A 58-year-old man was arrested Sunday afternoon and charged with attempted burglary in Central Merced, according to the Merced Police Department.
Thomas Harris was also charged for being in possession of burglary tools.
Police say Harris broke into a building that was being renovated on W. 18th Street. It shared walls with an adjacent cigarette store. Sgt. Bobby Chapman said Harris was trying to burrow his way into the cigarette business when the cigarette store's alarm went off.
"In essence what happen was he was trying to pound his way through the other side, it triggered the alarm to the other (cigarette store) building," Chapman said. "He never did make it into the cigarette store and ended up tearing the wall."
Officers responded to the alarm call from the store and when they went in to search the building, they found no one, according to Chapman. He said the police found the doors at the renovated building were also smashed in.
"They did find someone had attempted to tear out the dry wall between the business walls and there were some markings on the wall that were gashes," he said. "There were a few strips that had been torn out of a few different walls."
The cigarette store "must have had a really good alarm," Chapman said.
"One of the officers, who arrived on scene, saw a man hiding in the alleyway. They noticed he had blood on his arms and hands," he said.
Police detained Harris and found he had priors for burglary. They then searched his backpack, where they found some bolt cutters and a very large crescent wrench.
"They went inside, they saw the crescent wrench fit perfectly in the holes made in the walls," he said, adding there was sheet rock residue on the wrench. And his shoe prints were found at what the police believe are the exit and entry points of the crime scene.
Chapman said Harris is a transient and has prior burglaries in his criminal history.
He is currently in Merced County Jail.
Reporter Ameera Butt can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.