SAN MATEO (CBS SF) — Two suspects were arrested in San Mateo Sunday morning in connection with a variety of crimes committed during the weekend including multiple robberies, vehicle thefts and credit card fraud, according to authorities.
In a press release issued Monday afternoon, San Mateo police said officers responded to a report of a robbery near Central Park at around 7:45 p.m. Saturday evening. Arriving officers learned an elderly female victim was walking southbound on Laurel Avenue when a vehicle pulled up next to her and a passenger grabbed her purse before the vehicle fled the scene. The woman was not injured in the incident.READ MORE: Project Home: Federal Court Strikes Down CDC Eviction Moratorium; What Does It Mean For Bay Area Renters?
About an hour later, the victim contacted San Mateo police to report her credit cards had been used at locations in Belmont, San Carlos and Hayward. Police were able to obtain security video footage from the locations where the credit card were fraudulently used and obtain descriptions of three subjects — two Polynesian males and 1 Hispanic male — and the suspect vehicle, a gold minivan.
On Sunday morning at around 7:20 a.m., San Mateo County Dispatch broadcast a bulletin for robbery and auto burglary suspects that occurred in South Francisco. The license plate for that suspect vehicle matched that San Mateo robbery suspect vehicle. The suspects were described as two males of unknown race.
About an hour later, San Mateo police were called to a stolen vehicle report on Ridgecrest Terrace. Officers determined the vehicle stolen, a Honda, belonged to the daughter of the Saturday night robbery victim. A spare key for the car taken had been inside the victim’s stolen purse. Surveillance video showing the suspect vehicle and stolen vehicle leaving the area confirmed a gold Mazda minivan was involved.
A second San Mateo County Dispatch bulletin for another auto burglary about an hour later also reported a suspect vehicle that described a gold Mazda minivan with two male suspects. A short time later, San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Millbrae on a report of yet another robbery involving the same gold minivan.
A San Mateo police officer spotted the suspect vehicle, following the vehicle until additional officers arrived to initiate a high-risk traffic stop. The vehicle continued to travel until it pulled into a driveway at a residence on the 300 block of N. Idaho Street.READ MORE: COVID Recovery: Bay Area Restaurants Struggle To Hire Staff Ahead Of Likely Big Mother's Day Weekend
Officers cleared the vehicle of the two male occupants, and found several items of evidence, include multiple purses and window punches. Officers from both San Bruno and South San Francisco later responded and collected evidence related to their individual cases.
As police took the two suspects into custody, a male came out of the residence and became belligerent towards officers before retreating. In an attempt to prevent any evidence from being destroyed or disposed of and to keep unknown suspects from leaving the property, occupants were told to exit the residence.
During a protective sweep of the property, the belligerent male emerged from the neighboring home and officers determined the two properties were connected. Both residences were frozen until search warrants for both could be issued.
A search of the homes uncovered the elderly woman’s purse taken Saturday night in addition to other items likely belonging to more victims, clothing worn by the suspects during the commission of the crimes as captured on surveillance, a Honda car key as well as a pistol with shaved off serial number and a short barreled AR-15 pistol with extended magazine.
Police identified the suspects as 18-year-old San Mateo resident Okusitino Tau, the driver of the vehicle, and 20-year-old Richard Farries as the passenger. After the two suspects were in custody, the victim positively identified Farries as the person who took her purse and positively identified the gold Mazda minivan as being used during the incident.
Police also determined that Farries was a parolee at large at the weekend crime spree, while Tau was out on bail in connection with two street robberies he committed in October of 2019.MORE NEWS: Fire Crews Contain 15-Acre Vegetation Fire In Discovery Bay; Fireworks Suspected
Both men were arrested on multiple charges and booked into San Mateo County Jail. The identity of the third suspect seen in the Saturday evening surveillance footage is still under investigation.