Burglars sweep through rural Penryn

One neighbor saw man leaving in white minivan
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
Two burglaries and one attempted break-in disturbed rural Penryn last week, according to Dena Erwin, spokesperson for the Placer County Sheriff?s Office. A letter circulated by neighbors in the area described five home burglaries within the past two weeks, however Erwin said only three incidents were reported to the sheriff?s office. She said unknown suspects allegedly broke into a home on the 5900 block of Colwell Drive in Penryn, sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on July 12. The burglars took a digital camera, fire safe and laptop. On July 13 between 12:30 and 12:55 p.m. a man was seen by a neighbor leaving another residence on Colwell Drive with a safe in a white minivan. Erwin said the burglars kicked in the side door of the garage, broke the door frame and entered through the garage door. They reportedly took jewelry, a jewelry box, a safe with important documents and digital cameras. The neighbor, Ron Martinez, called police immediately. ?The total distance between any of these houses is half a mile, so they are just blitzing this area,? Martinez said. Erwin said detectives are investigating the incident and took footprints and dusted for fingerprints. The suspect authorities are looking for is a tall, Caucasian male with dark, slicked back hair. In another incident on July 13, a resident reported that their rear sliding glass door was damaged, but entry was not made and nothing was taken. There were no reports which confirmed an incident described in the letter in which burglars broke into a home in the middle of the night while a family with small children was sleeping, she added. Sherri Vanderwelle, who circulated the letter to neighbors, said she wanted to warn them to be cautious after Martinez discovered the burglars leaving her home and is also attempting to get her belongings back somehow. Vanderwelle said she may know the person responsible for burglarizing her home through several channels of acquaintances and has made attempts to contact him. Vanderwelle said she has had several phone conversations with the man she believes burglarized her home, but does not know his last name. Erwin said she is not aware of a name and would not discuss other methods of solving the crime at this time. Vanderwelle has also been looking on Craigslist and at pawn shops to see if any of her items have turned up for sale. ?I am not going to just lie down and be a victim,? Vanderwelle said. She added that she is not sure if the burglaries are connected. ?I am afraid to be here and I am afraid to not be here,? Vanderwelle said. Erwin said detectives are continuing to investigate the incidents. ?We encourage people to let us go through our investigation and not go through their own channels because of the danger they put themselves in,? Erwin said. Reach Sara Seyydin at, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.