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CRIME DIGEST for July 10
A recap of the most noteworthy crimes committed in the area.
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• STORE CLERK ASSAULTED BY PANHANDLER: CERES - A male clerk at AM/PM at Service and Mitchell roads was struck in the forehead with a piece of wood by a panhandler on Saturday afternoon.

At 2 p.m. the clerk had told a Latino man to stop begging for gas at the gas island and asked him to leave. The suspect hit the clerk in the forehead with a board and got away in a new Ford SUV driven by a female with four other occupants. They fled northbound on Mitchell Road but Ceres police were unable to located them.

The clerk sustained a large contusion.

• COPPER WIRING STOLEN: CERES - A large amount of copper wire was stripped out of the light poles in the Ceres Unified School District parking lot at 2503 Lawrence Street on Wednesday, July 3.

The crime was reported at 7:51 a.m. There is no suspect information.

• WOMAN ARRESTED FOR PETTY THEFT: CERES - Julie Murray, 27, of Modesto, faces charges of petty theft after her July 3 arrest after allegedly breaking into a vehicle on Mitchell Road and stealing several items.

Police received calls about a suspicious woman who was milling around cars and opening up a back hatch to a Honda Odyssey at 9:39 a.m. near 2800 Mitchell Road. Murray was seen running behind the tattoo shop and Officer Trinidad Viramontes found her near Taco Bell on Whitmore Avenue. She was arrested after being found with $149 worth of items that included a cell phone charger, plastic coffee cup and a bronze medal.

• AUTO THEFT SUSPECT ARRESTED: CERES - Ceres police helped the Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force arrest a suspect who was driving a stolen vehicle on Wednesday, July 3 in the 1000 block of Alamo Avenue in south Modesto.

Officers with StanCATT located the stolen black 1998 Chevy Silverado at 4:07 p.m. When they attempted to pull over Jose Astorga, 32, he attempted to flee. The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, Ceres police and California Highway Patrol assisted in setting up a perimeter around the area.

A short while later a resident near 1100 Alamo reported that an intruder went into her house as she fled with her infant. Astorga was arrested from auto theft charges.

• ARSON ARREST MADE: CERES - A Fourth of July trash fire was deliberately set by a suspect who hung around to watch, said Ceres Police Lt. Brent Smith.

At 1:11 a.m. a fire broke out in a trash container at Fourth Street and Lawrence Avenue. Officer Greg Yotsuya responded and saw a man on a bicyclist riding circles around the fire and suspiciously staring at it. The officer detained Manuel Hernandez, 25, of Modesto, who admitted starting the fire because he wanted to watch fire engines arrive.

Hernandez is a registered arsonist and was on probation for a prior arson conviction. He faces new charges of arson and violation of probation.

• DRUG ARREST MADE: CERES - A Ceres man on parole for drug violations was arrested again for the same on Friday.

Isaac Wayne Buendia, 29, faces new charges of possession of methamphetamines and drug parapheranalia and violation of probation in connection with his 1:25 a.m. traffic stop.

Officer Officer Jon Vera stopped Buendia's 1996 Dodge Ram pickup at Mitchell and Fowler roads after seeing it being driven up onto the sidewalk. Vera walked up to the pickup and spotted a glass pipe resting in the suspect's lap and asked him if he had drugs in the vehicle. Buendia replied that he did have drugs and mentioned two baggies containing meth. They were located and seized. They weighed 1.7 grams and .59 grams.