Woodside resident helps arrest theft suspect | September 5, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - September 5, 2012

Woodside resident helps arrest theft suspect

by Dave Boyce

Retired San Francisco police officer and Woodside resident Bill Gilbert brought some of his professional skills to bear early on the morning of Aug. 30 near his home on Olive Hill Lane. He assisted a deputy from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office in corralling a suspect in at least one of a series of recent thefts from unlocked vehicles in Woodside and Portola Valley, according to a report provided to the Almanac by his wife, Lee Ann Gilbert.

Deputies arrested and booked into the county jail Dean Goble, 21, of Redwood City after finding him on Olive Hill Lane shortly before 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 29, the Sheriff's Office reported. Mr. Goble faces charges that include possession of stolen property, conspiracy and violating probation for a previous burglary.

Deputies don't have many leads yet, but are looking at Mr. Goble in connection with two of 28 recently reported thefts from vehicles, Lt. Larry Schumaker of the Sheriff's Office said in an interview.

Deputies were already on patrol when they captured Mr. Goble, having saturated the area in response to the theft reports, including seven reported by residents of Olive Hill Lane, Lt. Schumaker said.

With the residents of Olive Hill in an elevated state of awareness, at around 5 a.m Thursday morning Mr. Gilbert decided to patrol the street "one last time," Lee Ann Gilbert wrote in her account. He was about to head off for a five-day horse ride with colleagues from the Woodside-based Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County, where Mr. Gilbert is a captain.

"It was just kind of great to have the whole street get together and do what they could to get this guy," Mr. Gilbert's daughter Jennifer told the Almanac.

Mr. Gilbert noticed and followed "an unfamiliar man" seen wearing a backpack and leaving the property of a neighbor, Lee Ann Gilbert wrote. The man subsequently "jumped into nearby bushes" and Mr. Gilbert, who was armed, began a pursuit. A deputy happened on the scene and they joined forces, Ms. Gilbert said. Together, they "pulled the suspect from his hiding spot in the bushes and placed him under arrest."

"Because of (Mr.) Gilbert's determination to discover and capture the burglar, he, with assistance from the Sheriff's Department, made the arrest possible," Ms. Gilbert wrote. "(Mr.) Gilbert's grateful family and neighbors are now able to rest a little easier, however all have committed to be a part of a permanent and vigilant neighborhood watch."

Unlocked vehicles

Investigators don't yet have a complete list of the items stolen and their estimated value, Lt. Schumaker said. "We are dealing with quite a few victims."

After Mr. Goble was apprehended, "several pieces of property stolen from vehicles that were parked in the driveway of homes located in the Town of Woodside were found on his person," a Sheriff's Office statement said.

In Woodside, seven thefts were reported on Olive Hill Drive, four each on Laning Drive and Arbor Court, two each on Toyon Court and Mission Trail, and one on Dry Creek Lane.

Of the Portola Valley thefts, two occurred on Shawnee Pass and two more on Iroquois Trail, with one each on Mapache, Ash Lane, Meadowood Drive and Arapahoe Court.

The victims "told us that they haven't locked their cars ever since they moved there," Lt. Schumaker said. "It's kind of frustrating."


Posted by antje Quante, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 26, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Bill Gilbert is a rare breed of cop. One that doesn't just stop his duty to protect society after he's retired, but keeps a keen ear and eye open to the injustices and threats that constantly surround us. He's like one of those long lost men from the old Western days who has more courage and integrity than any of the thugs we see today. GOd bless Mr. Gilbert. He's a neighbor I'd want to have my back for sure> Good job Mr. Gilbert, you ROCK.