Friends apparently let their friend be captured.
Such was the case Thursday when a 21-year-old Keyes man, already on probation for auto theft, fled into a field after being pulled over in another reportedly stolen vehicle, authorities said.
The incident began at 11:17 a.m. as Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy Ken Barringer patrolled the area of Swanson and East Service roads near Denair. Barringer spotted a maroon 1999 Ford Expedition matching the description of a vehicle reported stolen recently in Ceres. When he made the traffic stop, two men and a woman bolted from the Expedition. He called for backup and quickly apprehended the woman, identified as 31-year-old Shelley Horton of Hughson, sheriff's Capt. Tim David said.
Other units responded and set up a perimeter. Authorities informed nearby Gratton School, which went into lockdown mode.
At 12:53 p.m., a resident called to report someone hiding in tall grass along the 4300 block of Gratton Road. A K-9 unit found Joshua Best, the Keyes man, in the field, David said.
Wearing a GPS ankle bracelet as a condition of probation, Best reportedly tried to employ another bit of technology in his efforts to elude capture.
"Mr. Best did have a cell phone and had been busy while hunkered down in tall grass trying to find someone to come get him," David said. "He text messaged a number of friends -- 'Help me, help me' saying there were cops all over the place. Fortunately, help didn't arrive in time."
Best was booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on charges of vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, resisting arrest and criminal conspiracy charges.
David said the GPS bracelet eventually would have enabled investigators to link Best to the auto theft even if he hadn't been captured right away.
"Someone would have connected the dots at a later time," David said.
Best is being held in lieu of $40,000 bail.
Horton was booked on charges of possession of stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal conspiracy charges. She is being held on a $13,000 bond. She also had an outstanding warrant for possession of a switchblade knife.
The third suspect eluded capture, David said.