In the early morning hours of January 21st, 2019, Atwater Police responded to the self-serve car wash located in the 2600 block of First Street after a person called reporting that a male was observed cutting the lock to one of the coin machines.
Officers Centeno and Wisdom responded to the area where the person reporting directed them to the alley behind the La Nita’s Mexican Restaurant. There they observed a male running eastbound who then attempted to conceal himself under some garbage.
Officers detained Earl Richards, Jr. (33 years) of Merced who was later positively identified by the caller as the person he saw attempting to cut the lock from the car wash machine. Richards was also found to be in possession of burglary tools.
He was subsequently taken into custody and booked into Merced County Main Jail for Burglary, Vandalism and Possession of Burglary Tools. Atwater Police took two similar theft reports in December, 2018. Investigators will be following up in an attempt to determine if Richards is connected to those cases.