<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Fri, 12 Feb 2016 22:51:36 -0800 Fri, 12 Feb 2016 22:51:36 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[911 Call Impossible From Broken Sunset Cliffs Call Box]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 22:49:04 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cliff-Rescue-Sunset-Cliffs-021216.jpg

After bystanders saw a man being pounded against the surf off Sunset Cliffs Friday they tried to use a nearby call box to call 911.

They weren't able to because the call box was broken.

“It's always happening here. It's one of the most dangerous spots in San Diego,” visitor Hobie Tillman said.

The beauty at Bird Rock draws a crowd, and more than a few daredevils have found themselves overwhelmed by the rugged cliff face and surf.

Tillman is a regular visitor. He said the call box has been broken for three years.

“It's real serious. That's your only line of defense really to let someone know what is happening,” Tillman said.

First responders verified the phone failure Friday, after they arrived to rescue the 23-year-old man trapped against sunset cliffs by the high surf.

“He got pounded on these rocks for a while. He looked like he was actually drowning,” witness Mary Wall said.

Despite the malfunction there was no delay in the response. The victim was safely returned to the street level without injury.

Lifeguard Sergeant Ed Harris told NBC7 there are five shoreline call boxes in the county, but he said the system is antiquated and unreliable.

The problem is compounded by poor cell reception. Portable phones aren't always at the ready.

“You leave [your cell phone] up in your car, if anything happens you are on your own and hopefully somebody sees you,” Tillman said.

Fortunately for Friday's victim Sunset Cliffs was packed with holiday weekend shutter bugs, which proved more reliable an emergency than the phone for that express purpose.

While the phones are supposed to ring directly into the main lifeguard station Sgt. Harris said SANDAG has the responsibility of upkeep and maintenance. NBC 7 reached out to the spokesperson but have not yet heard back.

<![CDATA['Troubling': UC Campuses Monitor Computer Activity]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 21:05:01 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/computer-keyboard-generic-0.jpg

Officials at University of California campuses, including UC San Diego, have been monitoring all campus computer activity since last summer.

The decision to install monitoring software on all UC computers came after a huge data breach last year at UCLA Medical Center. Unfortunately the UC president Janet Napalitano forgot to inform students.

“I find it a little troubling that I had no idea that it happened at all,” psychology student Maddie Ebel told NBC 7.

Without telling anyone the schools installed software operated by a third party last August to monitor what it calls ‘digital traffic.’

A group of professors at Berkeley said the software raises privacy concerns especially since it’s not clear exactly what data is being collected.

Napalitano’s office released a statement in response saying, "Unfortunately, many have been left with the impression that a secret initiative to snoop on faculty activities is underway. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Her office said the intent is to prevent, detect and respond to any future cyber-attacks.

UC San Diego Junior Matthew Zamudio, who writes on the school newspaper, agreed that it’s a privacy issue.

“An email sent to a professor is going to be entered into this spyware system, where it can be read by the office of the president,” Zamudio explained. “So, it just creates a general sense of uncomfortableness on campus and doesn't make people feel very welcome.”

The ACLU weighed in on the issue saying, "Surveillance should not be used without first consulting with the community and ensuring that transparency and safeguards are in place."

“They have to accept the fact that all of the things that are being exchanged aren't going to be private,” Zamudio said. “They're going to be read by possibly a third party.”

The UC President said there is no intention of putting a stop to the monitoring, but moving forward, faculty will be ‘deeply involved.’


<![CDATA[Bicyclist Struck by Hit-and-Run Driver ]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 21:23:22 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

A 69-year-old female bicyclist was struck by a car in an apparent hit-and-run in Mission Beach police confirmed.

The incident happened at 5:46 p.m. at the entrance to the Jetty at 800 San Diego Place.

The woman was standing on the curb when a 23-year-old suspect in a black Toyota Corolla was involved in a road rage incident with the driver of a white Ford Mustang. The driver of the mustang is unknown. The suspect in the Toyota sped to the right of the mustang striking the victim.

He turned into the parking lot for a few minutes then sped away. Police stopped the suspect a short distance away and arrested him for DUI.

The bicyclist sustained a skull fracture and was transported to the hospital with life threatening injuries.

San Diego Police Traffic Division is investigating.


Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[SANDAG Poised to Ask Voters For Public Projects Sales Tax ]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:42:23 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/trolley7.JPG

Regional planners are wrestling with how to sell voters on a sales tax measure to improve the quality of life across the county.

They're looking to spend billions of dollars on all kinds of projects, about half of the funding targeted toward transportation.

The proposed sales tax hike would be a half-cent on the dollar, to raise $18 billion over four decades -- just a small piece of the $200 billion spending puzzle the region hopes to solve with money also coming from federal, state and local taxes.

It won't be easy to get a required two-thirds of the voters in the November election on board with a sales tax hike.

So directors of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) know they've got to steer a fairly mainstream course among choices on a long wish list of public improvement needs that go far beyond transportation.

"Quality of life is everything,” Little Italy resident Anne MacMillan Eichman told SANDAG directors at a downtown hearing on Friday. “You can't have safe, walkable, bikeable streets if you don't have sound infrastructure. Widening highways does not a transit system create."

But 41% of SANDAG's survey respondents prioritized road and highway investments versus 33% who preferred a public transit emphasis, with the rest favoring technology improvements, or undecided.

Says Bankers Hill resident Cynthia Turner, who backs more spending on transit: “It’s for our kids, for the disabled, for our military that don't have cars and are stationed here, our tourists, who don't want to rent cars."

And why should SANDAG spend more on roads and highways?

"Because everybody's comfortable in their car," El Cajon resident Kim Springs told NBC 7 in a Friday interview at a downtown trolley stop. “They don't want to get on the trolley and sit next to somebody. The time it takes to get where you're going, you can get there quicker in a car."

For SANDAG directors, prioritizing 'trolleys versus cars' quickly gets them to a variety of neighborhood, environment and climate change issues – all within the framework of alternatives that favor more local control over the spending, versus regionwide projects.

"It's like a family right before Christmas, where Johnny wants a bicycle and Susie wants a pony and the Mrs. wants something else,” says Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. “ We have to be the wise parents here of this big family in San Diego County and figure out those needs, and how to come closest to fulfilling the ones that are important."

If all that isn't enough of a challenge, that half-cent sales tax figures to be on the November ballot with other big measures.

Especially ones affecting San Diego voters, such as an infrastructure spending plan and possible stadium and hotel room-tax hike initiatives.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Young Patients Play in Lego Waiting Room ]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:02:23 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/room5.JPG

At the Chadwick Center for Children and Families, the staff is learning the building blocks of happiness sometimes start in the waiting room.

The center, down the street from the Children’s Hospital’s main campus, unveiled a new Lego themed waiting room Friday complete with an under the sea motif.

"You have the ocean waves kind of flowing through in the sea life themed area in the tunnel," Charles Wilson the director of the Chadwick Center said. "I arrived at that door the other day and there's a little girl laying on the other side of it and she was 'swimming'."

The fifth floor waiting room is for children dealing with traumatic situations such as abuse. Decorated with more than 20 Lego models, including a geyser periscope built from 17,000 Lego bricks the room also features interactive displays.

Merlin's Magic Wand Foundation, a charity tied to Legoland, paid for the renovation.

It’s the first of its kind in San Diego, but executives promise it won’t be the last.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Caravan to Stop at Madres Fundraiser]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 17:03:50 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/465295602.jpg

The San Diego Padres are spending a portion of the week roving the city on their annual Padres Caravan. But one stop gives the Friar faithful a chance to meet the players and help the community.

Saturday, February 13th a group of players will stop by the San Diego Madres Dining for Dollars fundraiser at Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill in Hazard Center. Between the hours of one and four p.m., ten percent of restaurant sales along with raffle sales will go to the Madres to help support local youth baseball and softball teams.

The San Diego Madres are an organization of women and men whose mission is “to provide all children of San Diego County the opportunity to play baseball and softball” according to www.sandiegomadres.org. The group, founded in 1972 has helped over 450 teams.

Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill is located at 7510 Hazard Center Dr, Ste 215, San Diego, CA 92108. Players are expected to arrive around 2:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Car Fire Prompts Evacuations in Hillcrest]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:28:28 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

San Diego fire responded to a report of a car on fire in Hillcrest Friday afternoon.

The fire started in a garage in the 4000 block of 5th Avenue around 4:20 p.m.

Evacuations are in progress. There is no word on any injuries.

No further information was immediately available.

Refresh this page for updates on this breaking news story.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[Aztecs Headed to NFL Combine]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 16:16:45 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Aztecs+Slater+MWC+Title.jpg

During the final week of February the NFL will hold its annual scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. This year 332 players have been invited to work out for then be poked, prodded, questioned, analyzed, psychoanalyzed and otherwise disassembled by professional football teams.

Two San Diego State Aztecs made the Combine cut. Neither guy will be hard to miss.

