PETALUMA – In a public advisory issued Friday by the Petaluma Police Department, a rash of theft cases were reported recently in Northeast Petaluma.
Unknown suspect(s) perpetrated at least 11 different thefts during the early hours of the morning. The crimes included burglarizing unlocked vehicles, thefts of residential homes, and removing catalytic converters from at least three vehicles.
Investigating officer(s) learned that the suspect(s) had been canvassing the neighborhoods looking for unlocked vehicles. As unlocked vehicles were located they would then be rummaged through to steal loose change, and various personal items. In a few instances the suspect(s) located garage door openers, which were used in accessing homes to target additional items for theft.
It is uncertain whether the catalytic converter thefts were associated with the other thefts. However, catalytic converters are often the target of thieves as they contain various precious metals (including palladium, platinum and gold.) The converters are easy targets on later model trucks and SUV’s as they can be removed fairly easily.
The suspect(s) are believed to be associated with a silver Honda Pilot or CRV. The vehicle was seen leaving the area where a stolen vehicle had been recovered.
Meanwhile, two Petaluma residents were arrested early Sunday morning in neighboring Marin County after a Saturday night burglary. Juan Castellanos-Arango, a 20-year-old National Guardsman, and Oswald Gallegos, a 19-year-old construction worker, were both charged with burglary and conspiracy. Castellanos was also charged with being a felon in possession of stolen property with over $950.00, possession of drug paraphernalia, and failure to appear in court for a previous incident. Gallegos was additinally charged with possession of stolen property under $950.00. Castellanos had also been arrested in October in Petaluma, according to records. Gallegoas had been picked up in April on drug charges, also while in Petaluma. Though there is currently no known connection of these two to last week’s burglaries, all locally known burglars will no doubt be investigated.
Petaluma PD reminds residents to always lock their vehicles and to take all valuable items out. Thefts like these are crimes of opportunity. Locking your vehicle and removing valuable items is an effective way to prevent from being a victim of a theft.