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Modesto Police Department News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Lieutenant Rick Armendariz, (209) 652-1820
Release Date: Thursday, February 14, 2013, 5:50:00 PM

Officers Arrest Two Carjacking Suspects


Release Date: February 14, 2013 

Modesto Police Department

Media Relations

Office of the Chief of Police

600 10th Street, Modesto, CA 95354

Author: Lieutenant Rick P. Armendariz


 Modesto, CA- Modesto Police arrest two suspects who stole a car at gunpoint and crashed after a short police chase.  Police continue to look for a third suspect who is believed to have been involved. 


This event began early Thursday morning, around 1:45 A.M., at the 76 Gasoline Station located at 1432 9th Street.  The victim was in the process of getting gas for his vehicle when he was approached by three male suspects.  One of the male suspects brandished a handgun at the victim and took the victim’s wallet.


Upon seeing the victim’s Chase Bank card in the wallet, the suspects forced the victim into his own car and all three suspects entered the car and drove the victim to the Chase Bank, located at 1531 North Carpenter Road. Once the suspects obtained the victim’s PIN number, they were able to take an undisclosed amount of cash from the victim’s bank account.  The three suspects left the victim behind as they fled in the victim’s 1998 Green Honda Civic.  The victim was able to call police from a nearby business.  


At about 5:30 A.M., a Modesto Police patrol officer spotted the stolen Honda traveling eastbound on Mt. Vernon Drive, from Carver Road.  Officers attempted to conduct a vehicle stop, however, the suspect failed to yield the police car’s lights and siren.  Instead, the police were led on a short vehicle pursuit for several blocks. The pursuit ended at the intersection of Mt. Vernon Drive and Katherine Avenue, when the vehicle collided into a tree. Two suspects, 44-year-old Garry Dale Thornhill and 42-year-old James Jason Highfill were apprehended without further incident.  Thornhill was arrested for carjacking, conspiracy and parole violation. Highfill was arrested for carjacking, conspiracy and probation violation.  Both suspects were booked at the Stanislaus County Jail.


This remains an ongoing investigation and detectives continue to look for a third suspect, who is believed to have been involved.


If you have any information regarding this incident please call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637.  Just type “TIP704” along with your message.


 (Booking photo of Highfill) 



(Booking photo of Gary Thornhill)


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