By Danielle Silva
An officer pulled over the defendant in a burglary case after viewing potential burglary footage from a West Sacramento apartment complex.
On June 17, 2019, Rebecca Nicole Stinson was pulled over by Officer Travis Hudelston concerning a West Sacramento burglary. Officer Hudelston received information about the incident on June 5 from the apartment complex, receiving clips from the main lobby and the parking garage footage. In both clips, a blonde female subject in a teal dress and a pink purse was present with a male subject, which the apartment complex identified as unknown individuals. Officer Hudelston associated the female subject with Stinson having had approximately five prior contacts with her and identifying similarities between the two, including their “petite” height and a tattoo on her arm. After searching her car, he also identified tools that could potentially be used for burglary. Stinson is charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, driving under the influence as an addict, possessing burglary tools, and driving without a valid license.
On June 5, a West Sacramento apartment complex resident reported items stolen from his vehicle, likely between 11 pm when he parked the car in the complex’s underground parking structure and 6 am when he was going to work. The morning of June 5, the resident discovered the back passenger window to be jammed down and various belongings missing, including sunglasses, reading glasses, money, his work I.D. badge, jumper cables and clothes. He reported the incident to his apartment complex and to the authorities over the phone.
The apartment complex reached out to Officer Hudelston via email, providing two clips of motion-activated surveillance footage. The first clip, taken from the main lobby, depicted a female subject with a tool hunched over as the door of the main lobby opens. She enters, followed by a male holding a cigarette. Both head to stairs that lead down into the parking garage. Officer Hudelston noted that the front door of the apartment complex requires a key fob but no further key is needed to walk into the parking garage after the front door.
The second clip from the parking garage depicts the female subject with a white box in her right arm. She appears to be moving very quickly from the right of the footage. The male picks up duffel bags and walks after her. Both exit to the left where Officer Hudelston states they could leave the parking garage without a key.
Officer Hudelston estimated the female in the video to be around five feet tall with blonde hair. He testified he recognized her from previous unrelated contacts, with the tattoo on her arm also an identifying sign. On June 17 at 3:45 pm, he noticed her driving by and pulled her over. He read Stinson her Miranda rights and searched the vehicle. Stinson’s purse had a large flathead screwdriver and her trunk had purses and male and female clothing items, including a teal dress and pink purse like in the video. The trunk also contained an Allen wrench that was 10 inches long with a 3-inch bend, pliers, and an elongated wire with a handle and a loop at the end. Office Hudelston provided pictures of the dress and purse from the trunk as well as still images from the footage provided to him.
When Officer Hudelston brought up the burglary incident, Stinson denied it was her, that it was simply someone similar to her. Later, she added that, if it were her, she would have just been looking for a bathroom and shower. The defendant also noted she likely wouldn’t be running around barefoot, as the woman from the footage was doing.
The defendant had also shared information about her methamphetamine use, stating she had been using it since she was 17 years old. She explained she used 0.1 grams daily to stay awake and if she didn’t use it she would “feel like crap and sleep a lot” for the week.
In cross-examination, Officer Hudelston noted the apartment complex had contacted him because there had been burglaries and break-ins there in the past, mostly consisting of stolen bikes and items from vehicles and porches. Additionally, the apartment complex did not tell him the front door was damaged.
Concerning the items in Stinson’s car, none were from the victim’s vehicle. Officer Hudelston also stated he knew the defendant was homeless as she was not living with her mother or father. Her desire to talk off the record could also be reflected by not wanting her car to be impounded or be arrested. She also did not talk about any other parties who may have been involved.
The prosecution argued that the defendant worked at a sandwich shop and, as such, did not require those tools. The defendant had also stated she didn’t like using methamphetamine anymore but had to use it. Additionally, the presence of Stinson with another individual was argued towards conspiracy as she was with another individual around the time of the incident, interpreted as either participation in the burglary or knowing of it and being present for it. The prosecution also provided a document from the DMV showing Stinson lacking a valid driver’s license.
The defense argued against the driving while addicted count, stating Stinson had said, “I’ve got to be addicted to something, I guess?” She also did not express emotional dependence on the drug. In addition, there was no sign of breaking and entering on the door and there was no footage of the defendant or the man breaking into the car or the defendant entering into an agreement with the male individual. The tools also weren’t being used for burglary and could have had any purpose, as Stinson had likely had all her belongings with her in the car.
The court ruled sufficient evidence in all counts, considering the defendant’s height, the possession of apparel from the apartment complex footage, the defendant’s statement on her drug use, the wire tool with the loop, and the DMV information about her license. Arraignment is set for July 18.