Suspected ‘Sheetrock burglar’ caught in act |

Suspected ‘Sheetrock burglar’ caught in act

Gregory Crofton

Police caught a burglar at Ernie’s Coffee Shop early Monday. He might be the thief who broke into 21 businesses at South Lake Tahoe in the last several weeks.

Investigators will compare evidence of all the crimes to ensure they have the right suspect, the so-called “Sheetrock burglar.”

In previous burglaries, a thief dug through Sheetrock walls to steal from businesses, smashed front door windows and pried open doors.

Monday a man tripped a silent alarm at Ernie’s at 12:22 a.m. An officer spotted him inside the restaurant and followed him out a rear door. The officer yelled, “Police, stop,” and the man surrendered, raising his hands in the air.

The suspect jabbed at rear windows with a screwdriver before he entered Ernie’s by breaking a hinge on a rear door. Investigators found pry marks on a cash register but nothing was missing from the coffee shop.

Fingerprints identified the man as David Francis Stevens, a 41-year-old from Redwood City, Calif. Police said Stevens’ alias is “Kevin Schwab.” His rap sheet includes four outstanding felony warrants for burglary in San Francisco, Marin County and San Diego County.

The Sheetrock burglar targeted shops without alarms and often stole less than $100 in cash. He seemed to have a preference for hair salons, breaking into nearly 10.

Before Stevens’ arrest, police reported two more attempted burglaries early Sunday at Pine Cone Plaza. Someone smashed a back window at Studio 6 Hair Salon and then rifled through the business. Next door at Hot Tips, a nail salon, one pane of a double-paned window was smashed with a rock. No one entered the store, police said.

Stevens is being held with no bail. An officer booked him for six felonies related to burglary.

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