Two people were arrested Friday after officers, during a theft investigation, found dozens of stolen items inside a U-Haul, including police gear from Bay Area agencies.
On Nov. 1 shortly before 11 p.m., one of our officers on routine patrol in the parking lot of Kohl’s, located on the 300 block of Showers Drive, spotted something he thought was strange – a U-Haul van parked near the main entrance of the store. Our officer decided to keep an eye on things, feeling that something wasn’t right. Shortly after circling the parking lot, our officers received reports of a suspicious circumstance inside the store after employees spotted suspects known to have stolen from Kohl’s stores before.
Our officer drove over to the store, and as they were approaching Kohl’s, called out to two men, who had been identified as the suspects, one of whom turned around and stopped to talk to the officer, while the second one continued to walk on.
One of our officers spoke with the man who had stopped, identified as 35-year-old San Francisco resident James Atkins, Jr. During the course of their conversation, officers learned that the van that had been spotted parked near the front of the store was being driven by Atkins, and a subsequent search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of several stolen items, including personal identifying information not belonging to Atkins, drug paraphernalia, and, inside some duffle bags, handcuffs, and other police department equipment. The equipment, we later confirmed, had been stolen from a Bay Area police department. We do not have information at this time when those items were taken. Officers also located stolen license plates, and paperwork belonging to a state agency. We are not naming the agencies at this time.
While officers were inspecting the contents found in the van, additional officers arrived on scene and began speaking with a woman, seated outside the Kohl’s. In speaking with the woman, identified as 28-year-old Livermore resident Ashley Hund, officers learned she knew Atkins and during a search, found items stolen from Kohl’s inside a bag she was carrying. Officers also learned that she and Atkins were both staying at Hotel Avante, located on the 800 block of East El Camino Real.
Officers responded to that location and found drug paraphernalia and suspected methamphetamine inside.
Based on the numerous stolen items found inside the U-Haul, which Atkins had rented, officers arrested him on suspicion of possession of stolen property and burglary.
Officers are continuing to work to identify and apprehend the subject that was walking with Atkins at the time our officer initially attempted to make contact. Hund was cited from petty theft and given a notice to appear in court.
“The instinct shown here, and the subsequent excellent investigative work by our patrol teams, highlights the incredible caliber of personnel we have serving the city of Mountain View,” said Lt. Frank St. Clair.
Media inquiries can be sent to PIO Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.