Men take advantage of power outage curfew to steal from cars, California cops say

Two men were arrested Wednesday evening during a California power outage when a city-wide curfew was in effect. The men burglarized vehicles during the Public Safety Power Shutoff, according to the Morgan Hill Police Department.

“Pacific Gas & Electric Co. shut down power to more than 500,000 homes and businesses, an estimated 2-million-plus Northern California residents, creating the largest blackout in state history,” the Sacramento Bee has reported. “The move was billed as a last-resort defensive tactic to avoid wildfires amid high winds that whipped through the state Wednesday and are expected to continue Thursday.”

Because of the power outage, police enforced the curfew after power was shut off at 10:30 p.m. At approximately 11:57 p.m., a patrolman “monitoring an affected area of (Morgan Hill) located two male subjects walking in a darkened residential area,” police say.

When approaching the two men, the supervisor notified the men of the curfew and noticed one had a piece of broken glass on his clothing, according to the police statement.

Further investigation showed one of the men was wanted on an outstanding warrant while the other was on “searchable probation,” according to authorities. Police say they also found burglary tools and unknown property belonging to someone else.

After searching the area, police say they found two vehicles with windows that were busted out. The officers returned the property to their owner and subsequently arrested 21-year-old Jason Gomez and 26-year-old Chris Gomez on “auto burglary, possession of burglary tools, probation violation and warrants,” police said.

Both men were later booked into Santa Clara County Jail, according to police.

“The ultimate goal of this curfew was to keep our community safe and deny people with bad intent the opportunity to victimize our residents during a power outage,” the department wrote on Facebook. “We appreciate the community support and the willingness to remain flexible during a statewide emergency.”

Morgan Hill is located about 20 miles southeast of San Jose.

Tyler Carter, a Real-Time reporter based out of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is an avid lover of media, fitness, sports and telling impactful stories. Previously, he served as a trending/breaking news/crime reporter for and The Mississippi Press.