Ceres Police detectives made an arrest and seized about $250,000 worth of goods stolen from various stores in the area after serving two search warrants in Modesto on Saturday.
Investigators had noticed a rash of burglaries and robberies at stores in and around Ceres such as Walmart and Home Depot with shopping carts filled with merchandise being stolen. Led by Ceres Police Detective Eric Gallegos, the department investigated for months and learned of a fencing operation being operated out of homes in Modesto. Detectives developed enough evidence to obtain a search warrant for both locations. The first warrant was served at 7 a.m. in the 2200 block of Cassandra Way in Modesto, which yielded an estimated $250,000 in stolen merchandise ranging from protein powder and video game consoles to power tools and pond pumps. Three trailers full of stolen merchandise were seized. In the second search warrant served in the 1400 block of Rosemore Avenue in Modesto, detective came up empty-handed.
Investigators said that Travis Garvin, 36, of Modesto, conducted the fairly elaborate operation. People would steal items from various stores and call in the UPC label numbers to Garvin who would then research the retail cost on the internet, then pay a quarter of that price for the stolen item. He would then turn around and sell the items on eBay for half of what the store was charging.
Detectives are working with area retailers to process and return the stolen merchandise to the owners. So far, merchandise belonging to Home Depot, Walmart, Lowe’s and Harbor Freight has been identified.