Following a string of robberies in Lockeford in recent months, the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department will have deputies patrolling the town more frequently.

Last Thursday, Richard Barksdale Jr. was arrested in Sutter Creek in connection with a failed robbery attempt on Jan. 19 at the Wells Fargo in Lockeford. Barksdale allegedly walked into the bank and handed the teller a note stating he wanted money and that he had a bomb strapped to his chest. The teller took a look at the note and consulted with other employees before the suspect got nervous and ran away, according to a Facebook post by the sheriff’s department.

This follows an arrest that was made on Jan. 28 in connection to a robbery at the Bank of the West in Lockeford that same day. With the help of several local agencies, officers searched an Elk Grove home and arrested Darnell William Randle and Archie Lee Hansbury III on robbery, conspiracy, and parole violation charges.

“We believe the town (of Lockeford) has been targeted, because it is in a rural area, and because it is on the outskirts of neighboring towns,” said Andrea Lopez, a public information officer with the sheriff’s department.

Prior to the bank robberies the United States Postal Office in Lockeford was also burglarized, which led to the arrests of three suspects that were found in connection of mail thefts from Dec. 23, to Jan. 11 in Victor, Thornton, and Woodbridge.

Since the robberies deputies have made more patrol checks in Lockeford.

“We have daily deputy checks at all hours of the day in Lockeford. Our goal is to be as proactive and visible as possible,” Lopez said.

Despite the attempts to draw attention to added surveillance in the town, Lockeford Drugs was reportedly robbed last Tuesday.

“We know that the neighboring businesses around the store did not have surveillance cameras,” Lopez said. “As crime has increased in the area we have encouraged business to invest in more security technology.”

Sheriff’s deputies have urged business owners and residents to alert them if they see something out of the ordinary.

“Even if they see someone exhibiting suspicious behavior, we want to know. We ask that residents notify us immediately. We want to help them, we want to be able to do our job,” Lopez said.

Lopez added that if residents see cars that do not look familiar that they should get the last four digits of the license plate so that police can find the vehicle owner quickly.

“Most cars that are made within the same year — that are the same make and model — have the same first three numbers on their license plate so we really encourage people to get the last four,” Lopez said.

Residents of Lockeford have been instructed to reach out to the sheriff's department at 209-468-4400 to report any unusual activities or persons.

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