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July 16, 2018
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Porch thieves strike again in RP

By: Katherine Minkiewicz
June 29, 2018

Last Thursday the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety announced that there was yet another case of a front porch snatch and grab when a young woman was seen running up a driveway on Alta Avenue earlier this month, stealing a package that contained hundreds of dollars’ worth of specialty baseball bats, which were later sold to a Rohnert Park detective during a sting operation.

The June 18 theft was caught on a neighbor’s surveillance camera and the girl who took the package to a waiting car was found to be the teenage daughter of 33-year-old Rose Ruth Hernandez, who is currently on probation for several other crimes, including theft.

The stolen bats in question were unique bats with serial numbers and were worth up to $1,000. 

Shortly after the theft occurred, the victim reported the incident to Rohnert Park Police and said he had seen his stolen bats put up for sale on the “Offerup” app, an app that allows users to buy and sell everything from cars, electronics and furniture.

Offerup typically has a trust and safety policy, which includes rules and pointers when it comes to buying items. The Offerup website encourages users to take a good look at the item photo to make sure it is not a catalogue item, to read similar item reviews so you know what to expect and to get an expert’s opinion when dealing with high price items, fine jewelry and antiques. If any item seems suspicious, the app says to report the item by tapping their “Red flag” report button.

A Rohnert Park detective contacted the seller and said she was interested in the bats and planned to meet up with Hernandez on Burbank Avenue in Santa Rosa on June 20.

“The undercover detective… purchased the stolen bats from her for the agreed upon price. When the transaction was complete, other Rohnert Park detectives and officers moved in and detained Hernandez and her boyfriend who drove her there,” according to the Rohnert Park Public Safety report on the theft.

Allegedly, Hernandez told police she had received the bats from her daughter and the siting of her daughter on the porch was confirmed via the surveillance footage.

Upon arrest, Hernandez was also found to be in possession of suspected methamphetamine and other drug related paraphernalia and was booked into Sonoma County Jail without bail as she was in violation of her probation.

In 2016, Hernandez’s possession of a controlled substance case was dismissed, however, in April of 2016, she was sentenced for shoplifting and being in possession of burglarized tools and received 36- months’ probation and orders to stay away from the 

Rohnert Park CVS, according to a Sonoma County Superior Court case records search.

Earlier that year in January she faced several counts of theft and petty theft and was denied probation.

She also has several other misdemeanors and criminal infractions that date back all the way to 2005.

For this most recent incident, her first court appearance was scheduled for June 22 and it is unclear if she has yet entered a plea.

Meanwhile, the bats were returned to their owner and Rohnert Park Public Safety is encouraging residents to be cautious when receiving packages.

“Thieves routinely drive around neighborhoods looking for packages to steal, so try to make sure someone is there to accept the package, or have it delivered to a secure facility or box if you are able,” police officials say.

Amazon has security boxes — lockers, at the Safeway on Commerce Boulevard where Amazon customers can choose to have a package delivered to a secure locker location, which helps ensure a box or important package isn’t stolen.

This latest theft marks the most recent one, as several had occurred during the holiday months. RP Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jeff Justice told The Voice in December that the department did indeed receive many reports of package thefts.

“Unfortunately, there are those people that look to take advantage of others,” Justice told The Voice last year.