MORGAN HILL -- A tip from a resident led to the arrest of three Merced County men as suspects in home burglaries that have occurred over the past three weeks in the area around the Morgan Hill Library, police said Wednesday.

Morgan Hill police said an "astute neighbor" had noticed a suspicious vehicle parked near one of the houses that was burglarized, and gave police a description of the car and its lone occupant -- who police believe was serving as a lookout.

Two days later, an officer in the area where the burglaries had been happening noticed a vehicle matching the description, and contacted three people who were seen in or around the vehicle moments before.

A search by investigators turned up jewelry that was stolen from two nearby burglaries, as well as methamphetamine, burglary tools and a pistol reported as "lost" out of Los Banos.

Arrested were Steven Gifford, 26, of Los Banos; Thomas Sanfilippo, 22, of Gustine; and Jacob Kaiser, 27, of Santa Nella.

A search of their residences as well as a home on West Main Avenue where the vehicle was located turned up additional property stolen in Morgan Hill and Santa Nella burglaries.

Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.



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