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POLICE CANINE TAKES A BITE OUT OF CRIME: CERES - A brazen man who was allegedly stealing groceries from a Hatch Road store Feb. 2 ended up being bitten and brought under control by a police canine.

According to Ceres Police Sgt. Allen McKay, Danny Armenta, 43, of Turlock walked out of Cost Less Foods at approximately 5:30 p.m. pushing a shopping cart filled with $116.63 worth of meat, beer and other food items. He was stopped by a store clerk and pretended as though he lost his receipt. Armenta bolted from the store with two clerks chasing him, running across Hatch Road. When he reached he the Home Depot store parking lot across the street, Armenta spun around and produced a knife and asked the clerks, "Who wants it first?"

The clerks returned to the store and let the police handle the matter. Officer Joe Wren and his canine Axel located the suspect trying to climb over the stone fence behind Kmart. Wren told the suspect to stop but Armenta ignored him and started walking west towards the 7-Eleven at Herndon and Joyce. Wren again demanded that Armenta stop but he ignored the officer. Wren then sent Axel to apprehend the suspect who threw a knife at Axel.

"Axel apprehended Armenta by biting him and taking him to the ground," said Sgt. McKay. Armenta struggled with the dog as Officer Wren took Armenta into custody.

After being treated for bite wounds at a local hospital, Armenta was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and the attack on a police canine.

Axel was not injured during the arrest.

StanCATT ARREST: CERES - Ceres Police helped the local auto theft task force to arrest two persons on Feb. 2.

Members of the Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force (StanCATT) received information about an auto theft suspect being at a Turlock residence. They watched a male and female get into a vehicle and leave, following it northbound toward Ceres. Ceres Police was called to make a traffic stop in a black and white unit. The stop was made in the 1100 block of Central Avenue before 5 p.m.

Passenger James Steeley, 28, of Keyes, was booked for resisting arrest, kidnapping and violating the terms of his parolee.

Brandie Weaver, 31, of Turlock, was booked on charges of being an accessory to a crime and driving on a suspended or revoked license.

DRUG ARRESTS MADE: CERES - The Ceres Police Department's Street Crimes Unit (SCU) made a number of drug arrests last week.

On Wednesday, Feb. 4, Ceres detectives and the SCU executed a search warrant at a house in the 1700 block of Midway Avenue in South Modesto. Police turned up a half-ounce of methamphetamine as well as scales and other equipment used in alleged drug sales.

The two suspects sought - Jimmy Dale Wheeler, 48, and Leanna Conlon, 31, both of South Modesto - were not at home at the time but were later located. Conlon was located in the area and arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine for sale and being under the influence of methamphetamine. She was arrested at 8 p.m. and had just been released from jail on another crime.

Wheeler turned himself into police the next day and was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine for sale.

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, the SCU delivered two more search warrants. In the 2000 block of Pleasant Avenue, police arrested Crystal Miranda, 29, for possession of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine for sale. Paul Ramirez, 26, of Ceres, was arrested in the 700 block of Foster Drive. Ramirez was charged with possession of methamphetamine for sale, possession on drug paraphernalia and cultivating marijuana. Police Sgt. Patrick Sullivan noted that Ramirez had a video surveillance system installed on his house and heavy security devices on his doors. Sullivan said he believes that Ramirez had attempted to flush drugs down the toilet to get rid of the evidence.

All three drug busts last week were the direct result of tips made to police, said Sgt. Sullivan. Persons are advised to call the Street Crimes Unit tip line at 538-5740 for general tips, or call 911 if they see alleged drug dealing occurring at that moment.

CHASE ENDS IN CRASH: CERES - A citizen chased a driver he suspected of being drunk Sunday morning but the suspect ended up losing control and hitting another motorist near Crows Landing and Service roads who also had been drinking.

The crash occurred at approximately 2:26 a.m.

The driver was in contact with 911 dispatchers and was chasing the allegedly drunken driver, Armando Sanchez, 31, of Merced, southbound on Crows Landing Road when Sanchez lost control of his 1998 Ford Windstar and hit a 1993 Lincoln Town Car coming at him from the opposite direction. The crash occurred on Crows Landing about a half-mile south of Service Road.

Both Sanchez and Miguel Romo, 29, of Modesto, were pinned into their respective wrecked vehicles and freed by Ceres and the Westport rescue personnel.

