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Suspect in carjacking of firefighters truck apprehended
Mauro Cervantes

The Merced County Sheriff’s Department believes they have found and arrested the man suspected of stealing a firefighter’s truck from the scene of a collision.

Mauro Cervantes, 24, of Modesto was taken into custody Thursday morning and booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of felony carjacking. He remains in custody in lieu of a $400,000 bail.

On Nov. 17, an off-duty volunteer firefighter stopped at a crash scene in the area of El Capitan Way and Ballico Avenue in Ballico to offer help to the crash victims. The collision was between a white Carivan minivan and a red Ford Explorer.

The firefighter arrived at the scene just after the crash and when he went to check on the victims he had a gun pulled on him, according to the sheriff’s department. The suspect was the driver of the Ford, the sheriff’s department reported.

The armed man demanded the victim’s vehicle, a Duramax pickup, and other property and then left the area in the pickup. The pickup was found later in the afternoon.

The occupants of the van were a family from Delhi. There were no major injuries reported from the incident.

The Ford Explorer was not registered to Cervantes, but it did give the Merced investigators a place to start that would eventually lead to the suspect.

With the aid of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, Cervantes was taken into custody at his home in Modesto on a warrant out of Merced County.