NEIGHBOR ALERTS POLICE: An alert Manteca resident Thursday morning led officers to capture a wanted parolee who was spotted looking into parked cars before he jumped into the back yard of a home in a neighborhood near Yosemite Park, according to police. Andre Wayne Law, 23, of Modesto was arrested on suspicion of violating parole. About 9 a.m., the resident called 911 and reported that a man was looking into parked cars in the area between El Capitan and El Portal avenues, according to a Manteca police news release. The resident provided police a description of the man. Police Sgt. Ralph Colin was patrolling the area and said he watched Law jump a fence into the back yard of a home near Yosemite Park. Colin directed officers into the area and started a search for Law, then Law climbed back over the fence and walked over to officer Dave Brown, according to police. Law was taken into custody. It was unclear to police why Law entered the back yard.
SUSPICION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ON CHILD: Police arrested an 82-year-old Manteca man on suspicion of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl at his home Wednesday. Celestino Romero was booked at San Joaquin County Jail and was being held Thursday in lieu of $170,000 bail. The suspected assault occurred at Romero's home on Mohr Circle just north of Highway 120, according to Manteca police. The victim went to the home to visit, and Romero is suspected of assaulting her while she was there, police said. The child went home and told her family. After gathering evidence and interviewing the suspect and the victim, police Detective Steve Beermann arrested Romero on suspicion of sexual assault on a child. Police investigators do not have any indication other sexual assaults occurred, but detectives are looking for additional victims who may not have gone to police. Manteca police ask anyone with information about this incident to call Detective Steve Beermann at 239-8440.
BEING IN RIGHT PLACE AT RIGHT TIME: Merced County sheriff's officials arrested two men suspected of committing a home burglary Wednesday afternoon just south of Merced. The burglary occurred shortly before 1 p.m. at a home in the 700 block of South Highway 59, just north of East Mission Avenue. Sheriff's deputy Dwayne Pavelski was on his way to another call for service when he saw a pickup backed up to the home's front door. Pavelski knew the home was vacant, because the homeowner died last year and the home had been burglarized several times. When Pavelski approached the house, two men walked out of the front door with their arms full of metal items, sheriff's officials said. The men later were identified as Heath Steers, 36, of Atwater and Donald Davis, 66, of Merced. The deputy found metal pots and pans, oven racks, a toaster oven, a rusty shovel head and loose wire in the bed of the pickup. Pavelski said that when he asked the two men what they were doing, neither thought they were breaking the law because "the house was abandoned." The stolen items were going to be sold to scrap metal recyclers for cash, sheriff's officials said. Steers and Davis were arrested on suspicion of burglary and booked at Merced County Jail.
RACIAL SEGREGATION IN PRISONS ENDS: Two prisons in the Sierra Nevada foothills will be the first to implement a racially integrated housing policy after a court settlement. Officials said this week the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown and Mule Creek State Prison in Ione will stop considering race when making cell and bunk assignments this month. All 30 male prisons are scheduled to comply by 2010. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court said California's unwritten policy of segregating inmates by race in their cells needed to be reviewed by an appellate court. A settlement later created a policy mandating that prison staff fill open bunks regardless of race or ethnicity. The changeover was supposed to begin July 1, but has been delayed by discussions with employee unions and concerns over possible violence. The women's prison system is integrated.