Dine and dash leads to arrests | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Dine and dash leads to arrests

Christina Proctor

Vigilant witnesses and quick police work resulted in an arrest of two Sacramento residents Friday who police believe are responsible for a string of auto burglaries.

Traffic was stopped in both directions on U.S. Highway 50 near Sawmill Road for about 20 minutes as police took Justin Patrick Burns, 19, and Gina M. Barrett, 24, into custody at gunpoint. Both were arrested on suspicion of committing grand theft auto, possession of stolen property and burglary.

Investigators said they believe the couple is responsible for a number of car burglaries on South Shore and between South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento.

Police were called after the couple allegedly pulled a “dine and dash” at Lyon’s Restaurant around noon. Witnesses at the scene took down the car’s license plate and a description of the couple, police said.

Less than 10 minutes later South Lake Tahoe police officer Pat Walsh spotted the vehicle traveling west on U.S. Highway 50 near the “Y.”

After checking the license plate police said they discovered the 1985 Chevrolet Cavalier station wagon was reported stolen out of Sacramento. Officer Walsh continued to follow the station wagon until back up arrived.

“There are a number of reasons people would steal a vehicle and some of them can involve very serious crimes, including murder. We can’t know what type when we’re stopping them. We don’t take any chances with our safety or the public’s,” Sgt. Les Scott said explaining the drawn weapons and caution used during the arrest.

Two South Lake Tahoe police officers and three El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies were at the stop, Scott said.

Investigators said a large amount of suspected stolen property was found in the vehicle, including a pair of golf clubs they believe were stolen out of vehicle in Douglas County Friday morning.

“We have had a rise in auto burglaries in the last couple of weeks,” Scott said. “This investigation will probably take months – matching victims to property – but we believe we will clear quite a few cases.”

Burns and Barrett were being held Sunday in the El Dorado County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bail.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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