San Anselmo Police arrested Opal Merlati, 30, of Sausalito, Monday evening around 8 p.m. after an hour of negotiations failed to bring Merlati out from inside a garage she had barricaded herself in.
Merlati, said San Anselmo Cpl. Julie Gorwood, was the girlfriend of Roger Christiansen, a former San Anselmo resident who had been living in a house boat in Richardson Bay. The US Coast Guard identified Christiansen as .
After eight hours of looking for Christiansen on Saturday, the Coast Guard called off the search on Sunday. A life-jacket, similar to the one he had been wearing, later washed up on shore. Christiansen and a friend, David Windel, were in a tugboat en route to Pacifica when it capsized. Windel was rescued and treated at Marin General for hypothermia and shock.
According to Gorwood, Merlati entered a garage on a property on the 1500 block of San Anselmo. The property had formerly belonged to Christiansen, but had been sold to a friend and family members. Currently, said Gorwood, an arrangement allowed Christiansen access to the garage, while two families rent the main property.
The police received a call at 7:43 p.m. on Monday from the property owner who had been a friend of Christiansen's, said Gorwood, that Merlati was trespassing and had barricaded herself in the garage.
According to police, after Merlati refused to come out, nearly an hour of negotiations ensued. A large amount of stuff blocked two roll-up garage doors and the one other door was locked from the inside, said Gorwood.
After negotiations failed, the property owner gave police permission to enter the garage by force, at which point they broke down the locked door.
Once inside the garage, said Gorwood, the officers had to search in the dark for Merlati, eventually locating her on the second floor/attic, at which point she was taken into custody without incident. She was also found to be in possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia, said Gorwood.
While officers escorted Merlati to the patrol car, she made a large number of threats to the property owner, who she knew and who was a female friend of Christiansen's. "It was a whole lot of filthy stuff," said Gorwood.
She was transported to the county jail and charged with trespassing, criminal threats, obstructing a public officer, possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia.
Today, upon investigation of the contents of the garage, officers recovered a silver GMC-Yukon that had previously been reported stolen out of Santa Rosa in 2010. The car was in the process of being taken apart, said Gorwood.
According to Gorwood, the garage was used by Christiansen, who was a mechanic, as a workshop and housed a number of motorcycles and cars. There is an ongoing investigation following the recovery of the stolen car.