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Police arrest father-son duo for 89-cent theft

ATWATER -- A father and his son were arrested Wednesday afternoon on drug charges after they allegedly stole four oranges from an Atwater supermarket and their car was stopped minutes later by police several blocks away.

Atwater Police Chief Richard Hawthorne said Raul Cervantes, Sr., 52, and Raul Cervantes Jr., 28, were arrested after about an ounce of marijuana and an 8-ball of cocaine were found in the older-model Mercedes sedan.

Hawthorne said security officers at Save Mart, 351 Bellevue Road, reported two men took items from the store about 1:54 p.m. without paying for them and may have had a knife. When police stopped them at Bellevue Road and Third Street, the store security officers positively identified the men.

The police department's drug-sniffing dog located the marijuana and cocaine in the back seat of the car. Officers could smell burnt marijuana cigarettes in the ashtray of the car at the start of their vehicle stop, the chief said.

The stolen oranges were valued at 89 cents, Hawthorne said.

Raul Cervantes Sr. was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and petty theft with priors. He remained in Merced County Jail Wednesday night in lieu of $15,100 bail.

Raul Cervantes Jr. was charged with possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana and remained jailed Wednesday night in lieu of $10,100 bail.

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