2 arrested in weekend crime spree in San Mateo County

in Crime

Two suspects have been arrested and a third is being sought in connection with several robberies and auto burglaries in San Mateo County over the weekend, according to the San Mateo Police Department.

Okusitino Tau, 18, and Richard Farries, 20, were arrested on multiple charges in connection with the incidents. The identity of the third suspect is still under investigation, police said.

The investigation Saturday at 7:47 p.m., when a witness reported that an elderly woman was robbed of her purse on Laurel Avenue. A vehicle reportedly pulled up alongside the victim and a suspect grabbed her purse from her hand, police said.

The victim’s stolen credit cards were subsequently used in Belmont, San Carlos and Hayward. Police obtained security footage at those locations and identified the suspect vehicle as a gold-colored Mazda minivan, which was then connected to a separate robbery and auto burglary that was reported about 7:20 a.m. Sunday in South San Francisco. About an hour later, San Mateo police were dispatched to a report of a stolen vehicle in the unit block of Ridgecrest Terrace.

“It was learned the vehicle stolen, a Honda, belonged to the daughter of our initial robbery victim from the day prior,” police said. “A spare key for the car taken had been inside the purse stolen during the robbery. A private FLOCK Camera System recorded the suspect vehicle and stolen vehicle leaving the area. It confirmed the gold Mazda minivan was involved.”

That minivan was reportedly involved in several more incidents that included auto burglary and robbery Sunday morning. Finally at 9:44 a.m., a County Sheriff’s Community Service Officers reported seeing the Mazda traveling in San Mateo. While the officer lost sight of the vehicle in the area of S. Delaware St. and 16th Avenue, a San Mateo police officer crossed paths with it while responding, police said.

The officer began following the minivan while additional officers could arrive, then initiated a traffic stop. “The vehicle continued to travel until it pulled into a driveway in the 300 block of N. Idaho St.,” police said. Officers found evidence in the vehicle in plain view, including “multiple purses and window punches,” police said.

During a search warrant of two homes, the elderly woman’s purse was found along with other stolen items, as well as “clothing worn during the commission of the crimes as captured on surveillance, a Honda car key, pistol with shaved off serial number, and a short barreled AR-15 pistol with extended magazine,” police said.

Police believe Tau, who is out on bail for two street robberies committed in October 2019, was the driver of the minivan during the  robbery of the elderly woman in San Mateo. Farries, a parolee at large at the time of the incident, is believed to be the passenger who robbed her, police said.

Photos  of suspects Okusitino Tau, 18, and Richard Farries, 20, and security video image courtesy of the San Mateo Police Department