Citizen's call leads to arrests

Two suspected car thieves apprehended by police
By: Richard Myers, The News Messenger
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Thanks to a tip from a citizen and the investigative work of two Lincoln Police officers, two men are in custody for possession of stolen property charges. "It was great teamwork by both the citizen involved and the two officers who checked out the situation," said LPD Lt. Brian Vizzusi. "You have to give all the credit to the citizen who called us and the two officers. It worked out well." According to Vizzusi, a resident in the 200 block of Saddle Horn Loop Road called the LPD's main number about 8 a.m. June 2 to report a suspicious vehicle parked on her street. Vizzusi said the woman noticed two suspects inside the vehicle; one was leaning back in the seat while the other was looking around. LPD officers Steve Johnson and Tony Spadaro responded to the scene and contacted the two individuals. Upon further investigation, Vizzusi said the officers found a woman's purse inside the vehicle. Checking the purse, they determined it belonged to a resident on Saddle Horn Loop, Vizzusi said. After contacting the owner of the purse, officers learned that it had recently been taken from her porch. The car the two suspects were in, a 1993 Honda, was a stolen vehicle. Humberto Rodriguez, 20, of Citrus Heights, and Juan Ruelas, 18, a transient from Sacramento, were arrested and booked into the Placer County Jail. "A lot of times, people don't want to call us if they see something suspicious," Vizzusi said. "They think about it and talk themselves out of it. If you have a gut feeling that something is not right, call us. It's our job to check it out." Vizzusi stressed if citizens see something suspicious that is in progress, they should call the police department's main telephone number, 645-4040. If people want to report something that can be investigated at a later time, they can call Placer County Crime Stoppers at (800) 923-8191. The Crime Stoppers tip line is staffed by a dispatcher with the Rocklin Police Department, said Barbara Beverly, a crime analyst for the Placer County Sheriff's Department. When someone calls Crime Stoppers, Beverly said the dispatcher takes down the information and then forwards it to her. There's usually some lag time between when she receives the tip and when she notifies the proper police agency, Beverly said, so it's best that people call their local police agency if the suspicious incident is taking place right then. "If people see an armed robbery taking place, they should call 9-1-1," Beverly said. "If they see ongoing drug activity at their next door neighbor's house, and they want to report it and remain anonymous, they should call Crime Stoppers." Crime Stoppers' switchboard fielded 25 calls last year and 43 in 2003. Crime Stoppers is off to a slow start this year, with only seven calls received/ If the information leads to an arrest, the citizen providing the tip is entitled to a reward. Beverly said, however, people usually do not call back. "People are not motivated by money," she said. "They just want to report a crime and remain anonymous."
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