Social Media

Men arrested after police find stolen air conditioners

Two men are in custody after a two-week investigation by Merced police into thefts of seven air-conditioning units.

Police say they found a large cache of stolen goods that included several guns and a variety of other items.

Merced resident Brett Lee Price, 45, was arrested this week on suspicion of residential burglary, grand theft and possession of stolen property. Investigators also arrested Anthony Ray Burkhart, 42, of Merced, on suspicion of possessing stolen property.

The suspects were arrested after Detective Paul Johnson of the Merced Police Department looked into thefts of air-conditioning units in the Bellevue Ranch area reported last month, according to Cmdr. Floyd Higdon.

After police received information that Price was responsible for the crimes, he was arrested and then admitted to the thefts. He led police to seven locations where the air-conditioning thefts occurred, Higdon said.

Price told police that he was taking the air conditioners apart and selling their parts as scrap metal. Price also took investigators to three locations where he had committed residential burglaries, Higdon said.

After Price’s arrest, police followed up on leads and discovered stolen property from the thefts at a residence in the 1500 block of East Olive Avenue. Higdon said police conducted a probation search of the home and discovered stolen goods, including a rifle, semi-automatic handgun, unopened boxes baseball cards, porcelain dolls, jewelry, coins and gardening equipment.

Higdon said the some of the owners of the stolen items have been identified.Burkhart was arrested at the home for being in possession of the goods, Higdon said. He remains at the John Latorraca Correctional Center in lieu of $10,050.

Price remains at the John Latorraca Correctional Center in lieu of $80,000.

Police are asking anyone with any information about these crimes to call Detective Paul Johnson at (209) 385-7742 or the department’s anonymous tip-line at (209) 385-4725.