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Tip Leads to Arrest

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Original Title:
Motel Worker's Tip Leads to Arrest of Burglary Suspect

A motel maintenance employee who was suspicious of how the guests in a pair of units were behaving has helped Stanislaus County sheriff deputies break up a major burglary ring.

Bruce Balmain takes care of the Hampton Inn in Salida. He also keeps an eye on the guests. Yesterday, he noticed several customers who looked and acted peculiarly. Balmain said the guests appeared nervous and sweaty. Then he saw the four carrying large items into two rooms which they'd paid for in cash. The same scene was caught on security cameras (a security image is shown above). "When you carry something heavy with a cord, most of the time it's a microwave," said Balmain. "I thought they were cooking meth."

At that point, a call went out to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. Deputies responded and, noting one of the people in the rooms was a parolee, conducted a search. There, the investigators found methamphetamine, as well as a variety of other items that led them to believe those who rented the rooms may be responsible for a rash of recent burglaries.

An inventory of the items revealed they'd been taken from four doctors who live in and around Modesto. One of the victims is Dr. Babak Edraki who had personal papers, checkbooks, passports and jewelry taken. "That always raises the possibility of ID theft," said Edraki. "That's more distressing to me than the material things."

Officers arrested a woman in one of the rooms on a charge of possessing of stolen property. They're looking for two other men and another woman observed taking items into the rooms.

Balmain said he takes pride in his workplace and doesn't want it used for criminal activity. "This is my bread and butter," he said. "I'll protect the building as best I can."

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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