Thief Struck in Ocean Beach – Would Watch Where Beachgoers Would Hide Car Keys
by Lori Weisberg / San Diego U-T / January 14, 2012
A man who San Diego police believe was connected to a string of mostly beach-area car burglaries last year was arrested on Friday at a La Mesa motel.
The thefts, which occurred in Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, downtown San Diego and La Mesa between August and December of last year, generally targeted beach-goers, police said.
The 40-year-old suspect would watch surfers, swimmers, joggers and others visiting the beach who would hide a key nearby before leaving their cars, according to police. He would then use the victims’ keys to unlock their vehicles and remove nearly all of the property inside, said police Lt. Andra Brown. The suspect is also accused of breaking into the vehicles in some instances. Most of the burglaries took place at San Diego beaches, although some also happened in shopping center parking lots, Brown said.
When police initially searched the home of the suspect, they found property and evidence from roughly 50 vehicle burglaries, according to Brown. Because the suspect was in custody on unrelated charges at the time, police did not arrest him at that time.
On Friday, however, San Diego detectives found the suspect’s vehicle at a La Mesa motel and attempted to contact him. He initially refused to come out but eventually left his room and was arrested, according to police.
He was booked into county jail on suspicion of burglary, possessing stolen property, forgery, possessing a controlled substance and committing identity theft. He is expected to be arraigned on Jan. 18.
While some of the property found by police has been returned to its owners, a large amount still has not been released. The stolen items include surfboards, wetsuits, backpacks, watches, wallets, glasses and computers.