A burglary across the street from Laci Peterson's home had nothing to do with the Modesto woman's disappearance, police confirmed Friday.
The announcement coincided with police saying they had arrested two suspects in the burglary and determined that they were not involved in the
Detective Doug Ridenour said the men were booked late Thursday at Stanislaus County Jail.
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Based on interviews with the suspects, police said the burglary on Covena Avenue in the La Loma neighborhood took place between 4 and 7 a.m. Dec. 26. Scott Peterson reported his pregnant wife missing about 6 p.m. Dec. 24.
Police previously had said possible scenarios for Peterson's disappearance included her interrupting a burglary at her house or being abducted after witnessing the crime across the street. At that time, police knew only that the burglary had occurred around Christmas, while the homeowners were away.
"We're confident in our minds that we have resolved one crime," Ridenour said Friday, "and now we can get back to focusing on Laci's disappearance."
Meanwhile, searchers also worked outside the county. The effort to find Peterson stretched into rural areas and waterways in Tuolumne, Calaveras, San Joaquin, Merced and Mariposa counties, Sgt. Ron Cloward said.
There were no significant developments Friday.
Several news agencies apparently reported incorrect information regarding a search and a purported arrest that led to the widespread circulation of rumors Friday, police said.
The rumor mill churned so heavily that, at about 4 p.m., District Attorney James Brazelton called Police Chief Roy Wasden to double-check that no arrest had been made in connection with Peterson's disappearance.
"I don't know where that information is coming from, but it's not accurate," Wasden said. "The only arrests have been the burglary suspects."
Detective George Stough said Steven Wayne Todd, 35, and Donald Glen Pearce, 44, were far more cooperative than suspects usually are with police.
"It was bad luck on their part," Stough said. (Steven Todd) said he was scared that he was going to be associated with Laci's disappearance."
Thursday, state parole officers received a tip from someone who directed police to Todd and Pearce, Stough said. They gave numerous statements and facts that checked out, convincing police that the two men were telling the truth.
Todd told investigators that he traveled the La Loma area often and recognized a home that looked empty the morning after Christmas. He said he and Pearce entered the home about
4 a.m. and stayed for about 3 1/2 hours, Stough said.
Police had not yet sealed off the house as part of their search, and officers had not taken up positions in the neighborhood at that early hour.
Todd said he saw several TV news trucks in the area, so he picked a different entry into the home. Police said the burglars carried a large safe out the front door and onto the front lawn. The safe contained $50,000 worth of jewelry and other items, according to police.
None of the reporters or crews in those trucks reported seeing or hearing anything suspicious, Stough said.
The police tips line is 342-6166.
Peterson's sister, Amy Rocha, works at Salon Salon at McHenry Village. The salon announced that
it will donate the sales from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to the Laci Peterson search effort. Appointments are preferred. For more information, call the salon, 571-3500, Ext. 47.
Bee staff writer Ty Phillips can be reached at 578-2331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.