An Oakland man who was a suspect in a string of Sonoma jewel thefts was arrested Thursday by Dublin police.
According to Sgt. Spencer Crum, with the Sonoma Police Department, on Jan. 13 and 14, a male suspect went into four jewelry stores in Sonoma and was able to purchase three gold bracelets worth a combined total of $6,867, using a fraudulent credit card in the name of a man named Ryan Mahoney, who turned out to be a victim of identity theft.
Deputies from the Sonoma Police Department were able to download video surveillance from the stores and create a digital flier that was sent to all Bay Area law enforcement agencies. Additionally, they obtained images of a red, compact sedan used by the suspect that appeared to be a Honda or Hyundai.
A detective from the San Bruno Police Department recognized the man in the photograph as Eric Aguirre Zatarain, a 28-year-old Oakland man. Zatarain is on probation for other identity fraud crimes and is believed to have used the victim’s name in numerous jewelry store thefts around the Bay Area. Zatarain’s booking photos, vehicle and distinctive tattoos matched the description of the video surveillance from the Sonoma jewelry store thefts.
A $100,000 warrant was issued for Zatarain’s arrest.
On Thursday, at about 7:30 p.m., Dublin Police arrested Zatarain on his warrant as he was waiting in a vehicle while a female accomplice was at a jewelry store trying to purchase jewelry with fraudulent credit cards. He was driving a red Hyundai Accent, owned by a former girlfriend, that appeared to be the one used during the Sonoma jewelry thefts. The owner of the Hyundai had no part in or knowledge of Zatarain’s alleged crimes.
Under questioning by Crum, who showed him a surveillance photo of the distinctive tattoo visible even then on his arm, Zatarain reportedly insisted he had not been to Sonoma and the man in the photo wasn’t him.
Zatarain was booked into the Alameda County Jail and was later transferred to the Sonoma County Jail where he is charged with multiple counts of burglary, identity theft and theft by forged access card.