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Alleged car thief arrested thanks to vigilant family

Family members are credited with helping in the arrest of a 26-year-old Stockton man early Monday morning on charges of stealing their compact car.

Lt. Matt Williams of the Merced Police Department said Xa Yang was arrested at 12:30 a.m. at Highway 99 and R Street. He was charged with auto theft, possession of a stolen handgun and burglary tools and driving on a suspended license.

Williams said residents in the 500 block of El Verano Way heard someone stealing their car so they called police. The suspect drove off in their red 1994 Honda Civic, but the owners followed the stolen car in another vehicle while other family members gave police dispatchers an update on the situation.

Yang, a criminal street gang member from the Stockton area, was spotted by Officer Ronald Luker as he turned onto northbound Highway 99 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Way onramp. Officers were able to stop the stolen car at Highway 99 and R Street and arrest Yang, Williams said.

A search of the stolen car turned up a stolen semi-automatic handgun. Yang remained in Merced County Jail in lieu of $40,810 bail, according to a correctional official.

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