SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - A couple from Oakland has been arrested in connection with a rash of recent burglaries and dozens of very valuable items, some of them priceless, have been returned to their rightful owners.
“I think it’s ridiculous how lucky we got,” said Zach Benayoun, a Cal Poly student who had his laptop swiped from his room while he was sleeping early Sunday morning.
Benayoun is in much better spirits than he was when we talked to him on Monday.
“I was jumping around and screaming and was like I knew I’d get it back,” said Benayoun after he got a call from SLOPD that his laptop was recovered after a traffic stop in Pismo Beach.
A Pismo Beach Police Officer recognized 29-year old Christopher Jones from the surveillance footage officials shared on Monday.
“The officer seized all those items pursuant to that arrest, and since then, we’ve been able to identify a number of pieces of items that were stolen property here in San Luis Obispo, even from this weekend and were actively returning those items to people today,” said Captain Chris Staley, San Luis Obispo Police Department.
Police say the vehicle driven by 37-year-old Veronica Weitz was filled with stolen laptops, iPads, backpacks, a tv and even a puppy!
“Obviously made me feel like I don’t care about my laptop anymore I mean the guy took a puppy,” said Benayoun.
Officers were able to reunite “Sherpa” with her owner's thanks to a Facebook post on Lost Pets of SLO County. Staley says Jones and Weitz reportedly told police the dog was theirs when initially confronted.
“We believe they stole the dog a couple of weeks ago. We’re not sure if they intended on keeping it for themselves, the dog actually happens to be worth a fair amount of money, we weren’t sure if they were going to try and sell the dog,” said Capt. Staley.
A happy ending, with a sinister backstory.
“To actually recover this much evidence is great, it’s rare, it doesn’t happen all the time. Often times people offload these types of items really quickly and we’re not able to catch it in their possession. To actually catch it in their possession and so many of these items in their possession is really great for us and it is a rare occasion,” said Capt. Staley.
Sherpa’s owners declined an on-camera interview but tell us “We are just happy she’s back safely and hope that the people who stole from us will change for the better.”
Police believe the couple was targeting college students known to leave their doors unlocked.
Detectives recommend jotting down the serial number of our laptop or other valuable electronics, in case they ever get stolen. Authorities are using serial numbers to help them identify stolen items in this case.
Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a recent burglary is asked to call SLO Police.