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Fire Damages Downtown Auto Shop

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Photo: Modesto Fire Department

MODESTO – Investigators are working to determine what caused a fire that significantly damaged a downtown auto shop late Saturday night.

At about 10:30pm fire crews responded to a shop on the 600 block of 10th Street for a report of a fire. Arriving firefighters encountered heavy fire conditions with several buildings threatened by the flames. A second alarm was dispatched to bring more additional resources to the scene. Firefighters worked to control the blaze which engulfed an upstairs living area in the building.

Firefighters from Modesto and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire responded to the scene. The Stanislaus Fire Investigations Unit responded to determine the cause and origin of the fire. No injuries were reported.

Carlos Rodriguez is an Emmy Award winning photojournalist specializing in public safety and natural disasters. His passion for local news stems from a deep commitment to his community, with a selfless mission to inform the citizens of the valley. As he worked on assignment for 19 days at the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, California, he spent most of his time helping survivors contact their loved ones to let them know they were ok. Carlos is a veteran of Univision, FOX, and Telemundo TV stations and a native of Modesto, California.

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San Joaquin County Correctional Officer Arrested

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Photo: San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office

STOCKTON – A San Joaquin County Correctional Officer was arrested and charged following an internal investigation based on sexual assault allegations.

The investigation stemmed from a report made in July according to a release from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office. Details surrounding the investigation were not released, but the involved officer, Alex Tafoya, was placed on administrative leave.

“Based on the findings of our investigation, the case was forwarded to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office for their review,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Tafoya was arraigned on Thursday and remanded into custody. He was booked on charges including oral copulation by force, sexual penetration by force, false imprisonment by violence fraud or deceit, and assault by a police officer.

“When allegations of this nature are brought to our attention, we take them extremely seriously,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “Conduct of this nature is a dishonor to our Office, the Oath that we take, and the badge that we wear.”

Tafoya is expected to remain in custody throughout his trial.

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Child Kidnap Suspect Arrested

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MERCED – Officers with the Merced Police Department arrested a 65-year-old man accused of kidnapping an eight-year-old child Wednesday afternoon.

At about 3:45pm Wednesday afternoon officers with the Merced Police Department responded to Rahilly Park for a report of a possible child kidnapping. The parents reported their eight-year-old child was at Rahilly Park when a transient man approached her and forced her inside his tent. The tent was located along a bike path near the park.

Police said the child was able to escape uninjured and returned home. Police searched the area and located 65-year-old Rolando Gonzalez. He was arrested and booked into the Merced County Jail on charges including kidnapping and annoying/molesting a child.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Officer Hernandez at (209) 385-6912 or the tip line at (209) 385-4725 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Suspect Arrested in Home Invasion Sexual Assault Case

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STANISLAUS COUNTY – Authorities arrested a man on home invasion and rape related charges after entering a woman’s home and sexually assaulting her.

Friday morning deputies responded to a report of a man who had broken into the woman’s home, sexually assaulted her and stole her ATM card. The location of occurrence was undisclosed by authorities. Detectives with the Crimes Against Persons and Crime Scene units responded to investigate and gather evidence.

The victim told investigators the suspect entered her bedroom with a handgun and tied her up. He choked and sexually assaulted her. The suspect made threats to the victim if she reported the incident to authorities when he left.

Through the investigation authorities identified the suspect as 40-year-old Jose Luis Ramos Rivera of Modesto. The victim told authorities that she had hired Rivera to work for her as a handyman, and that she had employed him for several months. Authorities said the quick arrest came because the victim had photographed his identification card the day she hired him.

Rivera was booked on charges including robbery, home invasion, oral copulation, penetration with a foreign object, and assault with intent to commit rape.

Authorities believe there may be additional victims and are asking them to come forward. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Detective Esquivez at (209) 652-1792 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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