One woman has been arrested and a second is being sought in connection with a series of auto break-in burglaries in several Bay Area cities, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office reported Wednesday (Dec. 29).
At about 5 a.m. Thursday (Dec. 23), a woman in Portola Valley heard her car alarm go off in the 200 block of Canyon Drive. The woman went outside to check on her car and discovered that it had been broken into, the sheriff's office said.
After taking a report of the burglary, a deputy checked neighboring streets and found a suspicious-looking vehicle parked in the 100 block of Crescent Avenue, just a few blocks from where the burglary was committed. The vehicle was a green Jeep Cherokee with no license plates and was occupied by two women, according to the sheriff's office.
When the deputy contacted the women, one provided her ID, but the other provided an ID that later turned out to have been stolen out of Grass Valley, the sheriff's office said. During the interaction, the deputy reportedly noticed an item he believed had been stolen, and the driver sped off. The deputy chased the women but lost sight of them, the sheriff's office reported.
Over the next several hours, the sheriff's office began receiving more reports of vehicles that had been burglarized, apparently before the one on Canyon Drive was broken into. The two women in the fleeing vehicle have since been identified as Lisa Muniz, a 36-year-old Rodeo resident, and Jennifer Prince, a 40-year-old San Francisco resident.
Prince was arrested early Friday morning (Dec. 24) by San Mateo police after she allegedly provided a stolen ID card during a traffic stop. She was also allegedly in possession of property that had been stolen in Half Moon Bay when she was arrested. She was booked into San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of identity theft and possession of stolen property, the sheriff's office said.
Investigators have since spoken with Prince and confirmed that she was the driver of the green Jeep Cherokee that fled the day before. As of Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 29), Muniz still had not been found. She is being sought by multiple law enforcement agencies and is also wanted on an outstanding warrant for a probation violation in Contra Costa County.
Charges for both women are pending, and investigators are still looking into whether the pair can also be linked to other burglaries in Half Moon Bay, Burlingame and the East Bay. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Ben Hand at 650-363-4049. People can also call the sheriff's office's anonymous witness line at 800-547-2700.