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Repeat stealing helps police catch suspect
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Mark Jensen, 39, of Manteca is being placed in a police transport unit by officers Mike Kelly and Armen Avakian after being arrested on three felony charges relating to the theft of a Manteca man’s ID, credit cards and check and charging purchases to his account during the day on Thursday. - photo by GLENN KAHL
A second trip to a building supply store was the undoing of a man charged with stealing credit cards, checks and a business briefcase from a Manteca man’s work truck parked outside his residence on Creekside Place in Manteca.

Mark Jensen, 39, was recognized by clerks after he entered the Home Depot store in Manteca Thursday afternoon and arrested by Manteca Police.  He was charged with three felonies: possession of stolen property, burglary and forgery, officers said.

Building contractor Jack Mattos said that his late model Chevrolet Silverado was entered sometime during the early morning hours with all of his identification and business materials taken including his driver’s license, checks, credit cards, job quotations and invoices that were kept in a Samsonite leather briefcase.

Mattos said he immediately contacted his credit card companies and they tracked his cards determining they were being used.  Two charges for gasoline were made only 10 minutes apart shortly after 10 a.m., he said.  One gasoline charge was for $90 and the second for $91, both from the Chevron station on South Main Street.   One officer commented that often, when a credit card is stolen, the suspects will call their friends who line up with their vehicles at a gas pump for free fill-ups.

One of the purchases was tracked to the Home Depot store where the suspect was reportedly captured on the store surveillance cameras.

Mattos said he had gone to the same building supply store later in the day to buy construction materials.   As he was checking out, one of the employees ran over to him and pointed to a man in the parking lot saying he was the person who had used the contractor’s  card for purchases only hours before.

Jensen was alleged to have charged $180 that included a large case of tools.  Mattos already had a copy of the transaction made on his card.

The contractor called police who had been dispatched to a burglary call at the nearby Target department store to the west.  Two officers were diverted to the Home Depot parking lot where they detained the older Kia sedan and ordered the three occupants out of the vehicle one at a time.

Two men and one woman were all searched and detained while officers talked with the victim to determine the extent of the theft and the scenario.   Police allegedly found the man’s OSH credit card in Mark Jensen’s wallet.  As another of the passengers exited the rear of the car, Mattos’ drivers license appeared on the ground next to her.

Jensen was on searchable probation which gave officers clearance to search his vehicle and to go to his home for a further search as well.  Canine officer Mike Kelly put his drug dog “Rusty” to work and searched the vehicle coming up with a drug pipe and a small amount of marijuana.

The registration on the car was out of date and belonged to a woman living in Ripon.  Officers said it did not come back as stolen when they checked the registration.

Mattos told officers that he learned Jensen had gone back into the store and attempted to buy $500 worth of gift cards, saying the clerks refused to sell them to him because he didn’t have a photo ID.

Mattos credited the store staffers for being on their toes, and the Manteca Police Department for the team work that caught the alleged thief.  He said something like that would probably never happen again in his lifetime where property items stolen in the morning would be tracked down the same day.

The contractor said he was relieved to have gotten his driver’s license back even though his ID photo had been cut through.  “At least I don’t have to go through all that with DMV,” he said.

At the nearby Target store,  officers took Joshua L. Lively, 19, into custody for burglary inside the store.  After being observed by store loss prevention officers, several Manteca patrolmen and detectives entered the store and took him into custody.