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California transients arrested for car thefts at gyms

The staff of the YMCA on Santa Teresa Boulevard in San Jose circulated surveillance photos of thieves that allegedly stole the Honda minivan of a gym patron. The gym's director used the photos to alert other YMCAs in the city. The same day, one of the suspects entered the YMCA on Quito Road with a different companion. Aware of the first incident, the vigilant staff thwarted the possible intentions of the men, who left the building but were caught on surveillance cameras.

A Morgan Hill detective with the Regional Auto Theft Task Force recognized two of the suspects in the images. In the following weeks, police staked out areas in South San Jose where stolen cars might be trafficked.

Three men were eventually taken into custody. They had proven difficult to track down because they were homeless, but they allegedly had in their possession at the times of their arrests stolen checks, a stolen credit card and a victim's driver's license. In addition to alleged thefts at the YMCA gyms, home invasions were possibly committed by the men.

A person charged with theft has a right to legal representation. A criminal defense attorney could help the client understand the charges and potential penalties. Legal advice might aid the defendant in the decision about whether to plead guilty or not. An attorney could also try to challenge the prosecutor's evidence if it was collected in violation of the constitutional prohibition against unlawful searches. In some cases, negotiating an agreement with the prosecutor in which the defendant could plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for the dismissal of the more serious charge may be advisable.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, "Car thefts at San Jose gyms: YMCA staffers help unravel cunning scheme", Robert Salonga, June 1, 2015

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