PALO ALTO, CA – Police arrested two auto burglary suspects after they attempted to steal from an occupied vehicle in a downtown parking garage. During the investigation, officers located a loaded .40 caliber handgun with a high capacity magazine and stolen property inside the suspect vehicle. Police connected the suspects to ten auto burglaries from Palo Alto.
On Saturday, February 15, 2020, at around 1:50 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a report of an in-progress auto burglary taking place at the parking garage located at 445 Bryant Street. The preliminary investigation revealed the female victim in her thirties was sitting in her parked vehicle on the fourth floor of the garage when a male suspect approached her on the driver’s side and hit the window with a flashlight in an attempt to burglarize the vehicle. When the suspect saw the victim, he walked away. The victim exited her vehicle and watched the suspect and a second male suspect walk down the stairwell to the third level of the garage. As she called 9-1-1 to report what had occurred, the victim heard the sound of glass breaking and she observed the first suspect peering into windows of vehicles.
Police arrived at the scene and spotted two men matching the descriptions of the suspects in the 400 block of Florence Street. One suspect surrendered while the other suspect ran northbound on Florence Street. After a short foot pursuit, police tackled the suspect in the 300 block of Lytton Avenue and took him into custody. The suspect sustained a laceration to the back of his head and to the inside of his mouth during the arrest. Paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department treated the suspect at the scene and transported him to a local hospital where he was treated for minor injuries. Police booked him once he was released from the hospital the following day.
Officers at the scene located several more vehicles in the parking garage that had their windows smashed. They also located the suspect vehicle at Lytton Avenue and Florence Street. Police searched the vehicle and located a loaded .40 caliber handgun, prescription drugs, and stolen property which included electronics, purses, and wallets. In all, police determined the stolen property is connected to 10 different auto burglaries in Palo Alto. Three of those auto burglaries occurred on Saturday and the other seven occurred prior to Saturday’s arrest.
Detectives are actively investigating this case and trying to determine if the suspects are linked to more cases in the city. Police booked 24-year-old Francisco Manolo Fuentes and 20-year-old Christopher Joshua Mejia, both of San Francisco into the San Jose Main Jail. Both are on active probation in San Francisco County for weapons charges. The suspects face the following charges: five counts of possession of stolen property, three counts of auto burglary, attempted auto burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of ammunition by a felon, possession of a high capacity magazine, carrying a firearm while not the registered owner (all felonies), possession of stolen property, and possession of a controlled substance (misdemeanors). Police also booked Mejia on resisting arrest (misdemeanor). Their booking photos are attached to this news release.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.