Offensive tackle Pearce Slater and offensive guard Darrell Greene will be on the field in Indy. Slater is 6’7” and weighs 335 pounds. Greene is 6’4” and 325 pounds. Those two behemoths have started the last two years together on the right side of the Aztecs line, helping SDSU become the 14th-ranked rushing offense in the Football Bowl Subdivision (the artist formerly known as Division 1-A).

Both Slater and Greene are NFL prospects for their size and success, and they likely will not be the last Aztecs to pique the interest of NFL scouts. SDSU’s line averaged 320 pounds last season, making it one of the Top-5 largest lines in the nation. It would have tied the Aztecs with the San Diego Chargers for the 3rd-heaviest line in the National Football League in 2015.

So how are all these monsters landing on Montezuma Mesa instead of the traditional “power conference” schools?

“Because they want to be in the NFL and we run an NFL offense,” says head coach Rocky Long. “They’ve seen it on TV. In the NFL they run power plays. They try to knock you off the ball. Then they have to have the great big guys on the corners with the long arms to keep the guy away from the quarterback.”

In college football these days the spread offense, where teams try to run 80 or more offensive plays a game, is what’s hot. But it’s not a real good way to develop top-notch offensive linemen.

“Spread teams, they throw the ball so fast you can’t get there if you want to get there,” says Long. “They don’t have to block anybody. They just get in the way.”

In 2015 the Houston Texans led the NFL when they averaged 69 offensive plays per game. The Aztecs ran 68 plays per game (again, same as the Chargers). Believe it or not, SDSU expects its incredible bulk to get even bigger in the next few years.

“These kids have a chance to come here and prove they’re NFL football players,” says Long. “Besides that, I love giants anyway. I just like walking out there and looking at them.”

Rocky has a few of them on the way already. San Diego State’s 2016 recruiting class includes linemen that weigh 345, 340, 305 and 300 pounds. If this keeps up there will be a steady pipeline that leads from SDSU to the NFL. They just need to make sure it’s very tall and awfully wide because the young men going through it are not small human beings.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Tied Up in Home Invasion Speaks]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 18:09:16 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/home+invasion15.JPG

A Carmel Mountain teenager who was tied up in a violent home invasion spoke to NBC 7 Friday about the moments he was at the mercy of a group of armed robbers.

Jordan Cheng, 15, was robbed in the middle of the night Thursday after three men entered his family’s home through an unlocked door.

More than a day later, welts were visible on his wrists where zip ties were used.

“I first realize what is going on when I see the guys and them telling my brother and father to get on the ground and then tying them up and telling me to put my hands behind my back,” Cheng said.

He said the robbers also tied their feet together with shoelaces.

Cheng, his father and his 25-year-old brother were all tied up in his room in their Carmel Mountain home.

The men pointed a gun at his brother and began to demand money, he said.

The family gave them money that was in their wallets but the thieves also took gaming consoles.

The suspects in the home invasion have not been arrested.

Cheng told NBC 7 he wants the community to help police track the robbers down.

San Diego Police say this home invasion is connected to others.

Investigators are asking any home owners with surveillance cameras living near Breezeway Place to check the video for any signs of the three hooded men involved.

Cheng says he hopes police catch them soon.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Man Rescued Along Sunset Cliffs]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:09:55 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cliff-Rescue-Sunset-Cliffs-021216.jpg

A man seen by witnesses being pounded against the rocks off the coast of Point Loma was rescued by lifeguards Friday afternoon.

San Diego Lifeguards rushed to the top of the cliff along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Froude Street.

Mary Wall watched the rescue just before 2:30 p.m.

“It looked like he was going to drown,” Wall told NBC 7. 

No further information was immediately available.

Refresh this page for updates on this breaking news story.

<![CDATA[Port Mulls Changes to Parking]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:52:18 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/parking+meter+bayfront.jpg

The Port of San Diego will consider changes to public parking along the waterfront that could result in millions of dollars in increased revenue over five years, according to a preliminary report presented to board members this week.

Just 34 percent of parking spaces supervised by the port is free. If the Port of San Diego were to approve a change in how rates were assigned to current metered spaces or paid lots, revenue could grow from $14 million in 2016 to $20 million in 2020, according to a business plan presented to the board Wednesday.

“We want to get more intelligent about what the profitability is for each individual space,” said port consultant Ken Wallis.

The Navy Pier, the most lucrative parking area for the Port, currently charges $10 for 12 hours of parking. At $.83 per hour, those spaces charge less than half of what it costs to park on the street, according to Wallis.

By setting parking rates slightly below market average, he suggested the Port could offer reasonably priced public parking that would be competitive with other lots and garages.


An Environmental Health Coalition representative asked the board to carefully consider whether to add pay meters to Cesar Chavez Park in Barrio Logan.

“The Barrio Logan community has very limited access to the waterfront,” said Joy Williams who added that for decades, people have parked for free on surface streets in that community.

She suggested the public be allowed input into any change to parking rates in the area.

There was also discussion of improving notification of empty spaces.

“With the use of technology, we could help reduce drive times for people looking for available parking spaces,” Wallis suggested.

The investment needed for renovations would range from $112,000 to $1.3 million, according to the discussion on Wednesday.

No decision was made at Tuesday's meeting.  Results from a North Embarcadero Parking Study will be presented to board members in March.  Also, a real time traffic counter will provide data on the parking problems in the area.

Once those are presented, the board will discuss if they want to go forward with public outreach of the proposal.

Photo Credit: Steven Luke
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[ Olympian Shaun White Shreds in San Diego]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:28:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Shaun-White-Band.jpg

Guitar in hand, Olympian and professional snowboarder Shaun White dropped into his hometown of San Diego Friday for two of his favorite things: a burrito and a jam session with his band.

White, 29, visited Rico’s Taco Shop in Encinitas to join local radio station 91X on the station’s ongoing “Best Breakfast Burrito Tour,” which visits different Mexican food joints across San Diego County each Friday.

After grabbing a bite, he and his band, Bad Things, performed a free concert for young fans at Bro-Am Studios on S. Coast Highway. The young fans clapped and cheered as The Flying Tomato got into the groove.

“It’s nice to be in my hometown and feel the support,” White told NBC 7. “It’s humbling to come home and to see some familiar faces.”

White’s hometown performance comes a week ahead of a large-scale, two-day music and sports event he’s producing in Los Angeles dubbed “Air + Style.”

The festival takes place Feb. 20 and Feb. 21 at EXPO Park at the L.A. Coliseum and combines live music, art and the world’s best snowboarders going head-to-head on a 16-story snowboard jump. Musicians set to perform at White’s fest include Incubus, J. Cole, HAIM and Kaskade, among others.

White describes the event as a “Coachella-meets-X-Games type of thing” and said Air + Style represents each one of his passions and the close connection between sports and music.

“The idea is that you come there, you watch some music, you see the sports – you can try snowboarding for the first time. It really represents the culture behind the sports,” he explained.

White said the Air + Style fest began about 20 years ago in Austria. He competed in the event and later went on to host it. Years later, the X Games pro is now the owner of the event.

“My vision for it was to truly combine all the things, selfishly, that I love into one big event,” White told NBC 7. “I play in a band, I’ve played at music festivals; I’m a music festivalgoer. I obviously know the world of sports and snowboard contests, so I wanted to put it all together and really see what happens.”

White said he’s a walking, or rather, shredding, example of the bond between music and extreme sports. He said music “fell into his lap” through his career in sports

“I actually won a guitar at a snowboard contest. It was a prize – you really weren’t supposed to play it,” he recounted, with a smile. “It was a really nice Fender Strat and I learned how to play from that and fell in love with music. That’s how close the world of music is with action sports.”

White’s band most recently toured Europe with Jared Leto’s band, 30 Seconds to Mars.

For more information on White’s Air + Style event, or to purchase tickets to the music and snowboard fest, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[ Eater SD: TRUST Opens in Hillcrest]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:20:48 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Eater-SD-Trust-0212.JPG

Eater San Diego shares the top stories of the week from San Diego’s food and drink scene, including the debut of a new chef-driven restaurant in Hillcrest, rumors of a foodie Travel Channel show filming in San Diego and the expansion of a North County coffee roaster into Little Italy.

TRUST Restaurant Brings Chef-Driven Seasonal Fare to Hillcrest
Newly minted in Hillcrest is TRUST, which takes the anchor tenant space in Jonathan Segal's "Mr. Robinson" building. The stylish space, which includes an expansive outdoor patio, is now serving a shareable, affordable selection of dishes sourced locally and seasonally, for dinner nightly and weekend brunch.

“Bizarre Foods” Will Film San Diego’s Most “Delicious Destinations”
The Travel Channel's TV show, “Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations” is reportedly heading to San Diego to shoot an episode. The show, hosted by Andrew Zimmern, focuses on the iconic or legendary dishes that define a city, so it's a safe bet that fish tacos will be featured on the San Diego program. What other local foods should they highlight?

Encinitas' Lofty Coffee Co. Expands to Little Italy
Lofty Coffee Co., which operates two coffee bar/cafes and a roastery in North County, will be opening another outpost in Little Italy later this year at the corner of Cedar and Columbia streets. In addition to serving coffee drinks, the cafe will serve breakfast and lunch and include an in-house bakery.

