Police say they have arrested a suspect in two disturbing burglaries in San Luis Obispo last month.
Investigators say the man is not cooperating and allegedly pretending to be mute.
Both burglaries occurred on April 18 in different neighborhoods. The first occurred in the early morning hours when a taxi driver dropped off an intoxicated woman at her residence in the 900 block of Peach Street and watched as a man approached and walked with her into the house. When the door closed, the driver heard the woman begin screaming. The driver then ran to the door and pounded on it until the man opened the door and fled.
Lt. John Bledsoe said Thursday that the man did not hurt or otherwise molest the woman and nothing was taken from the home, but officers are considering the incident a burglary.
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“We kind of know what his intent was, but that’s hard to prove,” Bledsoe said. “Thank God for the (taxi) driver, though.”
About an hour later, a resident in the 100 block of Verde Drive discovered a man, who is believed to be the same suspect, inside his home. The suspect in that incident ran out of the house and left in a light-colored sedan.
Bledsoe said a few small personal items were stolen from the house.
In both incidents, the burglar was described as wearing the same clothing, and the male victim told investigators the man was possibly mute.
Investigators were able to identify Derek Ryan Roden, 29, of Santa Maria as the suspect in both incidents, and the male victim later positively identified him, Bledsoe said.
An arrest warrant was issued, and on Wednesday morning Roden was arrested by a Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy at a home in the 100 block of Broadway in Orcutt. San Luis Obispo detectives drove to Orcutt to pick up Roden.
Roden was not cooperative with officers and seemed unable or unwilling to speak or communicate at all. After a time, he communicated that he had a medical issue and was taken to a local hospital for unspecific treatment before being booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of two counts of felony burglary.
“We think he’s faking,” Bledsoe said.
Roden remained in custody Thursday afternoon in lieu of $200,000 bail.