Local residents mourning the loss of a recently stolen bicycle may soon have their property returned to them, thanks to police department collaboration and one quick-thinking Los Altos resident.
A Los Altos police officer arrested San Jose resident Pablo Bautista, 22, Feb. 27 and charged him with a Manor Way burglary that would have cost the victim an $11,000 bicycle had not a neighbor reported the crime. With the Los Altos Police Department’s help, Mountain View Police detectives investigating a separate bicycle theft connected Bautista to the crime and uncovered a storage locker containing even more stolen bikes.
“We are working to return the stolen property that was recovered to its rightful owners, so please be on the lookout for additional posts in the coming days if we need help reuniting the items with their owners,” wrote Katie Nelson, Mountain View Police Department public information officer, in a Nextdoor.com notice posted last week.
Police department records indicate that the Feb. 27 bicycle crime spree likely began at a home on the 1200 block of Fairbrook Drive in Mountain View. At approximately 5 p.m., a suspect walked into the home’s open garage and walked out with a specialized bicycle.
At approximately 5:45 p.m. the same day, a Los Altos resident called her neighbor to report two people entering the neighbor’s open Manor Way garage and absconding with another specialized bike valued at $11,000, said Sgt. Steve Spillman of the Los Altos Police Department. The victim was home at the time of the incident. She called police, and Spillman, who was nearby, responded within minutes.
Spillman said he caught up with Bautista and alleged accomplice Norma Ortiz Arroyo, 43, of San Martin, just a few blocks away. He charged each with burglary and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Spillman’s subsequent contact with his Mountain View counterparts and a description provided by the Fairbrook Drive victim helped detectives connect Bautista to that crime as well, Nelson wrote. Through interviews, they learned about the storage locker containing additional stolen items, including the Fairbrook Drive bike.
Spillman said he hopes the incident helps raise awareness about burglars targeting local residents. He also praised the Manor Way witness for her vigilance.
“It was great work – a community effort,” he said.
But what about that astronomically priced bicycle from Manor Way?
The bike itself is likely valued at between $3,000 and $5,000, but it’s “tricked out” with expensive parts, Spillman explained.