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Fresno couple arrested in string of Sonoma County burglaries

A Fresno couple suspected of stealing high-end bicycles and expensive tools in a string of commercial burglaries throughout southern Sonoma County was arrested Wednesday in Cotati, police said.

Barry Thomas, 43, and Cynthia Copeland, 52, are suspected in about a half-dozen burglaries in Cotati, Petaluma, Rohnert Park and unincorporated areas of Sonoma County, Cotati Police Lt. Bill French said.

Officers found a trove of stolen items worth more than $15,000 in a white Ford van the pair parked in a business area of Cotati, French said.

The van appeared to be the one caught on surveillance footage taken by a business Tuesday night in an area where a burglary and two unsuccessful attempted burglaries had been reported.

At about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Officer Marcos Perez spotted the van followed closely by a red sedan heading into a area of closed businesses near Alder Avenue and Helman Lane, French said.

Perez, who was patrolling the area because of the burglary reports, pulled over the red sedan as it exited the park and discovered the driver, Thomas, had an outstanding $300,000 arrest warrant on burglary charges from Fresno County, French said.

Officers found the van parked nearby, which had been reported stolen Monday from a Petaluma pizzeria. The van contained three mountain bicycles worth more than $2,000 as well as a bike frame that had been reported stolen from a Rohnert park bike shop, high-end tools taken from a tile business in unincorporated Petaluma, among other items, French said.

Late Wednesday, Thomas was being held on $360,000 bail and Copeland was being held on $70,000 bail at the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy and possession of stolen property and burglary tools. Copeland additionally was arrested on suspicion of methamphetamine possession.

Detectives with Cotati police as well the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, Petaluma and Rohnert Park police were investigating the case.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.


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