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Police Nab Alleged Serial Purse Snatcher

Suspect in San Rafael purse thefts was also arrested on suspicion of thefts in Novato. Police are investigating a possible link to purse thefts in Mill Valley and elsewhere in southern Marin.

A 30-year-old Petaluma man arrested by San Rafael Police early Monday is suspected of stealing purses from distracted shoppers' carts at grocery stores throughout Marin County and beyond over the past month, including thefts in San Rafael, Novato, Mill Valley and Lafayette.

Police arrested Jason Ahtye Vasquez of Petaluma at 12:34 a.m. Sunday after he was located by Petaluma Police in his vehicle at the Gas and Shop gas station in southern Sonoma County at Kastania Road and Hwy. 101. He was booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of felony burglary, possession of stolen property, drug possession and other violations.

San Rafael Police officers had responded to a call of a suspicious man at the Whole Foods Market at 340 Third Street in San Rafael Sunday night. Store employees told police they suspected the man was involved in an earlier purse theft. Witnesses helped identify the man by obtaining a vehicle license plate before he drove away from the scene prior to police arrival.

Officers reviewed the store's surveillance footage and determined that the man matched the description of the suspect in a purse theft that had occurred on Feb. 15. In that case, a suspect walked into the Whole Foods and stole a purse from a shopping cart. 

San Rafael Police were notified that Novato Police were investigating two similar purse thefts that had occurred over the weekend, one at each of Novato's Safeway stores. The suspect in those cases matched the desciption of the suspect at Whole Foods in San Rafael. 

Novato Police identified Vasquez as likely being responsible for the two Safeway purse thefts in their jurisdiction.

Additionally, San Rafael officers were able to determine that Vasquez was a suspect in purse thefts in Lafayette and four other purse thefts that occurred in Mill Valley and Southern Marin County. 

Mill Valley Police Sgt. Paul Wrapp said his department is investigating a possible connection of Vasquez to three similar purse thefts in Mill Valley over the past several weeks.

Vasquez is currently being held at the Marin County Jail on $15,000 bail. Police in each of cities in which Vasquez is suspected in stealing purses are determining if additional charges are necessary.

Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr February 23, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Marin County sanctuary leftists make an exception to transparency by concealing whether or not he is an illegal alien. They changed the posting policy just to protect illegals when that information was available on the sheriff's web site for years until someone, me, noticed how many illegals are arrested in Marin.
Craig Belfor February 23, 2012 at 03:04 PM
My purse gets stolen every time I pay taxes that support these people.
JAN February 23, 2012 at 05:54 PM
I wonder how many Ghigliottis are illegal or came to America legally. It's none of my business, is it? Slamming Marin County as a sanctuary is simply racist b.s. Landing on a Hispanic surname as being illegal makes as much sense as asking you if you are legal. Your mean spirited rants cost you my vote.
Craig Belfor February 23, 2012 at 06:16 PM
By " these people " I mean crooks, not Mexicans. I've yet to see a Mexican beggar. This bum gives Mexicans a bad name. He needs to go back. By "Mexican" I mean all hispanics.
Voter And Taxpayer February 24, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Thank you Jan. From the bottom of my breaking heart. What rocks are YOU living under, Mr.'s Ghigliotti and Belfor? I've known this guy his entire life. He was born and raised in the bay area, his parents are upper middle class professionals, the family (including Mr. Vasquez) have been strong and engaged members of their community. This story is not about his ASSUMED race, but rather it is about the nightmare that is addiction. If you think it can't happen to YOUR child, you're whistling past the graveyard. I hope it never does -- but god forbid if it does, try to imagine reading these cruel, bigoted comments on top of your grief, fear and shame. Then come back in here and talk to us about "crooks".
Craig Belfor February 24, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Gee, now you've got me feeling sorry for this guy. He's just a poor little old crackhead out trying to make a living. We should leave him alone. Never mind he steals from working people to feed his party. It's all his parents' fault for not giving him the money he needs to buy the stuff. Just before I back order the hankies, where were you? Driving the getaway car? If none of the people who love him will help, maybe doing a little time will let him know we don't approve.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr February 24, 2012 at 02:39 PM
@Jan (Anonymous), you place yourself in the same place as Orenthal James Simpson when all you can play to support your opinion is the race card. No where in my post did I make any reference to any race. My criticism is that the Marin sanctuary politicians continue to make exceptions for illegal aliens. What race is "illegal alien"?
Voter And Taxpayer February 24, 2012 at 06:12 PM
No Craig, you miss my point. Nobody I know wants him to get a pass on this. You're assuming a lot here -- that his family hasn't done anything, that they've given him excuses and condoned his behavior. These assumptions do nothing but expose your prejudices. The reality in this situation is very different. Get some accurate information on addiction and then have your opinion. At least have an opinion based on knowledge rather than these angry projections. Everyone concerned was glad he turned up in jail and relieved. Glad because he needs to be stopped and must deal with the consequences of his actions. Relieved because at least we know where he is and that he's under someone else's control. Do you have children, Craig? Have you ever tried to imagine them curled up on the floor in agony, crying, vomiting, and shaking? This family has. Ever wondered how you would feel when you get the call telling you to come to the morgue? I wouldn't wish it on anyone. "Party", you call this?
Scott February 24, 2012 at 06:27 PM
You know who's "assuming a lot here?" Those who immediately pull out the race card, (Jan) just because someone is opposed to criminal activity. By doing so they either callously, deliberately, or ignorantly ignore the very real distinction between legal and illegal immigration. It's intellectually dishonest. Legal immigration is opposed by few, particularly in times of economic prosperity. The legitimate question many have is why can't people sign the guest book on the way in?
Craig Belfor February 24, 2012 at 09:25 PM
WOW! I'm getting hammered here. First, I guess I must apologize to the poor little crackhead for calling him a criminal, (he's just misunderstood and needs our love and help) and I guess my parties were a lot different than yours. Back in my day the idea of a party used to be getting drunk and chasing girls, often to no avail, but certainly not flopping around on the kitchen floor like a fish out of water, in spastic agony screaming for a fix until someone goes out, steals a purse and hooks me up. I've been living in a bubble this whole time, never realizing what a full and interesting life I could be living. Maybe I should get a bat, go out and bash in a few old ladies' heads, steal their purses, blow it on drugs, and then Jan and Taxpayer will jump up off the kitchen floor to come to my aide, supporting me and trashing all who think this is wrong. PS I put 2 kids through UCSB with honors and no loans, grants, scholarships, bail, or kitchen floor barf parties.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr February 24, 2012 at 11:47 PM
@ Craig, I agree with you. It is the leftists who have turned the world upside down. Right is wrong, wrong is right. Illegal is legal, legal is illegal. Good is bad, bad is good. ...and the majority rolls right along as if nothing has changed.
evildoerslayer March 20, 2012 at 09:57 PM
He's probably the same guy who stole my mother-in-law's purse from a Safeway parking lot from inside her car while she was distracted by someone else for a bit and she is an 85 y.o. woman. Book 'em Dano and hide the keys, I say.
CloseFriend April 09, 2012 at 03:56 AM
I've known this guy for almost 15 years now. Those of you who are jumping to judgement on him should take a step back. He is one of the nicest guys I know and I consider him one of my good friends. You people apparently don't know what addiction can do to people. It's a sad situation and I'm glad he's getting the help he needs. "Voter and Taxpayer"- I'm glad you tried to shed some light on this situation to these ignorant people and that you seem to feel the same as I do about this. For those who know him, you would know prior to this addiction, he would have given you the shirt of his back or helped you out any way he could. I look forward to his release so I can show him the support he deserves. Stay strong J!
Steven Norwin April 09, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Oh, because he is an addict we should accept his criminal behavior? Because his parents are upper class professionals that it makes it ok? He use to be a nice guy you say? Well he doesn't sound too nice NOW. Addiction makes people act erractically and puts the public in danger!
JAN April 09, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Nice guy? Doubt it. Addict? Maybe. Predator? Most likely. One who looks for the weak and most helpless or unsuspecting may be defined as a predator. Ripping off women's purses is a new low. Addicts have no friends, just potential new victims.
Craig Belfor April 09, 2012 at 02:26 PM
How about this? We ask his upper class parents to pay back the victims. If they're so involved in the community, they'll surely want to help. That new car might have to go in order to pay for his carnage, but that's what good parents do, right? Obviously his allowance was not sufficient to support his lifestyle. It's all the fault of his parents. It's certainly not MY fault, but I'm paying his room and board now, via my taxes. My purse is due to be stolen again on April 15th.

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