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Three arrested for theft of TID property
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A report of suspicious activity near a power plant in Snelling led to the arrest of three Modesto individuals on theft charges and the recovery of a stolen air compressor.Around noon Sunday, Merced County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the 18000 block of Highway 59 for a possible theft. While en route the deputies learned that two California Department of Fish and Game officers had a vehicle stopped matching the description of the suspect vehicle involved in the case, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.When the deputies arrived, they found the three occupants, Patrick Moffre,48, of Modesto; Janet Darden, 43, of Modesto; and Ezra Eads, 43, of Modesto in a 1991 white Chevy van pulling an air compressor. The two Fish and Game officers had been advised by a fisherman that he noticed some suspicious activity by the power plant. They in turn contacted the sheriff’s department, while they began searching the area.The compressor, which was being pulled by the van, was behind several locked gates in the power plant. It also had the letters TID painted over in fresh white paint, but were still visible, MacKenzie said. After making contact with the three occupants, they all invoked their rights and decided not to talk, MacKenzie said. The compressor they were dragging was valued at $20,000.While searching their vehicle, the deputies found a can of white spray paint and a pair of bolt cutters. All three occupants were arrested and charged with grand theft and conspiracy to commit a crime and remain jailed on $25,000 bail each.To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.