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CAUGHT WITH STOLEN CHECKS: CERES - Three Stockton men were arrested in the Westpointe area last week after they were found in possession of stolen checks.

Because of a number of auto burglaries in the area of Aristocrat Drive, officer Jason Brock was spending time in patrolling the area. At 1:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3, Brock heard an alarm coming from the area of Malik and Highlands Park Drive. Brock then spotted a 1997 Toyota Camry leaving southbound on Malik Drive with expired registration tags. The driver quickly ducked into a driveway in the 900 block of Big Creek Lane and claimed that his vehicle was overheating when the officer approached. Brock learned from the suspects that they didn't know anyone in the area.

Brock found stolen checks and a stolen ID in the car. The checks were taken from a San Joaquin County burglary.

Victor Hernandez, 20, was arrested for possession of stolen property, possession of controlled substance parapheranalia and driving on a suspended license. Jose Ponce De Leon, 29, and Jesus Jimenez, 21, were both arrested on charges of possession of stolen property and giving false information to an officer.

"It was a very good job by officer Brock," commented Deputy Chief of Police Mike Borges.

STAPLES ROBBED AT GUNPOINT: CERES - Staples was robbed by an armed man Friday afternoon but despite quick police response, the bandit got away.

The hold-up occurred at 3:24 p.m. when a white male entered the store and asked for change for a dollar. When the male clerk opened the cash register, the suspect told the clerk not to touch anything as he aimed a small caliber revolver at him. The suspect grabbed an unknown amount of money from the register and fled toward Richland Avenue.

Deputy Chief of Police Mike Borges said that two patrol units happened to be in the area and responded within a minute but couldn't locate the suspect. He was described as being 20 to 25 years old, 6 foot tall, 200 pounds, wearing a white tank top, white ball cap, and Band-Aid on his left cheek.

Robberies with the same ruse were committed in Turlock and Manteca, said Borges.

TWO ARRESTED FOR DUI: CERES - Two persons were arrested Wednesday on separate DUI charges.

Turlock resident Steven Ivey, 46, was followed by an alert motorist as they drove northbound on Highway 99 into Ceres. Ivey was driving only 45 mph on the freeway and was weaving, prompting the citizen to call police at 1:22 p.m. when Ivey finally pulled into the Save Mart Shopping Center at Mitchell and Whitmore. A citizen's arrest was placed on Ivey.

Later at 6:05 p.m., Valerie Guerra, 21, of Ceres, was arrested in the area of Hackett and Central for DUI. Guerra was allegedly drunk behind the wheel when she swung open her car door open on another car and then left the Taco Bell parking lot at Herndon near Hatch Road.

ROBBERY INTERRUPTED: CERES - Officers of the newly formed Ceres Police Street Crimes Unit are credited with interrupting a robbery at the Punjab Plaza on Friday evening.

Officers were patrolling in the area of 3500 block of Central Avenue at 10:40 p.m. when they observed a suspicious looking man standing next to a grocery store in the center and stopped to talk to him. Deputy Chief Borges said that as the officers were speaking to the man they spotted a 17-year-old Hispanic juvenile hiding in the bushes. The boy was in possession of a ski mask and toy handgun resembling a 9mm Berreta.

After detaining the teen, officers went inside the store and learned that a surveillance video captured an image of a masked suspect who walked in the store waving a gun to rob it. He left empty handed because he found no clerk to open the register, said Borges. The teen evidently was waiting for a clerk to appear to go back in the store when he was discovered.

The teen was arrested on charges of attempted robbery. The other man was released for lack of evidence.

SHOPPER ROBBED: CERES - A Kmart shopper was the victim of a strong arm robbery on Wednesday.

The 56-year-old man had just left Kmart and was walking westbound in the store parking lot when he stopped to count the change he received. At that moment a suspect wheeled up on a red bicycle and grabbed the man's wrists and grabbed the cash. The suspect fled on his bike toward Herndon Avenue.

The suspect in the 4:49 p.m. crime is still at large. He was described as being in his 20s, wearing a white tank top and blue jeans.

JUVENILES CHARGED WITH BURGLARY: CERES - Three Ceres teenagers were arrested for burglarizing a house of a 60-inch plasma TV and other items on Wednesday.

Police were called at 7:18 p.m. by residents in the 2800 block of Wishing Lane who reported suspicious activity at their neighbor's house.

Meanwhile at 7:48 p.m. a grandmother reported that her Chrysler van was stolen from her house on Astoria Court. As an officer was taking a report, the van rolled up to the house driven by her grandson, 15. The boy was found in possession of the stolen TV, said Deputy Police Chief Borges. The boy was arrested for auto theft and burglary.

Also arrested were two passengers - a 14-year-old boy for burglary while a third suspect, age 16, was booked on charges of burglary and vehicle theft.

DRUNK IN THE DRIVE-THRU: CERES - A Carl's Jr. employee reported that a motorist was passed out drunk in his vehicle in the drive-thru lane early Friday morning. That led police to arrest Matthew Deal, 31, of Ceres, for DUI.

Police arrived at the Mitchell Road eatery at 12:38 a.m. and observed the man passed out behind the wheel of a running car. Deal's foot was on the brake pedal as the officer reached in and shut off the motor and took the keys. Deal wasn't responding well to questions, said police, and had the strong smell of alcohol on his breath. As officers asked him to step out of the vehicle he reportedly told them: "No, it's alright, go away!"