The Stanislaus County district attorney's office recently announced convictions in the following auto theft cases:
Juan Bautista, 33, of Modesto was spotted at 8:21 a.m. May 30 driving a van that had been stolen the day before. He claimed a friend gave him the van, but the ignition column was damaged. He pleaded no contest to auto theft and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Vanessa Muhammad, 28, of Modesto was spotted at 4:30 p.m. June 15 driving a Lexus that had been stolen in Vallejo earlier in the day. When the Ceres police pulled her over near East Hatch Road and Herndon Road, Muhammad claimed that the owner traded the car for a $20 piece of crack cocaine. Muhammad, who was on parole for assault, pleaded no contest to auto theft and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Six years after he was arrested, Keith Clint Philips, 36, pleaded no contest to auto theft and was sentenced to two years in prison. Philips was apprehended when deputies spotted him driving a stolen sedan on Tioga Drive in Modesto at midnight April 2, 2003. He was released on bail and skipped town. He was arrested on a bench warrant in May in South Carolina.
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Emanuel Ribiero, 30, of Hayward pleaded no contest to auto theft and was sentenced to four years in prison. Sheriff's deputies spotted a stolen SUV about 7:30 p.m. June 8 near Crows Landing and Barnhard roads in south Modesto. A chase ensued, reaching speeds of 100 mph as the driver ignored stop signs and traffic lights. The SUV crashed near Whitmore Avenue, and the driver fled on foot. Ribiero was apprehended two blocks away and told police a friend promised him $100 to drive the car from Turlock to Modesto.