A recent case involving a homeless man suspected of driving a stolen pickup truck has served to highlight a spike in crime involving unguarded, or otherwise vulnerable vehicles.
James Anthony Lopez, 33, was arrested Wednesday when Madera Police Det. Hector Garibay spotted him pulling out in a silver 2012 Dodge Ram pickup, to leave an abandoned house on the 1000 block of Garfield Avenue, with a female passenger, according to Madera Police Sgt. Felix Gonzalez. The pickup that Lopez was said to be driving had been reported stolen in May.
“They had some information that there was a stolen vehicle in the area,” Gonzalez said. “They saw the vehicle parked at the abandoned house and, as it pulled out, they confirmed the plate and it came back as stolen.”
Lopez was reportedly cooperative with law enforcement. According to Gonzalez, Lopez stated upon his arrest that he had not stolen the pickup, but that he had gotten it from a friend. Lopez was booked at Madera County Jail, and is now facing charges of possession of a stolen vehicle. The female passenger was not arrested.
This is just one more incident in a recent wave of car-related crimes, according to Gonzalez, who said that the MPD has been having problems with people breaking into vehicles, or stealing from them when the doors are left unlocked.
“We still have some stolen vehicles, but now, it’s vehicle break-ins,” Gonzalez said. “Sometimes folks, they’re not locking their cars, or [they’re] leaving valuables, so it’s easy to break in.”
In addition, another stolen car was reportedly found Thursday. According to Madera Police Cpl. Josiah Arnold, suspects Tylor Easley and Alexander Hill were arrested for possession of the car after they were caught on camera shoplifting from the Tractor Supply Company store on 1565 Country Club Drive. Easley, who is on probation, reportedly had a warrant for his arrest. They are expected to be arraigned next week.
|Chowchilla News Day
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