Cotati hit by slew of crimes on Sunday
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By Dave Williams  February 3, 2011 11:48 pm

A wave of crimes, ranging from armed robbery to vandalism, hit Cotati Sunday, resulting in four arrests.

The most serious of the crimes occurred at around 6 a.m., when officers were dispatched to Wilford Lane at Gravenstein Highway for a report of an armed robbery in progress.

According to a report, three people were robbed at gunpoint and forced out of their vehicle by two white men in their mid 20s. The victims told police they were lost and pulled over to figure out where they were. While parked, two unknown males approached them with handguns and ordered them out of their vehicle. They were told to lie face down on the ground as their wallets, keys and other valuables were taken, along with their automobile. The victims were not injured.

The suspects were said to have gotten away by fleeing north in an older-model SUV on Wilford. Police, however, have launched a preliminary investigation centering on the possibility the robbery could be drug related, said Sgt. Chris Parker.

The victims, all believed to be from out of the area, gave differing accounts as to why they were in Cotati on Sunday night. He said the incident may have been a targeted robbery. The police encourage anyone with information on this robbery to contact them at 792-4611.

The first of the crimes happened in the wee hours, around 3 a.m., when two Cotati residents were arrested for vandalizing vehicles in a parking lot in East Cotati Avenue.

Cory Taufer, 21, and Sean Taufer, 18, were arrested and charged with felony vandalism.

According to a police report, approximately 21 tires were slashed in the parking lot of an apartment complex, with most vehicles having all four of their tires punctured. The police learned the manager of the complex earlier had complained to the two suspects about an abundance of noise at their residence.

Cotati police developed a lead the responsible parties were initially mentioned in the noise complaint. Police attempted to contact the residents but were unsuccessful.

Later in the day, at about 6 p.m., Officer Andrew Lyssand met the suspects at the police department and interview them separately. The two confessed to the vandalisms and blamed the incident on severe intoxication.

The second incident happened Sunday a little after 5 a.m., when police officers were dispatched to the 100 block of East Cotati Avenue to respond to a burglary in progress. The victim, who was home asleep at the time, told the dispatcher he had just chased two people from his home as they fled with his property.

Officers Jason Yarnall and Lyssand arrived on the scene and arrested the two suspects at their vehicle. Police later determined one of the suspects fled the scene in such a panicked state they left their shoes and car keys in the victim's home. When the suspects realized they had no means of escaping with the property, the tried to unload the stolen items in the immediate area.

Charles Moreno, 28, and Jamie Butte, 26, both of Fairfield, were booked into Sonoma County Jail for burglary. This case remains under investigation, and the police encourage anyone with additional information to contact the police.

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