A rookie Modesto police officer and his field training officer had a busy Sunday, recovering two stolen cars and arresting both drivers.
Lt. Jolene Gonzales said it's not unusual for officers to recover stolen cars but typically the cars have been abandoned and the thieves are long gone.
Gonzales said officer Cory Shedoudy and field training officer Jessie Garcia found the first stolen car about 7 a.m. at Dallas Street and West Hatch Road. They stopped a black Audi that was missing its front license plate.
The officers ran the Audi's vehicle identification number, Gonzales said, and learned the car had been reported stolen in Colorado. They arrested the driver, Rachelle Cole, 27, on suspicion of possession of a stolen car. Cole's city of residence was not available.
Then a few hours later, Gonzales said, the two officers spotted an Acura running a stop sign at Jefferson Street and Paradise Road. They tried to pull the car over, but the driver sped away on Paradise.
Gonzales said the officers did not engage in a high-speed pursuit because of the risk to the public but followed the Acura at a safe speed and distance. She said the Acura smashed into a tree at Paradise and Pine Tree Lane, a little more than a mile from Jefferson and Paradise.
She said residents told the two officers that the driver had run off and was jumping over neighborhood fences. The officers checked the Acura and found a loaded sawed-off rifle.
Gonzales said Modesto police set up a perimeter in the neighborhood and found the driver after searching for about 80 minutes. She said he was hiding in a garage in the 1900 block of Yellow Pine Drive and would not come out. He surrendered after a police dog was sent into the garage.
Gonzales said the driver sustained minor abrasions on his back from the police dog.
She said Modesto resident Abraham Martinez, 21, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a stolen car, possession of an illegal weapon and hit-and-run driving.
She said Martinez is on probation for possession of a stolen gun and vehicle and faces charges of violating the terms of his probation.
Gonzales said the Acura was one of six vehicles reported stolen in Modesto on Sunday.
She said Shedoudy has been on the force for about a month and Garcia has about 20 years with the department.