Almanac

Community - January 5, 2011

Authorities arrest one, have leads in PV property crime spree

by David Boyce

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office has one woman in custody and has law enforcement authorities throughout the Bay Area looking for another woman in connection with five Portola Valley property crimes and one in Half Moon Bay, according to a Sheriff's Office report.

San Francisco resident Jennifer Leigh Prince, 40, was arrested on Dec. 24 and booked into the San Mateo County jail on charges of identity theft and possession of stolen property in connection with the Half Moon Bay incident, Sgt. Linda Gibbons said in the report.

The second suspect is Lisa Annette Muniz, 36, of Rodeo, California, who is also wanted in Contra Costa County on a probation violation, Sgt. Gibbons said.

The break in the case resulted from an incident on Dec. 23, shortly before 6 a.m., when sheriff's Deputy Todd Finato walked over to investigate a green Jeep Cherokee occupied by two women and parked on Crescent Avenue in Portola Valley's Brookside Park neighborhood, according to the report.

Deputies had been called about an auto burglary on Canyon Avenue a few blocks away.

Deputy Finato obtained the identity cards of the two women and happened to notice a piece of property similar to one reported stolen in the Canyon Avenue incident. At that point, the driver put the Jeep into gear and fled the area, Sgt. Gibbons said.

Deputy Finato gave chase but lost sight of the Jeep, which had no license plates, Sgt. Gibbons said. Three Brookside Park thefts and another burglary were later reported for Dec. 23.

San Mateo police happened to stop Ms. Prince at 3:40 a.m. on Dec. 24 for a traffic matter, and she gave the police an ID card later found to have been stolen in Grass Valley, the report said.

Investigators from the San Mateo Police Department consulted with Sheriff's Office investigators and determined that Ms. Prince had been driving the Jeep in the Dec. 23 case. Charges are pending, the report said.

Investigators are also looking for clues linking the two women to other property crimes in Half Moon Bay, Burlingame and the East Bay, the report said.

The Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information about these incidents to call Detective Ben Hand at 363-4192, or the anonymous witness Line at 800-547-2700.

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