Crime briefs | November 4, 2011 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - November 4, 2011

Crime briefs

Wallet-snatchers nabbed at Walmart

Police arrested two women last week in connection with a string of thefts of wallets from inside the Mountain View Walmart at 600 Showers Dr.

Jennifer Chavarin and Jeannette Montiel-Galvan were taken into custody in the Walmart parking lot and charged with burglary, credit card fraud, possession of stolen property, possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy, according to Liz Wylie, spokeswoman for the Mountain View Police Department.

In September police saw an increase in reports of stolen wallets from women who said their pocketbooks were taken from them while they shopped at Walmart, Wylie said. The cases were all very similar: a woman would leave her purse unattended in a cart while she shopped; her wallet (and in some cases other personal belongings) would be taken from her purse; then, in many instances, her credit card would be used immediately afterward in the Walmart or at the Target across the street.

After reviewing surveillance footage, police identified Chavarin, 28, of San Jose as one of two suspects, Wylie said. Officers requested a warrant for the arrest of Chavarin, but before it could be issued, the two women struck again.

"While the warrant request was being reviewed by the District Attorney's office, officers continually checked the Walmart parking lot and store for signs of Chavarin or her accomplice," Wylie wrote in a MVPD press release. As it turned out, Chavarin was spotted by police in the Walmart parking lot on Oct. 28. She was with Montiel-Galvan, 41, ofSan Jose.

While talking with police, the women tried to hide a wallet underneath a nearby car, Wylie said. The wallet did not belong to either woman, and police determined it had been stolen within the hour and that the women had already tried to use a credit card they found in the wallet. They also had multiple stolen ID cards, fraudulently purchased gift cards and "personal items likely belonging to other victims."

Chavarin and Montiel-Galvan were arrested and booked into the county jail, Wylie said. Detectives and police are still investigating the matter, as it is unclear exactly how many people were victimized by the suspects.

Wylie advised that no one leave a purse unattended while shopping in any store.

House party thefts

A laptop and gold bracelet were stolen during a very large Halloween party thrown at a single-family home in the 1500 block of Plymouth Street between Oct. 29 and Oct. 30, police said.

The party, which drew an estimated 300 guests (the majority of them friends of friends and not known personally by the homeowners), and lasted from about 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. the next morning, was held inside a temporary structure in the back yard, according to Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie. No one was supposed to have access to the house.

However, it appears that someone gained entrance during the party and stole a Sony laptop as well as a gold bracelet from the homeowner's bedroom, Wylie said. A purse and some drawers in the garage were rifled through, but nothing else was taken. There were no signs of forced entry into the home.

The victims, a husband and wife, are 49 and 40 respectively, Wylie said.

Apartment fire

No one was injured during a two-alarm fire, which broke out Thursday night, Oct. 27, shortly after 8 p.m., at 2101 California St., according to the Mountain View Fire Department.

Firefighters responded to the blaze, which was reported at 8:14, to find smoke coming from one of the units in the three-story apartment complex, MVFD spokeswoman Jaime Garrett said. The firefighters managed to contain the fire to the apartment in which it originated.

Garrett said firefighters have determined that the fire began in the microwave and was accidental.

"Everyone needs to have working smoke detectors in their homes," she said. "Each year, nearly 3,000 people die in U.S. home fires, and having working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported fire in half."


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