By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
ID thieves caught in Ceres
copteaserbox  .tif

A woman believed to have been stealing personal identification information from people, as well as targeting local Wal-Marts for thefts, was apprehended Saturday by the Ceres Police Department.

The suspected thief, identified as Tonia Villarreal, 29, had been stealing items from the Wal-Mart stores in Ceres and Turlock, said Ceres Police Lt. Chris Perry. A man driving a get-away car for Villarreal, identified as Jeremy France, 33, was also apprehended Saturday.

The arrests were put into motion around 3 p.m. Saturday when an employee at the Wal-Mart at 1670 Mitchell Road contacted the Ceres Police Department to report a theft. The employee stated a woman had just stolen several items and was currently walking away on Mitchell Road. As the theft was being reported the suspect was seen getting into silver Nissan SUV, Perry said.

An officer spotted the SUV in the area and could see a woman in the back seat changing shirts. The vehicle was stopped and the occupants detained.

Inside the SUV officers found Wal-Mart bags, a shirt the woman was described as wearing, and items that were traced back to thefts at the Wal-Mart in Turlock and from previous thefts at the Ceres store. Additionally, officers found personal information that belonged to other individuals.

Villarreal was positively identified as the theft suspect. She was charged with burglary, conspiracy, possession of stolen property, and identity theft. France was arrested for possession of a controlled substance.