monday, firefighters were dispatched to 114 Neal Street, the former Tribal Weavers building, Marks said. Crews were able to put out the fire before it caused more than minor damage.

Then 20 minutes later, Marks said flames were reported coming out of a garbage can outside at 207 Mill Street where the county library stands. The fire was extinguished with minor damage.

'Date and rob' plot foiled by Grass Valley victim, police

GRASS VALLEY, CA - What Grass Valley police call a "date and rob" set-up resulted in the arrest of three Olivehurst residents Thursday night after they allegedly robbed a local man.

The trio, identified as Ryan Weeks, 25; Debbie Sutton, 32; and a 16 year old, purportedly placed an ad on Craigslist to lure men into a date with Sutton with the intent of robbing victims, said police Capt. Rex Marks.

Sutton was on a date with the 64-year-old victim when the latter was robbed of cash from his wallet by robbers armed with a knife on E. Main Street, Marks said. The robbers fled in a car which the victim described to police. The car was spotted in Penn Valley by Nevada County sheriff's deputies soon after and the suspects arrested after the victim identified them, Marks said.

Police learned in their investigation that Weeks, Sutton and the teen had first planned to rob the victim as he slept in his home, Marks said.

Robbers Fire suspect charged with arson

AUBURN, CA - The Sacramento man accused of starting a 2,650-acre wildfire near Foresthill nearly two weeks ago was charged with arson in a Placer County courtroom Tuesday.

Bryon Craig Mason, 28, was arrested last Friday for recklessly causing a fire with a pyrotechnic device, CalFire said.

However, the charge against Mason was later upgraded to arson after the Placer County District Attorney's Office reviewed the case. The charges include one count of arson causing great bodily injury and one count of arson for a structure or property, both felonies.

In addition, Mason is accused of three enhancements: causing great bodily injury to an emergency responder; causing injury to more than one person and causing more than one structure to burn.

"It's not easy, it's very hard," said Mason's mother after the court appearance. "(Bryon's) wife and I and the rest of the family are standing by him."

Card skimmer found on Auburn ATM

AUBURN, CA - The Auburn Police Department is looking for the person responsible for placing a card skimmer on the ATM at the U.S. Bank off High Street.

An Auburn man was using the ATM on Sunday when he discovered the device.

The card skimmer, which mirrors the card insertion port on an ATM, is placed over the actual card reader and records a customer's banking information when swiped.

Sergeant Dale Hutchins of the Auburn Police Department told the Auburn Journal that U.S. Bank was contacted about the incident and an investigation had been launched.

"They will be able to tell who has used that ATM machine," Hutchins told the Journal. "They will be able to cross reference that to see if anybody's account was jeopardized. It's a long process."