Homeless Couple Accused of Burglaries to Get By during COVID-19

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By Madeline Gile

WOODLAND – In twin preliminary hearings Tuesday, evidence of two counts of first degree burglary was presented against William Queen and Tami Flores—a homeless couple—to Judge David Reed in Yolo County Superior Court.

First, Queen was accused of stealing from housekeepers and staff members at the Valley Oaks Inn, which was being used to house medically-compromised homeless individuals during COVID-19.

Queen, reportedly, had repeatedly been informed he was not allowed at the Valley Oaks Inn where his girlfriend Tami Flores was living. The motel had clear rules against inviting people over who were not housed there. Despite warnings, Queen continued to visit.

“His options were: break the rules and stay with her or live on the streets,” said Deputy Public Defender Aram Davtyan.

But then, while visiting in May, Queen allegedly committed a crime of opportunity by breaking into the motel’s laundry room where many staff members stored their belongings.

Surveillance footage captured Queen leaving the laundry room with a television and a garbage bag filled with miscellaneous items including the housekeeper’s car keys, several wallets, and a purse.

Queen then stashed these stolen items in another motel room. The stolen items were later returned to the victims.

Queen’s preliminary hearing was for first degree burglary, a crime Queen is familiar with. Queen’s criminal records show a pattern of committing theft and serving jail time dating back to the early 2000s. 

“It is clear he is an opportunist and a person who will commit theft to get by,” said Yolo County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin. “He is pretty irreverent about it. I don’t see one thing about this crime when you couple it with his criminal history that is mitigating.”

Judge David W. Reed deferred the final ruling on this case. 

In the second case, Queen and Flores also faced burglary charges for stealing items from a garage and shed at a separate site in Yolo County on June 30. 

The police received reports of a break in and arrived on the scene to find Flores driving away in a motorhome. After pulling her over, Deputy Sheriff Matthew Lipscomb found stolen property including a Honda generator, tools, and keys in her vehicle. 

 

Flores was arrested on site. 

Earlier, Flores had been seen leaving the victim’s garage empty handed. Though she was not holding stolen property, her vehicle contained several stolen items.

While Flores was arrested, officers also found the homeowner holding Queen at gunpoint around the back of the house.

Deputy Kyle Leonard, a responder at the scene, reported that stolen property had been packed in a box and was within four feet of the defendant. Additionally, a stolen car battery was within arm’s reach.

Upon hearing the evidence, Judge Reed decided that there is enough to try the defendants for first degree burglary.

Their next hearing date is Sept. 9, at 9 a.m.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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2 thoughts on “Homeless Couple Accused of Burglaries to Get By during COVID-19”

  1. Alan Miller

    Homeless Couple Accused of Burglaries to Get By During COVID-19

    “Burglaries to Get By” are less egregious, by law, than regular ‘ol burglaries.

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