Merced police officer foils alleged burglary attempt

Merced police arrested two suspected burglars Thursday evening at an auto parts store at 934 W. 15th St.

Officer James Lodwick of the Merced Police Department was on patrol when he noticed an opened door at the shop around 6:50 p.m., said Lt. Tom Trindad.

Lodwick heard noises coming from inside the business, so he shined his spotlight on the store and called for additional units, Trindad said.

When a K-9 officer arrived on scene and warned that a dog would be sent in to search the building if no one came out, two men surrendered to police without incident, Trindad said.

Quaid Strange, 19, and Kenneth Tolbert, 23, were both arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary and booked into the John Latorraca Correctional Center, said Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.

Neither suspect had weapons, and claimed that "the door had been left open, and they were just inside, seeing what they could find," Trindad said.

It didn't appear that there was any forced entry into the building and the door may have been left unlocked, according to police. Lodwick's vigilance was a major factor in the arrests, Trindad noted.

"It was very keen patrol procedures by Officer Lodwick," Trindad said. "He did a very good job of seeing something suspicious and paying attention to his surroundings."

Both Strange and Tolbert are being held at the John Latorraca Correctional Center on $15,000 bail.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.