The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Groveland man Monday night after he broke into a Groveland pizza restaurant and drank beer from the tap.
Pizza Factory owner Earl Wright said that just before 11 p.m. on Monday night, he received a call from his alarm company that “something was moving in the building.”
His initial reaction wasn’t suspicious, he said, thinking it could have been an employee returning for a forgotten item or even a piece of paper fluttering inside.
Accessing the remote viewing option of his surveillance system, Wright saw a man standing at the store register. He called the business.
As soon as the man spoke, Wright knew something was amiss.
“He’s clearly under the influence of something, it’s something, he’s definitely not sober,” he said. “I’m just astounded that someone would be in the building, enter in through a locked door, then answer the phone.”
The man slurred a series of questions to Wright and appeared to be “confused” where he was. After a few minutes, he set the phone down, and drifted away into the restaurant.
“It was a really, really odd experience,” Wright said, noting that he watched the man “aimlessly wander around the building,” break a vase, tear open a bag of chips, and help himself to a glass of Dust Bowl Brewing Taco Truck lager.
After the man hung up, Wright contacted the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies reached the 18500 block Highway 120 business around 11 p.m., Sgt Andrea Benson said, and contacted the suspect sitting at a booth in a black hoodie.
The man rose from his seat and approached the deputies, but was quickly detained.
The man was too drunk to explain why he broke in, Benson said. The man was later found to have a blood alcohol level of .27, a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office news release said.
Wright kept watching the remote surveillance system as the man puttered and stumbled around the store. Dispatch had asked him questions about the man’s actions and if he was alone, Wright said.
Though he never saw anyone else in the restaurant, a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office deputy and K9 Maverick checked the building.
Bradley Trevino, 20, of Groveland, was booked into the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of felony burglary and misdemeanor charges disorderly conduct.
His bail was set at $15,000.
Wright said he was glad to have a surveillance and security system, as it had assisted with a spate of thefts occurring at Pizza Factory over the past couple of years.
Just recently, at around 5 a.m. on Nov. 5, Wright said, unknown suspects had broken through the door panels on the doorway and made off with the restaurant's ATM machine.
A couple of years prior, he said, another ATM had been stolen.
“I wouldn't call it a persistent problem but it feels like it for me because in the past three years I've had three incidents like this,” he said. “There definitely have been other cases of these goofballs and what they do around here.”
Besides a “nervous” and “disconcerted” staff frustrated by the burglary from a known local Groveland resident, Wright said, he was faced with mounting expenses to fix the door lock, or even getting a new door.
Wright said he appreciated the dedicated and prompt response of the Sheriff’s Office to his business in the past month during both incidents, but noted that more “bodies” on the job could improve response times to calls and limit the damage done by suspects.
“It’s hard when we’re in Groveland,” he said.