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Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 10:00 pm

A van that was captured on surveillance video at the scene of Lodi auto burglaries was found Monday and two people were arrested, police said.

The white van was seen April 29 at 24 Hour Fitness System on North Cherokee Lane, where two vehicles were burglarized. Those crimes were among a series of smash-and-grab burglaries throughout the city, during which thieves grabbed purses and other valuables that were left in sight inside vehicles.

Police released surveillance photos of the white van,

On Monday, Lodi Police Detective Nick Welton was in an unmarked vehicle in the Morada area around noon when he saw a white van. It looked like the one in the photo police had sent out a month earlier, so Welton asked a nearby California Highway Patrol officer to stop the van.

Inside the van, Welton said police found evidence from one of the burglaries at the Lodi gym.

The van's owner, William Gale, 28, was arrested suspicion of possessing stolen property. The Stockton resident is on parole for possession of stolen property and has previously had contact with Lodi police, Welton said.

A second person in the van, Modesto resident Kathryn Tankersley, 33, was arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property. She initially gave officers a different name but was identified by fingerprints and arrested on three warrants, Welton said.

The van was impounded, and police are looking into whether it was connected to any other burglaries.

- Layla Bohm.

Council to discuss prayer policy

After receiving a letter from a national organization threatening a lawsuit, the Lodi City Council will discuss if it wants to make changes to its policy at tonight's meeting. At issue is the council's tradition of hearing a prayer at the start of its meetings.

Because the city is facing a legal challenge, the council will discuss the matter in closed session, which the public cannot attend. If people want to comment on the issue, they can speak at 5:45 p.m. in Carnegie Forum before the council goes into closed session.

The city's policy requires all prayers to be "non-sectarian and non-denominational."

The Madison, Wis.-based nonprofit Freedom From Religion Foundation watched 55 invocations online from 2007 to May 6's council meeting and found 39 had a reference to Jesus Christ.

Representatives for the group say the specific mentions of Christ are a violation of the city's own policy.

If the city does not change its policy, the group is threatening a lawsuit.

- Maggie Creamer.

Summer bus passes for youths on sale for $15

Passes that allow children unlimited rides on Lodi's GrapeLine fixed-route bus service from June 15 through Aug. 15 are now on sale.

According to a statement released by the city, for $15, youths ages 5 to 17 can purchase a two-month pass that will allow them to travel throughout the city of Lodi between 6:15 a.m. and 6:55 p.m. on weekdays, and from 7:45 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. on weekends. The normal cost of a monthly pass is $35.

Passes may be purchased at the Lodi Station, 24 S. Sacramento St., or the city of Lodi Finance Department, 310 W. Elm St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, and from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends at Lodi Station.

Passes are valid only for rides on the regular GrapeLine service, not Dial-A-Ride. Children must bring a student ID when purchasing a pass.

Information about routes and schedules is available at www.lodi.gov/transit.

For more information, contact the Lodi Station at 333-6806.

- Andrew Adams.

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