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[whitespace] Tips from citizens lead to arrests in burglaries

Cupertino--Sheriff's Deputies last week arrested suspects in two separate Cupertino burglaries after witnesses called the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department with vital information.

A security guard at a Compaq contacted deputies after he spotted a man pushing a safe across a tennis court in the early morning.

A security guard at Compaq called deputies about 2 a.m. on March 23 after he spotted and confronted the suspect, who took off running. "He [the guard] though it was a little unusual that this guy was pushing a safe across a tennis court at 2 a.m.," said Sheriff's Department spokesman Sgt. John Hirokawa.

The suspect, David E. Dewitt, 27, jumped into a white Honda after being pursued by Compaq security. The guard wrote down the car's license number while a second guard reached into the car to keep the man from driving away. The suspect got away after biting the guard's arm.

Sheriff's Deputies from Cupertino and surrounding areas flooded the area and spotted the suspect's car minutes later near De Anza and Stevens Creek boulevards. The man led deputies on a short chase that ended when he ditched his car on Lazaneo Drive in a nearby residential neighborhood, then fled on foot.

After setting up a perimeter, deputies combed the area and brought in a canine unit. Law enforcement found Dewitt hiding in nearby bushes about 45 minutes later. He was jailed for burglary, being under the influence of a stimulant, resisting arrest and evading officers. He also was charged with battery for biting the security guard, who was not seriously injured. A judge set bail at $17,160.

Hirokawa officials recovered the two-foot-tall safe. Dewitt had stolen the safe from a small McWhorter's stationery store inside one of the buildings on the Compaq campus.

According to Hirokawa, the building's alarm was inactive during the burglary, which may mean the suspect wasn't acting alone. "We believe there were associates," he said. Hirokawa said the Sheriff's Department isn't saying anything else about potential suspects.

In a different unrelated incident on March 22, a resident at an apartment complex called deputies after he spotted two men loading a television and other items into a car.

Deputies arrested one of two suspects shortly receiving a report of suspicious activity at the Glenbrook Apartments on Mary Avenue.

Hirokawa said the caller was watching the two men fill up their car with items from an apartment at 9 a.m., and called the Sheriff's Department with a vehicle description and a license number. The two men were gone when deputies arrived, but dispatchers broadcast the description of men and the car to regional agencies. San Jose police stopped the men about an hour later at an apartment complex near Reid-Hillview Airport.

"Without that information, we probably wouldn't have caught these guys," Hirokawa said. "Without that citizen taking reporting this and taking down the license plate, this case most likely would have gone unsolved."

Police apprehended Alexander Seifert, 24, of San Jose after stopping the Honda he was driving. A second suspect fled the scene, police said. In the car, deputies found a television, VCR, stereo equipment, backpacks, jewelry and other items. Police also found a business card from the apparent victim and a set of master keys in Seifert's pocket.

Witnesses identified Seifert as a former employee of the apartment complex.

Investigators believe some of the recovered items may have come from other apartments, but no other burglary reports have surfaced. Seifert was booked into Santa Clara County Jail and released on $30,000 bail. Deputies are still looking for the second suspect, but the Sheriff's Department has not released a suspect description.

Investigators asked that anyone with information about either case call detectives Julie MacPherson or Bob Garcia at 408.867.9715.
Jeff Kearns

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