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CRIME DIGEST

POSTED January 15, 2013 4:41 p.m.
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• PARK METAL THEFT OCCURS: CERES - Equipment at the Ceres River Bluff Regional Park was stripped of metal wiring sometime over the weekend of Jan. 4-7, causing the taxpayers an estimated $4,000 in loss of materials and labor costs.

Breaker boxes at the recreational facility were broken into for the copper wiring, said Deputy Police Chief Mike Borges.

The theft occurred sometime between 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 4 and 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 7.

Ontel Security, which is hired by the city to beef up park patrols, plans to do what it can to prevent future losses.

• GUN ON PAROLEE INOPERABLE: CERES - An impromptu search of a parolee walking in the 1200 block of Sam Avenue on Thursday resulted in the discovery of a handgun. Since the gun was inoperable due to the missing firing pin, no gun charges were applied.

Officer Bryan Ferreira made the traffic stop at 1:03 a.m.

Deputy Chief Mike Borges said it's unknown why a parolee would be carrying a gun that doesn't work but noted it could have been to intimidate others.

• MAN ARRESTED IN BEER GRAB: CERES - One of two men who allegedly stole beer from the Herndon Avenue 7-Eleven store on Thursday morning, Jan. 10, was arrested and charged.

A store clerk called 911 at 1:38 a.m. to report that two men grabbed a 30-pack of beer and ran out of the door. Police happened to be in the area and saw two men in the 1200 block of Nadine Avenue who matched the description of the thieves. One suspect heaved the beer over the fence and then jumped the fence after it. The other suspect got away.

Ramon Guardado, 27, of Modesto, was booked for burglary. He also had a felony warrant for possession of narcotics. His accomplice was described as a Latino man in his 20s, standing 5-foot-8, weighing 140 pounds, and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.

The stolen beer was recovered.

• COMBATIVE MAN IS ARRESTED: CERES - A resident of the 3700 block of Armando Court called police Thursday about two suspicious males peering into vehicle windows, which led to their confrontation and an arrest.

Officer Josh Kling responded to the 9:24 a.m. call and found Josue Salgado, 19, of Ceres, and a 16-year-old Ceres accomplice. When Kling began asking about what they were doing, Salgado allegedly began cursing at the officer. The suspect also reached for his waistband after being told to keep his hands out of his pockets. Due to the hostility displayed toward Kling, Salgado was pat searched but broke free and tried to fight Officer Kling. Salgado was warned that the police canine would be called to attack but Kling tackled the teen to the ground where Salgado continued to make threats, telling Kling at one point that he was going to "f------ get yours."

Salgado was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, and delaying and obstructing an officer.

The juvenile was more cooperative and released to his parents.

Police found evidence of vehicle or residential break-ins.

• SCHOOLS LOCKED DOWN DURING SEARCH: CERES - A tip about a man carrying a gun led to an area search and lockdown of the Ceres Community School and Caswell Elementary School Thursday afternoon.

At 1 p.m. a member of the Ceres Police VIPS program was at lunch in the area of Memorial Drive and Darrah Street. He saw three Hispanic males at a parked taco truck, noting that one appeared to be carrying a gun. Apparently there was a delay in reporting, however, officers searched the area and prompted the lock-downs of the two schools.

"We found no one and we probably lifted the lock-down in 15 minutes," said Deputy Police Chief Mike Borges.

• WOMAN ARRESTED IN BAR ASSAULT: CERES - The former owner of Latino's Bar was arrested Friday after she was involved in a fight and allegedly assaulted a former employee there.

Police officers were on patrol on Mitchell Road at 2:09 a.m. when a female motorist was seen speeding into the the Bank of America parking lot. The 36-year-old woman was bleeding and asked the officer for help. She reported having just been in a fight at Latino's Bar, 2600 block of Mitchell Road, where she was struck in the face with an unknown metal object and kicked on the ground.

Officers went to the bar and found Juana Yeronpopoulous, 37, of Modesto, who formerly owned the establishment who previously fired the victim. Police were told that Yeronpopoulous went into the bar with her fiancé when she was confronted by the victim. She claims the victim swung at her and missed and that the argument was taken out into the parking lot. The victim claims she was dragged out into the lot. Yeronpopoulous also claimed the victim fell after taking a wild punch that missed.

Deputy Chief Mike Borges said that Yeronpopoulous did not appear to be truthful in that she stated she only swung once at the victim while the victim bore substantial physical injuries.

Yeronpopoulous was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. The victim was taken to a Modesto hospital for treatment of her injuries.

• TEENS CAUGHT IN BURGLARY: CERES - Two teenage boys were caught breaking into a home in the 1700 block of Gene Road in broad daylight on Friday, Jan. 11.

An alert neighbor called 911 to report seeing three Hispanic males walking up and down the street knocking on doors. At 10 a.m. police cruised the area, unable to find any suspicious persons.

About 10 minutes after police left the neighborhood, the neighbor again saw the boys jumping out of a neighbor's yard over a fence. Police went back to the area, and saw a house whose window was missing a screen and open. Two juveniles were found inside the house, both in possession of property taken from the house.

One suspect was a 16-year-old Merced runaway and the other a 15-year-old Modesto boy on probation for a prior burglary. They were both booked into Juvenile Hall on charges of burglary and possession of stolen property. The younger boy was also charged with violating his probation.

