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Carful of Target merchandise shoplifted

Police on Tuesday arrested a man and a teenage boy suspected of stealing merchandise from a north Modesto Target store, driving away with a carload of school supplies, tools, towels, laundry detergent, cameras and other merchandise.

"Basically, anything you can think of they stole from the store," said Sgt. Brian Findlen, a Modesto police spokesman. "They just loaded up the car."

Officers arrested Roland Cornejo Ortiz, 53, of Pleasant Hill and a 16-year-old Modesto boy on suspicion of commercial burglary, possession of stolen property and criminal conspiracy, Findlen said. Police did not release the boy's name because he is a minor.

The theft occurred at the Target store in the 3900 block of Sisk Road. Shortly before 1 p.m., the store's loss prevention officers spotted the pair using box cutters to apparently remove security devices from MP3 players, Findlen said.

Ortiz and the teenager were seen walking out of the store with numerous stolen items, police said. Findlen said the loss prevention officers followed them, but the suspects ran to a parked gold Acura and drove away.

Store officials provided authorities with descriptions of the suspects and the car.

Members of the Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force spotted the car heading south on Highway 99 and followed it. The task force and police patrol cars made a traffic stop at the am-pm gas station at Fifth and I streets in Modesto.

Findlen said the officers took the suspects into custody and found the stolen merchandise in the car. He said the merchandise was worth at least $1,000, which included dry-erase boards, packages of markers, Scotch tape and accessories for MP3 players.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or 578-2394.

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