NEWARK — A schoolteacher who was able to remotely take a webcam photo of someone using his stolen laptop helped investigators track down the suspect, who now faces multiple charges and is a suspect in other thefts, police said.
David Barnett, 42, of Newark was arrested Thursday after he crashed his motorcycle into a patrol car in the parking lot of Newark Square and tried to run off, police said. Barnett was apprehended after an officer discharged his Taser.
Along with the theft of a Newark schoolteacher’s laptop during a Castro Valley burglary, Barnett is suspected of three vehicle break-ins in Atherton. He also had what police described as “a stack” of stolen credit cards in his pocket when he was arrested, including some allegedly used at Newpark Mall to purchase more than $4,000 worth of merchandise.
A search of the backpack that Barnett discarded during the foot pursuit after he crashed his motorcycle yielded an Amazon Kindle stolen during a burglary in Atherton, police said.
The webcam photo taken remotely by the teacher showed the laptop was being used at a location near Thornton Avenue and Mayhews Landing Road in Newark, police said. The photograph also depicted the mouth and chin of a man sitting on a sofa with a distinctive print pattern, wearing a white Nike shirt, according to Newark investigators, who worked with Alameda County Sheriff’s Office detectives on the case.
A Fremont police detective identified the man in the webcam photo as Barnett.
On Thursday, Alameda County Sheriff’s detectives forwarded a “Be on the Lookout” flier regarding three vehicle break-ins that took place Wednesday in Atherton, where a witness provided a suspect description that matched Barnett.
The witness also said the suspect used a 1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK that turned out to be registered to an address on Thornton Avenue, which police also linked with Barnett.
Newark police put the residence under surveillance Thursday and watched Barnett leave the driveway on a motorcycle. An officer attempted to stop him at Thornton Avenue and Cedar Boulevard by pulling in front of the motorcycle, but Barnett allegedly turned the handlebars and hit the throttle, colliding with the back of the officer’s vehicle.
Barnett jumped from the motorcycle and ran off, discarding his backpack, his helmet and brass knuckles police said.
Along with charges stemming from the stolen laptop and vehicle break-ins, Barnett was wanted on several outstanding felony and misdemeanor warrants, police said. He also faces the revocation of his felony probation.
After Barnett was arrested, investigators searched the Thornton Avenue residence, where they located the couch depicted in the webcam photo, as well as the Nike shirt Barnett was wearing when the image was captured, plus items purchased at Newpark Mall with the stolen credit cards that were found in Barnett’s pocket, police said.
It wasn’t immediately known whether the stolen laptop was recovered by police.
Barnett was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries following his arrest.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.