Lamorinda police have arrested three Concord residents in connection with a string of recent “cat burglaries” which set Lamorinda residents on edge.
Investigators released details of the arrests early Saturday.
Officers investigated a series of burglaries and prowling incidents the morning of March 1, with most of the incidents concentrated along the Lafayette/Moraga border. Officers were initially dispatched to a residential burglary, where a suspect had entered an occupied residence at some point between midnight and 5 a.m. While in the area, officers were advised of a second burglary at a residence a short distance away, with the suspect entering that home while the residents slept. A number of unlocked vehicles were then reported to have been entered, with property removed from each of them.
A third residence was also found to have been entered while the resident was asleep, with property taken from all of the locations. Throughout the day, officers contacted residents who found their side gates open, indicating someone had gone into their rear yard – but had not gained entry to the home because their doors and windows had been locked.
LPD Investigators located a number of items of evidence to aid in identifying the suspect(s). Police canvassed the affected neighborhood and obtained video clips from security cameras, including one showing a car burglary as it happened at 1:30 a.m.
A credit card taken from one of the homes had been used later in the morning at a retail business in Concord, police said. By the end of the day, investigators had identified three suspects and two vehicles that were likely associated with the burglaries, and a day later had obtained license plate number for the cars and identified a fourth suspect.
At 12:37 a.m. Friday, LPD Officers were alerted to the presence of one of the suspect vehicles in the Burton Valley Neighborhood when the car passed a city maintained Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR), which had been programmed with the license plate numbers of suspect vehicles. The device sent a message to LPD officers, who began a search for the car along with officers from Moraga.
The car was spotted by a Moraga officer and, with Lafayette police arriving in support, the car was stopped and the driver taken into custody without incident.
At 5 a.m. Friday, LPD Investigators, assisted by Concord Police officers, performed a search of a home in the City of Concord. At that location, two additional suspects were taken into custody and were transported to LPD. Numerous items of stolen property were located, some associating the group to the Burton Valley Burglaries. Evidence was also found that linked those arrested to the recent burglary and thefts from vehicles that occurred on Woodview Drive several weeks ago. Throughout the day, investigators performed several additional searches associated with this case.
Police now know the suspects were in the Burton Valley Area between 1:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. the morning of the burglaries, saying the suspects approached multiple homes, trying the front door first and then trying to enter the rear yard. Residents are asked to check their surveillance systems for images of the offenders or their vehicle. Residents who have video or still images of the suspects or their vehicle are asked to contact LPD at (925) 284-5010.
Brian Smalley, 39
Melinda Regensberg, 31
Manuel Gonzalez, 29