Ceres Police are seeking the arrest of Lerme Von Lerma, 58, of Modesto, for allegedly stealing from the Ceres Kmart store and making threats to injure store loss prevention officers who attempted to stop him.
Von Lerma was identified from video surveillance after he ran away from the Saturday robbery that took place at 10:53 a.m. The suspect was last seen peddling away from the store on a bicycle northbound on Herndon Avenue.
The store's surveillance video showed a Hispanic man - believed to be Von Lerma - wearing a brown jacket, blue button-up shirt, black pants and about 50 years of age with white facial hair and balding hair. He was seen stuffing various products inside of his jacket before leaving the store. Store employees confronted Von Lerma outside the store and told him to stop as they were calling the police. He pulled out a pair of pliers and used profanity as he threatened to hurt employees who tried to stop him, making the theft a felony. The employees retreated and awaited police.
Ceres Police Officer Bill Carter recognized Von Lerma as being involved in a theft at Cost Less Foods earlier in the morning at 7:44 a.m. During that incident the same man suspect held by loss prevention for petty theft. At the time he was counseled and released as the store chose not to prosecute. Police believe Von Lerma went right across the street to Kmart at 8:23 a.m. to commit additional thefts.
Police have issued a warrant for Von Lerma's arrest for felony robbery. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is urged to call Ceres Police Dispatch at 538-5712.