A third suspect may have been a driver for the boys in the area but was not located.

Deputy Chief Mike Borges said police are getting growing reports of residential burglaries and putting heavier patrol response in those areas and that in this case "an alert neighbor paid off."

"This is why knowing your neighbors and communicating with your neighbors is valued. It's the extra eyes we need because we can't be everywhere," said Borges.

• DRUGS FOUND ON WOMAN: CERES - The city crime analyst's hunch about a connection between a residence in the 1700 block of Richland Avenue and a burglary sent officers scurrying to the address on Thursday but no such evidence of burglary was found. However, police did make a drug arrest.

Officers showed made a probation search at 8:20 p.m. on Friday and found Camela Urbina, 36, of Ceres, in possession of methamphetamine.

• MISSING HEADLIGHT LEADS TO DISCOVERY OF THEFT: CERES - A 30-year-old Delhi man was arrested Friday evening on auto theft charges after he was spotted by a Ceres officer driving with a missing headlight.

Officer Jeremy Lewis also found Rainer Krause in possession of stolen possessions and credit cards in the 10:15 p.m. traffic stop in the area of Morgan and Service roads. Lewis claimed he had just borrowed the 2005 Dodge Stratus but the officer spotted two different license plates in the vehicle. It was learned the car had been reported stolen Jan. 8.

A search of the Stratus turned up tools and credit cards linked to a Merced County burglary. A loaded sawed-off shotgun and drugs were also found in the car.

Krause was charged with auto theft, possession of stolen property and possession of methamphetamine.

• PURSE SNATCHING SUSPECT APPREHENDED: CERES - Brandon Ney, 22, of Ceres, was apprehended after allegedly committing a purse snatching in the Walmart parking lot early Saturday morning, Jan. 12.

A 47-year-old woman was placing her purchases into her car at 12:26 a.m. when a man walked up and grabbed her purse lying in the cart. Ney had been observed wandering through the parking lot at the time. Bystanders gave chase of the suspect but lost sight of him as he slipped through the pedestrian gate on the west side of the TID canal that runs along the east of the Walmart property.

Officer Coey Henson showed up with his canine, Dex, and located Ney hiding on the west side of the canal near Fowler Road. Ney was advised to surrender and given three warnings not to run or the dog would be unleashed. Ney bolted and as Deputy Police Mike Borges said, "you can't outrun a canine."

Ney was arrested on charges of petty theft, resisting arrest and for a Fish & Game arrest warrant.

• DRUNKEN DRIVING ARREST MADE: CERES - A citizen's call about a suspected drunken driver made at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Jan. 12, led to the arrest of Jose Madrigal, 23, of Modesto.

Madrigal was at the Chevron station on Herndon Avenue when a citizen noticed Madrigal appearing drunk. An officer responded and watched as Madrigal got in the car and drove away and then stopped the car.

TEENS FOUND WITH DRUGS, BURGLARY EVIDENCE: CERES - Two teenage boys were arrested for burglary early Sunday morning, Jan. 13, after they were stopped in a car that had been weaving down Mitchell Road.

Officer Lorenzo Beltran was southbound on Mitchell Road at 12:23 a.m. when he spotted a 2000 Dodge Durango weaving in lanes of traffic. The officer stopped the car at Mitchell Road and Whitmore Avenue. As he approached the vehicle he noticed the wing window was busted wing, raising suspicions that it had been stolen.

Unable to determine if the Durango was stolen, Officer Beltran saw a number of women's purses lying in the backseat. The stories given by driver Israel Martinez, 18, of Modesto, and his 15-year-old Ceres passenger were "not making a lot of sense" about the purses, said Deputy Chief Mike Borges. The passenger appeared to be trying to hide something so a police canine sniffed the Durango for drugs. Borges said three of the department's four canines are trained to sniff out drugs. The canine turned up methamphetamine. Officers also found several bank checks belonging to different people and property linked to the victim of a Modesto auto burglary. The juvenile was also in possession of a shaved key, a common tool in car thefts.

Martinez was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of stolen property. The juvenile was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of burglary tools.

• TEEN CRASHES PARENTS' CAR WHILE DRUNK: CERES - An 17-year-old Ceres boy who was unlicensed to drive a vehicle was arrested early Sunday after allegedly driving drunk in a car he took from his parents.

At 12:15 a.m. Officer Jeremy Lewis came up on a car left in the roadway in the 2700 block of Kinser Road that looked like it had just wrecked with substantial front-end damage. The car apparently hit a curb so hard on Blaker Road that both air bags had been deployed, the windshield was cracked and the metal wheel had sheered.

Lewis searched the area for its occupants and found three guys walking near the abandoned car. The 17-year-old admitted he had been drinking and took the vehicle from parents without permission.

He was arrested and booked on charges of driving without a license and also driving while under the influence.

His name was not released due to his age.

• METH FOUND ON BICYCLIST: CERES - Officer Kiashira Ruiz observed a bicyclist traveling on the road in the wrong direction on Sunday evening at 6:59 p.m. and wound up doing a search on Sergio Hernandez, 45, of Modesto. Officer Ruiz found in his possession a pipe used to smoke methamphetamine, with some of the substance inside. Hernandez was arrested and booked on charge of possession of methamphetamine and possession of a smoking device.
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