University Heights' Big Front Door Sets Sights on Bankers Hill
Popular Park Boulevard sandwich shop Big Front Door announces plans to open a second location on Fourth Avenue in Bankers Hill. This significantly-larger space will be a full-fledged, sit-down eatery offering breakfast, lunch and dinner plus beer and wine. It's expected to open by Fall 2016.

Meet the Artisans Coming to Liberty Public Market
Eater continues its in-depth look at the food vendors that are headed to the upcoming Liberty Public Market project. In this installment, we profile a shop specializing in Maine lobster and East Coast eats, a gourmet pasta concept and a sustainable seafood market that will also include a raw bar.


Photo Credit: Lyudmila Zotova/Eater San Diego
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[USS New Orleans Departs San Diego]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 11:57:50 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/USS-New-Orleans-Departs-0212.jpg More than 4,500 U.S. Marines and Navy sailors set sail Friday, departing from Naval Base San Diego to the Western Pacific and Middle East for deployment missions. NBC 7’s Elena Gomez reports.

Photo Credit: Elena Gomez]]>
<![CDATA[Couples Say 'I Do' Near Cupid's Day]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 11:49:45 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/valentines-Day-marriage-021216.jpg

Romance was in the air at the San Diego County Administration building as people packed into the second floor waiting room, trying to get married as close as they can to February 14.

For newlyweds Brooklyn and Brendan Monge, the date was an important one.

"I wanted this date specifically, I'm kind of like particular about dates and I thought this was a cute date so I was like I want this date,” Brooklyn said.

“She was very picky about it,” Brendan chimed in. “The numbers need to look good to her."

The couple drove from Temecula to downtown San Diego this morning. They say they didn’t want to wait to plan a big ceremony.

Fridays are typically a busy day for marriage licenses, county officials said, but because this is the Friday before Valentine's Day they prepared for extra ceremonies.

The county office in Kearny Mesa will be open Saturday and officials there expect a lot of people to get married then. Since Valentine's Day is Sunday, all local county offices will be closed.

<![CDATA[Students Found With Knives Will Not Be Expelled ]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 21:33:21 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Sam-Serrato-0212.jpg

Two Escondido high school students will be returning to school next week after an expulsion hearing and investigation according to a statement from the EUHSD Superintendent Friday.

The case, involving two San Pasqual High School students who were found to have knives in their cars, which were parked on campus, was investigated by police.

The Escondido Police Department (EPD) said Friday that investigators were reviewing the much-talked-about case, which has fired up fellow students and parents.

On Jan. 27, a detection dog alerted officials at San Pasqual High School in Escondido to two the cars of two students parked on school grounds – vehicles driven by 16-year-old Sam Serrato and 18-year-old Brandon Cappelletti.

According to EPD Lt. Ed Varso, an Escondido Police School Resource Officer (SRO) was called to the lot, and the students were also summoned to their cars.

School officials then began searching the students’ vehicles. Inside Serrato’s car, school officials found one knife. In Cappelletti’s car, three knives were discovered.

The students’ mothers were called to the school. With the mothers present, the SRO interviewed both students.

The EPD said Serrato told the SRO that he, with his parents’ knowledge, had purchased the knife – which had a 3.5-inch locking blade – about 10 days prior for his own personal protection. The juvenile told the officer he had been leaving the knife inside his car parked on school grounds every day since he bought it, the EPD said.

Meanwhile, during Cappelletti’s interview, he told the officer the knives were left in his car following a weekend fishing trip with his family.

Ultimately, the SRO found that both students were in violation of a misdemeanor crime by bringing the knives onto school property.

Due to his age, Serrato’s case was recommended for San Diego's Juvenile Diversion program, which addresses crimes by minors without the case being heard through the formal juvenile court process.

However Cappelletti, being 18, is considered an adult and was not deemed eligible for the diversion program. He was issued a misdemeanor citation and released at the school to his mother.

Both students were suspended from school over the incident. Now, they also face expulsion.

The EPD said the investigation is ongoing.

In the meantime, the case has gained much attention in the North County.

Earlier this week, hundreds of community members rallied behind Serrato at a school board meeting, asking for his suspension to be lifted.

According to the teen’s family, the entire ordeal is one big misunderstanding.

Serrato’s family said the knife found inside the high school junior’s car belongs to his father, who had purchased it at a swap meet. The father said he and his son had forgotten about it.

The teen’s family and supporters said Serrato is an honor roll student and active athlete, and has never before gotten into trouble at school.

At the Escondido Union High School District (EUHSD) board meeting, his mother, Yvonne Serrato, said her son’s punishment isn’t fair. Tearfully, she said the ordeal has changed her son in just a matter of weeks.

Cappelletti’s family also attended the board meeting and stood behind the student’s statement that the knives were used for a fishing trip.

Legally, board members said they’re required to follow due process, so nothing can be done at this point. Board members also said they do not have all of the information yet on the students’ cases.

A spokesperson for the EUHSD issued this statement Wednesday in relation to the cases: "EUHSD staff will be working directly with the families and other parties involved to help ensure the two current cases involving San Pasqual High School students are handled according to the framework established by the California legislature."

Due to high interest in Serrato’s case, his expulsion hearing was moved up to Friday from its original Feb. 25 date. Cappelletti's hearing was also set for Friday.

NBC 7 was at the hearing and, when it was over, Serrato came out feeling optimistic.

"We told our story, they heard us out," Serrato told reporters. "I'm pretty thankful for them listening and I think it went pretty well."

The EUHSD has three school days to make a decision on the student's case. Due to President's Day, school is not in session Monday or Tuesday.

The school board has a meeting Tuesday night. At that meeting, the board could recommend Serrato not be expelled. If that recommendation is approved, Serrato could be back in school by as early as Wednesday.

Serrato said the stressful process has taught him some tough life lessons.

"It's taught me how to deal with certain things in life, so hopefully this is a learning process," the teen said, his father's comforting hand resting on his shoulder. "How to just deal with life; how life isn't always fair."

"Hopefully, it's over soon," Serrato added.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Dental Surgeon Shocked by Sex Crime Arrest of Assistant]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:44:40 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ramos-Podstreleny-0212.jpg

A San Diego dental surgeon who employed an assistant accused of sexually assaulting a teenage patient says he’s baffled that something like this allegedly happened at his practice.

“It shocks me,” Dr. Steven Podstreleny told NBC 7 on Thursday, referring to the case against dental assistant Luis Ramos, 36. “The disappointing thing for me is that trust was violated, not only with the patient of course, but with me, with the other employees.”

Ramos, a resident of El Cajon who worked at Podstreleny’s Park Boulevard Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Office in University Heights, faces charges of sexual battery on an unconscious person and oral copulation by anesthetic.

Ramos was arrested on Feb. 3, two weeks after a 17-year-old girl told police she was inappropriately touched by the dental assistant during a procedure at the practice, while she was sedated.

Podstreleny said the accusations and arrest of Ramos came “out of the blue.” In the three years that Ramos has worked at the practice, Podstreleny said he has never heard any patient complaints like this against the dental assistant or any inclination of wrongdoing at the practice.

“He was just a stellar employee,” he explained. “It’s baffling. This is a person I looked at as a work brother.”

“[He] was someone that, honestly, I looked forward to working with,” Podstreleny added. “He was one of the best assistants I’ve ever worked with; 17 years in the business and I’ve probably had the pleasure of working with 150 maybe up to 200 assistants, and I’d rank him among the top five.”

Since Ramos’ arrest, San Diego Police Department (SDPD) investigators have been combing through more than 500 hours of surveillance video recorded inside the recovery room at the dental office where the alleged sexual assault took place.

This includes a seven-minute clip that captured the alleged Jan. 21 assault of the teenage patient.

Podstreleny said he’s had cameras installed throughout his dental office since he opened in 2009 to provide an “extra layer of protection” for patients and staffers and as “an effort at transparency.”

“It’s my duty to make patients feel comfortable and feel dignified,” said Postreleny of the cameras.

He said Ramos was fully aware he was being videotaped while working, which made the accusations even more surprising.

“I fully expected that this would be a misunderstanding. After looking at the tape though, we decided it was best to turn over this information to the authorities,” said Podstreleny.

According to the teenager, as her anesthesia wore off and she awaked from the procedure, she realized Ramos was touching her inappropriately.

Ramos appeared in court on Feb. 9 for a bail review hearing after being held on $2 million bail. His defense attorney argued against an increase in bail, saying Ramos has no criminal record and served in the U.S. military. His bail was reduced to $100,000.

According to prosecutor Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle, police have received 15 calls from women concerned by Ramos’ case. Investigators have identified at least one of those women as a possible additional victim.

Ramos is no longer employed at the Park Boulevard Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Office.

He’s currently being held on nine counts at the George Bailey Detention Facility and is scheduled to appear in court on March 1.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Tattoos May Hold Clues to Unidentified Man]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 08:56:57 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Tattoo-OB-Body-Clues_2.jpg

San Diego County officials have released images of several tattoos in the hopes they will help identify a man whose body was found in the ocean off the coast of Sunset Cliffs.

