A confluence of bad luck, worse timing and the intervention of good neighbors ended with time in jail for two Alameda County residents Thursday.
Orinda Police Chief Mark Nagel said things started innocently enough around 8 a.m. Thursday when a car rolling on westbound Highway 24 ran out of gas and came to a stop near El Nido Ranch Road.
The occupants, a man and a woman, abandoned the car on the freeway, Nagel said, and started walking on El Nido, which was perfectly fine until they spotted a Lafayette parking enforcement vehicle in the area and apparently assumed they were under police surveillance.
Chief Nagel said the pair took evasive action, jumping a fence and climbing into the backyard of a home in the 4200 block of El Nido Ranch Rd. This action, Nagel said, piqued the interest of a neighbor who saw the couple clamber over the fence, assumed they were going to burglarize the residence, and who promptly dialed up police.
Officers filtered into the area, located the vehicle they had abandoned on the freeway and learned that it was stolen, and then located the couple – whom they arrested without incident, according to Nagel.
“Orinda PD located them and took them into custody. We linked them to the stolen car and located other stolen property. They were arrested and taken to Martinez jail,” the chief said.