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Petaluma home burglary suspect linked to car break-ins along Sonoma Coast

A Petaluma man arrested in the burglary of a neighbor's home is also suspected of stealing hidden car keys and burglarizing vehicles parked along the Sonoma County coast.

Kirk Tuft Johnson, 52, was arrested Thursday after a neighbor identified him from a store's surveillance videos where stolen credit cards were used. He was booked into the Sonoma County Jail for residential burglary, possession of stolen property and unlawful use of credit cards.

Johnson was released on bail the same day, a jail spokesman said.

Petaluma police said the neighbor reported the burglary on Jan. 20, alleging that computers, jewelry and credit cards were taken. The neighbor subsequently noticed unauthorized activity on the credit cards.

A CHP officer assigned to collaborate on the case obtained a video taken at locations where the credit cards were used, and the victim identified Johnson as a neighbor.

During a search of Johnson's home, some of the stolen items were found in his 1986 Dodge Ram van, police said. Also found were more than 60 vehicle keys.

As a result, Johnson is suspected of participating in an auto burglary near Bodega Bay in July 2012. One of the keys in his possession matches that for a vehicle from which Sheriff's Office investigators said a GoPro camera was stolen.

"Johnson apparently would frequent the parking lots near beach accesses and look for hidden keys left on the exterior of the vehicles by the drivers," Petaluma Police Lt. Tim Lyons said in a statement. "He would use the key to gain access into the vehicle."

Petaluma police are asking anyone who in the last year has had keys taken and cars burglarized at beaches near Bodega Bay to contact investigators at 778-4375.


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