Three stolen Tillamook Cheese microbuses valued at $300,000 were located in Copperopolis Monday night by a county-wide law enforcement team led by Manteca Police Department officers.
Police Chief Nick Obligacion said officers served a search warrant at 8:30 p.m. on a storage unit at 49 Cosmic Court in the Sierra foothill town and found the bright orange Volkswagen minibuses parked inside in close quarters. Obligacion said the vehicles appeared to be in perfect condition. He lauded the viral media exposure throughout California for bringing forth information as to the whereabouts of the refurbished public relations vehicles belonging to the Oregon cheese firm.
There are currently several outstanding suspects in the thefts and in the burning of a 40-foot-long trailer and a pickup truck used in the company’s advertising campaign that traveled from city to city. The team spent Friday night in a Manteca hotel just off the 120 Bypass and Union Road where the vehicles were stolen sometime after midnight.
The three microbuses were being transported in a 40-foot-long trailer pulled by a Ford 350 pickup truck. Both were found by the CHP shortly after midnight Sunday morning near Jamestown where they had been torched.
Chief Obligacion said the recovery could not have been possible without the help of the San Joaquin County Delta Regional Auto Theft Task Force consisting of Manteca PD, the CHP, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, Lodi Police Department, San Joaquin County Probation Department and the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.