Stolen Vehicle Check Leads to Identity Theft Ring
SANTA CRUZ—The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department arrested a Scotts Valley woman that had eluded them for a week. Deputies caught up with Erin Boetzer, 26, of Scotts Valley while she was driving in the Santa Cruz area. After a brief chase, authorities were able to arrest Boetzer on numerous charges.
The case began in Soquel back on August 22, when two deputies that were called to witness a court order child exchange noticed a stolen vehicle. A canine alert authorities that two cars in the area had the scent of drugs in them. When deputies tried to discuss the matter with someone at the house Boetzer and Bernard Gomez, 29, of Watsonville had other ideas and vacated the house and ran from the deputies.
The deputies searched the vehicle and found drugs packaged for sale, two handguns, and tools that could be used in burglary and cash in the amount of $1,700 dollars. Police also found stolen checks along with identification cards belong to other people.
Authorities learned that Gomez live in a trailer park in Watsonville. They arrested Gomez at that trailer park and found more evidence that the group had the merchandise that was purchased by fraudulent means shipped to an address in on Oak Street in Watsonville.
A search of the residence on Oak Street produced evidence that they had used multiple addresses throughout Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. Deputies visited a hotel in Santa Cruz and found more merchandise and mail that pertained to this case.
“ We know of 30 victims in this case and fear that there will be more as people come forward.” Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department spokeswomen Deputy April Skalland said.
However, while deputies were in the process of searching the room Jovanna Moller, 26, of Santa Cruz arrived. Authorities questioned and arrested her for having a stolen computer and other stolen property in her vehicle that also pertained to the case.
On Friday August 31, Detectives with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department arrested Boetzer while she was driving in the Santa Cruz area. They followed her to a dead-end street and attempted to stop her. Boetzer used her vehicle to attempt another get-a- away as she rammed a detective’s vehicle. The detective received minor injures and was taken to a local hospital but his vehicle was rendered inoperable.
A nearby sheriff’s unit attempted a stop but again Boetzer did not stop. After a brief chase Boetzer stopped her vehicle and was taken into custody without further incidents. Deputies found in her possession: heroin for sale, methamphetamines for sale, stolen driver’s licenses, stolen checks, stolen credit cards and other items.
Boetzer was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail and bail has been set at $75,000 dollars. While Boetzer sat in jail authorities searched the vehicle that she was driving and found evidence that led them to a hotel room in San Jose. Authorities believe that there they will find more evidence.
“We have arrested three people already and there could be more involved,” Skalland added. “ This is a great case for our department and investigators are doing a great job finding more evidence and leads in this case.”
The Santa County Sheriff’s Department is still actively investigating this case and is asking anyone with information or if they believe that they have been victims of identity fraud perpetrated by the suspects to please call them at 831-471-2440
San Jose Mercury News: Authorities Seek Identity Theft Victims in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara Counties
Santa Cruz Sentinel: Woman Pleads Not Guilty in Santa Cruz ID Theft Case