Two arrested on theft and narcotic charges after one siphons gas early Wednesday morning

On Wednesday, September 28th, 2022, at 2:51 am, the Turlock Police Department and Stanislaus State Police Department were dispatched to a reported larceny in progress at a residence in the 2400 block of Alta Vista St, Turlock, after a man had been seen tampering with the victim’s vehicle possibly attempting to steal gas.

As officers were responding, the victim told dispatch that the man had gotten into a white Ford pickup truck with no tailgate and was fleeing the neighborhood westbound on Alta Vista St.

Officers arrived in the area within minutes and began searching the area for the vehicle, however, were unable to locate it. Instead, they located another victim vehicle in the 4400 block of Parquet Way with a siphon inserted into its gas tank which led to a jerry can left on the ground.

Officers met with the original victim and discovered that he had made a mistake. The suspect vehicle had actually last been seen heading eastbound on Alta Vista St, not westbound.

Shortly later, officers received an update that the suspect vehicle had last been seen driving slowly through the 2300 block of Trail Way at 2:55 am. Officers continued checking the area, however, were still unable to locate it.

A little over an hour later, at 4:16 am, the Turlock Police Department and Stanislaus State Police Department were dispatched to another reported larceny in progress at a residence in the 400 block of Pedras Rd after a man had been seen actually stealing gas from a vehicle.

As officers were responding, the victim told dispatch that the man was fleeing the neighborhood in a pickup truck.

A Stanislaus State Police officer arrived in the area within minutes and located a white Ford pickup truck missing a tailgate at the intersection of Geer Rd and W Tuolumne Rd. This vehicle’s description matched that of the suspect vehicle from the original incident on Alta Vista St. The officer made a traffic stop on the vehicle and it pulled into the parking lot of McDonald’s, 2400 Geer Rd.

Turlock officers responded to the stop and took over, making contact with and identifying four men inside, including driver Rigoberto Franco, 45, of Turlock, and passenger Nathan Lopes, 23, of Turlock.

During the course of the investigation, officers discovered that Franco’s vehicle’s registration had been expired for over six month, his driver’s license was suspended, and he had over 28.5 grams of marijuana in his possession.

Additionally, the victim from the incident on Pedras Rd was brought to the stop at McDonald’s and asked if any of the men stopped were the one who stole his gas. He was able to positively identify Lopes.

Both Franco and Lopes were arrested and released on citations, Franco on charges of driving or leaving standing an unregistered vehicle, driving with a suspended driver’s license, and possession of more than 28.5 grams of cannabis or eight grams of concentrated cannabis, and Lopes on charges of petty theft. Additionally, their vehicle was impounded.

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