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Arrest of T-Mobile burglary suspect yields stolen cameras
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Some of the $25,000 in stolen Nikon camera equipment Manteca Police recovered. - photo by Photo courtesy Manteca Police Department

A total of $25,000 in Nikon camera equipment taken from a commercial photography studio last week – much of what the Sunset Studio had lost to a predawn burglar that crippled the operation – was recovered by Manteca Police officers at 3 a.m. Friday.

The studio burglary had initially netted some $45,000 in cameras, lenses and flash units, according to Manteca photographer Jake Jacobs who said the find was an answer to his prayers.

What led police to the stash of camera equipment was an alarm that sounded at 3 a.m. when the windows of the T-Mobile store in the 100 block of South Commerce Avenue were smashed. It was much like the burglaries at the photography studio and at a string of auto repair shops.

Manteca patrolman Kirk Doty said he and Officer Eddie Cardenas spotted a suspect running from the T-Mobile building toward his ‘90s Mercury Sable after allegedly taking out the windows and disarming the alarms at 141 Commerce Avenue business just south of East Yosemite Avenue. 

Doty credited fellow Officer Jason May with a short foot pursuit in chasing down the suspect.   Doty said several other recent burglaries that have occurred in Manteca have a similar method of operation with the electricity being turned off and the alarms disarmed.   

Officers arrested Steven Carson, 21, of the 600 block of Stewart Street in Manteca before searching his car where they reportedly discovered the bags of professional photography equipment in the vehicle’s trunk.  Carson was transported to San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp where bail was set at $56,000.

The photographer was called down to the police department early Friday morning to identify his cameras and lenses. 

“I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning seeing my equipment spread out on the table in front of me,” Jacobs said.  “All of the Nikon equipment I needed to operate has been on back order.”

The timing of the find “is the beauty of it,” he said of getting his cameras back just in time for a scheduled video and still commercial photography shoot that had been scheduled for Saturday morning.  He said it had been too late at the time of the theft to cancel the models that had been contracted to be in his camera room for the production this afternoon.

The Manteca photographer had nothing but good to say about officers Shawn Cavin and Kirk Doty.  Cavin responded initially to the break-in and Doty was the primary officer Friday morning along with community service office Lisa Lewis who searched for fingerprints and other evidence.

Jacobs lauded all three for their professionalism and willingness to listen to him about the burglary of his studio.

He said that Doty “was sharing in my joy” when he took him into the police department to identify his equipment. “He must have shaken my hand four or five times,” the photographer said.

“I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude to the Manteca PD,” he added.