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Jan 31, 2013 | 3567 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Police, FBI nab suspect in 2010 bank robberies

Police detectives, in cooperation with the FBI, have arrested Bryan W. Leasure, 50, on suspicion of pulling off a pair of bank robberies in Pacific Beach in July and August 2010.

On July 12, 2010, just before 3 p.m., a man entered the Bank of America at 900 Garnet Ave. and waited in the line of customers before he was called to a teller window. The suspect approached a teller and gave him a note demanding cash. The suspect also told the teller not to give him any tracking devices. The teller gave the suspect cash and he fled.

On Aug. 13, 2010, shortly after 10 a.m., the same male walked into the Wells Fargo bank at 1300 Garnet Ave. and approached a teller. The male held up a note demanding cash. The suspect also told the teller that he was serious and asked her if she gave him any tracking devices. The teller gave the male some cash, which he put in his pants pocket before walking out of the bank.

The suspect wore a hat and long-sleeved shirt in both cases, according to police. Both robberies were captured on surveillance video.

Robbery detectives working on the case developed information and collected evidence that eventually lead to the identification of Leasure as the suspect.

Leasure was arrested Jan. 16 as he was leaving his residence at 1400 Quivira Road. Leasure was booked on two counts of commercial robbery.

Sentencing delayed in Craigslist murder case

A judge delayed until March 8 the sentencing of three young men convicted of killing 18-year-old Mission Beach resident Garrett Berki in 2011.

Attorneys for the trio requested more time to prepare for sentencing, as each faces long sentences after their conviction of first-degree murder and two counts of robbery. Berki was a 2010 graduate of La Jolla High School.

The gunman, Rashon Abernathy, 18, could get 50 years — 25 years for murder plus 25 years for using a gun in a homicide. Driver Seandell Lee Jones and passenger Shaquille Jordan, both 19, face sentences of 25 years to life.

The prosecutor did not oppose the sentencing delay. Attorneys are expected to file motions for a new trial.

The shooting occurred in Paradise Hills around 10 p.m. after Berki and his girlfriend, Alejandra Foudoa, drove there on May 11, 2011 to buy a computer advertised on Craigslist. They were robbed of money and cell phones. Berki followed the trio into a cul-de-sac where Berki was shot.

— Neal Putnam

Robber pleads to PB bank heist

An Oceanside man who robbed a Pacific Beach bank on New Year’s Eve pleaded guilty Jan. 15 and faces at least several years in state prison after making a death threat.

The guilty plea by James Arthur McWatters, 36, came early in the case. He had only been in jail 15 days before admitting guilt. Sentencing was set for Feb. 14 in San Diego Superior Court.

McWatters held up a Wells Fargo Bank branch inside Ralph’s grocery store on Mission Boulevard. It occurred at 12:30 p.m. and he fled with about $3,200 in cash. He told a teller “many people will die, including you” if she did not give him money.

Judge Laura Halgren accepted the plea and dismissed a charge of making a criminal threat. McWatters was arrested Jan. 1 at his Oceanside home.

— Neal Putnam

DUI checkpoint nets 12 arrests

Police arrested 12 allegedly impaired drivers on Jan. 18 during a DUI checkpoint in the 2600 block of Ingraham Street in Pacific Beach.

The checkpoint was operational from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m. Police said 612 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, 474 of which were screened by officers. Officers detained 24 motorists, leading to the 12 arrests in or near the checkpoint. Eleven vehicles were impounded. One arrest was also made for public intoxication.

PB Planning Group seeks new members

The Pacific Beach Planning Group (PBPG) is seeking candidates for its annual elections to be held March 27 at the Pacific Beach/Taylor Branch Library from 4:45 to 6:30 p.m.

The PBPG is composed of 20 community volunteers (15 residential and five commercial seats). The group advises the city on new development projects, parking, traffic, future planning and other issues related to the Pacific Beach Community Plan.

Candidates must be residents or business owners/operators in Pacific Beach and must have attended one PBPG meeting prior to the February meeting. The next meeting is Jan. 23. The PBPG meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Pacific Beach/Taylor Branch Library, 4275 Cass St.

For more information and forms, visit www.pbplanning.org or call Imelda McClendon (469)576-3870. Applications are due by March 13.
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