Issue date: January 26, 2001
(January 26, 2001)
Pleasanton man follows purse-snatchers, tips off police
An ex-police officer and Pleasanton resident, Jeff Larrieu, was not only a witness to a purse snatching at Wal-Mart on Jan. 22 but also aided in the capture and arrest of the six juvenile suspects.
Police said that a 65-year-old Pleasanton woman left the Wal-Mart store on Rosewood Drive shortly after 11 a.m. As she approached her car in the parking lot, a young male leaning from the door of a passing SUV grabbed her purse from her arm, according to the police report. The vehicle, later identified as a silver 1998 Ford Expedition, sped out of the parking lot, down Owens Drive to Hacienda Drive and onto westbound I-580.
In his statement to police, Larrieu said that he saw the robbery occur and decided to follow the suspects onto westbound I-580. He also called the California Highway Patrol and the Pleasanton Police Dispatch from his cell phone notifying them of the crime.
Pleasanton police followed Larrieu and the suspects on the freeway and notified Alameda County Sheriff's Department as the suspects entered Castro Valley. CHP motorcycle officers located the suspect vehicle as it pulled into a parking lot off Castro Valley Boulevard at Center Street.
The six suspects then exited the car and walked through a business area to a trailer park, according to reports. CHP officers and sheriff's deputies entered the trailer park to arrest the suspects.
Seeing the officers, the juveniles fled the trailer park and ran into a flood control pipe. CHP officers, sheriff's deputies and Pleasanton police arrested the suspects as they exited the other end of the pipe, police said.
They added that Larrieu also later directed police to several locations where the juveniles had discarded stolen items from the SUV windows, including the Pleasanton woman's purse. Police said that her stolen wallet was later found in the suspect's vehicle, which had been stolen on the evening of Jan. 19 from the Union City lot of Fremont Ford.
The purse snatching at Wal-Mart was the last in a spree of thefts that the youths had started earlier in the day, police said.
Alameda Juvenile Authorities handled the arrest of the 17-year-old driver of the car, who had a warrant for his arrest issued by the Alameda County Juvenile Court.
The six juveniles taken into the custody of the Pleasanton police ranged in ages from 14 to 17. One is from Pittsburg and the other five are from Oakland. Three have since been booked into Juvenile Hall. The remaining three were released to their parents with Juvenile Court citations.
The vehicle was processed for evidence and released to Fremont Ford.