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Store employee puts a halt to theft

POSTED October 8, 2013 11:56 p.m.

A 25-year-old man with plans to steal a few tools from the Sears in Turlock probably did not count on having to deal with such determined employees.

Store assistant Joshua Smith, 23, apprehended the would-be burglary not once, but twice Sunday afternoon at the store at 621 N. Golden State Boulevard.

Around 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Smith noticed one customer, later identified as Jesse Ortiz, 25, of Turlock, caught his eye because of his peculiar behavior.

“He was walking up and down the aisles and putting tools where they would be out of eyesight,” Smith said.

Smith started watching Ortiz on the surveillance system and reportedly saw him slip an estimated $100 worth of tools into a bag. Smith called the Turlock Police Department, but decided he needed to take more action when Ortiz started heading for the door.

Smith said he confronted Ortiz and took his bag, at which point he bolted out the door.

Smith chased after him and caught him about 15 yards from the store entrance. Smith and another employee held on to Ortiz until a police officer arrived.

“We let him up because we figured he would be cooperative with the police there,” Smith said.

Turns out he wasn’t feeling so cooperative. As soon as he was able, Ortiz took off running again and this time it was Smith and a police officer chasing after him.

Smith reached Ortiz first and held him down until the officer was able to take him into custody.

Ortiz was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on charges of burglary and resisting arrest.

“I’m glad we got him,” Smith said. “We’re a privately-owned store and we want people to know it’s not ok to steal from us.”

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