Dos Palos police arrest another parolee at large, a woman suspected of beer theft

DOS PALOS -- The Dos Palos Police Department arrested another parolee, Tanya Eppenger, who's been at large since October.

Officer Jonathan Davis was investigating a beer theft from the Circle K store on Thursday. As part of his investigation, he reviewed video of the theft. He shared the information with fellow officers, according to a news release from the Dos Palos Police Department.

Officers quickly identified the suspect in the video as Eppenger, who has a history of theft against businesses and has been arrested on more than one occasion in Dos Palos, according to the news release.

On Friday, Chief Barry Mann was conducting an investigation in the area of Fifth and L streets in South Dos Palos. Mann recognized a woman wearing a jacket as being similar to the one he saw in the video of the beer theft.

Mann got closer to the suspect and recognized Eppenger from his previous encounters with her. Mann made contact with Eppenger and after confirming she was a wanted parolee, Mann took her into custody.

Eppenger was the fourth parolee at large arrested in Dos Palos in the past month.

Mann was assisted by Detective Melisa Gutierrez and Officer Cliff Battles.

During an interview with Eppenger about the theft from the store, Eppenger admitted to Mann that she did steal from the Circle K store, according to the news release.

"I am not surprised that Eppenger admitted to the theft," Mann said in the release. "She is who she is. She always owns up to her activity when we contact her. Actually, she is a pleasant person to talk to, and she stays pretty true to form. Eppenger always tells us, 'I may do businesses but will not steal from people.' "

Eppenger admitted to investigators that she has a drug addiction, adding that she's been asking the California Department of Corrections to send her to a program, but it hasn't happened, the news release said. Eppenger told officers that reporting to parole agents when you know you have been using drugs doesn't make sense. Eppenger was quoted in the news release as saying, "They need to send me to a program."

Eppenger was booked in the Merced County Jail on charges of being a parolee at large, and committing a theft with prior theft offenses.

"We are a small community and we are doing what we can to protect the little that we have," Mann said. "If you want to hide, Dos Palos may not be the best choice."