Modesto Purse Thieves Caught

Modesto, CA – Modesto Police Officers catch purse thieves and put an end to their valley crime spree.

On March 20, 2014, at about 1:09 PM, officers were called to the 1700 block of McHenry Avenue to investigate a robbery in progress, with the suspect fighting with employees.  When officers arrived, they took Kellia Howard, 26-years-old of Ceres, into custody for the robbery.  Howard indicated she was not alone in Modesto and led officers to her father, Augustine Melena, 44-years-old of Ceres, at a nearby hotel. 

During a probation search of Melena’s vehicle, multiple stolen purses and wallets were located.  Officers were able to determine that the duo’s crime spree spreads from Davis to Turlock.  It appears Howard would enter the employee area of a business to steal purses.  It is unknown at this time what role Melena played in the thefts.  Howard was arrested for robbery, burglary, violation of probation and six warrants.  Melena was arrested for two warrants.      

Detectives are following up on leads to identify other victims from property located in the suspect’s vehicle.  They ask for anyone who has had their purse stolen from a business to contact the Modesto Police Department or their local law enforcement agency.