Neighbors tip-off deputies, man arrested in string of car break-ins

CORNELIUS, Ore. -- A man was arrested by sheriff deputies this morning after a string of car break-ins and thefts.

At 1:25 am a person called Washington County Sheriff's office after they saw a man enter their neighbors vehicle on the 130 blick of South 11th Ave. in Cornelius. Several people followed the man who had broken into the car and started to call police, but the man ran away on foot.

After notifying sherriff deputies in the Cornelius area, a K9 and Forest Grove responded to the incident where they captured the man. Deputies arrested 20-year-old Antolio Mendoza-Cruz after he was identified as the person who had been spotted running away from the car at the scene. In total there were five cars that had been broken into north of South Baseline Rd. between South 10th Ave. and South 14th Ave.

Deputies found backpacks, a laptop, and other personal items which were hidden or discarded by Mendoza-Cruz.

Most of the cars broken into had their personal belongings out in plain view in addition to leaving their cars unlocked. Deputies emphasize to lock your car and keep valuable items out of sight.

Mendoza-Cruz was charged with five counts of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. He was booked into the Washingtron County Jail and is being held on a $25,000 bail.

The Washington County Sherriff's Office complimented people in the area for being aware and alert in their neighborhood as well as reporting the suspcious activity to deputies.

Cornelius Police Chief Moss said" If you see something, say something. This coordinated partnership with citizens is critical to help keep our community safe."

Additional charges could be added if deputies find more cars were broken into as the investigation continues.