The Pine Cone's second story of the week

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Bad driving lands burglary suspects in jail

By MARY BROWNFIELD

Published: February 5, 2010

TAILGATING AND crossing a double-yellow line led to the arrest last week of a 33-year-old Salinas man suspected of ransacking and burglarizing a Carmel home, and stealing the residents’ car.

The driver’s arrest also led to the capture of another suspect in a Monterey motel room.

When Monterey County Sheriff’s deputy Bryan Hoskins pulled over Raymond Saldivar on Highway 1 and Carpenter Street for an illegal lane change and crossing over a double-yellow line at 2:30 a.m. Jan. 30, Saldivar could not tell him who owned the 2000 Land Rover he was driving.

But police said he tried to explain why the vehicle was full of bedding, clothing, wine, household goods and other items.

“The guy’s excuse was he had just split up with his girlfriend, and that’s why he had all this stuff in his car,” Cmdr. Tracy Brown said. But when Hoskins asked for the woman’s name, the suspect “gave six different names within 10 minutes.” The man also couldn’t say where she lived or her date of birth, and then the deputy asked Saldivar why he had women’s clothing in his car, if he was the one who was moving out, Brown said.

Deputies discovered $47,158 in stolen items, including almost four cases of expensive wine. Hoskins also found stereo speakers, an air compressor, a set of silverware and other household items, according to Brown. The deputy put the total at about $70,000.

Upon contacting the owners of the Land Rover, investigators confirmed it should have been safe and sound in the garage of their home on Guadalupe Street, so Carmel P.D. was alerted to the possible burglary.

CPD Sgt. Paul Tomasi said police arrived at the home shortly after 3 a.m. Jan. 30 to find the garage door open and the house dark. “We noticed several of the windows had been covered from the inside by blankets or towels, and it appeared it had been burglarized,” he said.

But the burglary didn’t seem to have just occurred. For one, more items were missing from the house than were found in the Land Rover. For another, although the home was a complete mess after being ransacked, officers could tell someone had been staying there. Similar burglaries have occurred in town in the past.

The suspects gained entry by prying open a window, according to Tomasi. “They took whatever they could. The people had a wine cellar, and they cleaned that out,” he said. “They took pretty much anything that wasn’t nailed down.”

Tomasi said police also fielded calls about two other attempted break-ins in which the culprits tried to pry open a door or a window but failed to gain entry.
“It could be the same group of people going around to check houses,” and then moving in and emptying the places they gain access to, he said. “That’s why we’re asking our citizens to keep an eye on their neighbors’ houses.”

In a Motel 6 room in Monterey, to which they believed Saldivar was heading when Hoskins pulled him over, deputies discovered more stolen property, including items taken from a Jan. 20 residential burglary in Monterey.

They also found 22-year-old Olympia, Wash., resident Amanda Daly, who was arrested for possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools. Saldivar was arrested for burglary, conspiracy, possession of stolen property and possession of a stolen vehicle, and both suspects were taken to Monterey County Jail.

Meanwhile, deputies are searching for more suspects. Just moments before Hoskins stopped Saldivar, another deputy pulled over another driver who had been following the Land Rover too closely. The deputy didn’t have enough evidence to hold that car’s occupants at the time, but investigation has revealed they might have been involved in the Guadalupe Street burglary as well, according to Brown.

“It looks like we might be able to tie them in to the burglary,” he said. “We still have a couple more that we’re going to be after.”