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Update: Witnesses help Merced police catch alleged thief near school

Merced Police Officer Lance O’Brien, helped by witnesses, arrested a man for burglary near ADA Givens School Monday.

Witnesses who live near the school called police after seeing a man walking around the school campus, trying doors, according to a police department news release.

The next time they saw him, the statement said, he was carrying a laptop computer. O’Brien went to the scene and, after a brief investigation, arrested Epimeno Joya, 26, on charges of commercial burglary.

Public Information Officer Lieut. Andre Matthews praised the witnesses for doing “what police and community groups encourage all persons to do. They got involved in makign their own neighborhood safter by calling the police about a suspicious person engaged in suspicious behavior, and perhaps they prevented other crimes from occurring in their neighborhood.”

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