Two Merced men were arrested Thursday for alleged involvement in a Sept. 12 home-invasion robbery at a Livingston residence, the Merced Sheriff's Department said.
James Heberline, 30, was arrested at a home in the 1500 block of E. 21st St. in Merced after sheriff detectives Mike Ruiz and Eric Macias identified a red Dodge Dakota pickup truck they believe was used in the robbery. They later returned to the home and arrested Jason Bittenbender, 33.
Bittenbender told the detectives he was involved in the incident in the 3000 block of Lincoln Blvd. in Livingston, but says he only drove the suspects to the house and left. A witness, however, told detectives he saw the truck speeding through an orchard immediately after the robbery took place. Bittenbender says he was "scrapping," or looking for scrap metal to sell, which is why he was in the orchard.
Bittenbender remains in custody on suspicion of home invasion, burglary and stealing a vehicle. His bail is set at $220,000. Heberline remains in jail on $450,000 bail on suspicion of the home invasion, burglary, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and a warrant for spousal abuse.
The investigation is still ongoing and detectives believe there are additional robbery suspects at large.
-- Posted by Brandon Bowers