Burglary spree ends in arrest of Oakland man

11/08/2012

A spree of burglaries in the last week across West Marin has left law enforcement trying to tie two unsolved incidents to a suspect arrested Monday in relation to a burglary at Diekmann’s General Store in Tomles, authorities said Tuesday.

Tyrone Brennen, 27, of Oakland, was arrested Monday night after a deputy patrolling the area saw him walking down the Tomales-Petaluma Road. He appeared “exhausted, tired, wet and muddy,” Marin County Lieutenant Doug Pittman said.

He was booked on suspicion of burglarizing Diekmann’s earlier that morning, and authorities suspect he is responsible for burglaries at Woodacre Country Market and Don’s Bolinas Liquor Store. A “fruitful” search by investigators with the Sonoma and Marin County Sheriff’s Offices for a white BMW driven by Mr. Brennen revealed incriminating evidence linking the suspect to other burglarized stores, Lt. Pittman said.

The burglar entered Diekmann’s by carefully removing a pane of glass—a similar method of intrusion investigators noticed at the Woodacre Market. There, it wasn’t until sometime after the owner reported the theft of $10,000 from a safe while opening the store on November 1 that he noticed a window pane was missing.

A day later, the owner of Don’s Liquor reported $5,000 missing from a hiding place below the cash register. The suspect entered through a hole cut in the wall at the rear of the store, shopkeeper Mam Stephen said.

A 20-hour pursuit of Mr. Brennen led to a ranch in Tomales, around which a coalition of Marin and Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office officials, Novato and Mill Valley police, highway patrol, federal park rangers and Coast Guard police, which manned a helicopter, established a perimeter to try to flush out the suspect. The search was called off at around 5 p.m.

Eight charges of commercial burglary were filed this week by the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office against Mr. Brennen, whose episode of burglaries began in August. “We’re happy that we got him,” Lt. Pittman said.  “He was a threat to the community.” He added, referring to his law enforcement personnel: “Like the Giants, we seem to have a win-win-win going on right now.”

Meanwhile, at West Marin Pharmacy in Point Reyes Station, where Marin deputies arrested an intruder late last week on charges of commercial burglary, owner Zsuzsanna Biran is seeking a new alarm system and surveillance cameras. Ms. Biran said this was the fourth time someone had broken into her business.

The suspect, Patrick Walsh, 29, of Greenbrae, was found with $20,000 worth of prescription pain medication, including OxyContin, after deputies cornered him in the store Friday night. He is suspected of attempting to break in the morning before, when Ms. Biran discovered a damaged back door.

The Marin District Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Walsh with one felony count of burglary and misdemeanors of possession of a burglary tool and resisting arrest.

Ms. Biran, who filed a report with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that could lead to a temporary closure of the pharmacy as a result of the suspect tampering with medications, said she expected charges harsher than those imposed on suspects accused of burglarizing businesses that do not carry prescription medications.

“If you steal a loaf of bread, that’s different than stealing OxyContin,” Ms. Biran said.