Press Releases

***Victim Identified *** Homicide

Release Date/Time: 11/4/2016 4:49 AM

Incident: Victim Identification

Date: Friday, 11/4/2016

Time: 4:49 AM

Location:

Release Authorized by:  Sgt. Brian Johnson, Investigations Bureau

Telephone: 831-758-7128

The victim that was killed on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, has been identified as Giovanni Vargas. Vargas was 24-years-old and a resident of Salinas. He was shot and killed while working on his car at 2073 Santa Rita Street.

The Salinas Police Department's Investigations Bureau is asking anyone who may have information regarding either of these homicides to contact (831) 758-7226. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 831-775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78-CRIME, or text information to the Text Tip Line with the code "SPD831" to "847411".

Abandoned Vehicle Operation

Members of the Salinas Police Department Abandoned Vehice unit conducted a City wide enforcement operation targeting abandoned vehicles. 

As a result of this operation, Community Service Officers towed 15 vehicles as abandoned vehicles, wrote 6 citations for expired registrations and also wrote 18 parking citations.  As time and resources permits future operations targeting abandoned vehicles will be conducted.

Homicide

Release Date/Time: 11/3/2016 12:39 AM

Incident: Homicide

Date: Wednesday, 11/2/2016

Time: 7:05 PM

Location: 2073 Santa Rita Street

On November 2, 2016, at approximately 7:05 pm, officers responded to 2073 Santa Rita Street for a victim of shooting. Upon arrival they found the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.  No suspect information has been provided at this time. The identity of the victim is being withheld until the family can be notified.

This is being investigated as gang related and is the 33rd Homicide of the year. If anyone has information regarding this homicide, they are asked to contact Detective Sivertson at (831) 758-7132 or Detective Gibson at (831) 758-7442. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Tip Line at (831) 775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78 CRIME, or text information to the Text to the Text Tip Line with the code "SPD831" to "847411".

Release Authorized by: Sgt. Brian Johnson, Investigations Bureau

Telephone: (831) 758-7128

Armed Robbery

Release Date/Time: 11/2/2016 7:15 AM

Incident: Armed Robbery

Report #: 16-110085

Date: Wednesday, 11/2/2016

Time: 2:20 AM

Location: 1375 N. Davis Rd.

Two suspects armed with black semi-automatic handguns entered the Walmart on N. Davis Rd.  The suspects ordered several employees and customers to lay the ground. They forced an employee to open a safe at gunpoint and fled in an SUV with an undisclosed amount of money.

Release Authorized by: Robert Hampson III

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Attempted Murder - Shooting

Release Date/Time: 10/31/2016 11:59 PM

Incident: Attempted Murder - Shooting

Report #: 16-101659

Date: Monday, 10/31/2016

Time: 8:48 PM

Location: Rear of 900 Block of Acosta Plaza

A 28 year old Hispanic Male was by himself behind the 900 block of Acosta Plaza.  He was approached by a suspect who shot him several times in the lower portion of his body.  He was transported to Natividad Medical Center were he underwent surgery and is expected to survive.  There is no indication that this is gang related.  Several residents in the area reported hearing several shots being fired in the area. 

Release Authorized by: Commander David Crabill

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Update to Vehicular Manslaughter

Release Date/Time: 10/26/2016 5:20 PM

Incident: Update to Vehicular Manslaughter

Report #: 16-101308

Date: Wednesday, 10/26/2016

Time: 5:11 PM

Location: North Main Street and Harden Parkway

The name of the suspect released yesterday was incorrect. The suspect who was driving the motorcycle is Andrew Lynn Bennett, age 28. Bennett is from Oregon but moved to Salinas in January.

Bennett was just released from NMC and booked into the Monterey County Jail for 192(c) PC - Vehicular Manslaughter, 23103(a) VC - Reckless Driving, 23104(a) VC - Reckless Driving Causing Death, 12500(a) VC - Unlicensed Driver, 20001(a) Hit and Run with Death, and 16028(c) VC - No proof of Insurance.

The victim was Gabriela Baes, age 17, of Salinas. She was a student at El Puente High School.

