SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 40-year-old man was behind bars Saturday in connection with a series of vehicle burglaries that took place from last August to December.
Curt Simnitt was arrested at a La Mesa motel Friday, and was identified by detectives as a suspect in the string of incidents in Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and downtown La Mesa, according to San Diego police Lt. Andra Brown.
Police said the suspect generally targeted surfers, swimmers, joggers and other beachgoers and would watch as they secured their belongings in their vehicles then hid the keys nearby, Brown said.
After the victims left the area, Simnitt would allegedly retrieve the keys, unlock the vehicles then remove the victims' property, Brown said.
In some instances, the suspect forced entry to the victims' vehicles, Brown said.
The crimes were mostly committed at San Diego beaches, however, the suspect also hit vehicles in shopping center parking lots, Brown said.
Detectives previously identified Simnitt as a suspect and searched his residence, where they found property and evidence from about 50 vehicle burglaries, although Simnitt was not arrested at that time because he was already in custody on unrelated charges, Brown said.
Police, however, did arrest Simnitt Friday after detectives spotted his vehicle at a La Mesa motel, Brown said. He initially refused to come out, but eventually exited the room and was arrested without incident, Brown said.
Simnitt was booked into jail on numerous charges, including 20 counts of possession of stolen property, five counts of identity theft, as well as burglary, forgery and possession of a controlled substance, Brown said.
He was being held on $475,000 bail and was scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to jail records.
Some of the stolen property has already been returned to its owners, however a large amount including surfboards, wetsuits, backpacks, watches, wallets and computers remains unclaimed, Brown said.
A man arrested on suspicion of committing a murder in Imperial Beach earlier this week remained jailed Saturday.
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