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Transient arrested in stolen vehicle
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A 27-year-old transient was arrested Thursday, Feb. 13 after he disrupted business at the Taco Bell at 1493 Herndon Avenue in a stolen pickup.

At 8:34 a.m., Officer Eric Souza answered a call of a suspicious person in a newer model Chevrolet Silverado blocking the handicap parking at the fast-food restaurant. 

The truck bore paper plates and sales stickers on the windshield. Zackaryah Harper, 27, said the Taco Bell employees woke him up and told him that he needed to move his truck. Harper said he was looking for the keys so he could leave but also made up stories about where he thought the keys were and at one point told Officer Souza, “Trust me, the truck is not stolen.” 

The inside and the bed of the new truck were filled with recycling, trash, cigarette butts, methamphetamine glass pipes and spilled alcohol. Despite Harper acting bizarre and seeming to argue with people who weren’t there, he told Officer Souza there was nothing wrong with him. 

A check of the VIN revealed the vehicle had been stolen the prior day on Crows Landing Road in Modesto.

Harper made up several stories about how other people were involved in originally driving the truck and dropping it off at the Taco Bell.

The registered owner arrived on scene and said the truck was for sale on his car lot for $21,000.  The owner said the keys may have been accidentally dropped somewhere on the lot the night prior and that Harper picked them up. The lot owner recognized Harper as a transient who frequents his car lot looking for recyclables. 

Harper was booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center for felony auto theft and possession of stolen property.