Back in July, Turlock City News reported that License Plate Recognition Cameras (LPRs) were being installed at six different intersections in the city for a cost of about $105,000 annually.
The system was operational a short time later and after working out some quirks and kinks with it, most police personnel were trained on how to use it and given access to it within the past month.
In the very short amount of time that police personnel have had access to the system, they’ve already used it on several occasions to help solve cases by identifying and locating suspect vehicles.
The Turlock Police Department recently shared the following success stories with Turlock City News:
On October 11th, officers were investigating a shoplifting case at Dick’s Sporting Goods and identified 27-year-old Juan Perez as their suspect. Perez’s vehicle license plate was located and entered into the LPR system. About a week later, the system detected Perez’s vehicle at Lander Avenue and E. Glenwood Avenue, alerting officers. Officers began checking the area and while doing so, the system updated that his vehicle was detected at Lander Avenue and W. Main Street. Officers responded to the area and located both Perez and his vehicle. Perez was arrested and booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on charges of grand theft and possession of methamphetamines.
On October 24th, detectives were investigating a case where a suspect in a vehicle had been captured on video installing a skimming device at a Bank of America ATM. The vehicle’s license plate was identified and entered into the ALPR system. About a week later, the system detected the vehicle at Geer Rd and E. Monte Vista Avenue, alerting detectives. Detectives announced the alert over the radio and had patrol officers go to the Bank of America, where they believed the vehicle was heading, likely to make withdrawals from accounts using stolen card information. Officers arrived at the bank, where they located the vehicle and its driver, who was in possession of a skimming device. The driver was in his thirties and claimed to be Ales Adamek from the Czech Republic, however, also uses the aliases of Robert Farina and Anatoly Zagreb. His true identity has yet to be discovered. Adamek was able to be linked to over ten skimming device-related thefts in Turlock. He remains in custody and is believed to be tied to an organized skimming ring that is operating internationally. The FBI was advised of this information and is currently looking into his associates, who are federal fugitives.
On October 30th, officers spotted a vehicle near The Home Depot that they recognized as being involved in several shoplifting cases, both in Turlock and other cities within the county, including one where a lawn mover valued at several thousand dollars was taken. This vehicle had been tied to these crimes because of data obtained by the LPR system, resulting in several suspects being identified and cases being solved. The driver, 41-year-old Aldo Villanueva, was contacted and determined to be a registered sex offender with a felony warrant. Villanueva was arrested and booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on the charge of possession of methamphetamines and his warrant.
On November 1st, a detective met with multiple loss prevention employees from local retail stores. They provided a license plate for a vehicle that had been associated with several shoplifting cases up and down Highway 99. The license plate was entered into the LPR system and later that same day, it was detected in the city. The detective and patrol officers responded to Monte Vista Crossings and located the vehicle, right after its two occupants had stolen from Famous Footwear. 28-year-old Evelina Rodriguez and 27-year-old Latanya McGee attempted to evade officers on foot, however, were apprehended inside Olive Garden. They were discovered to be involved in an organized retail theft group responsible for the known theft of about $50,000 in merchandise. Approximately $6,300 worth of stolen merchandise was located in their vehicle. Rodriguez and McGee were both arrested and booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on charges of grand theft, organized retail theft, conspiracy, receiving stolen property, possession of methamphetamines, and theft. McGee was also booked on two warrants. While still in custody, the Modesto Police Department rebooked the two on additional charges for crimes they committed in Modesto, including conspiracy, burglary, and grand theft.
On November 1st, a stolen vehicle out of Tracy was detected at Lander Avenue and E. Glenwood Avenue. Officers were alerted and responded to check the area, but were initially unable to locate the vehicle. About an hour later, an officer spotted a similar vehicle being driven at a high rate of speed on the freeway. A brief pursuit ensued, which ended when the vehicle broke down in the 200 block of W. Glenwood Avenue. The vehicle was confirmed to be the same stolen vehicle. 19-year-old Jacob Urango was arrested and booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on charges of flight from a peace officer with disregard for public safety and receiving a stolen vehicle.