A couple from San Luis Obispo and San Jose were arrested Thursday evening in connection with a vehicle reported stolen from Santa Cruz, and they were caught by two California Highway Patrol officers while fishing at Phoenix Lake reservoir.

A CHP Sonora officer noticed a white Dodge Caravan and a man and a woman standing by the van sometime earlier in the day Thursday, a CHP spokesperson said Friday.

A CHP sergeant noted the van had suspicious license plates on it and he was checking it out about 8 p.m. Thursday where the van was parked, on Paseo De Los Portales Road near Phoenix Lake Road.

The CHP sergeant checked and learned the plates on the van were reported lost or stolen from Santa Cruz, and he found the van’s vehicle identification number was blocked from his view by paper. The sergeant moved the paper, got the vehicle identification number, did another check, and learned the van was reported stolen from Santa Cruz.

Residents in the area, questioned by the CHP sergeant, said they did not know who the white Dodge Caravan belonged to.

The CHP officer who was out that way earlier in the day returned, and he told the CHP sergeant he had seen a man with a white shirt and a woman with a pink shirt standing by the van.

While the CHP officer was telling the CHP sergeant what he saw earlier in the day, he noticed the same two people were now fishing by the reservoir. The officer and the sergeant ran down there and identified them as Nicole Danniel Lacroix, 28, of San Luis Obispo, and Richard John Stanley, 41, of San Jose.

Lacroix and Stanley were both detained and questioned further. Lacroix indicated to the CHP officers the van belonged to her. At that point, the CHP officers arrested Lacroix and Stanley.

A search of the van turned up multiple unspecified drug paraphernalia items, and other items the CHP described as suspicious.

Lacroix and Stanley were both booked at Tuolumne County Jail on multiple unspecified felony charges. Their bail was not disclosed. It was not clear Friday whether they remained in custody. An investigation of the van’s contents was continuing.


Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.


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