By Laura Haefeli

HUGHSON (CBS13) — One thief is cleaning up in the Hughson area. Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department says multiple parked cars have been broken into over the course of several days.

Police arrested the person they say smashed and grabbed items from vehicles at a shopping center and likely a nearby cemetery as well. The mourning family’s car window was smashed and mom’s purse was taken while she was visiting her father like she does every year on his birthday.

Daniel Alcantara (credit: Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department)

Daniel Alcantara, 31, was caught stealing from vehicles on Oct. 8, police say. Surveillance video shows a silver BMW pulling into the strip mall in Hughson before the incident took place.

Several days later on October 15, the Lakewood Cemetery in Hughson caught the same silver BMW on their surveillance cameras. That same day Betty Casaus’s car was broken into while she was visiting her father’s gravesite.

Casaus says it wasn’t just her purse that was stolen.

“All my pictures and a little box that my mother gave me. I’m sorry. It’s just a memory of her,” she said.

She says she was taken advantage of in her most vulnerable moment.

“You’re at a place you consider sacred and your mind is on what you’re doing not watching your car. I think they probably have done it many times before,” Casaus said.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office says it’s likely the same person behind the wheel in both surveillance images but they’re waiting on a formal police report to charge Alcantara with the cemetery crime.

“Our deputies have gotten information that does lead us to believe that this suspect may have been involved in multiple vehicle burglaries,” Sgt. Tom Letras, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, said.

The sheriff’s office said going into the holiday season they typically see more of these smash-and-grab incidents. The best thing you can do to prevent it from happening to you is to lock your car doors and keep anything of value out of sight.

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