Don Bauder 7:49 p.m., May 22
Stolen iPhone leads to arrest of a man accused of multiple burglaries
Pinging iPhone was ditched in a vacant lot near the home of a thief on probation
A man whose iPhone was stolen from his home while he slept, used the tracking device in his smartphone to assist Oceanside Police to find and arrest a suspect they already named for a string of prior burglaries.
The alleged burglary victim said he was awakened by his dog about 2:30 a.m., the morning of July 5, 2012. He said he walked around his home, on North Cleveland Street, and realized “things were disturbed in his house,” according to Oceanside police officer Scott Hunter.
The San Diego County homeowner reported that gold jewelry and cash and a 12-pack of beer were missing, but he was most concerned about his .45 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun that was taken.
Another homeowner, on the same 400 block of North Cleveland Street, reported to police the same morning that her husband’s MacBook Pro and his iPhone and other items were taken from their home while they slept upstairs.
Another couple on North Cleveland reported their home was burglarized the same night, the woman’s Gucci purse and the man’s iPhone were allegedly taken.
In all, four homes on the same street were broken into and had items stolen, all while the residents were asleep upstairs. In every case, it appeared that the thief came into the home using a sliding glass door at the side or back. In one case the sliding door was lifted and slid over a round dowel which had been placed in the door tracks specifically to prevent such a maneuver. (A police officer stated that the dowel was too small in diameter.)
The owner of one of the missing smartphones alerted police to the location where he said his iPhone was pinging. One officer used an iPad to find the pinging smart-phone hidden in a thick bush, in a vacant lot in the 1000 block of San Juan Street, according to Detective Joshua Young.
The stolen iPhone was recovered across the street from the residence of Christopher Gabriel Rincon, detective Young said. When police approached Rincon’s house, “He was trying to flee out the back slider,” according to detective Young. Twenty-year-old Christopher Rincon was already the subject of a flyer produced by local police, he had been listed as a suspect in an ongoing series of burglaries in downtown Oceanside. Officer Scott Hunter said they were familiar with Rincon and where he lived.
Police were able to enter Rincon’s residence and search without warrant because he was on probation for a prior theft, they said. Police said, “A wad of $1,200 cash was sitting on the windowsill in his bedroom.” In the same room they found a 12-pack of beer -- with a couple beers missing, and a Mac laptop, and stolen PlayStation games and consoles, and gold jewelry identified as belonging to one of the burglary victims.
The missing .45 calibre Smith & Wesson gun was found wrapped in a cloth and wedged tightly between thick bushes and a backyard fence, police said.
Christopher Gabriel Rincon, 20, pleads not guilty to eight felonies, and is next due in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse on February 21.
Top image: Def atty Matthew Roberts and Christopher Rincon. Photo Weatherston.