TURLOCK — Cagney and Lacey. Starsky and Hutch.
Howze and Spycher?
Maybe the two Turlock city councilmen aren't quite ready to star in a gritty cop drama, but they helped solve a stolen guitar caper that led to three arrests.
The two were having lunch at Two Guys Red Brick Cafe across the street from City Hall on Friday when a woman approached them.
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"She knew that we were council members, and she wanted help with a situation," Howze said Wednesday. The woman told them about her husband's custom guitar, which had been stolen from a car a few weeks before.
Howze and Spycher took to the Internet and pulled up Craigslist, the online advertising site. It was there.
"It had been listed about 12 hours before," Howze said. It was obviously the right guitar. "It was a very recognizable custom, lime-green electric guitar."
Howze and Spycher took the information to City Manager Roy Wasden, who turned it over to Police Chief Gary Hampton.
Police set up a buy, Capt. Rob Jackson said. But Hampton turned down Howze's pleas to pose as the buyer.
"I tried every angle to convince him," Howze said.
Jackson said it had to be an officer.
"These people have already broken the law," he said. "We don't want a situation where it gets violent."
Officers detained the man who had the guitar, Gilbert Cotton, 23, who led them to a couple of other suspects. Cotton was arrested along with Brad Norwood, 19, and Jeffrey Weston, 41, on stolen property, weapons and drug charges.
"It's blossomed into a heck of a thing," Howze said. "We removed some bad apples from the community."
That said, Howze isn't ready to turn in his veterinary license for a career in law enforcement.
"This was just a lucky break," he said. "We're thrilled to be involved and help a community member."
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2343.