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Burglary Suspect's Flirting Leads to His Arrest

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police in the South Bay say they set up a suspected burglar on a “first date” he likely regrets. Marianne Favro reports. (Published Tuesday, Mar 25, 2014)

    Police on the Peninsula say they set up a suspected burglar on a “first date” he likely regrets.

    Keveen Quintanilla, 31, of Burlingame, is accused of burglarizing Curry Up Now, a restaurant in the 100 block of South B Street in San Mateo. San Mateo police say he was caught in the act by employees in the early hours of Saturday morning, but he fled the scene before police could arrive.

    One of those employees, 22-year-old bartender Ashleigh Cullen, told police she recognized the suspect as a man who had previously “flirted with her during business hours.”

    Cullen says she was getting ready to close the restaurant in the wee hours of Saturday morning when a man came up to her as she was taking out the recycling.

    “He said he’d seen me around and wanted to hang out, which was strange since it was already 1 a.m. when he approached me,” Cullen said.

    Later, she says, she realized someone had burglarized the restaurant's storage area, stealing televisions, other electronics and something unusual.

    “He stole a pair of my slippers I keep in the basement,” Cullen said.

    Cullen was able to give police the man's name and phone number.

    Then, pretending to be Cullen, San Mateo police started exchanging texts with the suspect. They arranged a fake date at a donut shop in Burlingame.

    Ashleigh+Cullen
    Ashleigh Cullen

    “This genius decided, 'Sure, OK,' and he showed up there on Burlingame Avenue, not to meet the young woman from the restaurant but instead two plainclothes detectives,” San Mateo Count District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. 

    Instead of a date with Cullen, Quintanilla ended his night in handcuffs with a chauffeured ride to jail.

    He was booked into San Mateo County Jail. He is charged with five felonies, including burglary and possessing methamphetamine.

    “This is a simple case, once again proving when you think not with your brain but with your emotions, such as this idiot was doing, you end up in the county jail,” Wagstaffe said.

    He already has another date lined up: Quintanilla is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.