Police track shoe prints to burglary suspects

08/12/2014 5:47 PM

08/12/2014 8:45 PM

Atwater police followed a set of muddy shoe prints Monday found outside a burglarized home straight to a suspect’s house, just around the corner, the Police Department reported.

Residents at a home in the 1500 block of Cedar Avenue told police someone came into their house while they were sleeping and took about $1,000 in jewelry and a purse, Lt. Samuel Joseph told the Merced Sun-Star.

Cpl. Armando Echevarria, along with Officers Jesse Meraz and Dave Sarginson, found a single set of shoe prints outside the victim’s house, which they followed to the home of Franklin C. Smith, 56, who lives at 1555 Drakeley Ave., police said.

“It was very good work by the officers, a very good case,” Joseph said. “This home is a place known to law enforcement. The officers did a very good job keeping after it and developing the case.”

Because Smith is on probation, police said, his home was searched. Inside, officers found “at least a majority” of the stolen property, Joseph said.

Smith was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property and a probation violation. Smith remained in custody Tuesday without bail at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility, according to booking reports.

During the search, officers also arrested Gena L. Thurman, 53, after officers found more than one-half gram of suspected heroin in her possession as well as numerous painkillers for which Thurman has no prescription, according to police.

She was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.

Police also learned a warrant had been issued for Thurman’s arrest. Details about the warrant were not available Tuesday. Thurman remained in custody Tuesday on $10,000 bail.

Later that night, officers located and arrested a third suspect in the burglary, Joseph said.

Robert J. Sarracino Jr., 44, was arrested on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. He remained in custody Tuesday on $90,000 bail.

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