After months of mystery break-ins across the west side of Alameda, the police have a suspect in custody. The most serious charge includes allegations of sexual assault on a 7-year-old girl when the suspect climbed in through the girl's window.
After surveillance camera footage of the subject from the Rodeway Inn was made public, the 17-year-old male suspect eventually turned himself in. In that incident, the suspect was allegedly trying to enter the hotel manager's apartment. His name is being withheld because of his age, but he may be looking at charges in as many as 10 break-ins over the past few months, including the assault on the girl.
According to investigators with the Alameda Police Department, they already knew the boy's identity when he turned himself in, accompanied by his father. “The way we identified him was through good old fashioned police work,” said Lt. Jill Ottaviano. Though what that meant is unclear. “It was going to happen either way. He decided to go that way. It was just a matter of time.”
For weeks, law enforcement officials in Alameda were on the hunt for the serial burglary suspect, warning residents to lock their doors and secure their windows. This was a challenged to some residents who were looking for a cool evening breeze to get a break from the warm summer weather.
The investigation took a more serious turn after a local parent reported someone had cut through the screen of their daughter's bedroom window, coming through and assaulting the girl. Extra uniformed and undercover police officers were added to patrols as law enforcement sought a break in the case.
Since June 16, the West End of Alameda has seen at least six “hot prowls,” so-called because the break in occurred while people were home inside the house. All of the burglaries occurred in the late night to early morning hours.
If tried as an adult the teenager could face charges of burglary and sexual assault. First degree burglary is a felony in California, and punishable by up to 6 years in state prison. Under state law, a conviction for sexual assault can lead to a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender.
However, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office has said they plan to prosecute the 17-year-old Alameda resident as a juvenile, rather than through adult criminal proceedings. Investigators have tied the teenager to five recent burglaries, while they suspect he may be involved in additional incidents. So far, the juvenile is charged with two counts of burglary and a sexual assault charge. He remains in custody at juvenile hall.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing criminal charges in the East Bay, including burglary and assault. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands the local criminal laws, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve. Contact the local East Bay criminal defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.