Police say 20-year-old San Francisco man has robbed homes in Belmont, Hillsborough and San Mateo. George Kiriyama reports.
People who live in Belmont's Western Hills neighborhood are not used to hearing about crime or experiencing it firsthand.
But on April 5, police say Melvin Bellard broke into three homes on Valley View, Manzanita and Mezes avenues. Two months later, he still hasn't been caught.
"That's crazy. I mean I can't believe that especially around here," Jessica Perry said.
But detectives say the 20-year-old Bellard was not done. He drove over to neighboring San Mateo in a white Chevy Malibu and broke into another house. Only this time, a woman came home and surprised him.
"That suspect then tried to force her to open a safe which she was unable to do. She was able to cause a distraction and escape and the suspect then fled," San Mateo Police Sgt. Dave Norris said.
Investigators say Bellard then drove to Hillsborough and was canvassing neighborhoods there when police spotted his car and a chase started. Police say Bellard went on northbound 280 and began throwing items out of his car. The Chevy Malibu was found in San Francisco. Some stolen goods from the San Mateo and Belmont burglaries were found inside.
"Combined, the three Belmont burglaries amounted to about $30,000 worth of property," Belmont Police Capt. Patrick Halleran said.
The break-ins have raised the anxiety level in Belmont. Neighbors even called the police on us as we were knocking on doors trying to get information.
"I just think we need to heighten our attention to what's been going on in our neighborhood. Get in touch with our neighbors and let them know what's going on so we can watch out for each other," Steven Cann, a Belmont resident, said.
Police believe Bellard has burglarized before and they wouldn't be surprised if he continues his spree. But neighbors are confident he will be found. Investigators say Bellard lives in San Francisco and has strong ties to the East Bay.