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Task force nabs area auto theft suspects
anthony vargas
Anthony Vargas

The Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force caught three suspected auto thieves in the Turlock and Denair area over the last couple of weeks.

The first arrest happened on the afternoon of Sept. 16 when StanCATT agents discovered a stolen trailer being pulled through town. They were in the area of Lander Avenue and High Street when they spotted the 1995 Wells Cargo trailer being pulled by a Red Dodge Dakota. A records check revealed the trailer was reported stolen to the Ceres Police Department.

StanCATT conducted surveillance while the subjects abandoned the trailer, and then with the assistance of the Turlock Police Department, they made an enforcement stop on the Dodge.

The driver, Anthony Vargas, 36 of Turlock, was arrested and booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on charges of vehicle theft.

The trailer and additional stolen property were returned to the owner.

The second arrest was made Monday night after agents trailed a stolen vehicle from Modesto to Turlock.

The StanCATT agents were in the area of Briggsmore Avenue and McHenry Avenue in Modesto when they observed a 2006 Ford Ranger that had previously been reported stolen to the Modesto Police Department.

StanCATT conducted surveillance while the vehicle traveled from Modesto to Turlock via Highway 99. Once again, Turlock police officers assisted with making an enforcement stop, which resulted in the arrest of Leo Muncrief, 25 of Ceres.

Muncrief was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft and a probation violation. The vehicle was released to the owner.

The third arrest happened Tuesday afternoon, but was for an incident that occurred Sept. 12 in Denair.

A farmer in the 9000 Block of E. Service Road in Denair spotted a man breaking into a modular home on the property. The farmer called the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and confronted the burglar, attempting to hold him at gunpoint, according to StanCATT.

The subject fled from the farmer, but not before having his picture taken.

The sheriff’s deputy that responded to the incident contacted StanCATT in an attempt to identify the suspect and StanCATT was able to identify the subject as Joshua Laine Reynolds, 35, of Denair.

On Tuesday, StanCATT was in the area of Gratton Road and Monte Vista Avenue in Denair when they located Reynolds washing a vehicle. StanCATT requested the assistance of the sheriff’s department and they took Reynolds into custody while he was hiding in a residence.

Reynolds was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on theft-related jails.