Crime

Missing front bicycle light, items lead to Los Banos serial burglary arrest

Richard Mendez, 29, was arrested Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, for a string of burglaries in Los Banos after these stolen items were recovered after police searched him.
Richard Mendez, 29, was arrested Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, for a string of burglaries in Los Banos after these stolen items were recovered after police searched him. Los Banos Police Department

Items that a man was carrying acted as breadcrumbs connecting him to several overnight burglaries in Los Banos, according to police.

Los Banos Police Sgt. Jesus Parras and Officer Luis Beltran were responding to assist another officer investigating a burglary in the 1000 block of Harrison Drive when they noticed 29-year-old Richard Mendez riding a bicycle at 12:10 a.m. Friday near Seventh and J streets, a news release states.

The bicycle Mendez was riding was missing a front light, a violation of the vehicle code, according to the release.

Officers searched Mendez, who they said was on probation, and found two loaded handguns, a methamphetamine smoking pipe, $137 in cash and several coins in his possession, according to police.

The handguns were registered to a local resident who lives next door to the Harrison Drive home being investigated.

Officers checked out that the gun owner’s home and noticed it was burglarized. The resident was contacted and told police he was missing $137 in cash and two firearms, according to the release.

Mendez was arrested before officers discovered the bike he was riding also was stolen in a third residential burglary in the same block, according to the release.

A flashlight Mendez was carrying also was stolen from a fourth home burglary that was reported on Thursday in the 2100 block of Blue Ridge Ave. In that burglary, the residents noticed that someone had burglarized their home overnight while they were sleeping.

No injuries were reported to police in any of the burglaries.

According to jail records, Mendez was in custody Friday at John Latoracca Correctional Center for a slew of allegations including residential burglary, being a felon in possession of firearms, possession of drug paraphernalia, carrying a concealed weapon while prohibited and unlawful possession of a firearm.

The case was still under investigation Friday. Authorities are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Ramon McDonald at 209-827-7070.

Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562

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