By Evan Chu
WOODLAND – A man charged with burglary counts claimed during his preliminary hearing that the whole thing was supposed to be a prank, although the court has found he will have to answer to the charges.
Mr. Alvarez is accused of entering an apartment without permission on June 15, 2019. According to Officer Pinion, he received a call that night from a resident of the apartment stating that someone was in the apartment. He arrived with several officers and was given the keys to the front door by the resident through his window. When they entered the apartment, they found Mr. Alvarez, who wasn’t a resident, standing there at the doorway.
Mr. Alvarez told the officers that he had been there the previous night attending a party, which was confirmed later by residents of the apartment, and he got into an altercation with someone there and left early. He later realized that he had left his water bottle and a pair of prescription glasses at the apartment, so he was eager to retrieve those items.
He was told by a friend that there was no one in the apartment at the time, and therefore drove all the way to the apartment, waited outside for around 30 minutes, and then tried to enter the apartment. The only resident who remained at the apartment that night told officers that he locked the door to his room when he heard the doorknob rattling.
Mr. Alvarez stated that after he entered the apartment through the window next to the door, he only found his water bottle and couldn’t find his glasses, so he went upstairs and looked through the rooms. When he couldn’t find his glasses, he wanted to play a prank on the residents, so he randomly grabbed some things from those rooms and put them in a bag. He said he intended to put those in a freezer box just to mess with them, when the police officers entered the apartment. As his attorney pointed out, Mr. Alvarez never tried to flee when he saw the officers, therefore he did not have any intention to possess those items.
However, Officer Powell’s testimony stated that the glasses were placed on the dining table on the first floor and that the fact that they weren’t hidden would mean that there was no reason for Mr. Alvarez to enter any of the bedrooms, since they are all located on the second floor.
According to Officer Renger, when they arrested Mr. Alvarez and took him to jail, they found his wallet and a piece of foil inside the wallet. In his testimony, Officer Renger stated that he discovered some brown, sticky substance in the foil, and later it was identified to be tar heroin.
Mr. Alvarez’s attorney argued that since Mr. Alvarez never attempted to flee from the scene when the police officers arrived, this shows that he wasn’t attempting to claim any of the items afterward and, though it may have been a poor decision to enter someone else’s apartment through a window around 11 p.m., it should only be charged as trespassing and not burglary. However, the judge found the fact regarding the location of the glasses to be evidence against this argument, believing that if the defendant was there only to retrieve his personal belongings, he could have searched the first floor and left with his glasses. Instead, he went upstairs and entered other people’s bedrooms and took away some of their personal belongings, therefore he should answer to burglary charges.
The arraignment in this case will occur in Department 11 on November 1 at 9:00 a.m.