12182017Mon
Last updateSun, 17 Dec 2017 7pm

Local News

Gang Member Takes Advantage of Elderly Couples’ Generosity

AUBERRY - Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested 38 year old Richard Lopez of Fresno. He has been booked into the Fresno County Jail on three felony charges, which include auto theft, possession of stolen property and stealing from an elderly person. His bail is set at $47,500.

Around 9:30 am Monday, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers took a report of a vehicle theft. The victims, are a husband and wife who live along the 45000 block of Auberry Road in Auberry. He is an 88 year old Korean War Veteran and she is 81 years old. The elderly man explained how his 2002 Toyota pickup truck was stolen.

On Sunday, a man who identified himself as Richard Lopez, drove up to the driveway of the elderly couples’ home. Lopez claimed he was lost, cold, hungry and low on gas in his car, so he had slept in his vehicle overnight. The generous couple allowed Lopez into their home so he could stay warm and enjoy a meal. The homeowner allowed Lopez to take some gas cans out of his shed and fuel up his car. Lopez put the gas in his tank, as well as the cans in his car.

He drove a short distance away, just out of sight of the home. He then walked back to the property and stole the couples’ Toyota pickup. The couple was unaware that Lopez had taken the keys to their vehicle while he was inside their home, eating their food. The 88 year old man had Lopez’ phone number and called him, asking if he knew anything about the missing pickup. Lopez said he did
not. A surveillance camera in the area captured an image of the Toyota being driven away.

A deputy who arrived to take the report, learned more about the suspect thanks to the attentiveness of the 81 year old woman. She told the deputy that Lopez was a gang member who had the letter “B” tattooed on his face. She knew exactly which gang in Fresno he was part of because she had a conversation with him about it.

Deputies took the information and began to research Lopez, learning the areas he often stays in Fresno. While travelling to one of those locations, a deputy was able to reach Lopez on his phone. The deputy explained to Lopez he had evidence that he took the Toyota and encouraged him to do the right thing by returning the pickup to the couple. Lopez agreed and directed deputies to meet him in the area of Clinton Ave. and Fresno Street. Lopez gave deputies the keys and showed them where the pickup was parked. Deputies recovered the Toyota and made arrangements for it to be returned to the couple.

Anyone with additional information about Richard Lopez is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (559) 600-3111 or Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867. You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

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