Police arrest necklace-snatching suspects

Suspected robber barricades himself in bathroom during police pursuit

A robbery suspect was arrested on the evening of Aug. 6 after he barricaded himself in the bathroom of an apartment on Latham Street while attempting to escape pursuing officers, a spokeswoman with the Mountain View Police Department said. Two other men were arrested and charged with aiding in the robbery.

The victim, a 57-year-old Mountain View woman, was walking in the 500 block of South Rengstorff Avenue at about 4:34 p.m. when a man approached her and ripped her gold necklace from her neck, got into the back of a green Nissan Quest van and drove away, according to Liz Wylie, public information officer for the Mountain View police.

The victim called 911 about 10 minutes later, Wylie said. While she was talking to a police officer near the scene of the robbery, a green Nissan Quest van drove by; the van was promptly stopped by police officers near the intersection of Latham Street and Escuela Avenue.

The suspected robber bolted from the van. Two other other men in the van -- Alexander Avalos and Miguel Zamora, both age 19 -- stayed put and were arrested without incident on charges of aiding the robbery, Wylie said.

The suspect was chased into an apartment complex at 1970 Latham St., Wylie said. As police searched, some residents of the complex told officers that someone had entered their apartment and locked himself in their bathroom.

Antonio Sotelo-Lozano, 18, was located with the help of a police dog and arrested without further incident, Wylie said. The victim's necklace was found in his shoe and she identified him as the one who had stolen it.

Sotelo-Lozano was also identified by a woman who had been robbed of her necklace in a similar fashion on July 30, Wylie said. In that incident, a man approached a 25-year-old woman while she walked on Villa Street, snatched her necklace and got away in a waiting pickup truck.

Sotelo-Lozano, who is from East Palo Alto, was booked into county jail on two counts of robbery, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and one count of resisting or delaying an officer.

Avalos, of East Palo Alto, was arrested for one count of robbery, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and for violating the terms of his probation, which he is serving in Santa Clara County for a prior burglary. Zamora, another East Palo Altan, was arrested for one count of robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery.

Wylie said that the police department "greatly appreciated" the family telling officers that Sotelo-Lozano was hiding in their bathroom. "It is not uncommon for community members to feel fearful of reporting crimes to police," Wylie said. "It is because of the brave actions of these community members that the main suspect was taken into custody safely and before any other people could become victims."

The investigation is ongoing, Wylie said, and police believe others may have been involved, as a pickup truck, not a van, was used as a getaway vehicle in the previous robbery.

"The MVPD is also concerned there may have been similar robberies that were never reported to police," said the police press release.

Another necklace July 7 robbery was reported in which a young man took a woman's necklace from her by force while she sat outside her home on Latham Street. In that incident, the robber fled on foot.

Anyone who has information on this, or was a victim of a similar robbery, is asked to contact the MVPD at 650-903-6344. People may call anonymously.


Like this comment
Posted by The Eye
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm

The Eye is a registered user.

*Sigh* Latham Street...I'm soooooo surprised, aren't you? This is not news, in the same fashion that "Shooting in Oakland today" is not news. If it happens almnost every day, there's nothing "new" about it at all, now is it? So it can't be "news". Just business as usual.

Like this comment
Posted by Good job
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

Good job mvpd....

Like this comment
Posted by Mr. DePortum
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Big Surprise!!
Well it figures, vigilante justice is the answer...

Like this comment
Posted by Thanks MVPD
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Great job! I hope MVPD keeps sending the message to all those thieves-would-be out there. By the way, I thought that the necklace snatching on July 30th was done on Villa Street...

Like this comment
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 10, 2011 at 1:23 am

Well done, MVPD! And solid reporting by the Voice. Here is a friendly reminder to my fellow readers to contribute if you want to keep quality local reporting going.

Like this comment
Posted by Maria
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 10, 2011 at 4:00 am

I'd like to see more stories on the Day Worker Center.

Like this comment
Posted by jusme
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:25 am

Another good job, with a successful conclusion, by MVPD.
Shouldn't be too surprising, should it? Also, one should remember
that a lot of a police officer's "duties" is dealing with folks
who possess traits which resemble the south end of a digestive
system. Appreciate what our police officers do for the community.

As for the brave necklace-snatchers, isn't it impressive that
critters like them are so darn tough - working in threes(this time)and attacking a lone woman? I marvel at their bravery. And, don't ya
just get warm and fuzzy inside when their mug-shots appear?
Their bewildered, pathetic appearances just makes me smile!

Like this comment
Posted by Litsa
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:31 am

Those crazy Los Altos kids. Always stirring up trouble.

Like this comment
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Jackson Park
on Aug 10, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Feed them to the sharks!

Like this comment
Posted by Irony
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2011 at 7:21 am

It's funny that when Jesse writes, "Is this near the Day Worker Center?" he is censored and called a bigot and a racist by other posters, but when someone like Litsa writes, "Those crazy Los Altos kids. Always stirring up trouble." The so-called moderators don't bat an eye. There is much more racist innuendo in that statement, particularly when photos of the perpetrators are published.

Like this comment
Posted by Double Jeopardy
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 12, 2011 at 9:06 am

Irony - Read into what you like and yes, most people are racist, but facts are facts.
Almost all crime committed, that span a square mile area of California street are caused by Hispanic males.

You can choose to be all high and mighty and that's your choice, but you also need to face reality.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Cuernavaca

on May 29, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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