A 41-year-old man was arrested Friday afternoon for burglary after telling officers he was only in the residential backyard to retrieve a ball accidentally kicked over the fence. Evidence suggested, however, that Thomas Philip Deichman of Modesto was caught in a burglary in progress.
At 2:14 p.m. the man living at the house in the 1400 block of Stonum Road called 9-1-1 about a man who knocked on the front door and when he didn't answer saw the man jump the fence to the Atkinson Elementary School which backs up to his rear fence. Deichman had left his bicycle in front of the residence.
Officer Michael Vierra didn't find the man on the school grounds but did see an open door to a shed in the back yard of the home. Vierra and Officer Mathew Berlier checked the shed and found Deichman inside. He told the officers that he was in the shed because he accidentally kicked a soccer ball - which he admitted stealing from the school yard - into the yard and that it ened up in the shed. Deichman said he had not taken anything out of the shed however the home owner located boxes which had been lifted from the shed to outside which looked as if they staged to be taken. One box was filled with miscellaneous items and the other had a complete home stereo system inside.
Deichman was arrested for burglary and booked into the Stanislaus County Jail.