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La Jolla crime and public safety news: Piano shop owner to stand trial on 38 counts, La Jolla man and partner to face 61 felony charges in ‘safe syringe’ case

Piano shop owner to stand trial on 38 counts, La Jolla man and partner to face 61 felony charges in ‘safe syringe’ case

In this 2013 photo, Peter Schroeder plays a piano he told La Jolla Light was used in concert by Leonard Bernstein. Later that year, Schroeder contacted the Light to say he was looking to sell his business to someone who would keep it in Bird Rock.
In this 2013 photo, Peter Schroeder plays a piano he told La Jolla Light was used in concert by Leonard Bernstein. Later that year, Schroeder contacted the Light to say he was looking to sell his business to someone who would keep it in Bird Rock.
Pat Sherman

Peter Schroeder stand trial on 38 counts

Following more than five hours of testimony during an April 23 preliminary hearing, a superior court judge ordered former Bird Rock piano store owner Peter Schroeder to stand trial on 38 counts of grand theft, elder abuse and misappropriation of funds.

Nineteen victims say they placed pianos for sale on consignment at Schroeder’s La Jolla Boulevard piano shop, but received only part of the money Schroeder agreed to pay them, and did not have their instruments returned.

La Jolla resident Thomas Hull, 80, said that in 2009 he left his late wife’s heirloom Steinway piano with Schroeder, who agreed to ask $34,000 for it. Hull said Schroeder was not present on subsequent visits to the piano shop, and did not return phone calls asking if the piano had sold. Hall said that only after stopping in with his daughter one day to request the piano be returned did he receive an e-mail from Schroeder informing him that the piano had been sold the previous day for $13,000.

Hull said the most he has received to date is a cashier’s check for $2,000.

Schroeder pleaded not guilty to all charges. A trial date will be set when he next appears in court, 1:30 p.m. May 7, San Diego Superior Court, Dept. 11, 220 W. Broadway.

La Jolla man and partner to face 61 felony charges in ‘safe syringe’ case

Two men arrested in a medical equipment fraud investigation were charged with 61 felonies last month, accused of conning people into investing millions in an allegedly safe syringe.

La Jolla resident Matthew Mazur and business partner Carlos Manjarrez entered not guilty pleas to all charges after investigators found records indicating they collected about $64 million from their victims, according to Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gianera.

The men would show victims a prototype of a syringe called “SafeSnap,” in which the needle folded into a container that could be thrown away. They told investors they sold millions of the SafeSnap syringes, tricking them into investing in the U.S. Medical Instruments company, though there is no evidence the syringes were produced at that level, Gianera said

The case alleges 15 victims paid $4 million to the company, though investigators believe there are more victims, who invested as much as $64 million since 2008.

The judge set bail at $2 million for each defendant for charges that include tax fraud, elder abuse, grand theft and fraud.

Gianera said a preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 3 in Dept. 11 of San Diego Superior Court.

She said because the case involved a numerous police reports and background checking, “it’s going to take the attorneys a substantial period of time to prepare.”

POLICE BLOTTER

April 17

• Residential burglary, 7900 block St. Louis Terrace, 7 a.m.

• Residential burglary, 6000 block Avenida Cresta, 4:30 p.m.

• Commercial burglary, 8300 block Camino del Oro, 5 p.m.

April 18

• Assault with a deadly weapon other than firearm or bodily force, 9600 block La Jolla Farms Road, 3:30 p.m.

April 19

• Vehicle break-in/theft, 8600 block La Jolla Shores Drive, 8 a.m.

• Vehicle break-in/theft, 600 block Kirkwood Place, 9:27 p.m.

April 20

• Vandalism ($400 or more), 7500 block Fay Avenue, 8 p.m.

April 21

• Residential burglary, 8400 block Via Mallorca, 11:30 a.m.

April 22

• Battery with serious bodily injury, 5300 block La Jolla Boulevard, 12 p.m.

April 23

• Grand theft, 200 block Kolmar Street, 2 p.m.

• Assault with deadly weapon other than firearm or bodily force, 800 block Midway Street, 6 p.m.

• Vehicle break-in/theft, 8700 block La Jolla Shores Drive, 6:30 p.m.

—San Diego Police Non-Emergency Number: (619) 531-2000.