Man celebrating birthday accused of bizarre crime spree

A 19-year-old San Mateo man is accused of kicking off a crime spree on his birthday, and it allegedly began with him trying to pull over cars on the Peninsula using his parents’ truck and flashing lights.

As of Dec. 19, Allen Grabovetsky had run-ins with police three times and now faces a slew of serious charges, including ones that stem from allegedly impersonating a traffic officer in an attempt to rob drivers, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

“Talk about starting your criminal career with a bang,” San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

The string of incidents allegedly began on Grabovetsky’s birthday, Dec. 6. Using his parents’ teal pickup truck, a siren and flashing red lights, Grabovetsky allegedly pretended to be a cop, pulling over four drivers and telling them to give him cash so they could avoid a ticket, Wagstaffe said.

The first victim was a Panera Bread truck driver in Millbrae, Wagstaffe said. Grabovetsky allegedly told the driver she was speeding and asked for money to let her go. She suspected he was a fake and told him to give her the ticket.
The “suspect let her go with a warning, but demanded she call him ‘officer,’” Wagstaffe said.

Later in the day, Grabovetsky allegedly tried to pull over a pilot and flight attendant on U.S. Highway 101, authorities said. The pair, who were en route to San Francisco International Airport, jotted down the pickup truck’s license number, Wagstaffe said.

Grabovetsky allegedly tried and failed twice more to pull over and rob drivers, once on state Highway 1
and another time in a theater parking lot.

Later, he was found in his truck and arrested, according to police.

Also that same day, Grabovetsky allegedly harassed a 15-year-old girl outside Hillsdale Mall, inviting her to join him in his pickup truck. The girl ran away and contacted police.

And Grabovetsky was arrested a few days later on suspicion of trying to sell marijuana at the Hillsdale train station platform. While being detained, he “stated he was in the military and they should let him go,” prosecutors said.

The final incident was a three-day period starting Dec. 16 when Grabovetsky allegedly sent threatening text messages to an 18-year-old friend, threatening her and her mother, according to prosecutors.

The San Mateo County Private Defender Program was in the process of assigning Grabovetsky a defense attorney Monday.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges last week and remains in custody on $110,000 bail, Wagstaffe said. A preliminary hearing for all the cases was set for Monday.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

 

Breaking the law

Incidents allegedly committed by Allen Grabovetsky, 19, of San Mateo:

Dec. 6: With his parents’ pickup truck, used siren and flashing lights to pull over at least four drivers on Peninsula in an attempt to rob them.

Dec. 6: Tried to coax 15-year-old girl at mall into joining him in his truck, saying “It’s OK with me” when he learns her age.

Dec. 10: Tried to sell marijuana to a person on the Hillsdale Caltrain platform. The person called police.

Dec. 17-19: Suspect “unexpectedly and without warning” sent text messages threatening to kill his friend and the friend’s parents.

Source: San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office

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