A group of four Modesto residents were arrested Tuesday evening after racking up more than $1,500 in stolen items during a crime spree at two businesses in the Timberhills Shopping Center.
At about 3:30 p.m., two men and a woman left Sav-Mart on the 1000 block of Mono Way with multiple cans of baby formula and bottles of liquor, Sgt. Chris Rogers said.
Around the same time, the woman and one of the men also entered into Ross Dress for Less and left with arms full of clothing.
The group went to a waiting white pickup truck with a male driver and headed eastbound on Mono Way.
Police stopped the truck, and a probation search was made.
“All of the stolen property was found within reach of every person in the vehicle,” Rogers said.
The stolen items were located in backpacks inside the vehicle, he said. The items were later returned to the stores.
All four were transported to the Tuolumne County Jail, but during the booking process, the woman and one of the men were found to be in possession of heroin and methamphetamine, respectively.
One of the occupants was in possession of hypodermic needles during the arrest as well, Rogers said.
Rogers said he was not sure which of the suspects were in possession of which drug.
Maura Rose Aherne, 26, Brandon Jacob Dominguez, 22, Joseph Adam Krueger, 33, and Christopher Ryan Rocha, 23, were all booked into the Tuolumne County Jail on grand theft and criminal conspiracy charges.
Aherne was additionally booked on bringing a controlled substance into jail, Krueger was additionally booked on bringing a controlled substance into jail, false impersonation and a misdemeanor probation violation, and Rocha was additionally booked with misdemeanor probation violation and possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia.
Aherne and Krueger were booked on $25,000 bail and Dominguez and Rocha on $20,000 bail.
As of Wednesday night, all were still in the custody of the Tuolumne County Jail.
Rogers explained that each was charged with grand theft because the value of the Sav-Mart items exceeded $1,000.
In late November, other out-of-county residents stole more than $1,000 worth of baby formula from Safeway in Sonora.
Though none of the suspects in Tuesday’s arrest offered statements, Rogers said, it is believed by the Sonora Police Department that stolen baby formula is taken to flea markets, where it is sold at a high markup, and is also used as a cut for manufacturing narcotics.