OAKDALE — Authorities on Saturday afternoon were looking for an Empire man who ran from police Friday morning and is suspected of conducting an identity theft operation that appeared to have victimized 30 people.
Oakdale police and state parole agents were looking for Raymond Monroe Lee, 43, who is wanted on suspicion of identity theft, violating parole, possession of stolen property and evading police, authorities said.
About 9:40 a.m. Friday police pulled Lee over for a vehicle violation near Fifth Avenue and G Street in Oakdale. Lee was driving a Chevrolet pickup.
Oakdale police Sgt. Michael Eggener said the officer had gotten out of the patrol car and was speaking with Lee when Lee drove away south on Fifth and the pursuit ensued.
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He said the pickup turned east onto Sierra Road and continued for a few miles out of town until it crashed through a barbed-wire fence along Sierra near Wamble Road.
Lee continued into a field for about half a mile before the pickup became stuck in mud. Eggener said Lee ran from the pickup.
A California Highway Patrol helicopter and a Stanislaus County sheriff's K-9 team helped Oakdale police with the search, but Lee eluded capture.
Eggener said the pickup's passenger, Edward Harold Ryno, 44, was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of methamphetamine.
Inside the pickup, officers collected evidence that showed Lee had been making phony driver's licenses with information gathered through identity theft, Eggener said.
Oakdale police and state parole agents searched Lee's Empire home but didn't find him.
Authorities did find Leshia Ellen Davis, 38, at Lee's home. Davis was arrested on suspicion of possession of heroin. Eggener said Davis had two arrest warrants for suspicion of identity theft and possession of a controlled substance.
Police later learned that Lee had used a phony California driver's license to cash a fake check at the CVS Pharmacy on Oakdale Road in Modesto before the chase occurred, Eggener said.
Police described Lee as 5 feet, 8 inches tall, bald, with brown eyes. He has tattoos of a swastika on his left forearm, an eagle on his right shoulder, the word "Peckerwood" and a skull on his right forearm and a demon on his back.
Authorities ask anyone with information on Lee's whereabouts to call the Oakdale Police Department at 847-2231.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2394.