Former Fresno County health officer kidnapped and robbed

October 7, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno police are looking for a gunman who kidnapped and robbed a former Fresno County official.

Police said the suspect entered Casagrandes home Monday morning shortly after Casagrande's wife left for work. Police think the robber may have thought the house was empty but he surprised Casagrande. The suspect knocked Casagrande around and threatened him at gunpoint before forcing him into his own car. Casagrande was bound and blindfolded on a nightmarish ride from one end of town to the other.

Police were called to the house in Northeast Fresno after Casagrandes son came by to take his Dad golfing. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer provided the details during a late afternoon news conference. "When he went inside he said the house appeared to be ransacked there was blood inside of the residence." Dyer said

Police arrived and immediately started looking for Casagrande. They determined his ATM card had been used at two different banks. A short time later police got a call from a woman in West Fresno who had been flagged down by Casagrande. He was cut and bruised and badly shaken. Dyer said the suspect surprised Casagrande in bed.

"He was startled by an African American male that was standing close to him. This individual had on a blue bandana that was partially covering his face and he was armed with a handgun." Dyer said.

Casagrande told police he had been driven to gas stations and banks and at one point his abductor met with other men at an apartment complex. Casagrande said he could not see the men because his head was covered by the suspect. Casagrande was left in his car near Clara and Belgravia in West Fresno. Casagrande was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

"We don't know if this house was a random target or if it was selected but what we believe is this individual went in with the purpose of committing a burglary and went in armed with a handgun and then committed a robbery and ultimately a kidnapping," Dyer said.

Casagrande's neighbor, Kelsy Crusha, said it is frightening to know this happened right next door.

"It's really unnerving that you can't be safe in your home in broad daylight in a good part of town. You wonder what you can do anymore to keep safe and your family safe it's scary" Crusha said.

Police say the robber took three shotguns from the home. Casagrande's wife told police she saw a young man matching the description of the suspect walking through the neighborhood as she was driving to work. He is described only as an African American male in his 20's. He was wearing a black sweatshirt and was carrying a black backpack.


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