A 24-year-old Modesto man was arrested Thursday, two weeks after authorities said he carjacked an off-duty Merced County firefighter who’d stopped to help at the scene of a car crash.
Mauro Cervantes was involved in a crash Nov. 17 on El Capitan Way in Ballico. He was driving a Ford Explorer that crashed into a Dodge Caravan, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office said.
An off-duty firefighter, whose name has not been released, stopped to help and a man, later identified by investigators as Cervantes, took the firefighter’s silver Chevrolet Duramax pickup and his emergency response radio. The truck was recovered later that same day, Detective-Sgt. Chuck Hale said.
The driver of the Dodge, a 44-year-old Delhi woman, suffered a cut above her eye. She also was traveling with three young children, who were not injured in the crash, authorities said.
“Merced County sheriff’s detectives have been working with members of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office to locate the suspect in this case after he was identified,” Hale said in a statement.
The Ford Explorer was not registered to Cervantes, but detectives followed the paper trail and eventually identified Cervantes as the alleged carjacker, Hale told the Sun-Star.
Investigators tracked Cervantes to a home in the 2100 block of Robertson Road in southwest Modesto. He was captured around 10:30 a.m. by the Stanislaus County sheriff’s Special Team Investigating Narcotics and Gangs. He was taken to the Stanislaus County jail and was being interviewed by Merced sheriff’s detectives.
Cervantes was expected to be transferred to the Merced County jail later Thursday. A jail mugshot was not immediately available.
Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482