Police in Lafayette are crediting a caring neighbor and an alarm system with deterring a crew of burglars who visited the city to raid homes – only to find themselves tracked to Marin County and have their tools of the trade seized by investigators.
Police said the latest instance of a Bay Area burglary crew visiting the city came on May 3 at 2:39 p.m., when a passing residence spotted a white, late-model Honda parked in front of her neighbor’s home in the 1000 block of Upper Happy Valley Road.
As she passed, according to police, the resident spotted two young men she did not know walking hurriedly back to the car – one of them throwing something into the bushes. An alarm in the home then sounded, according to police.
Realizing something was amiss, the neighbor followed the Honda onto westbound Highway 24 – noting the license number and phoning 911 before losing sight of the suspect’s car.
Responding officers found a broken window on an exterior door of the home and determined that items had been taken, though the residence was not currently inhabited. Items discarded by the burglars as they left were recovered where the neighbor had seen them thrown.
Another neighbor told police that the pair had rung his doorbell, asking him if he new where someone lived when he answered before walking off in the direction of the home that was ultimately broken into.
Police said that at approximately 10 p.m. that evening, the Honda was located at an address in Marin County and Lafayette police responded to chat with the car’s owner, talking with one of the men believed to have been responsible for the burglary earlier in the day. The Honda was was towed back to Lafayette to be searched and processed by crime scene specialists the following day and police said items linking the car to the Lafayette incidents was reportedly recovered – along with a loaded pistol linked to another residential burglary in Pinole.
Police said they will be taking the suspect identified in the burglary into custody and will pursue a case against him through the District Attorney’s Office.
Additionally, officers learned that the Honda allegedly used in the May 3 burglary was likely in the Upper Happy Valley Neighborhood on two occasions prior, with suspects possibly stealing mail and packages from homes in the neighborhood. Investigators are seeking information from neighbors who may have lost packages during the last two weeks of April. Also, anyone with additional information about the vehicle used in this latest crime, or its occupants, is asked to notify police.