Two arrested after California deliveryman mistaken for burglar and assaulted

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 11, 2015 5:03 PM

(Reuters) - Two men in Northern California chased and beat up a newspaper delivery driver after mistaking him for a burglar who had previously hit their neighborhood, police said on Wednesday.

Rodeo Van Bladel, 38, and Matthew Mills, 28, had been on the lookout on Tuesday for a van they believed was involved in recent thefts in a residential area of Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa police said in a statement.

The two men saw the newspaper delivery driver arrive in a gray van and they approached the vehicle, hitting it with sticks and pipes, police said.

The frightened delivery man drove away and struck a parked car on a nearby street. The two men gave chase again and beat on the van, the police statement said. They also assaulted the man as he fled on foot, it said.

Afterward, police arrested Bladel and Mills and booked them in jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit a felony.

The newspaper delivery driver does not appear to have been involved in any thefts in the residential area, police said.

A spokesman for the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office, which has jurisdiction over Santa Rosa, said police have not forwarded the report to the office. It was unclear if the two men have obtained an attorney.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Sandra Maler)