Merced County detectives warn residents after string of carjackings on rural roads |

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) —
It’s common for drivers to pull over on the side of the road in case of emergencies or to make a call. But, recently, pulling over on some rural roads in Merced County could be dangerous.

“We’ve had four carjackings reported to the sheriff’s office,” Sgt. Chuck Hale said. “And the concerning thing to us, as an agency, is that all four of them occurred in the Atwater and Winton area.”

Detectives with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department say the first case happened back in January and all four have been similar.

They say the victims usually park along a rural road or an orchard, the two perpetrators then pull up to the car and one of them approaches the victim with what detectives say is a silver handgun then steal the car.

“Late at night, rural location, no street lights,” Hale said. “It’s a secluded area. It’s a crime of opportunity.”

There haven’t been any reported injuries, and detectives say all the cars reported stolen have been recovered in decent shape – not far from where they were taken.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke says drivers need to be more aware of their surroundings.

“If you’re not prepared for what’s going on around you, you’re going to be a victim,” he said.

He says not to pull over on dark and rural roads. But if you do, call authorities to tell them where you are and lock your doors immediately.

The main suspect is described as a thin, Hispanic male and an adult female. The suspect vehicles are described as a red Honda with a black bumper and a silver pickup truck but the make and model are unknown.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.

t_2olyCL.jpg?v=21 Chowchilla News Day
Chowchilla Patriot

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