Two suspects arrested in auto burglaries
Alameda police have arrested two suspects in a string of auto burglaries and have recovered the stolen property of up to six victims, including a GPS device belonging to Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker.
The suspects, 18-year-old Qaise Ghauss and 19-year-old Ruben Joseph “Grumpy” Sigala III, share a residence in Alameda and are suspects in up to nine similar cases of auto break-ins and auto vandalism, said police Sgt. Jill Ottaviano. Authorities also consider them to be suspects in the recent rash of vehicle break-ins in the blocks surrounding Edison Elementary School, though they are concentrating first on those cases in which property was stolen.
According to Ottaviano, the tip-off came from the victims of a June 28 auto burglary on the 1600 block Versailles Avenue. “The victims started searching Craigslist and noticed that a similar device was posted, so they notified the police department,” she said. Police began communicating with the Craigslist seller and arranged for an undercover buy of the GPS unit.
Ghauss and Sigala arrived at the Tuesday meeting on the 1800 block of High Street with at least five stolen GPS devices in a backpack, police said. Both men were then arrested on charges of possessing stolen property. Sigala faces an additional charge of possessing burglary tools. Extra charges are expected to be filed.
“We’ve cleared six cases; I think we’re going to clear about six more,” said Ottaviano of the arrests.
Among the cases police said they have cleared is the theft of a GPS unit from Lai-Bitker’s blue 1995 Toyota Prius, which she had apparently left unlocked near her residence. The theft occurred sometime between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
A search of the suspects’ residence also turned up a shotgun stolen in a 1993 San Francisco burglary, police said.
Though Ghauss and Sigala have not been tied to the series of incidents near Edison, they are “absolutely” suspects, said Detective Craig Vreeland. “It’s the same time frame. It’s the same,” he said.
Meanwhile, police are investigating six residential and business burglaries as well as an attempted burglary at the West End Library, all of which occurred Wednesday, Vreeland said.