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Police helping Arroyo Grande motel owner evict couple uncover dozens of items stolen during burglaries

Police helping a motel owner evict a couple ended up finding dozens of items stolen from churches and businesses in Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo.

A man and woman checked into the Arroyo Grande Motel at 329 Traffic Way on July 25, according to a police news release. The pair had been driving a U-Haul truck.

A few hours after they checked in, the man got into an argument with one of the motel's owners, and the fight got physical. The motel owner called police at 8:20 p.m. to ask for assistance in evicting the couple.

The man fled before officers arrived at the motel. They interviewed the woman, identified as Grover Beach resident Teresa Longhofer, 24, about the motel room registration and noticed several inconsistencies in her responses, including information about her companion.

When Longhofer let police into her motel room, they noticed several items that were later identified as property stolen in recent commercial burglaries in Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo, according to the news release.

Officers eventually figured out Longhofer's companion was Shawn Stankewitz, a 26-year-old from Grover Beach. The motel owner said Stankewitz was the man who assaulted him.

After Longhofer was evicted from the motel, officers continue to watch her until she hid in the shadows behind a house. A U-Haul rental truck appeared in front of the house, and Longhofer got into the passenger side of the truck.

Officers stopped the truck as it drove away. Both Longhofer and Stankewitz were arrested for allegedly receiving stolen property and were booked into County Jail.

The U-Haul that Stankewitz was driving when he was arrested was not the same U-Haul the couple drove to the Arroyo Grande Motel, according to police. That U-Haul was later found abandoned on Station way in Arroyo Grande. The U-Haul they were driving was allegedly stolen from Grover Beach.

As Stankewitz was being released on bail on July 26, he was rearrested on suspicion of receiving stolen property, being in possession of a stolen vehicle and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Officers later served a search warrant on a storage unit in Grover Beach rented by Stankewitz. During that search, officers found approximately 45 items that were identified as having been stolen during burglaries in San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande. The locations targeted during the burglaries were either businesses or churches.

By the time officers had searched the storage unit and had victims identify the stolen property, Stankewitz had been released on bail from jail and could not be immediately arrested a third time. However, additional charges of receiving stolen property were filed against him.

-Larissa Doust

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