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Police arrest 2 in ID theft, look for more victims

Authorities arrested two Riverbank residents suspected of being involved in an identity theft and burglary operation.

Now, Stanislaus County sheriff's detectives are looking for victims.

On Thursday, authorities arrested Jimmy Newell, 33, on suspicion of burglary, forgery, criminal conspiracy, 22 counts of unauthorized use of identification to gain credit and 22 counts of forgery of a driver's license, said deputy Royjindar Singh, a sheriff's spokesman.

Authorities arrested Gilliam Stephens, 30, on suspicion of burglary, criminal con- spiracy and forgery. Stephens also had sev-eral outstanding arrest warrants, Singh said.

Singh said Modesto police officers ar- rested Stephens on a burglary warrant at a home in the 2000 block of Viola Street in Modesto.

Officers also found Newell there. He was wanted by the Sheriff's Department after detectives spotted him in a store surveillance video, reportedly cashing a fraudulent check at Target in Riverbank, Singh said.

Singh said Newell had been arrested on suspicion of using false identification Oct. 16, but he was out on bail.

Modesto police notified the sheriff's detectives, who responded to the Viola Street home.

After obtaining a search warrant, detectives searched the home and found equipment used to make phony California driver's licenses, Social Security cards and checks, along with 22 fake licenses, Singh said.

Detectives believe Newell made the driver's licenses by replacing the victim's photo with his own. Singh said Newell used the licenses to cash fake checks at businesses.

"We have stolen property identified from a few recent burglaries in Modesto, but there are more victims from this case that we are looking for," sheriff's Detective Pris- cilla Woods said.

Detectives believe Newell and Stephens have been using the false identification in cities from San Jose to Modesto.

Newell's bail was set at $25,000, while Stephens' was set at $90,500. Both were being held at Stanislaus County Jail on Saturday afternoon.

The Sheriff's Department asks anyone with

information about this case to call Detective Priscilla Woods at 869-7162. Callers also can leave an anonymous tip with CrimeStoppers at 521-4636 and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or 578-2394.

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