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Homeowner trips up burglary suspect

A 911 call late Monday night of a vehicle burglary in progress led to the arrest of a 23-year-old Ripon man. 

Andres Moreno was discovered by Ripon Police hiding along the fence line not far from the home where a resident  reported him inside of the vehicle in their driveway and was taken into custody without incident. 

Moreno, and Ripon resident, was charged with theft and tampering with a vehicle and was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail. He has subsequently been released. 

According to Ripon Police Department Lt. Danny Sauer, the case appears to be an isolated incident as no major upticks in vehicle burglaries have been reported in the area. 

Through the first four months of 2019, Ripon did see a mild increase in the number of property crimes that were reported in the city, but crime mapping technology does not reveal a wider trend after Monday night’s discovery and arrest. 

But that doesn’t mean that residents can’t do their part to ensure that they aren’t the victims of crime moving forward. 

The fact that the homeowner was aware of enough to realize what was happening and contacted the police, Sauer said, could have made the difference in whether Moreno was apprehended – something that he said Ripon residents seem to be on top of. 

“One of the things that we always say is that if you see something, you should say something – and Ripon residents are awesome at doing that,” Sauer said. “And what I like to stress to people every time I get called out to a Neighborhood Watch meeting or something like that is to get exterior lights. 

“If you have a car parked out in the driveway, have those lights on – it may cost a little bit more every month, but get LED lights if you have to and keep them all the time because these guys don’t want to be seen and a well-lit area will make them think twice.”

Sauer also urged residents to be careful about what they leave in their vehicles in plain sight – a lot of burglaries are crimes of opportunity – and to make sure that they lock their vehicles even if they are parked in front of their own houses or in their driveways.

Other suggestions Sauer made include installing Ring doorbells capable of seeing driveways or the front of houses, or security cameras that can provide much-needed evidence in case a crime occurs. 

“When I started doing this 17 years ago that wasn’t even something that we thought of when we responded to a call,” Sauer said. “Now when you go to a call for a property crime, we ask all of our officers to talk to neighbors to see who may have had a camera that captured it. 

“Sometimes we don’t know who the people are that are on the video, but a lot of times we do and it makes it easier to catch them.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.