Police hope Visalia burglary spree is over


Visalia Police haven't connected all the burglaries to the group of young men arrested on Wednesday but there are similarities. In each of the nearly three dozen break-ins the thieves kicked in a door to gain access. In the latest attempt, they couldn't get in the door, and went through a window instead. They were spotted by a neighbor, who called police and lead to the immediate arrests of four suspects.

News that a home just across the street was the latest target of Visalia's day-time break in spree was unsettling to Karen Donahue.

"Too close for comfort. Gave me Goosebumps. Look at that. That's just too close."

But Karen and her husband Norm are relieved that four suspects in the break-in were immediately arrested. Police credit quick action by another neighbor.

Sgt. Steve Phillips, Visalia Police Department said, "Neighbors actually called in and reported the subjects could be suspicious, doing a burglary."

The neighbor who did not want to be identified said one suspect jumped a fence. There was a loud crash, then a burglar alarm sounded and the suspect ran out. She called police and officers responded quickly. They arrested 18 year old Richard Pennington, and a 14 year old boy running from the scene. A short distance away they found another man, 19 year old Jose Gonzales and a 17 year old boy waiting in a suspected get-away car.

Phillips said catching the suspects in an apparent act is a bonus: "It's pretty rare to get someone who is actually in the process of doing a burglary like that, so we are very fortunate."

Police are examining home surveillance camera video from other break-ins to see if they can see a link to the suspects now in custody. They can't say if these four are the same group responsible for the three dozen other break-ins, but there's Norm hope this string of burglaries is over, thanks to watchful neighbors.

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