Click photo to enlarge
Anthony Sanchez

SAN JOSE -- A serial burglary suspect who slipped his handcuffs and stole a police van earlier this week was caught Thursday after he was found sleeping in another stolen vehicle about a mile from where he was first arrested, police said.

Anthony Sanchez, 32, was arrested about 11:20 p.m. Thursday after patrol officers spotted him in a stolen truck near Normington Way and Mt. Castle Drive in South San Jose. He was booked into Santa Clara County County jail on suspicion of four counts of auto theft -- including the police vehicle -- drug possession, burglary, possessing stolen property and for having two felony warrants for violating probation.

Sanchez was first arrested Wednesday afternoon after officers following through on the warrants found what they believe was stolen property linking him to several home and vehicle burglaries in South San Jose, said Sgt. Jason Dwyer.

"When you think of career criminal, this is your poster child," Dwyer said.

Officers used two sets of handcuffs to restrain Sanchez because of his large size and put him into an unmarked minivan. While an officer was distracted with paperwork, Sanchez slipped the cuffs to the front of his body and shimmied to the driver's seat and sped off, police said.

The van, which did not have any weapons inside, was found two hours later near Almaden Expressway and Wren Drive, but Sanchez didn't surface until the following night.

Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.