San Diego Lifeguards recovered the man's body around 12:15 p.m. Sunday from a location off Ocean Beach.

The man did not have clothes on when he was recovered from the ocean, lifeguards said.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office has released images of two distinctive tattoos in the hopes that someone may recognize the artwork and help identify the man.

First, from the man's Left upper arm and shoulder there was a tattoo that appears to show the Hindu god Ganesha, playing an instrument.

On the man's left forearm there was red Greek letters.

A third tattoo on the man's right ankle suggests a five-pointed black star or crossed bones, officials said.

The man was described as 6-feet, 1-inch tall and approximately 180 to 200 pounds. Officials do not know his age.

They believe he may have been in the water for two to seven days.

Anyone who believes they may know the identity of the man can contact the Medical Examiner’s Office at (858) 694-2895. The case number is 16-00352.

<![CDATA[Wireless Tech Firm Takes Space in Scripps Ranch]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 07:54:15 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/KBS_Horizon_Tech_Center_t620.jpg

Wireless technology company Ingenu has signed a new lease for 27,855 square feet of office space at the Horizon Tech Center in Scripps Ranch, property owner KBS Real Estate Investment Trust II announced. Financial and other terms were not disclosed.

Jay Alexander of brokerage company JLL represented Newport Beach-based KBS REIT II in the transaction, and Ron Miller of Colliers International represented Ingenu.

Formerly known as On-Ramp Wireless Inc., Ingenu is currently based in Rancho Bernardo. The company is working on networking technologies that connect machines within the Internet of Things, also known as IoT.

Technologies in that arena allow for wireless communication among items such as remote meters, sensors, vehicles and home appliances.

Built in 2008, Horizon Tech Center consists of three, two-story buildings, totaling more than 150,000 rentable square feet. The 11.35-acre campus is located at 10301, 10325 and 10343 Meanley Drive, near Scripps Ranch Road and Interstate 15.

KBS REIT II is an affiliate of KBS Realty Advisors, a private equity real estate company and SEC-registered investment adviser founded in 1992.


Photo Credit: Horizon Tech Center – Photo courtesy of KBS REIT II
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<![CDATA[Family Escapes National City House Fire]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 15:48:26 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/national-city-fire-021216.jpg

A San Diego County sheriff's deputy and his family escaped a raging house fire in National City early Friday.

Flames several stories high were spotted coming from a storage shed next to the home on Palm Avenue near E 15th Street around 4:30 a.m.

Neighbors told NBC 7 they were awakened by the fire and pounded on the family's door to wake them up.

“Mom was quick to respond and immediately evacuated the family,” National City Fire Marshal Robert Hernandez said.

The home did have smoke alarms but it appears the fire started in the garage and spread to the home, fire investigators said.

One woman suffered a burn to her right arm as she and her family were evacuating.

Three other homes nearby were evacuated as a precaution.

The deputy is assigned to the Santee sheriff's station, officials said.

<![CDATA[Box Truck Overturns, Blocks I-5 Traffic]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 08:43:26 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/box-truck-overturned-I5-0212.jpg

The overturned tandem trailer truck spilled contents onto the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Oceanside. 

At least two lanes were blocked at Aliso Creek after the crash occurred at approximately 5:30 a.m.

California Highway Patrol Officers issued a SigAlert to get the wreck cleared.

The truck was traveling about 65 to 70 miles per hour when the driver made an abrupt turn, according to the CHP.

The driver was not injured. No other vehicles were involved.

Cleanup could take several hours. CHP hopes to have all lanes open to traffic before 11 a.m.

<![CDATA[Motorcyclist Killed in El Cajon Crash]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:56:27 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chp-generic.jpg

A motorcyclist died Thursday evening in a crash in El Cajon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Witnesses called 911 at about 8:30 p.m., reporting a rider was possibly under a white vehicle after a crash at N. Magnolia Avenue and Cypress Lane.

Emergency responders tried to perform CPR on the motorcyclist, but the patient was pronounced dead 10 minutes later.

The driver involved in the crash stayed at the scene.

The road was reopened shortly after the crash was cleared. Investigators do not know if drugs or alcohol were involved.

No further information was released.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Smoke From Hookah, Smoking Lounges Not Regulated ]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:19:30 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cigar+generic.PNG

Tobacco smoke from cigar and hookah lounges is endangering the health of customers and workers in adjoining businesses throughout San Diego County, according to the American Lung Association.

The nonprofit organization said the polluted, dangerous air seeping into these local businesses is a serious public health problem. The group is urging licensing agencies to close what it calls a “loophole” in the California’s non-smoking laws.

“There isn’t any safe exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Deborah Kelley, advocacy director for the American Lung Association’s local San Diego chapter. “That level of (tobacco) particulate matter is an instant threat to anyone who already has heart disease. And even if it’s just burning your eyes or nose or causing your eyes to water, those are all acute effects.”

Kihyun Kim invested his savings to buy Do-Re-Mi Korean Restaurant in Kearny Mesa four years ago. He told NBC 7 Investigates the smell of tobacco smoke from Excalibur Cigar Lounge, next door to his restaurant, is seeping through the walls, ceilings and air vents.

“I only smelled it a little bit during the night time, when I first opened, and I thought it was coming from the front door,” Kim said.

He said the smell becomes progressively worse as more cigar smokers visit the lounge.

In mid-January, American Lung Association experts used equipment to test the air inside Do-Re-Mi.

Dr. Neil Klepeis, an environmental health scientist, helped supervised the air quality testing inside the restaurant and analyzed the results. He said the test confirmed there is smoke inside the restaurant.

"I was struck at how high the (tobacco particulate) levels are,” Klepeis said. He is an expert in second-hand smoke exposure and adjunct professor of public health at San Diego State University.

On a Friday night, when Lung Association staffers said they counted at least 20 cigar smokers inside the cigar lounge, Klepeis said test results revealed smoke levels inside the restaurant spiked to 10 times the acceptable exposure level recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Comparable to what you might get if you smoked a cigarette in a car, or you smoked a cigarette in a small bedroom," he said.

Klepeis said the Lung Association tests -- conducted around the clock for eight days and nights -- show the smoke is coming from Excalibur, not the Do-Re-Mi kitchen.

"Every time the cigar bar was open, you see high levels. Every single time,” Klepeis said. “And as soon as the cigar bar closes, you see the levels going down. So that's a smoking gun, so to speak."

Excalibur’s owner declined to answer specific questions about the problem, but in a written statement said a “malfunction” in its ventilation system caused tobacco levels to spike inside the restaurant.

“An upgrade to the extensive ventilation system was completed with building management supervision in January 2016,” according to Excalibur’s statement.

Click here to read the full statement.

According to Kim, the strong odor of unwelcome cigar smoke continues and is hurting his business. "The customers tell me, 'We can't stay here because of the kids,’ and they get up and leave," he told NBC 7 Investigates.

Distaste for the cigar odor is apparent online. On the website Yelp, one reviewer said, "the smell of smoke has been kind of suffocating.”

"It made the place smell like an ashtray," wrote another.

"It always smells like cigarette smoke...it will be extremely disgusting for you," another diner warned.

Fans, vents and air filtering machines in both businesses have not helped. Kim said his landlord told him to install an exhaust fan above the front door.

Klepeis said that would not help because the smoke is most likely leaking through electrical and lighting outlets and other gaps in the common wall and spaces where the wall meets the ceiling. Klepeis said the only possible, partial solution would be to demolish and completely rebuild those structures.

Kim said he has spent hours on the phone, trying to get help from a local or state agency. NBC 7 Investigates called around too and learned there are no regulations limiting the seepage of smoke from a licensed cigar or hookah lounge into a neighboring business.

"No, I'm not surprised,” Kelley said. “It’s very frustrating.”

Kelley said her and other no-smoking advocates are working now to close what she calls a “loophole” in California law.

According to the law, a business is permitted to allowing smoking inside if they do not serve food or alcohol.

NBC 7 Investigates found Do-Re-Mi is one of more than 100 San Diego businesses sharing common walls, ceilings and vents with licensed cigar, tobacco or hookah lounges.

Those businesses include a downtown youth hostel, a Clairemont Mesa jewelry shop and a dental office in Mira Mesa.

Kelley said cigar, tobacco and hookah lounges should be physically isolated from other businesses in special "stand-alone" locations. "They can only be good neighbors if they have no neighbors," she said.

NBC 7 Investigates also has learned the Excalibur lounge serves liquor to customers under a valid state liquor license. The California Attorney General and the state Legislative Counsel have both opined that any licensed tobacco lounge that serves alcohol and/or food will have voided its non-smoking exemption.

Excalibur's owner disagrees. In the statement to NBC 7 Investigates, the owner said, “we adhere to and exceed the requirements of every license, permit, and regulation for our industry."

A San Diego Police Department spokesman said the department is looking into this apparent violation.

