GUNMEN HIT JEWELRY STORE: Four or five armed men robbed a south Modesto jewelry store on Thursday, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department reported. The robbery occurred in the 1400 block of Crows Landing Road at about 2 p.m. Nobody was injured. The gunmen ordered customers and employees of Joyeria Barajas Jewelry to lie on the ground. One of the men jumped behind the counter and took an undisclosed amount of money from the cash box. The robbers then fled in a black or dark-colored Dodge Charger without a license plate and were last seen driving east on Rio Grande Avenue. The robbers were wearing black shirts and black hats. Their faces were covered. Detectives estimate the men are in their late teens or early 20s. Detectives ask anyone with information regarding the robbery to call Detective Ken Hendrick at 525-7083. Callers also can leave an anonymous tip and be eligible for a cash reward by calling CrimeStoppers at 521-4636.
ROBBERS STRIKE FOUR TIMES: Modesto police are looking for two men believed responsible for a string of robberies Wednesday night. The thieves committed four robberies in which intimidation was used to steal four victims' property between 9:30 p.m. and 10:55 p.m. One victim went to the hospital for treatment of a severe cut after one of the robbers hit him in the head with a skateboard. Three cell phones, cash and a purse were stolen. The thieves robbed a 14-year-old boy near Brenden Theatres downtown, a 16-year-old boy on Destiny Lane near Timeless Trail Drive, a 15-year-old boy at Beyer Park Skate Park and a 23-year-old woman on Sycamore Street near Alice Street. The robbers are believed to be 18 to 20 years old. One is more than 6 feet tall, the other is shorter than 6 feet tall and both are black. One was described as wearing "sparkly" glasses. At one point, the two were seen leaving in a compact car driven by a woman with long, curly hair. Police said anyone with information about the robberies can leave an anonymous tip and be eligible for a cash reward by calling CrimeStoppers at 521-4636.
CORONER SAYS GUNSHOT KILLED TEEN: Stanislaus County coroner's officials on Thursday said 18-year-old Michael Ilttreb died of a single gunshot wound to the face. The shooting occurred during a party in Ceres that turned violent early Sunday morning. Ilttreb was at a house party, near the 3000 block of 10th Street, about 2 a.m. when the shot was fired. His friends said that after being shot, Ilttreb ran, crossing the street to a friend's back yard. Ilttreb was taken by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto where he died at 4:14 a.m., deputy coroner Misty Leach said. Ceres Police Chief Art de Werk said no arrests had been made or suspects identified as of Thursday night. He said investigators are still combing the neighborhood for possible witness, along with interviewing and re-interviewing people who were at the party. About 100 people were reportedly in the area when the shooting took place. The number of potential witnesses and conflicting accounts of the shooting make the investigation difficult, de Werk said. Ceres police ask anyone with information about this shooting to call Detective Trenton Johnson at 538-5727 or Detective Sgt. Jeff Higginbotham at 538-5625.
TRAIN MAY HAVE SPARKED GRASS FIRE: Firefighters responded to a grass fire more than a mile long along Santa Fe Avenue between Hughson and Denair on Thursday evening. No structures burned, but train traffic was stopped for 15 minutes and Santa Fe Avenue was closed for more than an hour. Michael Wapnowski, battalion chief for the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District, said the fire likely was started by sparks from a northbound train, with three fires combining into one. Firefighters from Hughson and Denair helped Stanislaus Consolidated put out the fire. The fire was reported at 7:10 p.m. and burned between Geer Road and Berkeley Avenue. Firefighters gained control within 25 minutes.