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Thieves caught in the act?
$11K in brazen daylight heists plague Mantecan
SteelTheftASK 0415a
A stack of steel I-beams and other building materials valued at some $40,000 has been the focus of thieves over the last month. The most recent theft Wednesday afternoon in the 900 block of East Yosemite Avenue was caught on camera showing two men putting metal siding into their truck. - photo by GLENN KAHL
The theft of metal siding from a stack of building materials Wednesday afternoon led to the arrest of two men as they drove northward on Cottage Avenue with a load stashed  in the rear of their pickup with a camper shell.

Property owner Paul Bourbeau said the theft was the latest in a series over four weeks that claimed a total of $11,000 in materials – I-beams one foot wide by 10 feet long – that he had planned to use in the construction of a building addition to the property in the 900 block of East Yosemite Avenue.

A witness of the Wednesday theft, who had been living on the property, called police telling them it was the same truck that he had seen taking material earlier in the week from the site.  The two were photographed actually placing metal siding into their pickup truck that was backed into the stack of material.  The siding had been reportedly packed in wooden boxes.

Apparently unaware they were being photographed taking the property in broad daylight, they drove out of the parking onto North Powers Avenue going north to Aldwina Lane where they circled around back to North Street and east to Cottage Avenue.  A motorist who had followed them made contact with the Manteca Police dispatcher reporting their moving locations.

Shortly after the truck turned north onto Cottage Avenue, motorcycle officer David Bright was responding  from the eastbound direction and pulled the truck over in the 400 block of Cottage Avenue.

Justin Casto, 32, and Paul A. Jackson, 52, were both arrested at the scene of the traffic stop.  The two French Camp men were jailed on a variety of charges including theft and possession of stolen property.  Jackson, who had been riding as a passenger in the front seat, was eventually found to be a parolee-at-large after officers pressed questioning him about his identity.  He was also found to have a syringe in a coat pocket believed to contain heroin.  Refusing to give his correct name, police traced his identity through tattoos on his arms and wrist.

Officers said Casto had been driving the pickup truck with a suspended license.  He asked the arresting motorcycle officer to get his phone and wallet out of the front seat before it was towed away on a 30-day hold.   Being on active probation gave the motorcycle officer the right to search through credit cards in the wallet when a small plastic baggie containing a narcotic fell to the ground – bringing the added charge of possession.

Police said they could not immediately confirm that the earlier thefts were the work of the two arrested on Wednesday.