News briefs
Published - 11/22/13 - 02:21 PM | 4138 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Residents are invited to write and send cards of thanks and support to military members, veterans and their families at a special event at the Pacific Beach/Taylor Branch library on Cass Street from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23. Part of a nationwide Red Cross effort, Mails for Heroes is asking Pacific Beach residents to stop by to pen holiday cards supplied by the library or to bring your own no-glitter cards to swap and share. The Red Cross suggests using generic salutations, such as “Dear Service Member,” adding heartfelt messages. The library will bundle the cards and send them to the Red Cross for distribution. For more information, call (858) 581-9934.

— Marsha Kay Seff

Four of five suspects who are charged with mailing packages of marijuana from Pacific Beach and money laundering have pleaded guilty to all charges and will be sentenced Jan. 14.

The lone suspect who hasn’t pleaded guilty is Christopher Gillen, 24, of Pacific Beach, who is awaiting a Dec. 3 preliminary hearing in San Diego Superior Court.

His brother, Kyle Thomas Gillen, 25, and Matthew Schneider, 28, both of Pacific Beach, Mitchell Morris, 25, and Christopher Robin Huntsman, 28, of San Diego have all posted bond following their arrests May 29 and remain free.

Deputy District Attorney Shanish Aloor said the men face different maximum penalties for their respective roles and some had more charges than others. They could go to state prison or county jail.

Christopher Gillen, an alleged ringleader, has pleaded not guilty to charges that also include possession of marijuana for sale and $100,000 in drug proceeds. He remains free on $150,000 bond.

— Neal Putnam

A Pacific Beach man who was on probation for grand theft involving theft from a Mission Beach fitness center has been placed on probation again for defrauding a check-cashing business.

Christopher Antonio Polley, 27, will serve one year in a work furlough project, which will allow him to keep his job as a chef. Polley will have to wear an electronic surveillance ankle bracelet that will enforce a year’s home detention except for school and work activities.

Polley will pay approximately $600 a month for the electronic bracelet that will monitor him under terms of three years probation, said Deputy District Attorney Brendan McHugh. He received credit for eight days in jail from San Diego Superior Court Judge Laura Halgren.

Polley pleaded guilty to commercial burglary of a check-cashing store in which he cashed a $1,500 payroll check after depositing the check by scanning it into his smart phone. Polley thought he canceled the bank deposit on his phone, his attorney said, but Wells Fargo bank accepted the check.

Wells Fargo reimbursed the checking cashing company for $1,500, and settled with Polley about the loss. The reason this became a court case was partly due to Polley already being on probation for defrauding the Wave House fitness center.

Polley is still paying approximately $70,000 in restitution on his 2012 convictions for grand theft, false impersonation and using another person’s identification that he lifted when he worked at the Wave House. He spent 157 days in jail and Halgren reinstated five years probation until 2017 on that case.

No member of the fitness center lost money, and the victims were eBay and PayPal, said his attorney, James Fitzpatrick.

— Neal Putnam
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