A serial auto burglar who rammed a police car during a pursuit was arrested through a team effort by Los Altos, Mountain View and Palo Alto police on Monday.
Andrew Peacock, 27, of Oakland, a wanted felon, allegedly struck the occupied detective car during an arrest attempt and proceeded to lead police on a vehicle pursuit. No one was injured, Palo Alto police said.
Palo Alto dispatchers received four separate calls of auto burglaries that had just occurred between 11:07 a.m. and 11:26 a.m. on June 1. The first occurred in the Town & Country Village shopping center parking lot at 855 El Camino Real; the second occurred at the Starbucks parking lot at 2000 El Camino Real; the third occurred at the Corner Bakery Cafe parking lot at 3375 El Camino Real and the fourth occurred at the Hobee's Restaurant parking lot at 4224 El Camino Real. In each case, unoccupied vehicles with personal electronic items (laptops, iPads) left in plain view had their windows smashed and the property stolen, police said.
A witness to the burglary at the Corner Bakery Cafe promptly called police and provided a description and license plate of the suspect vehicle, a burgundy 2006 Mercedes CLS-500 four-door sedan, and a description of the suspect. Officers immediately recognized the vehicle and the suspect description as belonging to a suspect they had identified from a string of three auto burglaries that had occurred on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at the Edgewood Shopping Center at 2050 Channing Ave. Detectives and patrol officers spread out to cover other commonly victimized areas, and dispatchers notified surrounding jurisdictions about the vehicle and what had occurred.
At about 11:32 a.m., an officer from the Mountain View Police Department observed Peacock's vehicle in the In-N-Out Burger parking lot at 1159 N. Rengstorff Ave. in Mountain View. Detectives from the Palo Alto Police Department were already in that area looking for him. The detectives attempted to apprehend Peacock, but he drove off through the parking lot, intentionally ramming an unmarked Palo Alto Police Department detective car that had been blocking the exit. There were two detectives inside that car at the time it was struck, but neither detective was injured. The vehicle sustained moderate damage.
After ramming the unmarked car, Peacock drove onto southbound U.S. Highway 101. Two officers from the Mountain View Police Department attempted to stop him, but he refused to yield. The officers initiated a vehicle pursuit at 11:34 a.m.
Peacock made a high-speed lane change across three traffic lanes to exit at Mathilda Avenue in Sunnyvale and got away. The officers last saw him exiting onto Mathilda Avenue and broadcast that information on the police radio.
At about 11:47 a.m., an officer from the Los Altos Police Department observed Peacock's vehicle driving in the area of Grant Road and Fremont Avenue. As soon as Peacock saw the officer, he allegedly drove off at a high rate of speed and disappeared. The officer broadcast what he had seen on the police radio, and other Los Altos Police Department personnel moved into the area to help in the search.
A short time later, a Los Altos Police Department detective in an unmarked car observed Peacock walking in the 700 block of Berry Avenue. The detective called for additional officers and kept Peacock under observation. The suspect walked into the Los Altos Bakery inside the Rancho Shopping Center at 600 Fremont Ave. Officers from the Los Altos Police Department went into the bakery and found him hiding inside the restroom. They detained him without incident.
Detectives from the Los Altos Police Department found Peacock's damaged vehicle parked in the 700 block of Alvina Court, immediately around the corner from where they had first seen him walking. Detectives from the Palo Alto Police Department towed the suspect's vehicle for investigation and are currently processing it, as well as items inside of it, for evidence. Detectives recovered all of the property stolen from the four Palo Alto auto burglaries, and they also located personal checkbooks and a cell phone they believe to have been stolen in other auto burglaries from other jurisdictions. Detectives are working to identify the owner of those items, police said.
Palo Alto Police Department officers booked Peacock into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for assault with a deadly weapon and seven counts of auto burglary -- four from June 1 and three from May 27. They also booked him for the misdemeanor charges of possession of stolen property, resisting/delaying an officer and driving on a suspended license.
Peacock was also booked for three outstanding felony warrants (burglary from the Menlo Park Police Department, burglary from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, and false impersonation, evading, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license from the Richmond Police Department). He is on active probation in Alameda County for a prior conviction of burglary. Additional charges against Peacock may be forthcoming from the Mountain View Police Department and the Los Altos Police Department as a result of his actions on June 1.
Investigators from all three agencies will be working with their counterparts from throughout the Peninsula and mining through past cases to ascertain if Peacock may be connected to any other auto burglaries or other crimes, police said.
"This is a great example of inter-agency cooperation, with three departments working together to locate and arrest a prolific burglar," said Lieutenant Zach Perron of the Palo Alto Police Department. "We very much appreciate the help from the Los Altos Police Department and the Mountain View Police Department, and we're pleased that this incident ended without anyone being injured."
Vehicle burglaries continue to plague Bay Area cities, and Palo Alto is no exception, police said. In May 2015 the city had 59 reported auto burglaries, the highest month since December 2013 when there were 53.
There were a total of 313 auto burglaries in 2014, down from a six-year high of 409 in 2013, police said. There have already been 192 auto burglaries reported in the first five months of 2015, police said. Generally speaking, downtown parking garages and parking lots along El Camino Real have been the most frequently targeted locations.
Anyone with information about this incident or Peacock is asked to call the police 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.