Court Told Modesto Man Broke into Ex-Wife’s House, Later Steals Two Cars, and Dog


By Nora Dahl

MODESTO, CA – Jesus Guzman’s preliminary hearing proceeded here Monday in Stanislaus County Superior Court, where he’s charged with vehicular theft, possession of a firearm, breaking and entering, dog theft, and aggravated assault, among other felonies.

The hearing, reconvened from Friday, found Stanislaus County Sheriff Sergeant Robert Huffman on the stand, explaining what he saw on Jan. 12, 2021.

Huffman had originally been dispatched for a vehicle hit and run, but while Huffman was en route the dispatch changed to an assault that allegedly occurred outside a vehicle.

Upon arriving on the scene, Huffman said he spoke to an unnamed male witness, who told him that he saw the victim knocked to the ground by a male subject. The subject proceeded to run from the area of assault to a white pickup truck, then he drove a short way down the street where he pulled into a business’s parking lot.

Huffman said he learned the victim was filing a stolen vehicle report, and that her ex-husband, Guzman, came to her property in the middle of the night, entered her home, took her keys, stole a cellphone, and then left in her pickup.

The victim was able to identify and retrieve her car. While Huffman was tending to the victim, he received a dispatch call stating that Modesto PD was currently taking a stolen vehicle report from the Modesto Meat Company.

Several employees had seen a male, after donning an employee smock, enter the business and walk through the store to the rear parking lot. This man tried opening car doors until he found an unlocked one, entering an unnamed employee’s vehicle and driving away.

Employees confirmed that this man was Guzman.

Detective Kyle Briggs of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, who was with a team that located the second vehicle Guzman allegedly stole, parked outside of a liquor store on 1300 East Road.

The vehicle was found deserted. However, according to surveillance cameras at one point a man and a dog had occupied the car, said the detective.

Another officer apprehended Guzman. And found a firearm in the vehicle.

When questioned, the deputies said Guzman did not provide any insight or clarity, his answers were vague and confusing as he noted to them he “gave them all a little gift,” not explaining what it was.

During the Guzman interview, Guzman reportedly laughed inappropriately several times. Briggs testified that Guzman’s laughter was “somewhat off putting at times since a laugh wasn’t really needed at those moments within the conversation.”

Judge Dawna Reeves asked Briggs if he, based off his experience with interviewing hundreds of people, thought that perhaps Guzman could have been on drugs.

Briggs said that he could not narrow Guzman’s behavior down to drugs or a mental health issue.

During Brigg’s interview with Guzman it was revealed that Guzman had, allegedly, stolen the dog that accompanied him in the car outside the liquor store, allegedly telling the officer that he wants to name the dog “Joakim.”

Police are still unsure who the owners of this dog are, they testified.

Judge Reeves found Guzman likely guilty of the charged crimes, and set an arraignment prior to trial setting March 14.


About The Author

Nora Dahl is a second year History of Public Policy and Law major, and English minor, at UC Santa Barbara. She enjoys writing, advocating for social justice, and pyschology. Nora speaks fluent Norwegian and English. She plans to graduate Spring 2024, and hopes to attend law school.

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