Probe: Jan. 23, 2002

January 23, 2002

NO GOUGING IN PAL BOOTH — Like the other vendors, we ran out of food at the Farmers Market on Saturday in El Centro. Instead of shutting down, the El Centro Police Athletic League sent for more food and kept selling.

We based the $1 selling price on a taco made with a 4-inch tortilla that we bought at Fiesta Mexican Foods in Brawley. When we ran out, we had to buy replacement tortillas in a market and the market didn't carry the small tortillas.

With bigger tortillas we had to put in more meat. To make a profit, we had to raise the price from $1 to $2. It was not our aim to gouge but to raise money to support sport teams for the kids.

Because we had such good attendance, we made $1,500 this year. That's up from $600 last year. — PAL Director, El Centro


Good job!

QUESTION: My friends told me there was something in PROBE about a man who bought gasoline cards so the family of the toddler with leukemia could take her to San Diego for treatment. I would like to set up a gasoline account for the Rebecca Juarez family of Seeley.

With four of its five members in the hospital, it's important to have relatives visit the injured family members in the hospital. That's doubly important for the 12-year-old son who was not injured in the New Year's fire in their home. — Good Samaritan, Imperial

We think our PROBE hero set up an account at McNeece Oil Co. to have two gasoline cards issued to the parents and grandparents of the leukemia-stricken tot, agreeing to pay for up to 500 gallons of gasoline for the family to take the little girl to San Diego for treatment.

QUESTION: When a police officer stops an individual driving on the highway, does he need probable cause to search the individual and the vehicle?

A little after 5:30 p.m. Monday, one of our employees was traveling near Niland on his way home from work when he was stopped by a deputy sheriff for a broken license plate light.

The driver supplied the requested documents — driver's license, car registration and proof of insurance. The deputy asked, "What's the worst thing you've ever done?" and the motorist confessed to a minor traffic violation.

When the deputy asked to search the vehicle and the motorist's possessions. the driver agreed. When he stepped out of the car, the driver was patted down.

The cop searched the car and the individual's luggage and then allowed him to go without even writing a fix-it ticket. Was this acceptable behavior? Our employee does not look like a suspicious person or drive a suspicious vehicle. — Angry Boss, Holtville

What does a suspicious person or a suspicious vehicle look like?

As long and faithful watchers of "Law and Order" on television, we think the cop had probable cause to stop the car (the broken light). He didn't need probable cause for the search because the driver gave the cop permission to search.

Still, if he thinks he has been wronged, tell your employee to file a complaint at the Sheriff's Office.

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