Sanchez was rushed to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto with major injuries. Romo was taken to Memorial Medical Center with major injuries.

THREATS LAND MAN IN JAIL: CERES - Jason Evans, 22, of Modesto, was arrested Friday and booked on charges of making threats of violence against his ex-girlfriend.

The victim was granted an emergency protection order after Evans was arrested at 2:10 p.m.

According to police, Evans breathed murderous threats to the female, a resident of the 3000 block of Tenth Street, over the phone. He threatened to shoot her and police when they came looking for him.

As the officer was taking the report at the victim's home, Evans called and made more threats. When the officer got on the line, Evans "gave him an earful" as he thought he was the woman's new boyfriend, said Deputy Chief Mike Borges.

Police found Evans at his Modesto home and arrested him.

TEEN FOUND WITH COCAINE: CERES - A 14-year-old was carting off more than a stop sign Friday evening - he was also found with a bindle of cocaine.

At 5:35 p.m. Officer Patrick Dayton spotted the teen in the 1900 block of Fifth Street carrying a stop sign that he said he found leaning against a pole at Lois and Darrah streets. Officer Dayton let the boy go but felt something was up, so he watched him walk off. That's when the officer saw the boy toss a package which later turned out to be cocaine. The juvenile said he found the drugs.

He was booked into Juvenile Hall on charges of possession of cocaine and stolen property.

The boy's name was not released because of a state law protecting the identity of minors accused of crimes.

RECKLESS DRIVING CHARGE: CERES - A teen may have gotten away without an auto burglary charge but he went to jail anyway for reckless driving.

The arrest of 18-year-old David Rosalez happened at 2:01 a.m. on Saturday after a car owner interrupted an auto burglary or theft in progress.

Police received a call from the victim in the 800 block of Rolling Oak who said he had chased off men he suspected of burglarizing his vehicle. Officer Jose Amador caught up with the suspects' car at El Camino at Highway 99 and began to chase him. Rosalez was driving erratically on the freeway as the chase went onto southbound 99. Eventually the driver stopped in the area near Keyes Road and turned off his headlights.

A search of the car turned up no stolen items and the victim was "unable to put any of he suspects in the vehicle."

The car had been burglarized previously and police believe the suspects were back to steal the car as there was a plastic emergency key in the ignition.

MAN THREATENS THOSE IN STORE: CERES - Customers ran to safety as a man became verbally abusive and threatening inside a Ceres store Saturday afternoon.

Benjamin Luna, 27, of Ceres, was arrested at 3:54 p.m. after he threatened to "stick" or "blast" someone inside of Exotic Birds and Pets in the Richland Shopping Center. He was charged with making criminal threats, resisting arrest, and a probation violation.

During the incident Luna also engaged in racial name calling at a customer and used obscenities in front of a child. Officer Lorenzo Beltran arrived and noted that Luna appeared intoxicated. Luna resisted arrest thus Officer Beltran had to wrestle the suspect to the ground.

HOME SHUT DOWN: CERES - A Ceres man was jailed Saturday for a warrant and his home shut down for a health-related concern.

Somebody called 911 at 9:17 p.m. to ask police to check on a residence in the 1700 block of Ocean Way because the garage door was slightly open and an engine was running. The caller feared a suicide in progress.

An officer arrived and noticed a strong smell of exhaust in the garage and house. The fire department was called out and determined that a generator being used in the garage to provide electricity was creating carbon monoxide levels five times the lethal level. The electricity had been cut off to the house. Authorities wouldn't allow a 37-year-old female to remain at the house and set her up with emergency housing.

Edward Keeney, 43, was arrested for a warrant for his arrest relating to DUI charges.

GANG CHARGES LEVELED: CERES - Three teenagers' admission that they are Hispanic gang members didn't do them any favor when they were found in a stolen car Saturday evening.

All three were booked on charges of possession of stolen property with gang enhancements. One of the boys, who is 17 years old from Ceres, was also charged with auto theft.

Two hours earlier an auto theft report was taken in the 1000 block of Vinepress. Before the stolen 2001 Saturn was logged into the computer system, it was located by Officer Julio Amador. At 11:11 p.m. Amador made a random traffic stop on the car at Seventh and Lawrence and learned it was stolen.