Woman's arrest leads to 55 stolen key fobs, thousands of dollars worth of stolen property

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- A restaurant, a car dealership and a tattoo shop hit by thieves in Merced.

Windows were smashed and property was stolen.

Each business owner was out thousands of dollars until a single phone call cracked the case for investigators.

The trail to a stockpile of stolen property started when a security company called Merced Police just after midnight Tuesday and said someone was possibly stealing license plates.

Officers arrived near West 15th Street and V Street and found 39-year-old Stephanie Belden.

"Upon completing a search of her person, they located keys that were stolen from a commercial burglary at auto resources," said Merced Police Department Lt. Emily Foster.

Since Belden was already on probation for identity theft, officers performed a probation search at her residence.

During the search, they found 55 stolen key fobs, also from the burglary at Auto Resource.

"It's about 400-550 bucks a key. Each key," said CEO of Auto Resource Jameel Taha.

The CEO of the company said in addition to the key fobs, five vehicles were stolen.

They also have to replace the broken glass from the break-in, putting them out around $100,000.

The search at Belden's residence also led police to stolen property from Studio 7 Tattoo.

It was burglarized early Monday morning.

The window was busted and the shop was turned upside down.

"Thousands of dollars of tattooing equipment, inks, and jewelry stolen, I mean, it looked horrible in here," said the Owner of Studio 7 Tattoo Jonathan McCarthy.

The owner said with the loss of supplies and damage to the business he's out more than $15,000.

"The ripple effect is not just lost here, but the industry as a whole for not being able to possibly perform the tattoo that somebody already paid me a deposit for," said McCarthy.

Merced Police were able to recover his stolen lap top and a few pieces of jewelry, but not everything.

Officers also recovered property taken from the Hangar Bar and Grill which was burglarized a little more than a week ago.

Belden was booked into the Merced County Jail for possession of stolen property and violation of probation.

Officers also arrested 20-year-old Adreyana Wickard at the residence. They said she was in possession of a loaded firearm and one of the stolen key fobs.

And good news late Tuesday night, the remaining stolen vehicles were recovered.

The dealership owner said he's grateful to get them back.

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