<![CDATA['Stay Calm': Family Tied Up by Armed Home Invaders]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 20:45:23 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/josh+cheng.PNG

When armed robbers stormed into Josh Cheng’s room, startling him awake, he knew his safest option was to stay calm.

The suspects invaded his home in the Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club early Thursday morning, waking up the 25-year-old Cheng, his father and his 15-year-old brother.

"Two guys come into my room, told me to pretty much just lay there, don't move, and they just asked me, 'Where's the money at?'” said Cheng. “And then they just went through all my stuff pretty much."

Bleary-eyed, the victim and his father were led at gunpoint downstairs to his brother’s room, where the suspects tied them up so they could steal items from the house.

Cheng told NBC 7 they were wearing hoodies and bandanas, so he didn’t get a good look at their faces. They also made him look down the whole time.

"Trying to stay as calm as possible for me so I don't make them any more anxious than they had to be so they don’t do anything wrong," Cheng said of the thoughts going through his head.

Finally, when the suspects grabbed what they wanted, the Chengs heard them run out the back door.

The father was able to grab some scissors and cut their ties off, and Cheng ran to get help next door. Despite the dangerous situation, Cheng was composed Thursday evening, looking back at the incident.

"I didn't think they were going to do anything as long as we just pretty much did what they told us to do,” he said.

Two and a half hours before the Cheng’s break-in, San Diego Police received a report of a home invasion on Spring Meadow Lane in Sabre Springs.

Suspects were able to get through the side door of a home where a family with two children was sleeping. However, they ran away when they were confronted by the homeowner.

Neighbors on Breezeway Place, where the Chengs live, said they are stepping up their security after hearing about the armed robbery. Some even want to buy weapons.

“We have a security system, and we got locks, and I’ll probably be getting a gun now and probably more surveillance as well,” said resident David Murphy.

Murphy and others described this Carmel Mountain neighborhood as a safe, quite place where break-ins – especially armed home invasions – rarely occur.

As soon as he heard the police on Thursday morning, neighbor Hao Ho said he ran upstairs to check on his 2-year-old.

Now, he is going out to get an alarm system and will make sure his family always locks the doors.

“I've told my wife, you always need to lock your door, lock the gate,” Ho said. “They probably tried to go try out home, but since our gate and door are locked, they probably skip by.”

The SDPD stressed the importance of locking your doors, every night and every door. It may seem like a simple thing, but officers said it is a huge deterrent.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 ]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Staying Put - For Now]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 20:58:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/RaidersStadiumChargers.jpg

Just like the Chargers, the Oakland Raiders are staying put in their current city.

For now.

For the 2016 Season, the Raiders will continue to play their home games at O.co Coliseum in Oakland.

City and county officials announced Thursday that this lease extension is for 2016 with options for 2017 and 2018. The Raiders also announced the agreement on their website.

The team's current lease was set to expire next Wednesday.

The Raiders have played in their current facility since 1995.

If the Chargers work out a stadium deal in San Diego and waive their option to relocate to LA, Raiders owner Mark Davis could relocate his team to Los Angeles and partner with Stan Kroenke and the Rams.

If that happens, the Silver and Black would be co-tenants of the new Inglewood stadium which is expected to be completed in 2019.

The Raiders have also been linked to San Diego (should the Chargers choose to bolt to LA after the 2016 season), San Antonio and Las Vegas as possible relocation cities.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stadium Solution May Have New Lease on Life]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 20:08:37 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/211*120/01-18-2016-rendering-inglewood-rams-stadium.jpg While last year's attempts to build a stadium in San Diego faltered, this year's prospects have a new lease on life. NBC 7's Gene Cubbison has a look at challenges to come.

Photo Credit: HKS]]>
<![CDATA[Inmate Attacks 2 Correctional Officers at State Prison]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:13:39 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DonovanPrison.jpg

An inmate left two correctional peace officers with injuries after an attack at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.

Wednesday afternoon, inmate Michael Stevens, 58, punched a correctional officer in the face, knocking him to the ground, officials said. Stevens then turned to another officer and hit him several times in the face until he was unconscious.

Stevens only stopped when other officers arrived and were able to subdue him, according to the state prison.

The first officer suffered minor injuries, while the second had a head injury. Both were taken to an outside hospital and have since been released.

The inmate was treated for minor injuries by prison staff. He has been rehoused in the prison’s administrative segregation unit until an investigation is complete, officials said.

In a similar incident, another three correctional officers from Donovan were hospitalized a week ago in a separate inmate attack.

According to the prison, Stevens was imprisoned on April 13, 2001, on a 10-year sentence for assault with a deadly weapon in Los Angeles County.

In 2003, he was sentenced to life with parole while in a Kern County prison for battery on a peace officer and similar offenses.

Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego]]>
<![CDATA[Restricting Access to Border Bus Terminal Unfair: Bus Owners]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:43:40 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/san+ysidro+bus+terminal.PNG

A decades-long squabble between a commercial property owner and San Diego’s transit agency may impact how thousands travel at the U.S.-Mexico border.

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) got a court order this week to block a doorway that allows commuters to walk to a bus terminal through the McDonald’s trolley station building in San Ysidro.

If the doorway is boarded up, MTS trolley riders headed to the bus terminal will have to walk around the large building property and around a parking lot.

The building offers the only elevator to get to the second level and bus terminal. The bus terminal walkway is also the only current pedestrian pathway into Mexico. The public access is a busy road with no sidewalks.

Small bus company owners with storefronts inside the McDonald’s building are complaining that cutting off access to the terminal unfairly disadvantages their business and steers more business to the bus giant Greyhound.

MTS owns the land and leases it to SYPS, LLC. Greyhound Lines, Inc. is a subsidiary of First America which has a major ownership interest in SYPS, LLC.

Greyhound has ticket kiosks outside at the north and south side of the bus terminal, but none inside the building. Operators of the smaller bus companies fear cutting off their customer’s access to the outside terminal gives Greyhound an unfair advantage.

An MTS spokesman said because the matter is part of ongoing litigation, the government agency could not comment. A spokeswoman for Greyhound also said she could not comment because of the ongoing litigation.

In October 2012, MTS sole-sourced the lease to SYPS LLC. The company has never paid rent to MTS for the bus terminal property.

Instead, it put in improvements like shade, benches and restrooms, spending $500,000 on the renovations.

Consultant Steve Padilla, who is working for the building owners and helping the small bus companies, said the work is not up to standard.

“Part of the deal was that this company would build improvements out here: covered places to rest with shade, restrooms, and benches, but if you look around at what the public got for half-a-million dollars spent, there’s a technical term for it: It’s crap,” Padilla said.

The restrooms are a metal cage with open stalls the company is charging travelers 50-cents to use.

“They look very cheap and they look temporary. I don’t think it’s appropriate to build restrooms for the public that have a portion of the door open where you can look in and see someone using the restroom from the ankles down,” Padilla said. “I don’t think these facilities would be accepted in other parts of the county, but for some reason because it’s a border community, it’s OK. I’m offended by that."

Andrea Skorepa, the president and CEO of San Ysidro nonprofit Casa Familiar, sent a letter to MTS' chairman, calling the changes to the terminal "archaic at best."

"Outdoor bathrooms, without complete privacy, open to the elements is unacceptable, offensive, and open disregard for decency for the hundreds of thousands of travelers that fill up the coffers of your controlled transportation operations..."

<![CDATA[California Student Information Released to Nonprofit]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:53:22 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/College-student-generic-bac.jpg

Millions of public schools students will soon have their personal information and school records handed over to a nonprofit community organization.  

The Concerned Parents Association fought for the data in federal district court and won over the objections of the California Department of Education.

The Concerned Parents Association said they need the information to see if California schools are violating the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other related laws. The database they will have access to includes all children, kindergarten through high school, who are attending or have attended a California school at any time since Jan. 1, 2008. 

The database has a student's name, social security number, home address, course information, behavior and discipline information, progress reports, mental health and medical information, along with suspensions, expulsions and more.

That doesn't sit well with privacy groups. Beth Givens with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse said it's "shocking that the court would release this sort of information."

Eva Velasquez with the Identity Theft Resource Center agreed. "A lot of that information could be used to commit identity theft if it gets into the wrong hands," she said.

The attorney for the Concerned Parents Association, Rony Sagy, told NBC 7 the information will only be accessible to a handful of people and will have a "Special Master" who will certify that security measures are followed.

"The issue isn't why they want it," said Velasquez. "The issue is that it creates vulnerabilities and access points."

Students and parents can opt-out of the list by following detailed instructions from the district court. However there appears to be very little being done on the state or local level to inform parents of the disclosure.

To find out more about the court case and how to opt-out, click here to the ID Theft Center's website.

<![CDATA[Scientists Show Effects of El Nino on SoCal Beaches]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:28:46 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San+diego+coast.jpg

The military is funding a coastline study to help determine how El Nino and climate change could impact its facilities and bases close to the ocean.

Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography are using flights across the coast to take precise measurements of beach topography that may explain El Nino’s possible effects on local beaches and cliffs. The study is paid for by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Oceanographers Ken Melville and Luc Lenain are leading the aircraft-based project, using an imaging suite called Modular Aerial Sensing System (MASS), according to Scripps.

