Law & Order


Stanislaus County sheriff's officials on Sunday arrested a third Riverbank resident suspected of being involved in an identity theft and burglary operation that detectives believe victimized people in cities from San Jose to Modesto, a department spokesman said.

Ryan Vanostrand, 24, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of burglary, possession of a counterfeit document and violating parole, sheriff's spokesman deputy Royjindar Singh said. Vanostrand was arrested after he tried to cash a phony check at two Riverbank stores, Singh said. Vanostrand was charged with burglary because he entered a business with the intent to commit a theft or any other felony, he said.

Employees at the Riverbank Target store first called sheriff's officials with a report and description of a man trying to cash a fake traveler's check. A second call to sheriff's officials came from the Home Depot store in the same shopping center, reporting store security had detained a man trying to cash a fake traveler's check. Singh said sheriff's deputies responded to the Home Depot and arrested Vanostrand without further incident.

On Thursday, authorities arrested Jimmy Newell, 33, and Gilliam Stephens, 30, for their suspected involvement in the identity theft and burglary operation, Singh said. Newell and Stephens were arrested at a Modesto home where sheriff's detectives found equipment used to make phony California driver's licenses, Social Security cards and checks, along with 22 fake licenses, Singh said.

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 might be eligible for a reward.