San Jose police arrest 2 men in connection with string of car thefts

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Multiple agencies swarmed an East San Jose neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon.

At one point, they even put a school on lockdown. Police combed the area, eventually handcuffing two men who they say may be responsible for a string of car thefts.

"One suspect stayed at the vehicle," said Lt. Jim Helms of the Regional Auto Theft Task Force. "The other one started jumping fences, taking off. The detectives were able to keep a visual on him as he jumped some fences and went into the house." The suspect surrendered.

Police say the pair had stolen an older model gold Honda CRV in Los Altos earlier in the day and likely used a red screwdriver to start the ignition.

Detectives from the county's Regional Auto Theft Task Force at first didn't realize the car was stolen and ran the plates because it looked suspicious.

"I wish I could say it was luck of the draw," said Lt. Helms. "But we come across a lot of cars. It's a pretty big issue in Santa Clara County. About 16,000 cars a year stolen in Santa Clara County so we are quite busy."

On average, the task force says 40 to 45 cars are stolen every day in Santa Clara County. Between January to March of this year, the task force recovered 186 stolen cars and made 89 arrests. Several victims showed up to retrieve their belongings.

"It's not just stealing a car to drive it around," said Lt. Helms. "They put different plates on them. Paper plates on them. They use them to do different crimes."

The victim in this case got lucky. While majority of stolen cars are eventually recovered, police say, they aren't usually recovered this fast, or in good condition.

The task force has recently seen an uptick of stolen Honda SUV's.

Police say these types of thefts are crimes of opportunity and caution people not to leave their valuables in plain sight including iPhone car charges associated with pricey iPhones.