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Burglars caught removing TVs, computers

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POSTED November 21, 2009 2:25 a.m.
Three San Jose burglars – including one taken down at gunpoint – were arrested Friday morning by Manteca Police officers who were called by an alert neighbor watching from a second story window.

Alejandro G. Garcia, 18, Erick E. Flores, 19, and Eduardo Rios-Zubirias, 18, were arrested for burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime in the 1300 block of Higton Street, police said.  

Patrolman Grant Flory said the trio are all members of the Serrano street gang, which adds a street terrorism charge and a minimum of $250,000 bail.

They later told officers they had left San Jose to visit a friend in Lathrop and somehow ended up in the Manteca neighborhood near Doxie Park where their car supposedly broke down.  The three said they were only looking for help and water for their car at the home they entered.

As police rolled up to the residence just before 9 a.m., Sgt. Jody Estarziau met one of the suspects exiting the home in a side yard coming at her between a parked recreational vehicle and the house.

The officer took Alejandro Garcia down at gun point and was soon covered by officers Steve Schluer – diverted from his auto theft task force role – and patrolman Grant Flory.  While the two guarded the suspect, Sgt. Estarziau put cuffs on him and took him into custody.

In his pockets he allegedly had a battery power source for a video game,  and a PSP Sony portable hand held video game.  He also had an Apple IPod in another pocket,  police said – those items had reportedly been taken from teenagers’ rooms in the home.

Flory said when officers went to clear the house of intruders, they found a large 42-inch plasma TV on the RV pad between the house and the parked recreational vehicle.  At the sliding glass door on the east side of the house was a 37-inch flat screen TV.  Next to that were two Toshiba 20-inch LCD/DVD combo players with flat screen TVs.

Officers spied a cloth bag just inside the house with three laptop computers they could see through the door.  They said they couldn’t see anyone inside and called out, identifying themselves as police officers entering the home.

Patrolman Mike Espinosa was in a back yard on Brian Court and saw Erick Flores as he ran from the home going northbound across Rufino Court, north to Sprague Avenue  where police had set up a perimeter.  Officers said he turned back running to the south.  Officers Randy Chiek and Shawn Cavin took him into custody on Rufino Court.

The third suspect, Eduardo Rios-Zubirias was found walking away from the scene as though nothing had happened, police said.   Witnesses said he had been seen in a car neighbors had noticed earlier parked in front of the home.  

They told police he had driven it around the corner where it was found parked.  One neighbor said she had seen him from her home breaking out a rear window and climbing into the house.  Officer Chiek found him walking at Union Road and Louise Avenue allegedly having the car keys and the registration for the car in his pocket.

Patrolman Grant Flory credited his fellow officers with good police work,  being at a minimum staffing with only four officers on the street.  One officer who joined the search and setting up a perimeter was Steve Schluer assigned to the DELTARAT auto theft task force.

Captain John Orcutt helped contain one of the suspects and served at an inter-perimeter position.  Flory also credited community service officers Barb Hall and Lisa Lewis with their work in recording the evidence at the crime scene.

He also noted that the home owners told him all of the televisions and computers were set up in bedrooms and in a family room and none had been left by the door where police found them.

The three men were transported to the San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp.  Garcia’s bail was set at $320,000 with charges of conspiracy to commit a crime, street terrorism, burglary and receiving stolen property.  Officer Flory said all of the electronic equipment had just been carried to the slider where it had been left  to be carried away.

Flores and Rios-Zubirias had a similar $310,000 bail with the same charges with the exception of receiving stolen property.  Their court dates were set for November 24 in Department 1 of the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court.
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