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Off-duty officer arrests man in Fresno

An off-duty Merced police officer was instrumental in the arrest of a Raisin City man on burglary charges in the Fresno area, according to Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.

Arrested was 41-year-old Juan Moreno Mantesdeoca.

Mims said on Monday at about 4:40 p.m., the off-duty officer was driving past a Fresno area residence. As he passed the home, he noticed the door of a shed standing open. The officer knew the owner of the residence and contacted him by phone to tell him that his shed was open.

The officer asked that his name and the neighborhood not be disclosed for concerns about his and his family's safety.

Fresno County sheriff's spokesman Christian Curtice said the officer then parked his car near the residence, called the Sheriff's Department, and waited for the owner to return from a neighbor's house down the street.

When the owner of the residence arrived, he and the off-duty officer started walking toward the shed. As they did so, Mantesdeoca immediately started running through an adjacent orchard. Both the officer and owner started chasing Mantesdeoca who dropped a blue bag while he fled into a nearby field.

The officer was able to tackle Mantesdeoca in the orchard and detain him for responding deputies. He told the Sun-Star he was not injured in the pursuit but broke his glasses in the process of tackling the burglary suspect. He said this was his first off-duty experience involving the arrest of a criminal.

He said the neighbor had suffered previous break-ins and he knew the shed door was not supposed to be open, alerting him a burglary was in progress.

Sheriff's deputies arrived shortly thereafter and arrested Mantesdeoca. He would not give deputies his name and was later identified by fingerprints during booking into Fresno County Jail.

Curtice said investigation revealed the blue bag contained numerous items that belonged to the owner of the house.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209 385-2485 or