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Police Blotter: License Plate Camera Leads to Quickie Capture of Suspected Car Thieves

The weekend police log also included a possible home burglary attempt and some four-footed troublemakers.

Photo credit: Patch graphic
Photo credit: Patch graphic
Start to finish, it took only four minutes for police to capture two suspected car thieves after a surveillance camera alerted local dispatchers to a stolen auto entering Piedmont, a police spokesperson said today (Monday).

Capt. Scott Wyatt of the Piedmont Police Department called the Friday afternoon incident "a textbook ALPR hit."

ALPR stands for "automated license plate reader." Piedmont recently finished installation of a $678,613 ALPR system with 39 cameras at 15 locations around the city.

Wyatt said the ALPR system alerted dispatchers to a stolen vehicle traveling southbound on Grand Avenue at Rose Avenue at 3:10 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3. Patrol officers were notified within a minute. 

Thirty seconds later, a patrol car located the stolen champagne-colored 1997 Nissan Sentra traveling on Grand at Oakland Avenue, he said.

Moments later, the stolen car turned onto Jean Street and pulled into a small parking lot by the Ace Garden Center, Wyatt said. A single officer detained the two people in the Nissan until back-up arrived less than a minute later.

The woman driver and a male passenger were taken into custody at 3:14 p.m., Wyatt said.

The driver, Chrise McMahann, 21, of Oakland, was arrested on suspicion of felony auto theft, he said.

McMahann also had outstanding arrest warrants for assault and misdemeanor domestic violence battery and was in violation of an existing court order, Wyatt said. She was taken to Santa Rita County Jail in Dublin.

McMahann's passenger, Demaurija Collins, 22, of Oakland was arrested on suspicion of auto theft and also had an outstanding arrest warrant, Wyatt said. He was jailed at the Glenn Dyer Detention Facility in Oakland.

The Nissan was reported stolen by the Hayward Police Department on Dec. 29, Wyatt said.

He said the ALPR system has alerted local police to other suspicious autos since its installation, but in those cases, the cars had actually been recovered but not removed from the statewide database of stolen vehicles.

Incidents highlighted in the blotter were recorded in the Piedmont Police Department log from noon on Jan. 3 through noon, Jan. 6. Not all incidents recorded in the log are included here. Information was supplied by the police and does not indicate any convictions.

SATURDAY, JAN. 4

Home burglary — A possible residential burglary was reported at a Blair Avenue home. Police said a door was damaged but nothing appeared to have been stolen.

Suspicious circumstances — A Winsor Avenue resident reported hearing noises at the side of the house at 10:25 p.m. The police officer who responded said the sounds may have been made by raccoons trying to rummage through garbage cans.

SUNDAY, JAN. 5

Electrical fire — Piedmont firefighters extinguished a small electrical fire at Grand Lake Ace Hardware reported to police shortly after 4 a.m. See "Ace Hardware Reopens After Sunday Morning Fire" for details.

Furry fugitive — A La Salle Avenue resident captured a "repeat offender" — a small Chihuahua mix that frequently escapes from its yard. An animal control officer picked up the dog and later reunited it with its owner.

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