Sunnyvale’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) appears to have prevailed in its battle against holiday porch pirates.
In early December, DPS sent out social media alerts that read: “Porch pirates beware, you never know what’s inside that package you’re trying to steal!”
For the peak of the holiday season, the agency placed decoy packages on porches around Sunnyvale, daring people to walk up and steal them.
A team of four officers worked the decoy program from Nov. 29 to Dec. 17. They watched the packages and arrested or cited the people who took them. In total, officers arrested 20 people and issued 19 citations.
Sunnyvale DPS Capt. Craig Anderson says though the operation was short, he still believes it was very successful.
“Unfortunately, I can’t honestly quantify what crimes they may have prevented but with the help of the media we believe it does make a difference each year,” said Anderson.
Anderson believes the pre-warning and media coverage made some thieves think twice.
DPS Involved in Arrest of Kevin Nishita Murder Suspect
While there were no major arrests involving package thieves, Sunnyvale DPS officers worked diligently during the holiday season on other cases.
Capt. Anderson says officers worked in Sunnyvale in conjunction with the Oakland Police Department to support the arrest of one of the people believed to be responsible for murdering former San Jose, Colma and Hayward police officer Kevin Nishita.
Nishita was working as a security guard for a local television news crew in Downtown Oakland on Nov. 24, 2021, when he was shot trying to protect the reporter. He later died at the hospital.
Oakland police have arrested two people in connection with the shooting and have identified a third suspect.
Auto Burglary Suspects Arrested
On Dec. 20, 2021, Sunnyvale officers arrested two men they believe were involved in dozens of auto burglaries in the South Bay and Peninsula areas.
For several weeks, officers throughout the Bay Area were tracking a black Infiniti believed to be involved in a string of auto burglaries. On the evening of Dec. 20, It was spotted in a parking lot on East El Camino Real near South Sunnyvale Ave.
The first officer on scene was in an unmarked police car. He followed the Infiniti to a nearby parking lot where he saw the car’s occupants commit another auto burglary.
According to the police report, when the officer tried to stop the men, the driver of the Infiniti rammed the officer’s car. The three people inside the Infiniti jumped out and ran away.
Two of the suspected burglars, Silvestre Barbosadimas and Graylen Hunt, were later found and arrested. Another suspect is still outstanding.
Police think the men were involved in as many as 30 additional auto burglaries throughout the Bay Area.