In the first incident, which took place late early Friday evening, June 22, two suspects in south Patterson evaded police after taking off on foot when their car was pulled over, tossing out a bindle of narcotics as they ran, police said.
Then on Sunday, June 24, police chased down and arrested Arturo Martinez, 18, of Modesto in an unrelated incident in northern Patterson after he allegedly stole beer from a store and robbed an ice cream vendor.
During the first incident, police and witnesses say two males ran from the green BMW they were driving at 4:45 p.m. when they were pulled over at Sunflower and Traina drives. It was unclear as of press time why police conducted a traffic stop.
The suspects jumped neighbors’ fences as they sought to get away, witnesses said, and one of them threw a container of narcotics — probably methamphetamine or cocaine — on the ground as they ran, according to Sgt. Paul Yotsuya of Patterson Police Services.
Sunflower Drive resident Lavonna Routt said she was putting her granddaughter to sleep when she heard a ruckus in her backyard and then suddenly noticed that a man had jumped her fence. Then, another man who was climbing the fence stared at her, she said.
“They started pacing in our backyard,” Routt recalled.
She said the younger of the two men was a Latino with a black Oakland Raiders hat, a white T-shirt and black Levi’s jeans. She said the other man also was Latino, but she could not recall what he was wearing.
Authorities spent more than two hours trying to track down the suspects with a K-9 unit and undercover vehicles. A Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department helicopter that happened to be in the area for training exercises also assisted with the search.
Police carefully searched the surrounding south Patterson neighborhood after the men ran off, spending an extensive amount of time at homes near Sunflower and Traina drives and Marisa and Nicastro drives. However, the occupants of the BMW were never found.
Two days later, police were chasing after suspects once again, after they received word at 2:10 p.m. that two young men had taken an ice chest by force from an ice cream vendor on a bicycle at Ward and American Eagle avenues.
The black Honda they were driving matched the description of one used by suspects who stole beer from a local market earlier that day, said Deputy Raj Singh of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.
As they searched for the suspects, deputies found a black Honda parked on Deer Hollow and Bear Hollow drives, where several people were drinking beer that was the same brand as the alcohol that had been stolen earlier that day, Singh said. They were also using an ice chest that looked like the one that had been stolen from the ice cream vendor, he said.
As deputies got out of the car and approached, Martinez and a man who matched the other suspect’s description began to walk away, and then Martinez took off running and tried to scale a nearby brick wall, Singh said.
A deputy caught up to Martinez and tried to pull him down from the wall, Singh said. Martinez started kicking him and a knife fell off of him in the process.
An unnamed 16-year-old who had been hanging out with Martinez suddenly approached the deputy and kicked and punched him, allowing Martinez to escape, Singh said.
Police set up a perimeter in the surrounding neighborhood as they sought to find Martinez and they eventually tracked him down with a K9 unit, finding him hiding inside a tractor yard on the 1100 block of Ward Avenue, Singh said. After arresting him at 3:24 p.m., witnesses identified him via an infield lineup, in which they sat in the back of a patrol car.
While the 16-year-old who assaulted the deputy was also arrested, the second suspect in the beer theft and ice cream vendor robbery escaped, Singh said. Both the 16-yeaer-old and Martinez were documented Sureño gang members, he said.
Anyone with information about the suspects in Friday’s manhunt or the suspect in Sunday’s foot chase can contact Patterson Police Services at 892-5071.
• Contact Jonathan Partridge at 892-6187, ext. 26, or firstname.lastname@example.org.