OAKHURST — A sharp-eyed sheriff’s deputy spoiled two thieves’ gambling spree — and saved the holiday season for one local store.
The incident began around 6 p.m. on Saturday when Madera County Sheriff’s Deputy Charlie Robertson responded to a call for service at a business in the 40000 block of Highway 49 where the owner had reported the theft of merchandise.
According to a subsequent MCSO report, surveillance video from the store showed an unidentified female adult leave the store with a large amount of clothing and flee the scene in a white sedan driven by an unidentified male subject.
During a subsequent patrol of the Chukchansi Casino parking garage around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, Deputy Robertson observed a white sedan matching the description of the suspect vehicle from the surveillance video.
Stopping to check the vehicle, the deputy noted several items of clothing in plain view inside the car. The items matched the description of merchandise taken from the store, as well as a purse that the female was seen carrying.
During the investigation, it was discovered that a family member related to the owner of the vehicle had a prior theft-related arrest and Deputy Robertson was able to confirm a photo match to the female suspect in this case.
Based on this evidence, Deputy Robertson and Deputy Ryan Vermeulen went inside the casino and located the suspects, 31-year-old Raymond Harp of Los Banos and 30-year-old Sarah Morrow of Dos Palos.
Both were arrested and taken into custody without incident.
Harp and Morrow were transported and booked in at Madera County Department of Corrections on charges of felony criminal conspiracy and misdemeanor theft.
The stolen items were recovered and returned to the business owner.