Elderly man’s vehicle and Afghan refugee’s phone taken by same suspect Monday afternoon

On Monday, August 23rd, 2021, at 12:45 pm, the Turlock Police Department was dispatched to a reported auto theft that had just occurred at My Garden Cafe, 1501 Geer Rd, Turlock.

When officers arrived on scene, they met with an elderly man who reported that a subject, later identified as Jovantae Nickens, 24, of Pomona, had stolen his vehicle by unknown means from the parking lot of the business.

While officers were still investigating the auto theft, another call was received reporting a petty theft that had just occurred at Donnelly Park, 600 Pedras Rd, Turlock.

Officers responded to Donnelly Park and met with an Afghan refugee who had fled Afghanistan the day prior to the Taliban’s takeover. He reported to officers that Nickens approached him and asked to use his phone. He further reported that he agreed and gave Nickens his phone to make his call, however, Nickens did not make a call and ran off with his phone. The victim pointed out Nickens, who was sitting in a vehicle a short distance away.

As officers were approaching the vehicle Nickens was in, they realized that it was the vehicle that was just stolen from My Garden Cafe. Officers drew their guns on Nickens and ordered him to surrender. Nickens failed to comply and took off running. Nickens was quickly captured by officers. The victim of the auto theft was brought to Donnelly Park to confirm is Nickens was indeed the subject who stole his vehicle. The victim was able to positively identify Nickens.

Nickens was arrested and booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on charges of auto theft, theft from the elderly in excess of $400, and resisting a peace officer.

Both victims had their property returned.

The Afghan refugee whose phone was stolen was very thankful for the Turlock Police Department. “In my country, maybe I would have seen my phone in ten days. Here, in ten minutes.”, he told CentralValleyTV.

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