Car Burglar Arrested

The Sun Sentinel reports that an arrest has been made in a string of car burglaries. Sounds like an armed local citizen caught three guys breaking into a car and held one of them at gun point until police came. The other two burglars fled but will hopefully be caught.
Captain Eisenberg indicated that the burglaries have been taking place at night and are all or mostly unlocked cars. Most of the incidents have been in the rectangle bounded by 441 on the west, Lyons on the east, Palmetto Park on the north and SW 18th on the south.
The big advice: Don’t leave anything of value in your car. And if possible, find a way to make space in your garage so you can keep the car inside.

Shoshana Rachel Stern Accident Analysis

Sad news from Central Boca Raton as we learned that 12-year-old Shoshana Rachel Stern passed away after being hit by a car on Sunday night. Our hearts go out to her family and friends.

Update2: Read about Shoshie’s funeral in the Sun Sentinel, a warm story that brings hope from this tragedy.

Having read some short news stories about this incident, we decided to do a preliminary investigation to see if we can get a better understanding of what happened.
We first read about it in the Sun Sentinel. The story reports that the accident occurred at 7:05 pm. That appears to be before sunset (7:43 pm per It also reports that the driver, Marvin Stanley James was headed westbound. That would suggest he was driving into the sun, which may have impaired his ability to see ahead.
This picture from SunCalc shows the sun would have been positioned nearly due west at the time of the incident, a touch toward West Northwest.

It’s hard to tell whether the sun was a factor. If James was in the far right lane it’s likely trees would have blocked the sun. If he was in the far left lane the sun was a greater risk. We do not know at this point which lane he was in.

Update: Thanks to an anonymous commenter, there’s some indication the accident occurred at a different intersection than the one originally indicated. See image below for a picture of the other intersection of Boca Del Mar Drive and Palmetto Park Road:

In some ways this makes more sense, but on the other hand it doesn’t fit with why the Sun Sentinel referenced “the Boca Colony Apartment Homes nearby”, which are just south of the other intersection. We hope to learn more and further update our analysis. This new information calls into question our earlier analysis, below.

There’s also a short version of the story on the WPEC website. It includes comments posted by readers, some of which seem to be hasty judgments about who is at fault.

One anonymous commenter writes:

Were you there? because I was, and that’s NOT what happened. The driver wasn’t at fault and should NOT be slandered like this. It was a green light for the driver and the girl crossed the crosswalk on her skateboard while the cross walk was RED. She didn’t even stop to look. I also saw the car afterward, and if you had seen the car, you’d see that she literally ran into the car as opposed to the car hitting her

This comment does not seem credible. First, of course, it’s anonymous. Second, looking at this intersection on Google Maps, there is no crosswalk and there’s no light for the driver at all. Here are views from above and a street view.

Of course it’s possible that the intersection has changed since these photos were taken. But it’s hard to see why there would be a crosswalk across Palmetto. There’s no sidewalk on the north side of the road. Indeed it’s puzzling why Ms. Stern, or any pedestrian, would cross Palmetto at this intersection. We will visit the location in the next few days and update if we find anything different.
Another commenter went the other way:

Even IF Shoshana did walk without looking, IT IS UP TO THE DRIVER TO WATCH WHERE IN THE WORLD THEY ARE GOING. Do NOT take the blame off of the driver, he KILLED A BEAUTIFUL CHILD. Shame on you for even trying to defend that guy for killing her.

This also seems to be a hasty judgment. We don’t know what happened yet, and we may never know for sure.
Another writes:

This area is just not pedestrian friendly. Drivers are not paying attention to the road.

We would have to agree that the area is not pedestrian friendly. On this initial analysis that’s because it’s not supposed to be pedestrian friendly. That’s why there’s no crosswalk. Pedestrians should not cross an 8-lane roadway with a 50 mph speed limit at an uncontrolled intersection (no crosswalk, traffic signals or other devices to control vehicle traffic).
With that said, we can’t know whether James did anything wrong. And we don’t know what exactly Stern did or why she did it. We look forward to a full report from the police when it becomes available.
Regardless of fault, we at West Boca News extend our sincere condolences to the Stern family and our thoughts are with Mr. James and his family as well.

Ammo Shortage Continues

Widespread ammunition shortages continue to affect stores. The photo below shows the sparse shelves at the Coconut Creek Walmart.

The most common calibers are nowhere to be seen. Nothing for the most popular rifles either – no .223, 7.62×39, nor .308.
What is on the shelves? Ammo for relatively unpopular rifles such as 7mm, .243, .270, 300, and 30-06. There is also a limited amount of shotgun cartridges.
We have seen this at this store for several months now. Occasionally we see small quantities of .308. Once we saw a few boxes of 9mm and there was a line of people buying it.
Online the situation may be improving slightly but many stores are out of stock on the most common ammunition.

Gunfire In South County Regional Park?

Early this morning, perhaps from 6 – 7:20 am, we heard approximately 15 shots that seemed to come from South County Regional Park, in groups of 3-5 rounds.
We’re not sure what that was. It was not enough for any kind of target shooting competition. Maybe the golf course is trying to take out some kind of nuisance animals, like geese?
We’d love to hear from locals. If anyone knows what those sounds were, please post a comment, or send us an e-mail.

West Boca Man Arrested: Saturnia Resident

William Sands

Reports indicate a Saturnia resident, William Sands,was arrested by the Palm Beach Sheriff on drug charges.
The initial report we read in the Palm Beach Post indicated that Sands was working with a Delray Beach man and that synthetic marijuana was found in a warehouse just north of the library on 441.
We did a little research and found some more details. According to CorporationWiki (which claims to draw its records from official state records), the two men are associated with a few companies including CatchPoint Services, Domsco, and the appropriately named Mary Jane LLC. Mary Jane is a common nickname for marijuana.
The Sheriff lists Sands’ address on Skyridge Circle, which is in the Saturnia development on the far west end of Boca Raton, near the end of Yamato Road. Tax Assessor records indicate the property owners have a completely different last name and a California mailing address. This suggests that Mr. Sands might be a renter.
Here’s the Sheriff’s record on Sands’ arrest: