What started as a tipoff for the Madera Police ended in the arrest of six people, in a case involving a stolen car, probationers, and a chance encounter with a suspected burglar.
According to Madera Police Sgt. Josiah Arnold, officers from the Special Investigations Unit were following a tip on Tuesday involving criminal activity in the 1100 block of Garfield Street. During the investigation, the officers found Sabrina Mejia, 27, David Godinez, 34, and Pedro Herrera loading property into a black, 2001 Honda Civic.
“The car that they were loading property into was stolen,” Arnold said.
As the Civic pulled out of the driveway at 1125 Garfield St., police then followed the vehicle, which was reportedly being driven by Mejia, and pulled it over in an alley. Mejia and Godinez, who was a passenger, were both arrested. According to Arnold, Mejia claimed that the car was sold to her by Herrera. It was at this point that another suspect, Ernest Valles, 44, approached the Special Investigations Unit, and was also arrested.
“When we pulled over the stolen car ... a guy came out to talk to the people in that car,” Arnold said. “That guy is Ernest Valles, and he was totally uninvolved, totally unrelated, but he also had two felony warrants.”
After the three were arrested, police picked up two more suspects in the house where they had spotted the car.
“We then went back to that house, where we originally saw the stolen car, and knocked on the door, and ordered the people inside to come talk to us. Eventually, they came out, and those people were Patricia Valencia, and Mariano Arredando. They were both wanted probationers.”
Herrera, who left the scene after the property had been loaded into the stolen car, was also arrested.
According to Arnold, the house at which the car was found has been a site for felony arrests in the past, including car thefts.