Late Night Commotion on El Nopal Leads to Helicopter Search and One Arrest

Neighbors confront three suspects acting suspicious and trying to open car doors late at night.

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A commotion reported in the area of El Nopal in Santee late Monday night involved a Sheriff helicopter and handful of deputies and vehicles searching for three suspects that had been acting suspicious, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Santee Sheriff's Seargent Tom Poulin said someone called the department around 11:30 p.m. and informed them that people were trying to open car doors in the 10100 block of Maple Tree Lane. Neighbors approached and startled the three suspects and they dispersed into nearby backyards. 

The Sheriff's Department responded with the help of the and eventually located one subject hiding in the a backyard in the 10100 block of El Nopal.

The apprehended suspect, Richard Vanwinkle, 24, from Spring valley, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, delay of peace officer and a parole hold. The other two individuals were not located and no car appeared to be entered, according to Poulin.

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Al B August 28, 2012 at 04:51 PM
There has been a rash of thefts from vehicles, mine included in that neighborhood. I bet that is the same guys. I sure would like to recover some of my tools. Water board that guy for some info
Jake Mahamood August 28, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Pass a law enabling citizens to shoot these villians on site. I guarantee it will stop and they will go back to El Cajon.
Ron Selkovitch August 28, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Perhaps we should we be allowed to shoot anyone we dont recognize, or wearing a hoody, or just walking around the neighborhood. And how about neighbors we don't like. This would give a chance to rid ourselves of them.
Susan August 29, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Wow what makes Santee residences think they live in a bubble. lets just go back to the gun shooting old days right thats even better. Oh yes killing is the answer to every problem .
Susan August 29, 2012 at 12:51 AM
WOW Ron your real smart. Lets just go and do away with any one we see that we do not like. Judge them by their looks right . Maybe we should rid ourselves of the comments you make.
Melonie August 29, 2012 at 05:19 AM
SUSAN, I believe Ron is speaking in sarcasm but how refreshing it is that xou didn't pick up on that. ;)
Mary August 29, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Jake - The person they arrested is from Spring Valley, not El Cajon. You seem to have an unrealistic view of where you are living. Maybe you need to move to deserted island with your paranoia.
Ron Selkovitch August 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM
yes, it was an attempt at sarcasm, but my sarcasm often fall flat. I'll try better next time.:)
CC August 30, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I am a neighbor who was awakened by spotlights in my windows & helicopters flying over & police cars shining lights for over an hour & a half in the middle of the night. Our taxpayer dollars put the police chopper up 'just in case' someone might open a car? C'mon people - they didn't even arrest anyone on any charge! "suspicion of disorderly conduct" WTH is that? Do we live in the US or the USSR? I'm starting to forget.
Al B September 04, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Sorry CC, they did arrest one guy who broke in and stole stuff out of my truck, and my neighbor's truck. That same person fled through 3 backyards, would you rather have criminals in your back yard, or have the police do everything in thier power to catch these guys. FYI, there were at least two, they only caught one. The one they didn't catch actually hide in my neighbor's back yard. SHE ended up being 5 feet from this guy when she went outside to see all the commotion. I'm sure that is a comforting feeling. Lastly if you have been on the patch for a bit I'm sure you have seen the crime reports. Pay attention to your street, because your neigbors have had the same break in's to thier vehicles. It's the same guys, that was the second time my truck was hit. Every week for the last month, first Maple Tree, then Three oaks, then Pinewood, then Maple tree again. These guys are working on our streets, and it's only a matter of time till something worse happens. So Neighbor, keep a eye out for me. Thanks
Tina Royea September 04, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Both of my cars were hit 2 days earlier just up the street on timberlane way. They got my digital camera and my husbands gps... and it is the second time in 2 years for us too. I saw the helicopters and lights and I for one am very glad for them...I only wish me or some of my neighbors had seen them in my area when my cars were hit. Sure would be nice if people pulled together and supported their neighbors and law enforcement instead of complaining about their rights, privacy, or sleep being infringed on. That is of course until it happens to them.... then they scream at the top of their lungs demanding justice. No matter where the people doing this are from, we need to work together to keep an eye out for our neighborhoods. I am sure ready to do my part.


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