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Suspect sets stolen truck ablaze
Francisco Manuel Cardenas
Francisco Manuel Cardenas Jr.

A Ceres man is facing multiple criminal charges in both Merced and Stanislaus counties after stealing a vehicle and then setting it on fire in Turlock.

The suspect, Francisco Manuel Cardenas Jr., 35 of Ceres, was booked into the Merced County Jail on charges of resisting arrest, felony vandalism and auto theft. The Turlock Police Department is submitting an affidavit in support of arrest for arson, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of stolen property.

Cardenas’ run in with law enforcement began Friday night in Hilmar when the Merced County Sheriff’s Department was attempting to arrest him on suspicion of felony vandalism. Cardenas was able to escape arrest and in the process stole a pickup truck.

He was driving the stolen vehicle in Turlock when someone recognized the truck as belonging to a family member and alerted the police department about the stolen vehicle.

Cardenas and the stolen truck were located by the police in the 1600 block of Colorado Avenue. Cardenas was walking away from the truck when it was suddenly engulfed in flames, according to the police report. Cardenas was taken into custody without further incident.

No injuries were reported from the fire.