Articles Posted in Car Theft

Forty seven year old Michael Helms from San Pablo and forty five year old Larry Hernandez from El Sobrante were arrested Tuesday when Detectives saw them taking a catalytic converter from a truck in Marin County. Helms and Hernandez were arrested last week in Sonoma County on possession of stolen property charges and were being watched by detectives from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Property Crimes Investigation unit.

Mr. Helms and Mr. Hernandez are suspected of stealing at least three vehicles, breaking into a truck and stealing tools, along with stealing catalytic converters. Detectives conducing the surveillance of both men followed them from Rhonert Park to a park and ride lot in Novato where they observed Mr. Hernandez saw the catalytic converter off of a pick up truck in the lot.

Police officers approached both suspects who fled but were apprehended about a mile from the park and ride lot. Mr. Helms was arrested on charges of grand theft, conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance, possession of burglary tools, and driving on a suspended license. Mr. Hernandez was arrested for grand theft, conspiracy and possession of burglary tools. Both men were booked into the Marin County Jail.

Possession of a controlled substance can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the drug, the quantity possessed and the suspects prior criminal record. Grand theft is also a wobbler offense punishable by up to three years in state prison as a felony and by up to one year in the county jail as a misdemeanor.
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On Monday morning a Petaluma Police Officer was responding to a crash around 1:30 a.m. when he was side swiped by a suspected drunk driver. Twenty six year old Keith Obryan Johnson failed to move out of the way when the officer pulled up behind him with his lights flashing and siren blaring. When the officer changed lanes to go around him, Mr. Johnson turned to the left and struck the officers police cruiser.

Neither the officer nor Mr. Johnson were injured in the crash. Mr. Johnson was arrested after the accident and booked into the Sonoma County Jail with a blood alcohol test result of .12%, more than the California limit of .08%. Monday’s driving under the influence arrest was the second for Mr. Johnson in February 2010. He was arrested for a DUI, assault and battery, car theft, driving on a suspended license and violating his probation on February 6 in Rhonert Park.

Mr. Johnson could be charged with a third DUI as he was convicted of driving under the influence in 2008 and placed on probation. DUI in California is a priorable offense for ten years from the date of arrest. As such, anyone convicted of driving under the influence or driving with a .08% or above can have their sentence enhanced if they are convicted of any subsequent DUI in the next ten years.

A third offense DUI can be punished with probation including a minimum jail term of 120 days, fines of more than $2,000.00, and mandatory attendance at a DUI program of 18 or 30 months. The DMV can also revoke a third offender’s driving privilege for 3 years and will require the installation of an ignition interlock device, IID, upon application for a restricted license.
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