Maybe Someone was watching as would-be burglars at a church inadvertently led police to stolen property from 45 recent victims.
Employees at Rolling Hills Church in the 1500 block of Green Valley Road in Danville apparently interrupted a burglary in progress when they arrived at the church Oct. 31 to find that computers and game systems had been unhooked and placed in the hallways of the church.
Danville police Officer Paul Murphy arrived at the scene and began to look into the crime. The employees told him that those responsible for moving the property had entered by unknown means.
"Information was developed by Officer Murphy that led him to a residence in the 1600 block of Poplar Drive in the city of Walnut Creek," said investigations Sgt. Dan Hoffman. "A search of a residence at this location led to the discovery of stolen property belonging to approximately 45 people from the central Contra Costa County area."
Matt Harris, 29, of Walnut Creek and Amanda Bruntz, 19, of Pacheco were arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property, which was mostly documents, checks and credit cards, said Hoffman.
"These items were primarily stolen from victims' mailboxes, and also from vehicle and residential burglaries," Hoffman explained. "A large majority of the victims were not aware that they had been a victim of mail theft."
Some of the stolen documents had been used to commit identity theft by the suspects, he added. Computers were seized from the residence and are being forensically analyzed by the Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force.
"Over the last month we have seen an increase of thefts from vehicles in town," said Hoffman.
He also noted that nearly all of the vehicle-related thefts are a result of residents leaving valuables in plain view in the passenger compartment.
"It is important that we reach out to our communities and educate the public in current crime trends," said Hoffman.
He gave the following tips to prevent auto thefts:
Take your valuables from your car inside your house or lock them inside your trunk when you get home. A large majority of local thefts from autos are due to citizens leaving valuables in plain view in the passenger compartment of their vehicles.
Park your car inside your garage if at all possible. As a side note, please shut your garage doors at night and when you are not in the garage. We are experiencing an increase in open garage door thefts.
Keep your vehicles locked.
Utilize lighting to deter thieves from lurking in your area.
Do not leave your car running and unattended.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Danville Police Department dispatch should you see a suspicious person in your neighborhood.
The non-emergency telephone number is 820-2144.