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Turlock men jailed for Sonora thefts
Adrian Eugene Hernandez

Two Turlock men are facing a litany of theft related charges after they allegedly targeted multiple stores in Sonora while driving a stolen vehicle.

Adrian Eugene Hernandez, 26, and Paul James Howard, 33, both of Turlock were taken into custody on the evening of March 23 after being stopped by the California Highway Patrol and arrests by officers from the Sonora Police Department. They each were charged with felony theft, shoplifting, and conspiracy, according to the Sonora Police Department.

The mini crime spree gained the attention of the Sonora Police Department around 7:30 p.m. March 23, when a report came in of an attempted theft at the Ross Dress for Less store. The report stated a man and woman were attempting to walk out of the store with a shopping cart full of items, but were stopped by an alert store manager. The suspects had fled the scene, but the manager was able to give a vehicle description to the police officers and an alert was issued to area law enforcement.

About 45 minutes later a report came in from the Wal-Mart store in Sonora that two men had just left the store with a cart full of tools and clothing, none of which had been paid for, according to the police department.

Officers responded to the area but were unable to locate the suspects. The description of the vehicle matched to the one seen leaving the Ross store.

Approximately 15 minutes after the Wal-Mart incident a CHP officer spotted a vehicle driving erratically at a high rate of speed on Highway 108, near Phoenix Lake Road. The officer stopped the vehicle on Phoenix Lake and Hess Avenue. The vehicle turned out to have been stolen from Turlock, according to the police department.

The occupants were all detained by the CHP while officers from the Sonora Police Department responded to the scene. The occupants were identified as Hernandez, Howard, and a 19-year-old woman from Ceres, whose name was not released.

The Sonora Police officers found the stolen property from Wal-Mart inside the vehicle. The items were valued at more than $300, according to the police department.

Witnesses were able to identify Hernandez and Howard as the men seen in the Wal-Mart store, according to the police department.

At the time of his arrest Hernandez was on probation in Stanislaus county for theft and drug offenses. Howard was on probation out of Stanislaus County for drug charges and on California Department of Corrections parole for armed robbery.

Both men were booked into the Tuolumne County Jail and bail was set at $10,000 for each of them.