‘Fishing’ at bank lands pair in jail

Santa Rosa police arrested two suspects Thursday who allegedly used homemade “fishing devices” to catch cash and checks at a bank night deposit box, a police sergeant said.

Police were called to the Exchange Bank at 545 4th Street around 6 a.m. after bank employees saw a suspicious person near the night deposit box, Sgt. Josh Ludtke said. The suspicious person walked away and was uncooperative when an officer approached, Ludtke said.

The officer detained the man and found a home-made device designed to retrieve items was still inserted in the deposit box, Ludtke said. Officers found a woman with a two-way radio nearby in a vehicle and evidence she and the man were working together to commit a burglary, Ludtke said.

More “fishing devices,” burglary tools and checks that were stolen during at least two other similar burglaries in separate locations also were found in the vehicle, Ludtke said.

Police arrested Jose Luis Lara, 33, and Paige Curtis-Thompson, 26 both of Santa Rosa for burglary and conspiracy. Lara also was arrested for possession of burglary tools and resisting arrest. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office also arrested Lara for a similar burglary in their jurisdiction, Ludtke said.

There have been more than 15 similar “fishing device” burglaries in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County in the last four months and law enforcement agencies in the county are investigating whether Lara and Curtis-Thompson are responsible, Ludtke said.