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A Real Grinch? Suspects Caught Stealing Christmas Decorations


Two Modesto men allegedly acting like real-life Grinches were arrested in Ripon late Friday night.

A concerned citizen called police just before 11:30 p.m., reporting that they were seeing a suspect possibly stealing some Christmas decorations near Atlantic Avenue and Sea Gull Court.

The caller stayed on the line and continuously gave updates to dispatch until police officers showed up.

Once at the scene, police stopped a black Acura Integra. Inside, police say they found burglary tools, suspected stolen property, and a Christmas igloo decoration – all in plain sight.

Officers were able to find the victim of the robbery in the area and gave him back the stolen items, said to be worth over $1,800. Apparently, the items were stolen out of the victim’s work truck.

Robert Emerson Wangelin and Bobby John Essay, both 39 and both from Modesto, were arrested and now face auto burglary, conspiracy and grand theft charges. Wangelin also faces a parole violation.

Police would like to thank the concerned citizen for helping catch the suspects.

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