A gas station break-in in rural wine country is helping unravel a series of such crimes around the Bay Area.
Just after midnight on Tuesday, three suspects were arrested in Schellville, outside the city of Sonoma.
A notebook from their vehicle contains leads into other investigations.
"Detectives are putting some pieces of the puzzle together," said Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum, "and it looks like they've been doing a string of late-night gas station break-ins where they've been stealing lottery tickets."
Booked into the Sonoma County jail were: Kristine Razo,40, Karen Loggins, 22, and Veronica Powers, 32, all of Salinas.
They allegedly shattered the front door at Bonneau's Union 76 station where Highways 12 and 121 meet. The intersection is a popular spot for a deli sandwich or fill-up, but after midnight, it is locked-up and dark.
"What's close by?" reacted customer Kenneth Griffin of Vallejo, not entirely surprised by the break-in.
"There's no law enforcement near here, and Highway Patrol goes by sometimes, but other than that, you can do what you want."
Unbeknownst to the suspects, they were being watched.
Deputies, alerted to a suspicious car, rolled in with lights off and observed from a distance.
They saw the women swap the license plate on their Jetta for a stolen one
Then they smashed the glass door, but an alarm sounded, and they took off.
Pulled-over quickly, two suspects surrendered but Powers required some coaxing to leave the back seat.
"She wouldn't come out, at our commands, and we had a PA system yelling," said Sgt. Crum, "but when we called the canine over, and warned her the dog was coming in, she decided to give up."
From the car, deputies confiscated a hammer, screwdriver, heroin, and a smoking pipe, dark clothing, gloves and bandanas.
Plus a notebook filled with the addresses of various gas stations, some in the East Bay, a checklist of sorts.
"Either places they've already hit, or places they planned to hit but we stopped that," said Sgt. Crum.
One of the departments Sonoma County is conferring with is San Ramon.
"I don't know if these are the suspects in our case, but they certainly could be," said San Ramon Police Sgt. Rob Ransom.
Three gas stations in that community have had windows shattered and stacks of lottery tickets stolen in recent weeks.
Dublin Police has a case open too, on July 11.
As for the fact that the women are from outside the Bay Area?
"You go someplace else where people aren't familiar with you," said Sgt. Ransom," so then you think you can go back home and it's almost like you didn't do it."
Bonneaus, founded as a rest-stop more than a century ago, was more out-of-the way than other targets, but hardly foolproof.
"Even though you feel like you're in the country, we're still the Bay Area," noted Sgt. Crum, "and we have the technology, the surveillance, video and alarms to catch you."
Investigators have not said how many potential burglaries the women may be linked to or the dollar value of the scratch-off tickets stolen.