(Press Release) Three suspects, who were soliciting donations from motorists at two busy Modesto intersections, were arrested Tuesday for taking money under false pretense.
On Tuesday, December 4th, at about 12:30 p.m., Modesto Police Officers Mark Weiglein and Dave Mullins observed 35-year-old Mark Barajas standing on the side of the road near the intersection of Sisk Road and Briggsmore Avenue holding a poster size sign, which depicted a picture of an infant and a caption that read “Funeral donations”.
Nearby, 26-year-old Janie Barajas and 37-year-old Lisa Barajas were standing in the center median island, near the intersection of Briggsmore Avenue and Prescott Road, each holding poster size signs, which depicted a picture of the same infant and a similar caption that read “Funeral donations”. The officers saw the females walking onto the street and collecting money from passing motorists, as the motorists were waiting for the red light at the intersection.
Because of the traffic hazard the women were creating and because the officers were aware of prior scams involving similar circumstances, the officers contacted the three individuals and inquired about the infant depicted in the posters.
Initially the three suspects told the officers they were raising money to help pay for the funeral of an infant child who died in Mexico. However, upon further questioning, the officers learned that the story was a lie and the three had come to Modesto from Fresno to collect money under false pretense.
Further investigation revealed the three had printed the pictures of the infant from the internet and they had been in Modesto Monday and Tuesday soliciting money from motorists. Additional posters, depicting a picture of a toddler, were also located in the truck of the suspect’s vehicle. Tuesday, the three had collected approximately $400 in cash donations from generous Modesto residents.
Mark Barajas, Janie Barajas and Lisa Barajas we arrested for defrauding the public and conspiracy and were booked into the Stanislaus County Jail.
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.