East Bay man known as ‘Teddy Bear Bandit’ busted in Santa Cruz business break-in

SANTA CRUZ — A 49-year-old Oakland man was arrested this week in connection with an Eastside burglary after he was allegedly caught with a shop’s cash register cord hanging out his car door.

Andre Murphy, dubbed the Teddy Bear Bandit for a San Leandro burglary he was convicted of, is now being prosecuted in some San Mateo County burglaries. (File) 

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office stopped Andre Murphy while he was driving Monday night on Saratoga Avenue in Saratoga, according to social media posts from the sheriff’s office and Santa Cruz Police Department. A cash register in Murphy’s backseat included some cash and gift certificates to Santa Cruz’s Top-A-Lot Yogurt on Water Street, according to reports.

Sheriff’s deputies contacted Santa Cruz Police Department to confirm the yogurt shop had been burglarized that night. Responding officers discovered that the business’ front glass door had been shattered and its register removed. The stolen property was returned to the property owner.

Deputies later recovered an airsoft gun, gloves and broken glass from Murphy’s clothing, according to reports.

Murphy, who is on probation in Alameda County, was cited and released at the scene of his car stop, due to coronavirus pandemic mandates limiting Santa Cruz County jail inmates primarily to violent and sexual offenders, according to Santa Cruz police. A man with a previous 10 felony convictions, who meets a similar description to Murphy, was arrested in 2018 on suspicion of burglarizing a San Leandro flower shop. Authorities later dubbed the man “the teddy bear bandit,” as reported by the Mercury News. The paper found court records showing Murphy’s felony convictions were from 1991 to 2016 and include carjacking, burglary, forgery, vehicle theft, receiving stolen property and different drug charges.

As of Wednesday morning, no formal charges related to Tuesday’s burglary had been filed against Murphy by the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office, per court records.

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Author: Jessica York

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