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Couple Fishing Hooked For Stolen Plates And Vehicle

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Sonora, CA — Fishy looking plates on a van got the attention of a CHP officer who discovered both were stolen and further detective work helped to reel in the alleged thieves.

While on patrol at around 8 p.m. on Thursday night, the officer pulled over to investigate suspicious plates on a white Dodge Caravan parked on Paseo De Los Portales Road near Phoenix Lake Road. CHP spokesperson Steve Machado explains, “The license plates were exempt, which is normally something you would find on an official vehicle.”

The officer decided to check the vehicle’s identification number, but it was blocked by a piece of paper, which he was able to remove. A records check revealed the van and plates were stolen out of Santa Cruz. None of the residents nearby recognized the vehicle or who was driving it. A second officer came on the scene and remarked that he had seen a man with a white shirt and a female with a pink shirt standing by the vehicle earlier that day. Ironically, while recounting that he spotted the couple nearby on the shore of the lake fishing.

Upon questioning the pair, 41-year-old Richard John Stanley of San Jose and 28-year-old Nicole Danniel Lacroix of San Luis Obispo, Lacroix relayed that the van belonged to her. A search of the vehicle, uncovered drug paraphernalia and other suspicious miscellaneous items. Machado details, “There were some clothes, makeup, fishing gear, personal hygiene stuff, infant goods; and multiple items of all of it. Currently, no one has reported it stolen or missing from a store.” However, where the items came from is still being determined.

The couple was arrested on multiple felony theft charges. However, Machado points out that at this time, “We’re unable to prove whether or not she stole the license plates and put those on the vehicle or if the vehicle already had those stolen plates on it prior to her driving the vehicle and we don’t know at what point the vehicle was taken.”

As a result, the investigation remains ongoing.

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