PALO ALTO (CBS SF) – Officers arrested a pair of suspected burglars last week who police say are connected to several vehicle break-ins, thanks to the help of one of the victims.
On Jan. 20, police received multiple reports of auto burglaries that evening, with several victims saying thieves broke into their cars while they were out dining.
One of the victims informed officers that she was tracking an electronic device stolen from her vehicle and traced it to a parking lot in Mountain View. Officers located and followed the vehicle to other locations before pulling it over in Los Altos for "assorted moving violations" around 9 p.m.
Searching the vehicle, a silver 2013 Hyundai Elantra rental, resulted in officers discovering stolen items from eight different break-ins as well as a window punch tool.
Police arrested and booked the two suspects in the car, 22-year-old Azari Benjamin Mays and 21-year-old Treshawn Cortez Villegas – both of whom are Stockton residents. Officers booked them into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on charges including multiple counts of auto burglary (a felony), conspiracy (a felony), and possession of burglary tools (a misdemeanor).
The department said that detectives are conducting follow-up investigation to determine if these suspects are connected to any other auto burglaries in neighboring jurisdictions, or any other vehicle break-ins in Palo Alto.
In a press release about the arrest, Palo Alto Police noted that in each burglary, victims had left items in plain view in their locked and unoccupied cars.
"The items were typically backpacks containing laptop computers and other personal electronic devices; the suspects broke the windows of the cars to make entry and take the items," the release stated. "Police recovered all the stolen laptops and most of the other stolen items of value in the suspect vehicle and returned that property to the victims."
Anyone with information about this incident was asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to email@example.com or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.
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