Three suspects caught by mail carrier enter pleas

August 17, 2011 2:52:56 PM PDT
Three burglary suspects who were arrested after being spotted by a Belmont mail carrier have pleaded not guilty to charges of burglary and possession of stolen property.

Belmont resident Tele Matangi, 23, and East Palo Alto residents Tavasa Pale and Erik Palomares, both 18, were arraigned this morning in San Mateo County Superior Court.

On July 18, a mailman saw the three men loitering in the backyard of a home in the 400 block of Yorkshire Way, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

The mail carrier, who had noticed an open gate and a dog out of the yard, knew that the residents were typically not home during the day, so he called 911 and reported the suspicious activity to police.

Responding officers found the suspects nearby with two bags of goods that had been stolen from the home, Wagstaffe said.

Belmont police Lt. Pat Halleran said detectives are continuing to investigate the case, but that the three men have not been linked to any other home burglaries in the community.

Matangi remains in custody on $100,000 bail, and Pale is being held on $50,000 bail. Palomares is out of custody on $50,000 bail.

All three men are due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 13.

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