Saturday evening, Fresno police took two dangerous suspected auto thieves off the streets who tried to run and hide from officers.
Between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., two separate incidents took place in southeast Fresno. The first arrest was made at the Fresno Fairgrounds. Another man was taken into custody moments later at nearby Chestnut and Butler.
It was during proactive patrols that a Fresno Police officer spotted a car speeding in and out of neighborhood streets by the fairgrounds. The department’s helicopter directed patrol cars to it, but when they arrived, it was empty.
“The driver of the vehicle fled the vehicle and went into the fairgrounds,” said Sgt. Paul Cervantes of the Fresno Police Dept.
Officers learned it was taken during an armed carjacking this past Tuesday. They were concerned when the dangerous suspect made his way into a private party and tried to blend in.
“This person discarded some clothing that he was wearing and was ultimately detained and identified,” said Sgt. Cervantes.
He is 25-year old Jose Garcia. A man with a long history of auto theft.
“This is an instance where we have an individual who just didn’t fit in the place,” said Sgt. Cervantes.
Minutes after that arrest, a similar call came in around the corner at Butler and Chestnut. As an officer tried to stop a car which was stolen the other night from an apartment complex near Fresno State, the driver and passenger bailed out.
“We had several officers in the area working a DUI saturation patrol, so we got one of the subjects from the vehicle in custody which was the 17-year old passenger,” said Sgt. Anthony Dewall of the Fresno Police Dept.
The driver, 23-year old Christopher Rico, who is a known Bulldog gang member, was caught after being found hiding under a tarp in somebody’s backyard.
“One of the officers standing on the perimeter looked through a knothole in the fence and saw the subject’s hand appearing out from under the blue tarp,” said Sgt. Dewall.
Multiple arrests in very quick fashion. The results fit right in line with the department’s new strategy to deploy more officers on the streets to combat a recent rise in gang violence.
“I believe it’s because of the superior sheer number of officers, the fact we had air support and a K-9 officer out here that we had a successful outcome,” said Sgt. Cervantes.