Updated Nov. 14 at approximately 6:30 p.m.
Even before a San Jose resident was involved in a vehicle collision on Foothill Expressway in Los Altos Tuesday and then fled the scene on foot, law enforcement was following his every move.
The Santa Clara County Regional Auto Theft Task Force (RATTF) began tracking Jesus Alvarado Sanchez, 35, days earlier after linking him to a pair of robberies in San Jose.
According to the San Jose police, the arresting agency in Tuesday’s hit-and-run due to officer involvement in RATTF and the department’s ongoing investigation, RATTF was in the area surveilling Sanchez’s black pickup truck when it collided with a Prius approximately at 3:45 p.m. on Foothill near Magdalena Avenue and Springer Road. The driver and passenger –identified as Sanchez and fellow San Jose resident Linda Carmona Bruno, 29, respectively – fled on foot.
When found on a street in the neighborhood behind Rancho Shopping Center, they were taken into custody by RATTF detectives and later turned over to San Jose robbery detectives.
Once the suspects were detained, officers learned that a firearm may have been disposed of in the area, Krauss told the Town Crier. An “extensive search” was conducted by officers and a canine unit, but no firearm was found, the sergeant noted.
Following Sanchez and Bruno’s arrests, detectives obtained search warrants for a residence and nearby storage facility in San Jose, as well as a motel room in Santa Cruz. A majority of the stolen uniforms, plus civilian clothing, were recovered during the detectives’ search, the San Jose police said in their statement.
Bruno was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on a warrant, information previously provided by the Los Altos Police Department. San Jose police elaborated that her outstanding misdemeanor warrant was for drug possession and paraphernalia.
Sanchez was admitted to a local hospital for injuries that he sustained in the collision. According Los Altos Police Capt. Katie Krauss, the driver of the car that Sanchez’s pickup truck smashed into reported “moderate injuries” and was taken to El Camino Hospital for treatment.
Once Sanchez is medically cleared, he will also be booked into the Santa Clara County Jail for “multiple charges,” including robbery and carjacking for his previous alleged criminal activity.
The San Jose police said the RATTF detectives returned to the scene the morning after the hit-and-run to recanvass the area for evidence. Krauss said that gun was found in the 600 block of Fremont Avenue, the entirety of the Rancho Shopping Center where Sanchez and Bruno ran toward when they fled. On Thursday evening (Nov. 14), Officer Gina Tepoorten of the San Jose Police Department confirmed a claim made on the community forum website Nextdoor that a citizen called RATTF to report that he had found a gun, at which time they came and recovered the firearm.
Crimes allegedly committed by Sanchez in prior weeks put him on RATTF’s radar.
San Jose police have connected him to an Oct. 30 armed robbery at a Valero gas station, located at 795 N. 13th St. in San Jose. Sanchez entered the store, walked behind the counter and stole lottery tickets before getting into a vehicle parked in front of the gas station, according to an SJPD statement. An employee ran behind him, approaching the vehicle when he brandished a firearm. The employee subsequently backed away, and Sanchez fled in a white pickup truck.
Police have also linked Sanchez to a Nov. 1 carjacking in the 600 block of Rebecca Way in San Jose. An adult male was sitting in the driver’s seat warming up his white minivan when Sanchez approached on foot and demanded the man exit the minivan, according to the SJPD release. The victim complied, allowing Sanchz to drive off in the car with miscellaneous clothing that included “several” San Jose Police Department uniform shirts and pants. The police did not clarify whether the victim was an employee of their department.
On Nov. 2, SJPD said officers located the stolen minivan near Landess and Morrill Avenues in San Jose. They found the law enforcement uniforms inside the vehicle. A follow-up investigation by detectives concluded that the same suspect robbed the gas station and carjacked the minivan: Sanchez. Detectives then obtained an arrest warrant.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Amanda Estantino of SJPPD’s Robbery Unit at (408) 277-4166.
Those wishing to remain anonymous may either call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line, (408) 947-STOP (7867) or click the "Submit a Tip" link below. Persons providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect may be eligible for a cash reward from the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers.
To read the Town Crier’s initial coverage of the events and eventual arrests, visit https://bit.ly/2phR5k8.