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Sacramento Men Arrested In Historic Tillamook Cheese Bus Thefts

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Leigh Martinez Leigh Martinez
Leigh Martinez is the multimedia journalist covering the San Joaquin...
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MANTECA (CBS13) — Two Sacramento men were arrested Tuesday afternoon for the theft of the Tillamook Cheese Company’s vintage VW mini buses.

Manteca Police said Brian Michael Lancaster and Ryan Anthony Monaco are being transported to San Joaquin County Jail and face charges of auto theft, possession of stolen property, arson, and conspiracy.

Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion said this was not a crime of opportunity; these buses were targeted.

“I’m mean it’s not every day you want to go out and steal a bright orange four-door truck pulling a large. 40-foot orange trailer,” said Obligacion.

The three mini buses were parked inside a trailer sitting outside of a Manteca hotel Saturday night when they were stolen. On Sunday, their truck and trailer were found on fire over a mile away in Jamestown.

Manteca Police said the joint agency auto theft task force found the VW mini buses in a Copperopolis storage unit Monday night.

The storage unit’s registration helped lead detectives to Lancaster and Monaco.

“There is surveillance video, however I won’t divulge on where and what location and how much, but yes, there is surveillance video of the individuals,” said Obligacion.

Obligacion said California Highway Patrol’s helicopter followed the suspects’ car this morning. Officers made a felony car stop outside of the Target store in Rocklin and arrested Lancaster and Monaco.

Police won’t know the motive for the high-profile theft until the suspects are interviewed.

The buses are being held in a secure lot in Douglas Flat until the Tillamook Cheese Company can pick them up.

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