10 felonies convictions down, six cases to go in Modesto burglaries

A jury convicted a Modesto man of 10 felonies late Tuesday, making a lengthy prison sentence likely for the man police say is the ringleader of a crew that pulled off 100 residential burglaries.

But the legal action is far from over. Paul Michael Ruiz, 33, has six more criminal cases pending in Stanislaus County Superior Court, including an assault charge he picked up in jail.

By the time he was arrested Sept. 27, 2005, Ruiz had numerous cases in different stages of the legal process, making it impossible to combine them all.

Authorities say Ruiz and his friends targeted affluent homes by looking for signs that the owners were not around, such as newspapers on the lawn or mail stacked in mailboxes. Other defendants took plea deals.

Jurors said Ruiz is guilty of five counts of receiving stolen property, being a felon in possession of a gun, possessing methamphetamine, auto theft and residential burglaries on Enslen Avenue and Marsala Way. Ruiz was acquitted of two felonies stemming from a burglary on Wellesley Avenue.

Deputy District Attorney John Goulart said he would like to negotiate a plea deal to resolve all of Ruiz's cases, saving the time and expense of six more trials, but that depends on Ruiz, who remains in custody.

"Maybe he'll just take them all to the jury box," Goulart said. "We'll see."

Ruiz returns Tuesday for a court trial to determine if prior convictions should be used to lengthen his sentence.