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Auburn grocery store suspected purse thief sought

AUBURN, CA - Placer County sheriff's investigators are looking for a man suspected of stealing customers' purses as they were grocery shopping in Auburn last week.

Dean Erwin with the Placer County Sheriff's Department says deputies learned of the incidents Dec. 30. Victims reported when they were in markets and turned their backs for a moment to select merchandise off shelves, someone stole their purses from grocery carts.

Erwin said investigators have reviewed store surveillance camera footage and determined the same man is responsible for two of the thefts. Investigators were looking a footage from a third incident as well.

The suspected thief is a black man in his 20s with a shaved head. He is described as 5 feet, 8-10 inches tall with a muscular build. He was wearing a long white t-shirt with black pants.

Auburn man caught cashing check stolen from friend

AUBURN, CA - Authorities arrested 20-year-old Kyle Estes Monday afternoon inside of a north area bank after he tried to cash a check stolen from a woman he recently befriended.

Placer County Sheriff's spokeswoman Dena Erwin said Estes and a woman walked into U.S. Bank located at 2360 Grass Valley Highway around 2 p.m. and attempted to cash a $550 check. Erwin said a woman, whose name was not released, had left the bank 20 minutes before Estes' arrival, to report recent unauthorized activity on her account. Investigators determined she had recently become acquainted with Estes.

Bank officials noted the check was related to the woman's account and immediately called authorities while Estes and his female acquaintance were still inside the bank, said Erwin.

Heavy snowpack brightens state's water outlook

SACRAMENTO, CA - The season's first measurements of California's mountain snowpack on Tuesday reaffirms the state is off to a great start for next year's water supply.

According to the state Department of Water Resources (DWR), the water content of the snowpack is at 198 percent of normal. Previously, water managers said they would be able to deliver 50 percent of requested water in 2011. If the strong early measurements hold up as the winter and spring seasons progress, DWR says it was all-but-certain more water could be released to users.

Some 25 million Californians and nearly a million acres of farmland rely on State Water Project (SWP) water.

AAA offers free 'Tipsy Tow' service on New Year's Eve


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - AAA says there no excuse for drinking and driving this holiday weekend. The company will offer free "Tipsy Tow" service for revelers on New Year's Eve.

From 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. on New Year's Day, in Northern California, anyone who has been drinking, can call (800) 222-4357 and a tow service will take you and your car home for free, up to ten miles. Just tell the AAA operator you need a Tipsy Tow and a truck will be dispatched to your location, whether your a AAA member or not.

The service will provide a one-way ride for the driver and vehicle to the driver's home. If there are additional passengers who need a ride, they will be taken to the driver's home as long as there is sufficient room for them to be transported safely in the tow truck.

Look Up: Lunar eclipse happening Monday night

LOS ANGELES  -- Just in time for Christmas. The year's only total lunar eclipse will happen Monday night or early Tuesday, depending on where you live.

North and Central America and a tiny sliver of South America will have the best view. Weather permitting, skygazers in those regions should be able to view the entire eclipse, expected to last 3 1/2 hours.

The moon is normally illuminated by the sun. During a total lunar eclipse, the full moon passes through the shadow created by
the Earth blocking the sun's light.

Total eclipse begins at 11:41 p.m. PST Monday or 2:41 a.m. EST Tuesday. The totality phase -- when the moon is entirely inside Earth's shadow -- will last a little more than an hour.

California ReLeaf announces student poster contest

SACRAMENTO -- California ReLeaf announced today the release of a statewide Arbor Week poster contest for students in third to fifth grades. Students are asked to create original artwork based on the theme “Trees Are Worth It”. Submissions are due to California ReLeaf by February 1, 2011.

In addition to the poster contest rules, educators can download a packet that includes three lesson plans that focus on the value of trees, community benefits of trees, and  jobs in the urban and community forestry field. The full packet including lesson plans and poster contest rules can be downloaded at www.californiareleaf.org/programs/arborweek.

Facebook Places: A How To/Should You Guide

Facebook just announced Places, bringing location-based functionality to the hugely popular social site. Is it a Foursquare killer? Who knows. Should your business be aware of Places? Absolutely.

If you’re ready to figure out how to use Places for your business, here’s what you’ll need to do:

To claim a Facebook Place.

1. You have to check in via a mobile device. If your business isn’t there, you click Add and fill in the necessary info.

2. You have to (oddly) find your check-in on an actual computer (not a mobile) – this is listed in the Newsfeed of your personal Facebook page.

3. Click on the Place name you checked into.