Berkeley police alerted members of the public of a sudden surge in thefts of catalytic converters from off of cars — chiefly Toyota Priuses. A police news release noted that there have been at least 14 such thefts in the past two weeks, the Daily Californian reported. The devices are stolen for their scrap value due the valuable metals that they contain, including platinum, copper and nickel.
More than 26,000 state government retirees now receive pensions that exceed $100,000 per year from the California Public Employees Retirement system, the East Bay Times reported. Back in 2005, only 1,841 people earned that much in state retirement. $$
Oakland and Hayward police staged joint sting operations along International Boulevard and in a Hayward hotel room where they arrested 43 johns and 2 pimps in a prostitution crackdown that was part of a larger national effort. The Alameda County District Attorney’s office announced that it helped with the four July operations. East Bay Times $$
BART is no longer selling paper tickets at its 19th Street Oakland station, the first step in a long-term initiative to wean all BART users off of paper tickets in favor of plastic Clipper Cards. San Francisco Chronicle. $$
Thanks to the state’s new gas tax and other revenue measures, Caltrans and various local governments are engaged in an unprecedented number of road improvement projects, the East Bay Times reported. Among the improvements is a sorely needed repaving of I-880 between Fruitvale and 23rd Avenues in Oakland. $$
After more than two years of negotiations, the University of California and the University Technical and Professional Employees-Communications Workers of America 9119 union reached a tentative five-year contract that could affect more than 13,000 employees. Members of the union now have until August 8 to ratify the contract, the Daily Cal reported.
Two thieves appear to have stolen filmmaking equipment and years worth of priceless footage from a Berkeley film production company, Berkeleyside reported. Surveillance footage of the apparent heist shows a man and woman removing several computers and several large boxes from the West Berkeley office.