PD: Violent criminal arrested for kidnapping former Fresno Co official

Police say security video played a key role in tracking down a violent kidnapper.
October 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police say security video played a key role in tracking down a violent kidnapper. Twenty-year-old Renard Brooks is in jail, accused of attacking, kidnapping and robbing former Fresno County Director of Emergency Management Tim Casagrande.

Casagrande told Action News he's certainly grateful Fresno Police detectives tracked Brooks down. Casagrande was in too much pain now for a TV interview. He says when Brooks broke into his home he had no time to react and just switched into survival mode.

Police say Renard Brooks is a violent man with a history of crime sprees throughout Fresno.

"He's a coward," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said in a Tuesday news conference. "He preys on elderly victims." This time the pattern changed and the victim was likely an unintended target.

Chief Dyer says Brooks broke into the home of Tim Casagrande, a former Fresno County official, moments after his wife left for work on October 7th.

"He was truly a victim," Dyer said. "We don't know why he was targeted. It could have been anyone. But I do know this thing could have turned out a lot worse than it did."

Police says Brooks robbed and roughed up Casagrande, causing a concussion and injuring his back.

"The property that was taken was three shot guns, there was some jewelry, which included a watch and a male's wedding band that belonged to Tim Casagrande," Dyer said.

Police tied Brooks to the crimes after one of his relatives confronted him about a surveillance picture investigators released to Action News. Chief Dyer says Brooks denied being the man in this picture.

But Dyer says there's also video from a FAX bus showing Brooks hop on at First and Tulare in Southeast Fresno then get off at Millbrook and Nees in Northeast Fresno minutes before the violent crime spree. Witnesses also reported spotting brooks in the neighborhood.

Dyer says Brooks drove a blindfolded Casagrande to a downtown Fresno gas station, forcing him to pay for gas.

The two then went to an ATM down the street where the suspect photo was captured. Dyer says Brooks forced Casagrande to release his pin number and withdrawal several hundred dollars.

Police served a search warrant at Brooks' apartment in Southeast Fresno, where the Chief says he was found wearing Casagrande's stolen jewelry. Dyer also says Brooks has carjacked several elderly woman in the past, threatening several with a gun and another with a knife. Court records show he was sentenced to nearly six years of lockup. He was paroled in September.


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