A daylight theft from the J.C. Penney store in the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley at Union Road and the 120 Bypass shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday ended with a house to house search in the areas surrounding Aldwina Lane and Cottage Avenue near Doctors Hospital.
Matthew Tomes, 23, a Manteca transient and the passenger in an older BMW was arrested by officers as he ran in an eastward direction across Cottage Avenue, north of an area hospital. The driver of the car was not located by officers in the hour-long search.
Tomes was charged with shoplifting and a greater charge of evading police officers in their attempt to get away.
The incident unfolded when a pair of men in their early to mid-20s was seen by a witness who was going to shop at the department store with his girlfriend. Seeing one man walking out the department store with a stack of new jeans on his shoulder made him suspect that the two were in the act of stealing the merchandise. When the men dropped one of the 13 pants and didn’t stop to pick it up, they were sure the men had stolen the merchandise from the store.
Brandon Cline, 20, pulled out of the parking lot in his pickup truck behind the BMW with its front end smashed in and decided to call 911. The couple reached the Manteca Police dispatcher on their phone and told of their suspicions and their pursuing of the alleged thieves.
Officer Mike Kelly was the first to reach the BMW near the corner of Alpine and Alameda streets and activated his red lights and siren and followed them to an alley way at Marie and Hansen streets. The two men bailed out of their car and jumped fences in opposite directions. Other police units arrived on the scene and initiated a ground search as they cordoned off the area.
The nearby St. Paul’s Preschool facility at Powers Avenue and North Street was locked down to guarantee the safety of the small children who were outside in the play area when police drove up to the neighborhood. Teachers said they moved swiftly concerned for the welfare of their children.
While other officers were beginning their neighborhood search Officer Patrick Danipour was northbound on Cottage Avenue and witnessed one of the suspects run across the roadway and into a residential property. When the suspect ran out the back, he s exited into the path of Officer Dan Chestnut in his patrol car. He was arrested and placed in the back of Chestnut’s unit and ultimately identified by the couple who had followed them for nearly three miles through town.
The couple added that before the man was captured by police he had hailed them down asking for a ride in his effort to get away from officers.
Police had used two police dogs and about six officers on the scene including one motorcycle officer. With the 30,000 felons that have been released from prison, officers are on alert for all offenders. When one of those released felons is convicted of another crime on the community, the law states that they have to be taken back into custody to serve out their time back in prison.