General Crime

* Michael Vincent Gutierrez and April Marie True Arrested for Alleged Possession of the Maloney Family Car and Credit Cards Taken in Burglary of Maloney Home

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The 26-year-old man arrested Tuesday in San Mateo County on suspicion of burglarizing the home of a Sonoma family killed in a crash last weekend has served several years in prison and been convicted of at least three prior felonies, authorities said today. Michael Vincent Gutierrez, of Redwood City, was arrested along with 29-year-old April Marie True after the two were found to be in possession of jewelry and electronics believed to have been taken from the Maloney home, as well as the Maloneys’ car, Sonoma Police Chief Bret Sackett said. John and Susan Maloney, both 42, and their children Aiden, 8, and Grace, 5, were killed Saturday night in a crash with a Mini Cooper on state Highway 37. The driver of the Mini Cooper, who is believed to be at fault for the crash, also died. Gutierrez was first convicted in San Mateo County in 2002 of felony grand theft and placed on probation, Assistant District Attorney Karen Guidotti said. In 2003, he was convicted of felony theft from a person and sentenced to two years in prison, in addition to two years for violating his probation, Guidotti said. A judge allowed him to serve the sentences concurrently and he was released after one year. In 2005, he was convicted of felony evading a peace officer, or reckless evading. He was given 16 months in prison and served half that time, Guidotti said. He was convicted of felony reckless evading again in 2006 and  sentenced to three years in prison. He also served half of that term. His prison sentences were reduced because he was not convicted of violent or serious felonies, Guidotti said. Gutierrez is presently facing three charges in San Mateo County unrelated to the burglary case; being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of stolen property and possession of methamphetamine, Guidotti said.  She said Gutierrez is due to appear in San Mateo County Superior Court on that case on Feb. 23 for a pretrial conference. However, since he is in Sonoma County jail, he will likely have to deal with the charges stemming from the Sonoma burglary first. “We haven’t discussed who will go first but we would certainly defer to them,” Guidotti said of Sonoma County authorities. True also has a pending drug case in San Mateo County, Guidotti said. True and Gutierrez were identified as suspects in the Sonoma burglary after True was pulled over in San Mateo County on Tuesday for an unrelated matter and police discovered she had a credit card belonging to Susan Maloney, Sackett said. Several law enforcement agencies then worked together to connect the pair to the robbery and take them into custody. The burglary was discovered by the deceased family’s relatives, who were staying at their home on Fryer Drive in Sonoma. They called police Tuesday morning to report that the house had been ransacked and a car stolen, police said. In addition to Susan Maloney’s credit card, San Mateo police found jewelry and electronics belonging to the Maloneys in the car, Sackett said. Police contacted Sonoma detectives, who arrived in San Mateo late Tuesday afternoon to examine the items, Sackett said. At that point, Sonoma investigators asked San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies to monitor the home True shares with Gutierrez, her boyfriend, Sackett said. Deputies set up surveillance around the house, located in a rural area off Skyline Boulevard south of state Highway 92, San Mateo County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Wes Matsuura said.At about 9:40 p.m., Gutierrez left the house and drove off in the Maloney family’s missing 2006 Nissan 350Z. Sheriff’s deputies stopped the car and turned both Gutierrez and the vehicle over to Sonoma authorities, Matsuura said. Investigators searched the couple’s home and recovered financial records, jewelry, electronics and other personal property believed to have been stolen from the Maloney home, Sackett said. While investigators have not yet determined how the couple came to target the home, Sackett said media coverage of the family’s tragic death was a likely factor.Detectives are working with the family’s relatives to identify the items they recovered. Sonoma police said that most, if not all, of the stolen property has been recovered. True and Gutierrez are in custody in Sonoma County and were booked into jail on charges of burglary and theft, Sonoma police said. Their bail has been set at $500,000. They are scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Sonoma County Superior Court. Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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