MH police arrest two parolees, a third suspect escapes

Morgan Hill
– Police arrested two parolees who may be connected to a
fraudulent check ring that has been operating in the Morgan Hill
area, Morgan Hill police Lt. Joe Sampson said Monday.
Morgan Hill – Police arrested two parolees who may be connected to a fraudulent check ring that has been operating in the Morgan Hill area, Morgan Hill police Lt. Joe Sampson said Monday.

Peter Mastroieni, 34, of San Martin, and Ronni Hernandez, 26, of Morgan Hill, were taken to county jail Sunday; Hernandez had an outstanding no-bail warrant for drug charges, and Mastroieni was booked on charges of resisting arrest, evading an officer, possession of a controlled substance and being under the influence.

The pursuit began at 1:38pm when Morgan Hill officer Kyle Christensen investigated a suspicious vehicle at Butterfield Boulevard and Diana Avenue close to downtown Morgan Hill.

Sampson said Christensen had noticed the vehicle in the area earlier, and it had left and returned.

“It is hard to put your finger on it sometimes, exactly what is suspicious,” Sampson said. “Sometimes it is just your ‘cop sense’ that tells you something is wrong. In this case, the movements of the suspects in the vehicle were somewhat furtive. They seemed to want to evade our officer.”

When Mastroieni spotted Christensen, he drove off, Sampson said. Christensen chased after the vehicle. As he turned north on Walnut Grove Avenue, Mastroieni lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the landscaping at 17379 Walnut Grove, Sampson said.

Mastroieni and his two passengers – Hernandez and a third suspect tentatively identified as Guillermo Martinez – fled in different directions.

Christensen pursued Mastroieni and caught him after a short chase. As Mastroieni resisted arrest, Christensen subdued him with a Taser and handcuffed him without further incident.

Hernandez was apprehended by a Sheriff’s deputy and turned over to MHPD. Martinez, who was not apprehended, is also reportedly a parolee at large.

At time of his arrest, Sampson said, Mastroieni gave false information to officers about his identity. His true identity was later discovered verified by fingerprint.

He had two $150,000 warrants and was a parolee at large.

He was also interviewed by detectives for possible involvement in a fraudulent check ring that has been operating in the Morgan Hill area.

Sampson declined to release specific information about the fraudulent check ring as it remains under investigation.

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