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Police: Christmas Day assault may have been botched robbery

MODESTO, CA -- Police say a Christmas Day assault in Modesto that left two men injured -- one critically -- may have been a botched robbery.

The Stanislaus County sheriff's department says 35-year-old Juan Carlos Felix, of Las Vegas, and 20-year-old Rojelio Escobar, of Salinas, met two women at a bar Saturday night who led them to a warehouse.

When they arrived, Felix and Escobar reportedly were jumped by two men wielding a knife and a baseball bat.


Modesto man identified in deadly assault

MODESTO - Stanislaus County Sheriff's detectives were investigating the suspicious death of a 61-year-old man found lying on the side of a road Monday evening.

The man, identified as Modesto resident Manual Romero Vibanco, was initially found suffering from serious injuries on the ground outside of Global Auto Body Parts in the 500 block of 9th Street around 5:30 p.m., according to sheriff's spokesman Deputy Luke Schwartz.

Someone called 911 from the business to report an assault with a deadly weapon, Schwartz said.

Responding paramedics rushed Vibanco to a local hospital where he died a short time later, said Schwartz. Based on evidence at the scene, investigators believe the assault was a homicide. No suspects have been identified or arrested.

Anyone with information about Vibanco or the incident should contact Stanislaus County Sheriff's Detective Frank Soria at (209) 525-7080. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636.

Thief steals Salvation Army kettle outside Raley's

Thief steals Salvation Army kettle outside Raley's

MODESTO - Salvation Army of Modesto officials said a bell-ringer standing outside of a local Raley's grocery store Saturday afternoon, was robbed by a man who is still on the loose.

The incident happened on Dec. 18 around 4:30 p.m. at the store on Tully Road at Standiford Avenue, said Laine Hendricks with the Salvation Army. A man approached the bell-ringer to ask for directions to a nearby restaurant. He then grabbed the red kettle full of donation money the bell-ringer was holding, then ran and jumped into a waiting car.

Hendricks said the Salvation Army employee ran after the thief, grabbed the vehicle's door handle and tried to stop the moving car but was forced to let go, hurting his knees, wrist and head in the process.

The kettle contained an undisclosed amount of money and Hendricks said the loss of income comes as a severe hit to the Modesto branch.

After school youth recreational leader arrested for sexual assault

MODESTO – Modesto Police investigators have arrested a 19-year-old, after-school youth recreational leader for unlawful sexual acts with a 12-year-old girl.   

On Wednesday morning, Modesto Police officers were called to James Marshall School, located at 515 Sutter Avenue, regarding a missing 12-year-old student.  School staff had learned the juvenile was picked up by a male in a car, near the rear of the school, and she never returned.

When officers arrived they were able to identify the male who picked up the juvenile as Vince Gutierrez, a 19-year-old Modesto resident.  Gutierrez is a part-time Recreational Leader for the City of Modesto and a Substitute Special Education Instructional Para-Professional for Modesto City Schools.  The investigation revealed Gutierrez had befriended the 12-year-old victim, while he was working in an after-school program at Marshall School. 

Patrol officers located Gutierrez and the 12-year-o