James Smith, spokesman for the CHP office in Stockton, said on Monday, Jan. 21, that witnesses have identified a man and that officers served a search warrant at that suspect’s home on Jan. 15.
Smith wouldn’t release the suspect’s name or city of residence because no arrest has been made and the case is still under investigation.
He doesn’t know when an arrest might happen, but noted that the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office is expected to file charges in the case.
According to CHP officials, a man reportedly driving a compact car would stop to help motorists who were broken down. He would identify himself as a CHP mechanic who works with the Freeway Service Patrol and wore a mechanic’s shirt with a badge.
The man would tell motorists that he could repair their vehicle if they gave him money for parts. Officers said he would take the money and never come back.
These types of incidents have occurred in the Stockton area on both Highway 99 and Interstate 5, and more than $280 has been reportedly taken from multiple victims.
Police warn motorists to be aware of any person they believe to be suspicious. Motorists should stay in their vehicle and call 911. You can request to see an officer’s badge and identification without rolling down your window, Smith said.
“We don’t actually have mechanics that go out in the field and help motorists,” Smith said. “Those don’t exist.”
Investigators are hoping that other victims will contact the California Highway Patrol office in Stockton at 209-943-8600.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.