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Watchful neighbors tag burglars in jewelry thefts at Manteca home
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It was a jewelry heist gone bad – all because of a perfect neighborhood watch effort.

Jewelry thieves were no match for two watchful neighbors in the 700 block of Emerald Place Saturday afternoon after they allegedly made off with several thousand dollars worth of valuables.

Neighbors spotted a gold Saturn pull up in front of a home at about 12:30 p.m. where they knew residents were away for the day.  Police said the residents saw a young woman go to the front door and knock as a teen went through the side gate into the back yard.

The woman then followed him into the back when one of the neighbors, who had already called Manteca Police, took the keys from the car.  He was reportedly confronted by the youth who demanded his keys back.   When he realized he was not getting his keys without a fight, officers said both suspects ran into the back yard again, and jumped fences discarding jewelry as they went.

Patrol cars entered the neighborhood as the pair was jumping fences.  The teen was captured in the 200 block of Elm Street with some jewelry still in his pockets, police said.  The woman was picked up on Cobblestone as officers prepared to set up a perimeter.

Sgt. Jodie Estarziau said the two involved neighbors were really on the ball -- otherwise no one would have realized what was going on.  If they hadn’t called police the two would have gotten away, she said.   The male had entered the house through a bathroom window with the use of a crow bar.

Sgt. Estarziau said officers recovered pretty much all the jewelry that was taken from the Emerald Place home as well as other jewelry believed to have been taken in at least one another burglary.

Jessica Espinosa, 20, of Morgan Hill was arrested for burglary and evading arrest and the 17-year-old boy was taken to Juvenile Hall on burglary charges, police said.