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[whitespace] Suspects jack truck, make off with hi-tech loot

Police say robbers still at-large

Sunnyvale--Sunnyvale police are investigating a truck-jacking of a high-tech delivery vehicle and the kidnapping of its driver last Tuesday in north Sunnyvale.

The victim, a driver for Serve-All Air of South San Francisco, just made a pick-up from Rohm Corporation in Sunnyvale when he pulled over at Kifer Road and Kifer Court to do paper work, said Sunnyvale Public Safety Capt. Jerry Rondeau. Rondeau declined to release the driver's name, saying the driver fears for his safety.

Rondeau said that about 6 p.m., a Hispanic man in his 30's, approached the truck asking for directions. Rondeau said the driver consulted his map and tried to help. The "lost" person apparently had problems understanding directions and the driver eventually stepped out of the van to help.

Rondeau said that as the driver stood outside, someone approached him from the rear, clamping him in a bear hug. Someone reportedly blindfolded him with a cloth and bound his hand and feet. The driver was reportedly placed in the back of a vehicle and driven around in a random fashion for 20 to 30 minutes. Rondeau said the driver guessed it was a van from hearing the sound of a sliding door open.

The driver, still bound, was then returned to the looted van, which thieves had moved to the 900 block of E. Arques Avenue.

After about 30 minutes, the driver freed himself and called 911 from a nearby Fry's Electronics, Rondeau said. Public Capt. Chuck Eaneff said the driver did not require hospitalization.

Eaneff said he did not know the exact nature of the items taken, saying the stolen items represented a mixed-bag of high-tech hardware worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Eaneff said more than one person was involved, but had no figure on how many suspects took part in the robbery.

Rondeau said police canvassed the area near the robbery and the place the van was left. Sunnyvale police did not say if any witnesses had been found.

Rondeau said police have contacted other police agencies to examine any connections with other robberies. The robbery has similarities to a truck hijacking in June in Santa Clara where a delivery truck fell victim to a staged fender-bender. That driver was also apparently placed in another vehicle while the van was cleared out.

Eaneff said anyone with possible knowledge about the robbery should call Investigations at 408.730.7110. The line is open 24 hours a day.
Sam Scott

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Web extra to the June 1-7, 2000 issue of Metro.

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