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Trial starts for East Palo Alto man accused of theft, forgery

 

A jury trial started Monday, Feb. 21, in the case of Francisco Fuentes Arreola, 24, of East Palo Alto.

In December 2015, Arreola allegedly led deputies on a high-speed vehicle chase that began in unincorporated Redwood City, ended in Woodside and involved escaping from a police perimeter, only to be caught later through the use of an infrared camera, according to prosecutors.

Arreola is in custody at the county jail on $25,000 bail. He pleaded not guilty on Jan. 20 to charges that included possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of burglary tools and forgery, prosecutors said.

The incident began when deputies from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office noticed a Nissan truck reported stolen and allegedly speeding westbound on Woodside Road. Deputies pulled in behind the truck at the intersection of Alameda de las Pulgas, but the truck sped off at 75 mph up toward Woodside, prosecutors said.

After the truck passed under Interstate 280, the driver pulled over, abandoned the vehicle and ran into a wooded area, prosecutors said. Deputies set up a perimeter, but the driver escaped it and was seen running across all six lanes of the I-280 freeway, prosecutors said.

The Woodside Fire Protection District loaned deputies a thermal imaging device used to detect body heat, and deputies found the man hiding nearby, prosecutors said. Arreola was arrested and deputies allegedly found him to be in possession of a shaved key used to steal vehicles, and a check allegedly stolen in a vehicle burglary in Sunnyvale, prosecutors said.

Santa Cruz County also had a $25,000 arrest warrant out for the man on charges of possession of stolen property, prosecutors said.

Dave Boyce

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