Two men who have been linked by authorities to at least six separate carjacking cases around the Bay Area in recent months, including the carjacking of members of the Berkeley High Mountain Bike Team, are in custody this week in San Mateo County facing felony charges.
Police in Berkeley, Oakland, Livermore and San Francisco worked together to identify the men — Jose Guevara-Espinoza, 20, of Oakland and Eduardo Acosta-Guzman, 18, of San Francisco — and issue warrants for their arrest, according to court papers.
On May 3, police arrested the pair at Guevara-Espinoza’s Oakland home and found three pistols as well as a car, parked in the driveway, that had been taken in one of the carjackings, according to court documents.
The men “confessed to many of the crimes,” police wrote in charging papers.
Information about several of the cases remained unavailable from authorities Thursday. But BPD confirmed that the men had been identified as suspects in a Berkeley carjacking on April 16.
The Berkeley case made headlines around the Bay Area because the victims included two high school students who were coming back from mountain bike team practice with their coaches when the carjackers confronted them in broad daylight at Eighth and Virginia streets in northwest Berkeley.
A community fundraiser to help replace the students’ bikes and other items taken that day has raised more than $26,000.
The investigation picked up steam April 25 when two people confronted a man outside a Daly City Domino’s Pizza and took his silver 2011 Infiniti G37 at gunpoint. One of the men took the Infiniti and the other fled the scene in a white Lexus, according to court papers.
Police in Daly City reviewed surveillance footage of the carjacking, then alerted other Bay Area law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the men and the white Lexus, police wrote.
Police in San Francisco then contacted Daly City to say they were familiar with the Lexus, which had just been used in a robbery and auto burglary in their city. They told Daly City PD that the vehicle had been used in “more than 6 carjackings in San Francisco in recent weeks.”
In the San Francisco case, according to authorities, two men with guns had robbed a woman in the Marina District, taking her camera. Police were able to track down the getaway vehicle but the culprits fled on foot.
SFPD had identified Guevara-Espinoza and Acosta-Guzman as their suspects in the Marina case, according to court papers, and the men also had felony arrest warrants from an Alameda County carjacking.
SFPD’s Special Investigations Unit then conducted surveillance on the men at a home in Oakland. In the days after the Daly City carjacking, police wrote, they were seen driving the Infiniti that had been taken.
On May 3 at 5 a.m., SFPD’s tactical team took the men into custody at the Oakland home and found the pistols and stolen Infiniti. One of the pistols had been taken during a robbery in San Francisco, according to police.
“Our Daly City victim’s car was in the driveway,” San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen M. Wagstaffe told Berkeleyside on Thursday. “We knew we had the right guy.”
Police say they have also linked the men to carjacking cases in Oakland, San Francisco and Livermore, and that they may be connected to other crimes in the Bay Area as well.
As of this week, both men remain in custody at Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City.
They have been charged in connection with the April 25 incidents in San Francisco and Daly City and are scheduled to enter pleas June 14, according to court records.
According to BPD, the men will be transferred back to Alameda County when the San Mateo case is complete.
Featured photo: The van and one of the bikes taken during the Berkeley carjacking. Credit: Dan Leaverton