Melville said they had to speed up funding because the beaches were already changing. The oceanographers found sea levels along the Southern California coast are up to nine inches higher than historical averages.

In the midst of one of the strongest El Nino seasons in the past 60 years, the ONR and USACE are concerned with the possible consequences on how they design buildings on the coast, said the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

“The Navy has a huge infrastructure at sea level and needs to understand the impact of storms and sea-level change not only in Southern California, but around the globe,” said Tom Drake, the director of Ocean, Atmosphere, and Space Research at ONR.

He said the new data will help them understand how El Nino is changing the shape of the Southern California coast and give insight on how to predict future change.

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography said MASS uses a variety of tools to take beach topography measurements, including lidar, a laser technology that surveys distance by illuminating a specific target. With this laser technology combined with a GPS instrument and motion sensors, the oceanographers are able to scan the ocean in swaths of beach up to 600 meters wide.

According to Melville, the final product of collected data will explain how the sea level, storms and tides will affect beach and cliff topography during El Nino 2015-16. This will allow cities and states to adapt their management of coastal and urban infrastructure in response to higher sea levels in the upcoming decades.

“The Department of the Navy is keenly interested in understanding the potential effects of climate change and sea-level rise, and this coastal survey is a great example of the strategic partnerships that we contribute to and learn from to that end,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Karnig Ohannessian in a news release.

“The science informs key stakeholders in a whole-of-community approach to planning and adaptation, which ensures infrastructure resilience and enhances the Navy's mission readiness.”

Melville believes these types of measurements should be conducted on a regular basis to track the health of local beaches.

However, El Nino is not the only influence on rising sea levels, said the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. There's also an unusual pool of warm upper-ocean water dubbed "the Blob," which has been around in the West Coast since 2014. The combination of the Blob and El Nino have further strengthened the rising sea levels, amid a continuing pattern of increasing eastern Pacific temperatures.

Photo Credit: Scripps Institute of Oceanography ]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Drives Off in Stolen Car With Baby Inside]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 07:22:15 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Escondido-police-generic-11.jpg

A mother who left her 5-month-old girl in her car got a horrible scare when she returned to find her baby and car had disappeared in Escondido.

The woman left her car running with her child inside as she ran into her apartment in the 1000 block of Rock Springs Road to grab something she forgot, Escondido police said.

While she was inside, a man jumped into her 2014 Toyota Camry and drove off in the car at about 3 p.m.

"He was far from the car but ran as fast as he could before the mother came," said Omar Garcia, who was playing soccer nearby.

Omar and his friends witnessed the whole thing and immediately told the shocked woman what happened when she returned.

"We told her mom, and her mom started crying and called police," said Allen Ponce.

About 50 minutes later, a citizen reported seeing the stolen car. Officers found it abandoned in the 1500 block of East Grand Avenue in Escondido. The baby was inside and unharmed.

"She's like my child, so I felt very concerned about her safety," the girl's aunt told NBC 7. "We're happy she is safe and healthy and good."

Police are still looking for the suspect and are investigating if there was a second person in the car. A similar incident happened late Wednesday night, when a man stole a Nissan from a National City hotel with an 18-month-old baby sleeping in the backseat.

The neighborhood parents are impressed with the way their children handled the situation and acted as witnesses for the police.

"We are proud of him. We tried to teach him to whenever he sees something bad, call police," said Roger Pounce, Allen's father.

The suspect is described as a man in his 30s with a medium height and build. He was wearing a white T-shirt and dark-colored pants and had an unknown tattoo under his right shirt sleeve.

<![CDATA[SD Explained: How to Replace Marne Foster]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:05:26 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/marne+foster.JPG

With San Diego Unified School Board Trustee Marne Foster’s plea agreement and sudden resignation, the rest of the board is left scrambling to fill the seat.

They had the option to appoint someone temporarily or hold a special election. But with the 2016 primary and general election right around the corner, it would’ve been expensive and cumbersome to hold a special primary and runoff in time. They’ve instead decided to appoint someone by Feb. 23.

The appointed member, though, will only stay in office until the elected trustee replaces him or her in December.

So far, two candidates are vying for the seat.

On this week’s San Diego Explained, VOSD’s Scott Lewis and NBC 7’s Monica Dean explain the school board’s election process and how it’s different than other elections.

<![CDATA[Navy’s New Ship to Homeport in San Diego]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 15:04:40 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/USS-John-P-Murtha.jpg

San Diego will be home to a new amphibious landing ship set to be commissioned this summer, the U.S. Navy announced Thursday.

Navy officials say USS John P. Murtha will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego. The vessel is a San Antonio-class amphibious landing ship currently being built by Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Its namesake, John P. Murtha, served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 41 years and was a Vietnam Veteran.

According to the Navy, stationing amphibious landing ships like USS John P. Murtha in a West Coast port adds to the Navy’s robust maritime force and “supports the rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, placing our most advanced capabilities and greater capacity in that vital theater.”

By 2020, the Navy says about 60 percent of its ships and aircraft will be based in the region.

The Navy says LPDs are used to transport and land U.S. Marines, their equipment and supplies. The ships also support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups.

For updates on the progress of USS John P. Murtha, visit the vessel’s Facebook page.

Congresswoman Susan Davis, who represents the 53rd Congressional District, which includes La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and parts of San Diego, El Cajon and Chula Vista released a statement Friday regarding news of the USS John P. Murtha homeporting in San Diego.

Davis is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, serving as the Ranking Member of the Military Personnel Subcommittee.

“I was proud to learn that the USS Murtha was going to call San Diego its home. John was a friend, a colleague, and valuable member of the House Armed Services Committee,” said Davis.

“His commitment to the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces and to the nation he served was undeniable. I know that the sailors who will serve aboard the USS Murtha will enjoy being homeported in San Diego and will be proud to be associated with a vessel bearing his name,” she added.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[7 Restored Sculptures Unveiled at Plaza de Panama]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:41:08 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Balboa+Park+Art+Museum+of+Man+027.JPG

Seven art sculptures once confined to storage are now on public display at Plaza de Panama, the heart of Balboa Park.

The pieces – unveiled by city and museum leaders for the first time Thursday – line the grounds in front of the San Diego Museum of Art. Each sculpture has been painstakingly restored as part of a project long in the works spearheaded by the San Diego Museum of Art.

Together, the sculptures create a free, mini outdoor exhibit dubbed “Art of the Open Air” in a space that, not long ago, housed traffic and cars, not art.

“What was once a parking lot is now an art gallery,” said San Diego Councilmember Todd Gloria, referring to Plaza de Panama.

“Plaza de Panama has evolved into a wonderful public space and serves as the perfect stage to connect park patrons to the artwork in the museums,” Gloria added at Thursday’s unveiling ceremony.

The sculptures were created by world-renowned artists, including Auguste Rodin, Joan Miro, Lynn Chadwick and Tony Rosenthal using various materials such as bronze, painted fiberglass and aluminum. They will be on display 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through at least Feb. 13, 2018.

One of the pieces is a fiberglass piece with an acrylic urethane finish created in 1989 by Luis Jimenez dubbed “Border Crossing/Cruzando el Rio Bravo.”

The piece, which towers high above, depicts a migrant family as they struggle to cross the border. A man, head hanging low and eyes closed, carries a woman on his shoulders. The woman carries a crying infant.

Other hard-to-miss pieces include “The Watchers,” a bronze sculpture created in 1960 by Lynn Russell Chadwick, and a bright, red aluminum masterpiece, “Odyssey III,” created in 1973 by Tony Rosenthal.

“Art of the Open Air” was a collaborative effort between the museum and the City of San Diego.

The San Diego Museum of Art raised more than $250,000 through a crowdfunding campaign known as “#FreetheArt” and other donations to fund the display. The money raised was used towards the restoration of the artwork, installation, security and lighting.

Gloria said the art pieces are an “investment” that add to the beauty and culture of Balboa Park.

“I am grateful to the San Diego Museum of Art for this investment which showcases Balboa Park’s ability to shine as a premier institution dedicated to the promotion of arts and culture.”

Thursday’s grand unveiling was also attended by Roxana Velasquez, executive director of the San Diego Museum of Art, and Dana Springs, executive director of the City of San Diego Commission of Arts and Culture. Velasquez and Springs also touted the collaborative efforts of the project and were proud to introduce old-turned-new art to the public.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[At 40, Meb Keflezighi's Got Nothing to Lose]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:57:48 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/meb+keflezighi.jpg

When Meb Keflezighi lines up for his final Olympic qualifying race on Saturday in Los Angeles he’ll look to add one more record to his illustrious career by becoming the oldest American male to win the USA marathon trials, again.

Meb was 36 years old when he won the top spot on team USA for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

“2012 London was technically supposed to be my last Olympics. I thought it was going to be my last Olympics but I got another spark of energy by finishing 4th there” said Keflezighi.

A lot has changed since London, mostly all of it good.

