Port-a-potty truck speeds off. Deputies smell trouble

A truck with a door open sits next to railroad tracks.
A truck from United Site Services, a port-a-potty rental company, was stolen in Fresno County on Wednesday.
(Tony Botti / Fresno County Sheriff’s Office)

Call it the great crapper caper.

A man was arrested Wednesday morning in Fresno County after authorities said he led them on a pursuit while driving a stolen port-a-potty truck.

Deputies smelled troubled when the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office received calls of a stolen commercial vehicle around 9:30 a.m. in the southern part of the county.

A tracking device inside the truck — a vehicle for United Site Services, a port-a-potty rental company — led authorities to South Avenue and Highway 41, where deputies tried to stop the vehicle. But the driver sped off, spurring a pursuit from both on-the-ground deputies and a sheriff’s helicopter.

Francisco Melendez, 33 of Fresno.
Francisco Melendez, 33 of Fresno, was arrested on suspicion of auto theft and other crimes.
(Fresno County Sheriff’s Department)

The driver ultimately led authorities to the Roeding Park area, where he peacefully surrendered, officials said.

The man was identified as Francisco Melendez, 33, of Fresno.

Authorities said Melendez was arrested on suspicion of auto theft, burglary, evading police and committing a felony while on bond. In May, Melendez was arrested in connection with separate auto theft charges. He is currently being held at the Fresno County Jail, with bail set at $270,000.

Already flush with other complaints, the Fresno County district attorney’s office declined to comment about the toilet truck theft.