Alleged Tobacco Outlet burglar charged with murder after fatal crash

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Alleged Tobacco Outlet burglar faces murder charge after fatal getaway crash
Photo courtesy of the El Cerrito Police Department

Two men have been charged with multiple felonies for allegedly burglarizing a Tobacco Outlet in El Cerrito Tobacco prior to causing a fatal head-on collision that killed one person and injured another on March 19.

Patrick Owens Sheckells, 35, of Oakland, faces six felonies, including the murder of Lee David Weiner, according to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office.

Andre Lamar Alberty, 56, of Stockton, has been charged with second-degree burglary and grand theft of personal property as well as seven prior strike convictions.

The incident unfolded around 4:20 a.m. on March 19, when police responded to a 911 call from the owner of Tobacco Outlet (10170 San Pablo Ave.). The store owner said his security camera captured footage of two individuals driving a truck through the storefront and stealing large amounts of tobacco products.  

El Cerrito police officers saw a truck matching the description entering I-80. A pursuit ensued but was terminated by the officers due to the danger to the public.

The fatal head-on collision occurred about five minutes later in the MacArthur Maze near the Bay Bridge, according to police. The impact killed Weiner and seriously injured another driver, Jerry Brunson, whose vehicle was also involved in the crash.

Sheckells was arraigned on the charges via a video call from his hospital bed on April 12. In addition to the murder charge, he faces charges of driving under the influence of a controlled substance causing injury and driving or taking a vehicle without consent.

Alberty was arraigned today in Martinez and remains in Martinez Detention Facility. His bail was set at $140,000. A preliminary hearing for Alberty is scheduled on April 24.