Fresno burglar caught on camera after 41 arrests

A suspected burglar who can't seem to stay in jail has now been caught on camera.
January 8, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
A suspected burglar who can't seem to stay in jail has now been caught on camera. And a successful Fresno police program may put an end to his year-long crime spree.

Ramon Zaragoza climbed out of the Fresno County jail and into a market within a matter of days. Surveillance video shows him wandering through the store, grabbing small items like cigarettes, and trying to disarm any kind of monitoring system.

Police are familiar with Zaragoza and they typically know where to look for him. When Zaragoza finally worked his way into the store's office, you see a good shot of his face. It's the same face in a series of mug shots over the last 12 months as police arrested him 41 times.

"His charges range from burglary to auto theft, receiving stolen property, so he is certainly a good candidate for one of the beds we have at the jail," said Fresno police Sgt. Mark Hudson.

Fresno police started paying to keep five beds at the county jail back in October, specifically to make sure people like Zaragoza stay there.

The last inmate to find the revolving door suddenly locked was serial burglar Michael Buchanan. Since his arrest last month, burglaries in northeast Fresno have dipped by almost 30%.

"And we can attribute the vast majority of that reduction to the fact that Buchanan is still in custody," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Many of the inmates leave those beds headed for prison, but it's a bit of a juggling game figuring out how to use the beds to make the biggest impact on crime rates.

"The difficulty is prioritizing who occupies those beds," Dyer said. "The beauty is, the individuals we're arresting aren't sure if the beds have their name on them or not."

When police arrested Zaragoza as he left out the back door of the market, the beds were all filled. But his name may be next.

Zaragoza was actually out of jail within hours on Monday. But one of the beds is opening up this week and Fresno police are figuring out who'll be next to fill it.


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