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Tuesday, September 12th, 2000 @ 8:39 PM
Subj: Thief Caught

I am writing this to commend the San Jose Police Department and the officers that helped "get the bad guy", as well as offer a little advice.

When I came home last Friday evening (9/8), I opened my garage door and pulled my car in. Because my roommate's car was parked in our driveway, I left the door open, thinking she would bring her car in later and close the door. Unfortunately, we didn't communicate with each other about our open garage. At around 1:30am the next morning (9/9), my boyfriend "Bob" was pulling into the driveway when a young man came running out from behind the front of my roommate's car. Bob got out of his vehicle and ran after the young man, cornering him by a fence on Curie. When asked what he was doing, the man said, "my girlfriend's father is chasing me. I have to go." Because the man didn't have any of our property in his hands, Bob allowed him to run off and came back to the house to wake my roommate and me up. We both checked our cars, but only my portable CD player was missing. We immediately called the police, and Bob gave them a detailed description of the young man he chased. Within half an hour, the police had captured a suspect and my boyfriend was brought to the area to positively identify him. Bob said there was no less than 10 police cars standing by! The suspect turned out to be the young man that had run from our driveway. My CD player was found about 15 yards from where he was captured and the reporting officer returned it to me immediately.

As advice to our neighbors, I offer the following:

  1. Obviously, don't be a target by leaving doors/windows to your home/car unlocked. Make sure your garage door is closed! : - )

  2. Although I don't recommend chasing someone who may have committed a crime, I would encourage anyone who has been victimized to report the crime(s) immediately to the police. We were told that one of the biggest factors to catching the thief was the fact that we called right away (within 5-10 minutes of the theft).

  3. A detailed description is critical to nabbing a suspect, so try to notice things like height, weight, age, skin color, hair color/length, clothing type/color, etc.

  4. Try not to touch anything that may have been involved in the crime until the police arrive. It's tempting to want to go through the scene to find out what's missing, but fingerprints and other evidence can be compromised and rendered useless to any investigation/conviction.

  5. Give the officer(s) your full cooperation and don't be afraid of retaliation for reporting a crime. The officer we spoke to said retaliation is very rare and is almost always connected with gang-related activities.

I hope this experience enhances your feeling of security in our neighborhood as much as it has for me. Thank you for your time.


Charene Hernandez

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