Officers of the Novato Police Department quickly apprehended a man suspected of breaking into a local resident’s vehicle and taking her personal laptop computer on Saturday, as NPD Lieutenant Oliver Collins described in a press release issued that afternoon.
A Novato woman found that her car, parked at her home in the 200 block of San Ramon Way, had been burglarized overnight when she arose on Saturday morning. A few hours after starting their investigation, Officers Lyons and Dunbar of the NPD found the victim’s laptop in the vicinity of San Marin Plaza at 155 San Marin Drive, just three-tenths of a mile from the original crime scene. The officers located the laptop when some witnesses in the area reported the suspect’s strange behavior. “The witnesses saw this individual putting [the laptop] in the bushes,” explained NPD Lieutenant John McCarthy.
The witnesses who saw the suspect gave the officers enough information to track down the man who had left the laptop in the plaza. Officers spotted a man fitting this description, later identified as Gregory Ritzinger, still in the area. Ritzinger fled when officers approached, leading them on a chase through the residential area before officers could arrest him a quarter-mile from the plaza. Once they had apprehended him, McCarthy said, the officers brought Ritzinger back to the plaza to check with witnesses that they had the right man.
Ritzinger, a 23-year-old resident of Novato and Arizona, was found to be in possession of heroin. He had also recently been charged with a separate felony and was out on bail at the time of the theft. He had been charged in January for burglary and possession of stolen property, and in April he was again arrested for petty theft. According to his Facebook profile, prior to his recent trouble he had been working as a legal assistant at his father’s law firm, and had studied at the College of Marin and Mesa Community College in Arizona.
Officers charged Ritzinger on Saturday, June 7 with burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of illicit substances, and resisting arrest, and booked him into Marin County Jail.