On 6/22/16 at approximately 12:55 a.m., Atwater PD Officer Rivera was working patrol in 1600 block of Sycamore Avenue. Officer Rivera observed a brown Honda Accord exit Highway 99 from the northbound off ramp and drive into the Chevron Station at 1500 Sycamore Avenue. The vehicle’s only occupant got out of his car and entered the store. The driver, later identified as Jeremiah Apodaca, left the vehicle unlocked and running. Knowing Honda vehicles are frequently stolen, Officer Rivera had the dispatcher check the license plate and it came back clear.
Officer Rivera had the California Highway Patrol respond to the residence to confirm if the owner knew where their vehicle was. It was confirmed that the vehicle was a stolen vehicle that had not been reported yet.
Officer Rivera completed the recovery and went to search for the driver. The officer saw him walk away from the area at a fast pace when he observed officers near the Honda Accord. Officer Rivera eventually located the suspect at approximately 2:16 a.m. when he returned to the 1500 Block of Sycamore Avenue.
Apodaca was taken into custody and refused to speak with officers. A shaved key, commonly used to steal vehicles was found on him during a search. He is currently being held on $61,000 bond.
Lt. Joseph commended Officer Rivera for his resilience in pursuing this matter. The officer didn’t give up his search, continuing to check the area knowing the suspect had no transportation. Hopefully this arrest will decrease the vehicle thefts in the City of Atwater.