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Modesto liquor store lottery ticket heist investigation ends in Manteca
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Modesto police officer David Ramirez questions Tannehill Avenue resident Jon A. Robertson, 29, in an early Thursday morning theft of lottery tickets from a closed liquor store at Granger and Tully roads. - photo by GLENN KAHL
Three law enforcement agencies joined forces Thursday morning to thwart the cashing of lottery tickets in Manteca stolen from the Super Liquor Store in Modesto.

A Modesto Bee carrier called officers around 4:30 a.m. to report the front of the liquor store had been smashed in and the door was standing open, believing a burglary had taken place.

Former Manteca Police detective Joe Ahuna now with the California State Lottery Commission along with Manteca officers came to the aid of Modesto Police when the investigation followed a suspect to the 300 block of Tannehill Avenue in south central Manteca. Ahuna coordinated the investigation.

Lottery tickets, alcohol and cigarettes were taken in the burglary, according to Modesto officer David Ramirez.  Ahuna reportedly called the numerous lottery outlets in the greater Manteca area after a Tannehill resident, Jon Andrew Robertson, 29, allegedly cashed winning tickets in Lathrop.

Police said the thieves had scratched off the stolen tickets to find the winners.  As officers were questioning Robertson, reports were coming in of others cashing tickets in Manteca. One was at the Arco AM PM convenience store on Highway 120 east of Highway 99.

Another call about winning tickets being cashed came from a convenience store at 291 North Main Street, police said.  Manteca patrol officers were kept busy attempting to locate the additional suspects at area stores.

Robertson was reportedly on parole on drugs for sale conviction.  He was transported back to the Modesto Police Department.  The Modesto officer said his department has had no similar thefts in the last four years.