A pair of wallet snatchers long sought by Lafayette police returned to their old hunting ground and – apparently – their old ways Monday, long enough for officers to gather them up for multiple crimes the pair allegedly perpetrated in Lafayette in recent weeks.
Investigators have been looking for the pair for some time, according to Lafayette Police Chief Eric Christensen, and investigators had identified at least one of the two men – hoping they would return to the area after an extensive leafletting campaign undertaken by police and the Chamber of Commerce.
As it turned out, they did come back.
Christensen said officers were alerted to the presence of the suspects in downtown Lafayette Monday afternoon, the manager of a local restaurant recognizing them from one of the handbills distributed earlier after the pair struck – unabashedly lifting wallets from the purses of unsuspecting local diners.
To the surprise of investigators, police said one of the two men they were seeking was dressed in the same type of Warrior’s attire worn during two previous thefts. Investigators said the suspects came into one of the businesses and asked to purchase food to go, but seemed preoccupied with an examination of the diners. After inquiring about the costs of the meal, the suspects left without buying anything, police said.
Officers responded to the downtown area, looking for the vehicle that had previously been used by the suspects while in town, police said, and an LPD Motor Officer spotted the two subjects attempting to access the freeway in their vehicle, which was stopped.
Both men, identified as Rufus Barker, 57, of Oakland, and Kevin McGlothen, 49, of Richmond, were subsequently identified by the restaurant manager as the men who had come into his restaurant earlier. They were arrested for attempted burglary.
One was found to be on PRCS Probation (Prop 47), according to police. A search of the vehicle located several different identifications, including a complete woman’s wallet. LPD Officers were then dispatched to another local restaurant where a customer had just had her wallet stolen while she ate lunch – the wallet recovered by officers from the suspect’s car. Both men were processed at LPD and then transported to the Martinez Detention Facility.
Barker and McGlothen were booked for three counts of Commercial Burglary, Conspiracy, Possession of Stolen Property, Petty Theft, Violation of Probation and several additional charges, according to police.
Christensen praised the man whose call set the afternoon’s wheels in motion: “An alert member of tour downtown business community recognized the suspects and alerted the police,” he said. “A tip of the hat to the restaurant manager and our Chamber of Commerce for helping us to bring these two crooks into custody.”