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Four caught breaking into pot building taking leftovers
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Fingerprints and blood stains were lifted from three doors in the granite warehouse by CSO Alan Shupperd after an early morning break-in at about 3 a.m. on Saturday. Police said four men were looking for remnants of Friday’s marijuana grow discovery at that location. - photo by GLENN KAHL
Four Manteca men were jailed for burglary and conspiracy charges Saturday morning in the break-in of a building that had been the site of massive marijuana grow in the Manteca Industrial Park.

Manteca Police Sgt. Mike Sexon was patrolling the area at about 3 a.m.,  watching for copper thieves that have been plaguing the commercial buildings along Industrial Park Drive and Vanderbilt Circle,  when he spotted a white ‘90s,  S-10 Blazer parked behind the former Turnkey Solutions two-story building.

Sexon said that when he drove into the parking lot to investigate the vehicle parked by the southeast corner of the building, several men fled the area.  Sexon detained the driver, Allen Edward Mena, 22, of Manteca and called for backup to set up a perimeter to locate the other three suspects.

Officers Kirk Doty and Richard Smegelski responded. They soon located the other three men: Casey Jack Von Markle, 22, Anthony Aromin, 21 and Jesse Jay Soto, 21, all of Manteca.

The trio was found by officers sitting under a tree in the Industrial Park Drive landscaping area.

Officers said they had read the Bulletin’s account online regarding the 2,300 pot plant nursery bust and thought there might be something left in the buildings.  Three heavy wooden doors had locks cut and the doors pried open giving the four men access to the building.  Blood traces were located on one of the doors.

Police said they had apparently left their vehicle in a parking lot to the west and entered the property through a rear chain link fence leaving evidence of a foot trail.  A plastic bag filled with marijuana and a heavy piece of granite was discovered Saturday morning near the entry hole in the fence, officers said.

The four men were each charged with multiple felonies and transported to the San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp.  Their bail was set at $70,000 each with a court date of Tuesday, Feb. 15, at 1:30 p.m. n the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court.

Property taken from the granite company building included cordless tools, fertilizer, a humidifier and liquid fertilizer concentrate among other items.  

Community service officer Alan Shupperd was at the Industrial Park Drive location Saturday morning to log the damage and secure finger prints for the investigation.  The three doors had padlocks cut and the doors pried open as well to bypass the bolts. A public works’ crew was called out to repair the doors and to secure the building.