Two Turlock residents were arrested in Hughson Saturday evening, Aug. 14 after a day of stealing mail and packages from front porches.
Arrested were Jeremiah Stephens, 27, and Rachael Fowlkes, 25.
According to Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Luke Schwartz an off-duty fire captain witnessed the two steal a package from the front porch of his son’s house in the 5800 block of E. Service Road. He followed the suspect in their vehicle as they drove to Hughson as he called the Sheriff’s Department.
The suspects ditched the stolen car on Symphony Court and fled on foot. The fire captain continued to follow the couple eastbound on Prelude Lane where they jumped a fence at Prelude and Rhapsody lanes. The suspects made their way into the gated private community pool and locked themselves in the restroom. A Sheriff’s deputy and the fire captain helped establish a perimeter near the pool. Additional deputies arrived as well as did a Ceres Police canine officer while the Sheriff’s helicopter was dispatched.
During the search, Turlock Police dispatchers radioed that the car abandoned by the suspects had been stolen.
The Ceres police officer was able to assist deputies gain access to the restroom where the two were hiding and were apprehended with the assistance of the canine.
“They made admissions to taking packages and breaking into mailboxes all day long,” said Sgt. Schwartz. “They didn’t want to cop to the auto theft.”
Stephens was on probation after being released from jail after a prior auto theft conviction. He was placed on a Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) hold which means he must stay in jail 10 days before he is eligible to post bail.
Both Stephens and Fowlkes were charged with auto theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, conspiracy to commit a crime, vandalism and petty theft.
The vehicle was returned to its owner as were the packages that had addresses on them. However deputies said some of the items which appear to be stolen did not have shipping addresses. Anyone who believes that their package or mail may have been stolen on August 14 may contact Deputy Campos at 652-0823 or Hughson Police Services at 883-4052.