Five vehicles were torched in residential neighborhoods near West Center Street and Elm Avenue beginning at 3 a.m. Sunday, with someone setting fire to a tire that spread into the vehicles.
Public information officer Lt. Tony Souza said officers believe the arsonist was on foot when the fires were set, heading down Walnut Avenue, east onto Yosemite Avenue and south on Locust Avenue. That led the arsonist to the torched vehicles in the area of Virginia and Nevada streets.
In addition to the one vehicle burned on Center Street, the others torched by igniting their tires were in the 900 block of West Yosemite Avenue, the 800 block of West Yosemite Avenue, North Main and East North Street, the 900 block of Virginia and the 900 block of Nevada.
The arson investigation is being carried out jointly between police detectives and the Manteca Fire Department’s investigators, Souza added.
In other incidents within the community, police investigated an assault and robbery at gunpoint that occurred about 8:30 Saturday night in the 200 block of North Maple Avenue where a 23-year-old man was struck on the back of the head by two men.
He told officers that the robbers took his black backpack, an iPhone, gray tennis shoes, a wallet and miscellaneous paper work. He described his attackers as being black and Hispanic males. The first was approximately 6 feet tall and covered his face with a red bandana. The second had used a black bandana to hide his identity, he said.
The victim was treated at Doctors Hospital emergency room for a cut on his head, and released police said.
Auto burglaries brought some 20 entries on the police log between the weekend and Wednesday at noon, with four taking place mid-day Wednesday within an 11-minute time frame. They went from Camphor Street to South Main Street and onto Pebble Way and finally occurring in the 2200 block of Daniels Street.
There were 15 stolen vehicles reported during that four-day period, along with five residential burglaries and one commercial burglary, police noted.