Atwater police have arrested a second person in a recent home invasion targeting an 81-year-old woman and in a string of burglaries.
James Matthew Kendall, 22, of Atwater was taken into custody Friday after an extensive investigation by detectives. Kendall is accused of assisting the other suspect, Zeckaria Nedwicke, 20, who was arrested Wednesday.
Police captured Kendall after he was believed to have used a credit card belonging to the victim of the home invasion, according to Lt. Sam Joseph.
Detective Adolfo Lomeli obtained surveillance footage believed to show Kendall using the credit card at Atwater businesses and identified him as the suspect, Joseph said.
Under questioning, Kendall initially denied any involvement in the home invasion. But police say he eventually told officers he was a lookout during the invasion and gave authorities detailed information about the incident.
Joseph said Kendall told police he was under the influence of methamphetamine when the home invasion and burglaries happened, and claimed to be remorseful for his actions.
The department's detectives worked "around the clock" on the case, Joseph said, because the crimes were particularly brazen. "This was completely planned."
In the home invasion, reported Oct. 9, a robber entered the woman's house in the 1300 block of Park Street around midnight through a sliding-glass rear door. The victim was at her computer and got up to investigate the sound, but found nothing suspicious, police said.
When the victim returned to the computer, she said she heard a man's voice asking, "Where's the money?" and turned to see who it was, police said.
The robber demanded she turn away and face the computer. The woman attempted to press her medical alert necklace but the robber yanked the device from around her neck, Joseph said.
The victim grabbed a dining room chair and threw it at the intruder.
He took the victim's bag, which contained credit cards, a checkbook and $110 in cash, before fleeing on foot.
Kendall was booked on suspicion of first-degree robbery, receiving stolen property, residential burglary and credit card theft.
He and Nedwicke remain at the Merced County Jail in lieu of $155,000 and $85,000 bail, respectively.
City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or email@example.com.