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Local Navy Chief serving overseas victim of burglary
Douglas Yates, 24, was arrested for theft. - photo by Photo Contributed

A break-in at the Denair home of a serviceman deployed to Afghanistan led to the arrest of his 24-year-old neighbor by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.

Some of the property taken during the break-in was memorabilia U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Tim Fanning had collected during his various deployments over the last 10 years.

Fanning is currently serving in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The burglary at Fanning’s Denair home was reported Tuesday night. On Wednesday he contacted the sheriff’s department to request an extra patrol at his home.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said in a news release that he was disturbed to learn that an active-duty service member overseas had been the victim of a burglary and asked his Crime Reduction Team to take a closer look at the crime.

Detective Jesse Ruelas and deputies Tom Moebs and Lloyd Mackinnon began investigating the burglary by speaking to neighbors and it wasn’t long before Mackinnon recognized one of the neighbors.

According to the sheriff’s department, 24-year-old Douglas Yates, who is Fanning’s neighbor, was recently arrested for petty theft.

Yates was located at his residence and interviewed about the burglary. The sheriff’s department reported that Yates said he knew Fanning was deployed overseas. He allegedly admitted to committing the burglary to the investigators.

Yates was arrested and charged with burglary and possession of stolen property. He remains in custody in lieu of a $50,000 bail.

The stolen property, including the war memorabilia, was recovered and returned to a family member of Fanning’s.

The return of his property and the arrest of a suspect was welcome news for both the sheriff’s department and Fanning.

“I’m happy that we were able to help Chief Fanning, who is serving our country overseas, and thankful for what he is doing for us,” Mackinnon said.

On the sheriff’s department Facebook page Fanning wrote, “Thanks Stan County Sheriffs . . . I owe you guys a couple of beers!”