A man police said was arrested each time he allegedly stole three cars -- including the same one twice -- was released on felony charges four times in the last two weeks due to an emergency COVID-19 step taken by California Superior Courts.
Escondido police said Monday that the alleged crime spree ended when Timothy Alvarado, a 22-year-old La Mesa man, was taken into custody around 3 p.m. on Saturday after stabbing a homeless man in the neck at the Sprinter station on Valley Parkway.
Police said that before the string of incidents occurred, Alvarado had been in the Vista jail, serving time on a burglary conviction. After serving out his sentence, which began last fall, he was released on April 3.
About a month later, Alvarado was arrested in a minivan stolen from a used car lot in Escondido, said police. Authorities said he led officers on a high-speed chase that ended with his arrest on a list of felony charges, including possession of a stolen vehicle, felony evasion and resisting arrest. However, because of an emergency bail schedule put in place at the direction of the Judicial Council of California on March 13 that forgoes the bail requirement except in the cases of 13 serious felonies, Alvarado was cited and released. Two days later, police said they found Alvarado behind the wheel of a stolen Jaguar. Officials said they arrested him for pair of stolen vehicle charges, but they released Alvarado again after writing him a citation for a court appearance.
A little over a week later, Alvarado was arrested while allegedly in possession of a stolen Mitsubishi Lancer taken from an Escondido apartment complex on Lincoln Avenue. This time, there was a controlled substance charge in addition to the stolen vehicle counts. Once more, Alvarado was given a citation and released from custody. The Mitsubishi was then picked up by its owner. Four days later, according to authorities, Alvarado was picked up by police in the same Mitsubishi Lancer he was accused of stealing May 10. And again, Alvarado was charged with auto theft and possession of a stolen vehicle, and, for the fourth time in a fortnight, he was given a citation and released from custody.
"He's got a pretty extensive criminal record over the past few years," said Lt. Kevin Tuth of the Escondido Police Department, who added that officers are trying to determine what Alvarado had been up to between his initial release at the beginning of April and his first arrest in May.
Police said the stabbing victim is expected to survive his injuries. Investigators are still trying to determine a motive for the alleged attempted murder.
Alvarado is currently being held at the Vista Detention Center without bail, according the the sheriff's department.