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Vehicular Manslaughter

Release Date/Time: 10/25/2016 5:57 PM

Incident: Vehicular Manslaughter

Report #: 16-101308

Date: Tuesday, 10/25/2016

Time: 10:46 AM

Location: North Main Street / Harden Parkway

A 17-year-old girl was walking across North Main Street, westbound in the north crosswalk, toward the Northridge Mall with her cousin. Anthony Bennett, 29, was riding a Suzuki motorcycle northbound in the #3 lane. Witnesses said Bennett was driving at a high rate of speed (some witnesses said around 90 mph) when he ran the red light and struck the girl. The motorcycle went down and slid a long distance before coming to a stop. The victim broke several bones on the left side of her body before striking her head on the pavement. She was transported to NMC and was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Bennett got up and began walking away from the collision. A couple of citizens grabbed on to him until police arrived. Bennett was transported to NMC where he was treated for numerous bumps and bruises and a possible concussion. Bennett was found to be unlicensed in California with a suspended license in Oregon. Another SPD officer saw him driving recklessly last week in a car. Bennett was cited and the car was impounded for 30-days.

Upon release from NMC, Bennett will be booked for 192(c) PC - Vehicular Manslaughter, 20001(a) VC - Hit and Run with Death, 12500(a) VC - Unlicensed Driver, 23103(a) VC, Reckless Driving, 23104(a) VC - Reckless Driving Causing Injury, and 16028(c) VC - No Insurance at Scene of Collision.

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Possession of Concealed Firarm/ Marijuana Sales

Release Date/Time: 10/22/2016 9:23 PM

Incident: Possession of a Concealed Firearm/ Marijuana - Possession for Sales

Report #: 16 10 1171

Date: Saturday, 10/22/2016

Time: 6:48 PM

Location: N. Main St. / Alvin Dr.

Violence Suppression Unit officers arrest a man with a gun on a traffic stop.

VSU contacted Ramon Santos (19), on a traffic stop. An officer conducted a search and located a loaded .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol in Santos' boxer shorts concealed in his crotch area. A search of the vehicle revealed just under an ounce of marijuana, an unused baggie, scales, and an amount of cash in assorted bills. The two 17-year-old juveniles in the vehicle, were ultimately released. Santos was booked into County Jail for possession of a concealed weapon and marijuana sales.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Salinas Police Department at (831) 758-7321. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Tip Line at (831) 775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78 CRIME, or text information to the Text to the Text Tip Line with the code "SPD831" to "847411".

Release Authorized by: Cmdr. John C. Murray

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Grant for Traffic Enforcement

Release Date/Time: 10/19/2016 12:06 PM

Incident: Grant for Traffic Enforcement

Report #: N/A

Date: Wednesday, 10/19/2016

Time: 1:09 AM

Location: Salinas

THE SALINAS POLICE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES GRANT FOR SPECIAL TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT AND CRASH PREVENTION

The Salinas Police Department has been awarded a $105,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries. The Salinas Police Department will use the funding as part of the city's ongoing commitment to keep our roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education.

'This grant will no doubt prevent death and injury in Salinas,” said Traffic Sergeant Gerry Ross. 'This money provides us with the resources to keep working toward our goal of zero traffic deaths.”

After falling to a ten-year low in 2010, the number of persons killed has climbed nearly 17% across the state with 3,176 killed in 2015 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Particularly alarming is the six year rise in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, along with the growing dangers of distracting technologies, and the emergence of drug-impaired driving as a major problem. This grant funding will provide opportunities to combat these and other devastating problems such as drunk driving, speeding and crashes at intersections.

'Years of research tell us that enforcement and education work best jointly to combat unsafe driving,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. 'This grant brings both tactics together, with the Office of Traffic Safety and the Salinas Police Department working in concert to help keep the streets and highways safe across Salinas and the state.”

Activities that the grant will fund include:

• Educational presentations

• DUI checkpoints

• DUI saturation patrols

• Bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement

• Motorcycle safety enforcement

• Distracted driving enforcement

• Speed, red light, and stop sign enforcement

• Warrant service operations targeting multiple DUI offenders

Compilation of DUI 'Hot Sheets,” identifying worst-of-the-worst DUI offenders

• Specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), and Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE)

• Court 'sting” operations to cite individuals driving from DUI court after ignoring their license suspension or revocation Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

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