A Piedmont Police Department officer was injured when he was driving his patrol car and broadsided by a man driving a stolen pickup truck on Feb. 4. Officer Iakopo “Jake” Seumalo Jr. was taken to Kaiser Hospital for treatment and will be “off work until he recovers,” according to Piedmont Police Capt. Chris Monahan.
The city’s Automated License Plate Reader system was activated by a brown 2005 Ford Ranger that was reported stolen in San Francisco. Seumalo saw the vehicle driving northbound on Crocker Avenue at Wildwood Avenue, according to Monahan. He attempted to stop the truck at Lincoln and Sheridan avenues, but the driver did not stop.
The truck then went the wrong direction on Magnolia Avenue and later was seen driving eastbound on Vista Avenue “at a high rate of speed,” according to Monahan. He said police did not pursue the vehicle.
When Seumalo was returning to headquarters, the truck was driving on Bonita Avenue and failed to stop at a stop sign, according to Monahan. Seumalo was passing the same intersection and was broadsided by the truck. His airbags deployed and his vehicle was disabled. The suspect exited the truck and fled north on Bonita.
“The investigation continues in an effort to find the suspect,” Monahan said.
On the night of Feb. 5-6, vehicles were vandalized on or around King Avenue. Officers found six vehicles damaged, three with smashed windows and two that apparently been rifled through, according to Monahan.
He said a suspect vehicle was described as a black or dark colored sedan. No leads came from video footage. (Editor’s note: At least one other resident near Mountain and Dudley Avenues reported on social media that their car had a smashed window on the same night.)
On Jan. 30, another report of vandalism came in. At 4:23 a.m., a black Audi Q5 SUV with no license plates pulled up behind a parked white 2022 Mercedes Benz GLE350 and stopped, according to Monahan. He said a suspect exited the vehicle and broke the front passenger side window on the Mercedes. The alarm went off and the suspect got back into the Audi and drove away. The damage was estimated to be $2,000.
On Feb. 1, a man and a woman entered the Ace Hardware on Grand Avenue. A store manager contacted police after they said the woman was putting tools in her tote bag, according to Monahan. The employee asked her to return the property and said he was threatened with pepper spray. The suspect fled with $241 worth of tools in a black 2003 Mercedes Benz S420. The male suspect walked away on Grand Avenue and was detained by police. He was arrested for drug possession, resisting arrest and burglary and taken to Santa Rita Jail, according to Monahan. The suspect also had warrants for assault with a deadly weapon and sex offender registration programs.
On Jan. 28, an officer observed a gray 2017 Nissan Sentra speeding on Grand Avenue, according to Monahan. The officer stopped the vehicle and suspected the driver was under the influence. Field sobriety tests were administered and a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test determined the driver had a BAL of .096 and .103, according to Monahan. The driver was arrested for DUI and taken to Santa Rita Jail.
On Feb. 2, a black 2017 Lexus ES set off the city’s ALPR at 4:09 a.m. The vehicle was found by Piedmont Police on Grand Avenue shortly thereafter. The driver exited the vehicle and was placed in handcuffs, according to Monahan. He said a screwdriver and a set of shaved keys were found on the suspect. A search of the vehicle turned up “miscellaneous burglary tools.” The driver was arrested and taken to Santa Rita Jail.