In the 2014 Boston Marathon, one year after the bombings, his iconic victory served as a source of national pride.

He moved his wife and three daughters back to San Diego from Mammoth, where he still trains occasionally, and travels often for speaking engagements.

He balances commencement speeches, sponsorship commitments, and corporate gatherings with daily training sessions in his quest for a fourth Olympics.

At 40, Keflezighi’s body still does the job, but experience and strategy will work in his favor as he joins 370 of America’s finest marathoners in Los Angeles for the trials.

The top three men and top three women will earn a spot on team USA for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

“I’m 40 years old, I’ve got nothing to lose, I mean how good can the frosting be? I’ve got a legitimate good shot at making the team” said Keflezighi.

Steven Luke reports on Meb's unique training tool that he uses in place of running to stay healthy tonight on NBC 7 News at 6 p.m.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested, Again, in Murder of Neighbor]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:21:35 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/potrero+shooting+3+22.jpg

A man suspected of killing his neighbor – who was jailed nearly a year ago for the crime but then released – was arrested once more on the murder charge Wednesday, officials confirmed.

Michael Walliser, 68, is accused of shooting and killing his neighbor, Ronald Drinkard, 50, on March 22, 2015, at his home in the 23300 block of Coyote Holler Road in Potrero, a rural community about 45 miles southeast of downtown San Diego.

That night, at around 6:45 p.m., Walliser called the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) to report he had shot Drinkard. When deputies arrived at Walliser’s home, they found Drinkard’s lifeless body on the front porch.

Homicide detectives launched an investigation and Walliser was arrested the night of the shooting. He was booked into San Diego Central Jail but, ultimately, charges were not issued against him and he was released, the SDSO said.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s (ME) office conducted an autopsy on Drinkard and determined he was a victim of homicide and had died from multiple gunshot wounds.

On Feb. 10, SDSO homicide detectives issued a warrant for Walliser’s arrest on one count of murder. The next day, Walliser was taken into custody at his home on Bartley Place in Escondido.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on this case should contact SDSO’s Homicide Detail at (858) 974-2321 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Oceanside DMV Evacuated]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:55:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Oceanside-DMV-021116_3.jpg

The Department of Motor Vehicles office in Oceanside was evacuated Thursday for a suspicious device.

At 11 a.m., a California Highway Patrol Officer leaving the DMV noticed an ammunition canister set next to his patrol vehicle that was not there when he went inside the building.

The officer checked surveillance video and noticed a man left the canister near the vehicle.

The office was evacuated as a precaution and the San Diego County Sheriff's Bomb/Arson team was brought in to investigate.

After X-raying the canister, investigators said they believed it was not an explosive device.

They opened the item and found computer hard drives inside, according to CHP Officer Lt. Charles Leonard.

No injuries were reported. No one was arrested. 

Photo Credit: Erik Ho, NBC 7 ]]>
<![CDATA[Family, Friends Welcome Home USS Higgins Crew]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:38:47 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/USS-Higgins-Homecoming-021116.jpg USS Higgins returned to San Diego Thursday with more than 300 sailors aboard. NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports for NBC 7 News Midday.]]> <![CDATA[Santee Gymnastics Coach Arrested]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 06:41:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Champion-Gymnastics-Cheer-Santee_2.jpg

A Santee coach is accused of having a sexual relationship with a girl at a local gymnastics center.

Patrick Wehrung, 25, was arrested by San Diego Police Feb. 9 after parents of a 15-year-old girl called investigators.

San Diego Police investigators say they found evidence of a relationship between the coach and the gymnast spanning several months.

On several occasions, the girl was picked up by Wehrung and taken to La Jolla Shores, police said.

Wehrung worked as a coach for Champion Gymnastics and Cheer in Santee. Images of Wehrung on the center’s social media pages show him working out with some of the gymnasts.

Gym owner J.J. Ross said the alleged victim took lessons at the gym but she was not coached by Wehrung.

Ross said he’s “sick” over the allegations since he has known Wehrung for years. Ross said he considered himself a second father to Wehrung since he began coaching him as a junior high school student.

According to Ross, Wehrung worked at the gym for more than four years before he was fired on Jan. 22. Ross said he has worked to maintain a friendly, family atmosphere at the gym.

"Very frustrating. I've done my absolute best to do the right thing by these families and these children, that this is a place that is safe, happy, joyful. This individual has immensely affected that," he said.

Wehrung faces charges of unlawful sexual intercourse, oral copulation and penetration with a foreign object.

He is out on bail and was given a hearing date for Feb. 18 at which he will be arraigned and formally charged, according to a spokesperson from the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.

Anyone with information can call San Diego Police at 619-531-2210 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477. 

If you think you have information regarding this story, you can contact NBC 7 Investigates at (619) 578-0393.

<![CDATA[Bonita Man Identified as Fugitive Wanted in Decades-Old Sex Crime]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:26:20 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SelasArraignPIC-PIC_0.jpg

A man who claims marshals arrested the wrong man will still be held without bail, a judge ruled Thursday, deciding he is in fact the fugitive arrested in San Diego last month on allegations of sexually assaulting children decades ago in another state.

U.S. marshals arrested Frank Selas, 76, at his home on Casa Verde Court in Bonita on Jan. 25. Selas has pleaded not guilty to a fugitive charge and is fighting extradition.

In a San Diego courtroom Thursday a judge agreed that prosecutors and marshals had the same individual wanted on a decades-old allegation from Louisiana.

Marshals say they positively identified the defendant based on his physical appearance, his date of birth and his Social Security number.

Also, Selas allegedly told marshals that he was aware of the outstanding arrest warrants, according to Deputy District Attorney Richard Madruga.

The arrest warrant stems from the late 1970s, when Selas was accused of abusing children during a camping trip near Valentine Lake at Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. At the time, Selas hosted the "Mr. Wonder" show on KNOE-TV in north Louisiana.

Louisiana law enforcement officials obtained a warrant for Selas' arrest in relation to two counts of obscene behavior with a juvenile.

When officials went to his home, his wife told them her husband had fled in the family car. In the coming days, officials would find Selas' car in Dallas. Selas, then 39, allegedly fled the country and flew from Dallas to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, before investigators could arrest him.

When Selas returned to the U.S., investigators say he changed his last name and Social Security number.

Defense attorney Marc Carlos admitted there was some similarity between his client and the photographs of "Mr. Wonder" but he argued at a hearing Thursday that there is no fingerprint evidence. He also disputes that his client changed the spelling of his last name to avoid detection.

“Szelas is, in fact, his family name, his father’s name and has always been his family name,” Carlos told the court.

The judge ruled prosecutors and marshals have proven Selas is the man wanted in Louisiana. Now, prosecutors say they will await a governor's warrant to proceed with extradition.

Investigators say Selas spent the last three decades living in San Diego and volunteering with community organizations including the Cub Scouts and the American Red Cross.

NBC 7 Investigates is looking into connections between Selas and community groups in our region. If you have information, please contact our hotline at (619) 578-0393 or email NBC7Investigates@nbcuni.com.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: Restored Art Unveiled at Balboa Park]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:35:04 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Balboa+Park+Art+Museum+of+Man+027.JPG Seven restored sculptures are now on display at Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama, right in front of the San Diego Museum of Art. The free, outdoor, public exhibit is called "Art of the Open Space."

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Swimmers Beware: Dangerous Conditions Expected]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:33:04 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/weather+11-PIC_0.jpg

Summer-like temperatures will send crowds to the beaches this weekend, but dangerous swimming conditions will be present, starting Friday.

The National Weather Service has issued a Beach Hazard for San Diego and Orange County beaches, starting Friday, and lasting through Sunday evening.

A large west-northwest swell is expected to produce surf of 3 to 6 feet on Friday. Waves will build to 4 to 7 feet on Saturday. Local sets of 8 feet are possible, north of Newport Beach and south of Del Mar.

Surf of 3 to 6 feet is expected on Sunday.

Of even greater concern will be dangerous rip currents.

“This will not be a good weekend to go in the water,” said NBC 7’s Meteorologist Jodi Kodesh. “Powerful rip currents will make it difficult to swim, even for experienced swimmers.”

Kodesh says, if you insist on swimming at the beach, swim near a lifeguard.

“Lifeguards will be able to tell you where the rip currents are, and where it is safer to swim,” said Kodesh.

Kodesh said this swell is being produced by a storm system that is currently moving into the Pacific Northwest.

<![CDATA[San Diego Rescue Mission Expands Main Campus]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:55:52 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San-Diego-Rescue-Mission-Google-Maps.jpg

The San Diego Rescue Mission took over 7,300 square feet of office space across the street from its main campus at 120 Elm St.

The faith-based organization offers shelter, care and rehabilitation to the homeless, addicted, abused and poor in San Diego.

The new space, on the top floor of St. Paul’s PACE Building at 111 Elm St., will house both the organization’s new education programming services and the Rescue Mission’s corporate offices.

The current facility, of nearly 5,000 square feet, will also be upgraded to serve the long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

"With the addition of our transitional housing programs and new Children’s Center, plus the consistent influx of homeless individuals seeking recovery, we simply need more room,” said Herb Johnson, president and chief executive officer of San Diego Rescue Mission, in the company’s release.

