Police recovered a stolen Nissan pickup at George's Liquors on Tuesday evening, March 27 and arrested the man believed to have stolen it.
At 6:05 p.m. Officer Eric Souza spotted the pickup, which matched the description of one stolen the previous day. The pickup was missing a rear bumper and parked in the lot in front of the store at 2125 Caswell Avenue. Souza then saw Juan Carlos Garcia, 30, of Ceres, leave the store and get in the pickup and started it. Souza swooped in and arrested Garcia.
Garcia gave the story that he saw the Nissan parked for a long time by apartments near Argus High School and thought it to be abandoned and that he found a set of keys in the glove compartment. Garcia said the truck did not have a battery in it so he placed one in it and drove it away. Garcia told police he had been driving the truck around for approximately one week.
Officer Souza searched Garcia and located several shaved ignition keys which are commonly used by thieves to steal vehicles.
The owner of the pickup was called to the scene and denied keeping keys in the glove compartment. The victim said he did not know Garcia.
Garcia was out on bail for two previous auto theft cases from Ceres. He also had been in state prison for two previous stolen vehicle convictions. He was booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center for felony auto theft, possession of stolen property, committing a felony while out on bail, and possession of burglary tools.
The vehicle was released to the owner.