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Manteca Police dog trees suspect

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CHP officer Jon Schatmeir and DELTARAT officer Stephen Schluer inspect the contents of the truck bed in the stolen Chevy Silverado abandoned in the middle of a walnut orchard in Ripon.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin/

POSTED July 23, 2009 2:01 a.m.

It began with the pursuit of a career auto theft suspect at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour and ended with a Manteca police dog treeing a wanted passenger in the top of a walnut tree.

The Delta Auto Theft Task Force (DELTARAT) officer who recognized Glen Franklin Hughes, 42, on Airport Way at Yosemite Avenue about 6 p.m. started a chase that continued south of Manteca and into rural Ripon.

Hughes was driving a 2001 Chevy Silverado that had been reported stolen out of Tracy, police said.  The ex-convict attempted to elude the officer and sped toward McKinley and the Highway 120 Bypass traveling westbound when Manteca unmarked narcotics units took over the pursuit.

After detouring across open fields at high speed he drove back onto McKinley and the DELTARAT officer continued the chase again.  

Hughes reportedly led that unit and an unmarked Manteca detective unit driven by officer Sam Gallego across open fields, by haystacks and across levees continuing at a high rate of speed that continued to reach 100 miles an hour, police said.

The two officers were by themselves in the chase and lost the suspect in clouds of dust that his vehicle was kicking up.  A CHP airplane called into the chase located the Chevy Silverado at Milton Road, and followed it through orchards where the canopies of walnut and almond orchards were making detection difficult.

The CHP pilot followed the vehicle into a walnut orchard on Kincaid Road south of West Ripon Road, several miles east of South Main Street in Manteca.

Officers said the three occupants jumped out of the truck and ran in a northeasterly direction from the one orchard, crossing Kincaid Road and running into a second orchard.  Officers from Manteca, Ripon, Caswell State Park and the California Highway Patrol attempted to cordon off the area and prevent them from escaping.

They feared they might be hiding up in the trees which would make it impossible to detect them by looking down the rows of an orchard.

Manteca canine officers Dale Goforth and Bob Anderson responded to the scene with their police dogs.  Goforth’s canine, Gage, picked up a scent from the abandoned truck deep in one orchard and followed it back to Kincaid Road.

Goforth was off duty at the time and was called from home to join in the pursuit.

Police said the dog lost the scent at that point but picked it up again and hit on a walnut tree, barking up into its branches.  Dillon Gardner, 30, of Redding was ordered down out of the branches – wanted in Redding on multiple felony warrants.

Police said he was arrested without further incident.

Officers continued their search until dusk when it had to be called off because of darkness.  Gang and narcotics units from the Manteca Police Department joined California Highway Patrol in staking out both Kincaid and West Ripon roads cordoning off the area.

Hughes reportedly grew up in Manteca and Oakdale and knows the area well.  He recently out-maneuvered officers in a similar chase that ended in Escalon where he escaped by jumping into the Stanislaus River.  In that pursuit he rolled the stolen truck that he used to elude officers.

DELTARAT officer Stephen Schluer said if it hadn’t been for the police dog they would never have found the one suspect.  Schluer said previous pursuits have lasted over three hours, noting that Hughes also has multiple felony warrants and is currently a parolee at large.

In addition he is now wanted for vehicle theft, felony evading of officers and possession of a stolen vehicle.

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