Police find 15-year-old suspected car thief
A 15-year-old Sonoma boy suspected in a Sept. 20 home burglary and auto theft, was apprehended Wednesday on the Sonoma bike path after police spotted him walking with another juvenile.
Police, including Chief Bret Sackett, set up perimeter points along the bike path and when the youths recognized a trio of lawmen they turned and fled toward Olson Park where a waiting officer ordered them – at Taser point – to lie down on their stomachs.
The 15-year-old is suspected of breaking into the home of a prominent winemaker on Greve Lane in Sonoma, ransacking the house with an 18-year-old accomplice before the homeowner unexpectedly arrived and interrupted the burglary.
The two would-be thieves fled and an intensive police manhunt ensued, including support from the Sheriff’s helicopter Henry 1. But the two weren’t found and late that night they returned to the burgled home with the stolen key to an Audi Quatro parked in the garage.
At about 1 a.m., as the homeowner slept, the two young thieves drove the car off into the night.
The next day, police spotted the Audi traveling on the eastern outskirts of Santa Rosa, followed it and then arrested the driver, who turned out to be 18-year-old Nathan Paul Wilson, of Rohnert Park. Wilson had in his possession a wallet stolen from the car of a Rohnert Park resident.
Nathan, and his 15-year-old suspected accomplice, were later identified in a photo line-up by witnesses in a Santa Rosa store where they used a credit card from the stolen wallet.
But when Nathan was arrested for vehicle theft, two counts of residential burglary, possession of stolen property, theft by use of a credit card and driving on a suspended license, he refused to identify or implicate his suspected, 15-year-old accomplice.
Police know that the 15-year-old had been suspended from a Santa Rosa continuation school after being expelled from one or more Sonoma classrooms, and that a used Toyota van stolen in Santa Rosa the day of the Sonoma burglary, was found outside the burglary victim’s home.
Police had been on heightened alert for the young fugitive after the victim of an Oct. 22 gang attack in the Vineyard shopping center told police he had seen the 15-year-old present at the site, although he was not involved in the knifing that sent him to the hospital with moderate injuries.
That gang fight followed a memorial vigil for Luis Miranda, the 17-year-old murder victim, shot by an opposing gang member in Maxwell Farms Regional Park on Oct. 22, 2007.
In the weeks following the disappearance of the 15-year-old auto-theft suspect, police questioned the boy’s parents about his whereabouts but were told they did not know where he was.
When police finally took him into custody, he refused to cooperate and would not admit any knowledge of the Sept. 20 burglary or the car theft.
Police said Friday that the youth’s alleged accomplice has agreed to a plea on the numerous charges against him and is now awaiting sentencing. But they said he has refused to identify or testify against his accomplice.
The 15-year-old was charged with felony burglary, burglary from a vehicle, felony auto theft, misdemeanor theft by use of access card, felony receiving known stolen property, felony possession of a stolen vehicle, driving without a license and an outside felony warrant. He was booked into juvenile hall.
The 16-year-old he was arrested with on the bike path was charged with resisting arrest.