An Atwater resident was arrested on suspicion of residential burglary and possessing drugs and stolen property after officers searched his home, police said.
Ray Remijio Andrada, 24, parked a black Hyundai vehicle at about 9 a.m. Thursday in the 1100 block of Palm Avenue and was walking away from the vehicle when an Atwater police officer and a homeowner called him to move the vehicle because he parked on a sidewalk, a code enforcement violation, Chief Samuel Joseph said.
Andrada complied, going into the other resident's home for his keys and moving the car across the street, Joseph said.
As Andrada walked back towards the officer, the officer felt Andrada was purposefully avoiding the officer, Joseph said. He asked Andrada his name, and Andrada said "Juan Alva."
Police said Officer Ken Lee “sensed deception” and asked Andrada for his identification, according to Joseph. That's when Andrada told the officer his name was "Ray." During a pat-down search, the officer found a methamphetamine pipe in Andrada's possession.
Other officers arriving at the scene gained permission from the homeowner to search inside the home.
They found a 15-year-old girl hiding in a shower stall, and released her to family members after the incident, Joseph said. Officers determined she was a passenger in the SUV.
The SUV, which was reported by an Atwater resident on Tuesday as stolen, was searched by officers, Joseph said. They found a baggie of methamphetamine and several IDs, credit cards and mail belonging to other local residents who reported their cars were burglarized on Halloween night.
Joseph said Andrada denied being involved or knowing about the stolen vehicle or property, claiming he was coerced by another person to drive the vehicle to the home to conduct a drug deal.
Andrada was booked into the Merced County Sheriff's Main Jail with a $87,360 bond amount on suspicion of residential burglary, possession of stolen property and several misdemeanors, according to jail records.