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Madera cop catches would-be carjacker

A chance encounter for an officer breaking up a fight has resulted in the arrest of an alleged vehicle burglar who led him on a running chase in south Madera.

According to Madera Police Cpl. Brent Cederquist, the incident began approximately 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, when Officer Anthony Martinez noticed an altercation occurring outside of a Chevron gas station at 755 S. Madera Ave. while on patrol, and went to intervene. When he did so, one suspect, Cesar Oropez, 25, ran from Martinez.

“When he started to run, Officer Martinez noticed he had a handgun,” Cederquist said, “so he began to follow him.”

During the chase, Oropez rounded a corner and went into the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex. After going into an open garage, Oropez is alleged to have drawn his gun on a citizen as he worked on his vehicle, and told him to get out of the car.

“The suspect put the gun to the citizen’s head, pointed it at him, said: ‘Give me your car. Get out of the car,’” Cederquist said.

Martinez, however, was able to catch up with the suspect, who discarded the gun and was arrested. The pistol, Cederquist stated, was not loaded.

While in a lineup shortly after his arrest, Oropez was identified by another citizen as the suspect who broke into her vehicle in the 1500 block of Munras Avenue approximately a half-hour before he was arrested. In that incident, Oropez is alleged to have stolen a woman’s purse, but handed it over to the victim’s friend when he was confronted.


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