De Anza Trail car burglary suspect arrested at Santa Cruz jail

Manuel Hernandez confessed to crimes, sheriff’s office says

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The sheriff's office released a security camera photo from Home Depot in Gilroy, allegedly depicting Manuel Hernandez purchasing tools with a stolen credit card.

The San Benito County Sheriff’s office arrested a suspect who has allegedly burglarized multiple cars this year at the De Anza Trail parking area just outside San Juan Bautista, according to authorities.

The suspect, Manuel Hernandez, was in custody at Santa Cruz County Jail on unrelated charges at the time of his Nov. 12 arrest for the local crimes, says a press release from San Benito County Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Taylor. Hernandez confessed to the San Benito County crimes when Det. Jason Leist interviewed him at the Santa Cruz jail.

Numerous victims have reported car break-ins at the De Anza Trail since the beginning of this year. “We have had fantastic cooperation from the surrounding neighbors and other concerned citizens in San Juan Bautista,” says the press release.

Manuel Hernandez

Working with Watsonville Police and the Santa Cruz County Probation Department, local sheriff’s detectives identified Hernandez as a suspect. Leist followed up and found Hernandez at the Santa Cruz jail.

During an interview, Hernandez confessed to breaking into cars at the De Anza Trail, authorities said. He also confessed to using one of the stolen credit cards to purchase tools at Home Depot in Gilroy. The sheriff’s office released a security camera photo of Hernandez making the unauthorized purchase.

Hernandez will face charges upon his release from the Santa Cruz jail, authorities said.

Anyone with information about the crimes can call Det. Leist at (831) 646-4080, ext. 445, or email [email protected] You can also text TIP SBCSO to 888777.

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