AUBURN, CA — Albert J. Torres spent Sunday night as an inmate in the Placer County Jail, but he could have just as easliy been in the hospital, or the morgue.
The incident began when Auburn police hurried to what was thought to be a burgalry in progress at a local Rite Aid store, but instead found two reportedly intoxicated young men making a stumbling getaway after shoplifting a bottle of liquor.
“The report came in after some people said they saw one of the men enter the drug store while carring a handgun,” Auburn Police Lt. Scott Burns said.
According to the arrest report, arriving officers found 19-year old Torres outsiide the drug store, bent over his fallen partner while at the same time having his right hand hidden in his shorts.
The report said Auburn Police Sgt. Dave Lawicka observed Torres making a clumsy attempt to help Jacob Harrison up on his feet. The two then reportedly staggered right into the arms of arresting officers.
“They were obviously intoxicated and not having much luck staying upright. It was not a smooth getaway,” Burns said, adding that Lawicka and two other officers then took the pair into custody.
Burns said a search of Torres not only produced the stolen liquor, but also a “very realisting looking plastic toy handgun” hidden inside Torres’ shorts.
“We have no idea what Torres was doing, or about to do, with the toy gun, but it was not a bright thing to do,” Burns added.
Torres, an Auburn resident, was transported to the Placer County Jail. He faces charges of attempted burglary, burglary, conspiracy and being drunk in public. His bail was set at $15,000.
Harrison, a 19-year old from nearby Colfax, was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public. He was booked and released.
Burns said Torres was very fortunate in the outcome, seeing as how arriving officers had been told that a firearm was involved in the crime.
“Believe me, that particular toy gun looked very real. This could have ended very differently,” Burns said.