Founded in 1955, the rescue mission has expanded its services over time from a soup kitchen, short-term shelter and services for men to sheltering women and children, providing programs for education and vocational training. The mission has two other locations, a men’s facility at 1150 J St. and a women's and children’s center on South 16th Street.

Each month in 2015 the mission provided 12,500 nights of shelter to the homeless, served more than 37,000 meals and provided more than 82,000 hours of education, work training, rehabilitation and Christian care to residents in long-term programs.

Photo Credit: Google Maps
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Displaces 4 in Valencia Park]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:48:48 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Joe-Amador-San-Diego-Fire-021116.jpg NBC 7's Candice Nguyen reports on the fire late Wednesday that left four people needing a place to stay.]]> <![CDATA[Pedestrian Hit by Car Near La Jolla Taco Shop]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:30:38 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Policelightsgeneric.jpg

A 69-year-old man walking near a taco shop in La Jolla was hit by a car Thursday morning, police confirmed.

The collision happened just before 7:40 a.m. in the 7000 block of La Jolla Boulevard near Rigoberto’s Mexican eatery. The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said the pedestrian was walking west, in the crosswalk, when a Ford Ranger driven by a 22-year-old man struck him.

The victim suffered a serious hip injury, police said, as well as a head injury. He was taken to a local hospital. As of 10:30 a.m., his condition was unknown.

The driver was not injured. He remained on scene and cooperated with officers. Southbound La Jolla Boulevard was blocked off to traffic following the crash.

The investigation is ongoing, but police do not believe alcohol was a factor in this incident.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[San Diegans Report Mystery 'Streak' in Sky]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 20:04:47 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/streak+in+sky.PNG

Dozens of San Diegans reported seeing a mysterious bright blue and green streak across the sky Thursday morning, which may have been a meteor.

One San Diego resident told NBC 7 she spotted a blue and green flash in the sky just before 6 a.m., as she drove on Ted Williams Parkway near Interstate 15 near Carmel Mountain.

Another woman, who lives in Carlsbad, said she saw a blue light streak quickly across the sky.

Another San Diego resident, Rebecca Arvig, described a “bright blue-ish object that flew across the sky” just before 6:40 a.m.

“It only lasted a few seconds, but everyone going southbound could not have missed it,” Arvig told NBC 7. “It looked like someone was welding in the sky. It was very far away and moving at a very high speed.”

NBC 4 Los Angeles said Griffith Observatory directors said the “streak” may have been a bright meteor or space debris. Many residents in Los Angeles and across Southern California also reported the sighting, NBC 4 reported.

The possible meteor was also seen by commuters at Wildcat Canyon Road in Lakeside. Reported sightings also flooded in from Chula Vista, Poway, Ramona, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa Fe, Coronado and La Jolla, to name a few spots.

One person said her sighting lasted about eight seconds. Others said the streak was not accompanied by smoke, just a trail “that faded and disappeared behind it.”

“It turned white then burnt out,” described Sarah Palleson. “No smoke trail of any kind.”

“It was awesome,” Steve Smith, a member of a Ramona community forum, said on Facebook. “It looked like it came into the atmosphere then went back out to space.”

“Saw it leaving Ramona while I was approaching Mussey Grade. Absolutely incredible,” added Michael Christopher.

Carrie Jaquess said she saw the flash in the sky around 6:35 a.m. during her morning walk in Rancho Bernardo.

"It was way bigger and brighter than any comet I've seen at nighttime and this was in the daylight," she said.

Wendy Peterson was in Chula Vista, traveling southbound on Telegraph Canyon Road at around 6:35 a.m. when the bright streak caught her eye.

"It went right across from one side to the other but not to high in the sky," she explained. "And just disappeared."

Michael Degnan also said he witnessed the mystery streak, at around 6:40 a.m.

"It was burning and the colors seemed to go from blue to green to white, it lasted long maybe five seconds or so," Degnan recounted. "It looked so close that I was sure that debris was going to be found somewhere. Once it turned white it was gone; no sound, but extremely close."

NBC 7 reached out to the Palomar Observatory to see if their sky cameras captured footage of the reported streak.

Steve Flanders, public affairs coordinator at Palomar Observatory, said the facility's cameras are typically turned off in the early hours of the morning, as daytime meteor sightings are rare.

"It must've been very bright," Flanders said, referring to the descriptions from witnesses of the bright blue and green colors.
Flanders said it sounds like the streak could have been a meteor or other space debris.

“It could’ve very possibly been a meteor entering the atmosphere,” he said.

Flanders also said the flash could've also simply been some type of material left over from a satellite or other space tool humans put into orbit.

When those objects or tools are no longer in use, they can decay, Flanders said, and that debris can re-enter the atmosphere.

Did you see it? Tell us about your sighting in the comments section below.

<![CDATA[Thief Steals Car With Baby Sleeping in Backseat]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:19:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/stolen-car-baby-national-city-0211.jpg

A man called National City Police to tell them the car he stole had a sleeping baby in the backseat.

The 18-month-old boy was sleeping in his car seat in the back of the keyless entry 2009 Nissan Maxima parked in the Days Inn parking lot on E Street, just south of downtown San Diego.

The mother told NBC 7 that she was checking in to the motel with a friend around 11:40 p.m. Wednesday and left her son in the car. When she came outside, the car was driving out of the parking lot.

Nearly an hour later, someone called National City Police to report a baby in the black of a Nissan on K Avenue.

The toddler was found inside the vehicle still secured in his car seat and unharmed, police said.

The mother said while she waited the 45 minutes for the car to be found, she feared the worst – imagining the suspect would drive into Mexico. 

Steven Luna, 25, of Chula Vista was arrested on charges of being under the influence of a controlled substance and car theft. 

Police said Luna later admitted to stealing the car. He told officers that he called police after he noticed the sleeping child.

The reunion of the mother and son was caught on camera. 

Refresh this page for updates on this breaking news story.

<![CDATA['It's Terrifying:' SDPD Investigates 2 Home Invasions]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 22:00:02 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/home-invasion-case-021116_3.jpg

San Diego Police are investigating two home invasion robberies in a span of less than two hours. 

Just before 3 a.m., three suspects entered a home on Spring Meadow Lane in Sabre Springs through a side door. A family with two children was sleeping inside the home south of Poway Road and east of Interstate 15.

The suspects were confronted by the homeowner and fled the scene, police said.

“If you’re asleep in your home and somebody comes into your home and you’re woken up and realize there are strangers in your home, it’s terrifying,” said Lt. Kevin Mayer with SDPD.

Four miles away, around 5:30 a.m., several people living on Breezeway Place were awakened, robbed at gunpoint and tied up, police said. The suspects got away with some items.

A father and his two adult sons were restrained but were able to free themselves, go next door and call police. A toddler was asleep in the home at the time, according to SDPD Lt. Todd Griffin.

One neighbor who identified herself only as Jennifer told NBC 7 she answered her door and found one of the victims asking her to call police.

"He had broken zip ties on his hands so I assumed they had been zip tied," the neighbor said.

The location of this robbery is inside the Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club just east of Interstate 15 and north of Ted Williams Parkway.

Neighbor Caroline Palmer said they do lock their doors at night but this kind of crime in the community is still frightening.

“It’s kind of scary because this has always been a safe neighborhood,” Palmer said. “We’ve never worried about people breaking in or robberies.”

In each case, the robbers were armed with handguns, police said.

Griffin said officers were looking into the possibility that another home in the neighborhood was burglarized this morning.

Officers were doing a house-by-house check to collect evidence when officers discovered a door open on the home. They cleared the home and found it empty. They have contacted the homeowner to go inside the home and determine if it's been burglarized.

Now, the SDPD is asking for help solving the crimes. If someone who lives in the area has a home surveillance system, police want to take a look at your video from the past week to try to identify a suspect.

Investigators are interested in the following areas: 

  • 10700 Passerine Way
  • 11400 Aliento Court
  • 11300 Spring Meadow Lane
  • 14200 Breezeway Place

Officials said the suspects may be driving a dark gray or silver, newer model sedan or a white, newer model sedan with a sunroof. The crimes took place between midnight at 5 a.m.

Three suspects were sought in a home invasion in Rancho Bernardo. However police have not linked the crimes or suspects.

On Friday, Feb. 5 three men broke into a home on Aliento Court, a cul-de-sac located west of West Bernardo Drive and north of Bernardo Center Drive. A couple was held at gunpoint and items were stolen, police said.

At the time, investigators said that incident may be connected to another residential robbery that occurred Sunday, Jan. 31 on Passerine Way in Sorrento Valley.

"Unfortunately in each case they've been wearing hoodies, with their faces covered, bandanas, gloves," Griffin said.

“So far we’ve not drawn any connection between suspects and victims in these cases,” said Griffin. “It’s too early to tell.”

For homeowners, the best line of defense is to lock their doors, according to police. The homes with doors left unlocked were targeted, Griffin said.

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