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Petaluma program target past offenders

A five-time drunken-driving offender was arrested in Petaluma on Friday for purchasing five bottles of wine in violation of his probation, police said.

Michael Eugene Snapp, 47, was the latest target of the Petaluma Police Department's Habitual DUI Offender Stakeout Program under which authorities seek to keep repeat offenders from putting others at risk on the road.

Snapp was being monitored to ensure he was complying with conditions of his probation and "was not a danger to the public," police said.

"We're concerned that he may drink and get behind the wheel, especially with five DUIs," Petaluma Police Sgt. Ken Savano said.

Under the habitual offender program, now in its second year, Petaluma Police are keeping close track of those with repeat DUI offenses, in part through distribution of "hot sheets" that alert department personnel to individuals about whom they should be aware, Savano said. Though some targets also are put under surveillance, Snapp was not subject to an actual stakeout, he said.

Snapp's DUI record goes back to an October 1990 arrest in Colorado, Savano said. He was later arrested twice in Arizona, in 2001 and 2002, and the following year in Palm Springs, authorities said.

He came to the attention of Petaluma Police in April of this year when he was arrested for drunken driving there, Savano said.

Snapp was released from house arrest a week ago with probation conditions that include a prohibition on use or possession of alcohol, Savano said.

He also was driving with a suspended license when a police officer recognized him in the parking lot of Petaluma's Plaza North Shopping Center around 10 a.m. Friday.

Five bottles of wine police say he'd just purchased at a grocery store were discovered when he was pulled over, Savano said.


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