Crooks using pedal power in NW Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

Recently, homeowners north of Herndon and Marks have reported spotting suspicious looking people on bikes. Residents say, these people appear to be casing the area looking for houses or cars to break into.

Ron Von Tersch has lived in this Northwest Fresno home for 16 years. Five years ago, someone stole his car right out of the driveway. Since then, he's installed a fence, along with outdoor security cameras. But, recently, he has become much more vigilant, especially after he and many of his neighbors have reported seeing bikers casing the area.

Ron Von Tersh said, "You can see them whizzing by or you know, up and down the street and they have a backpack on, you can tell they're not from around here."

The last time he saw a suspicious looking biker was around 5:30 Wednesday morning. Allen and Betty Grubb spotted one Tuesday night. Betty Grubb said, "We've had people robbed. We know. And we just take safeguards."

Neighbors have since sent out e-mails warning one another.

Lieutenant Phil Caporale with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office says, they've received calls regarding these types of cases. He says criminals often use bikes in an effort to not be conspicuous.

Lt. Phil Caporale said, "So they use the bicycle as a conveyance because most people don't pay attention to bike riders moving around their neighborhoods where they might be more suspicious of a vehicle or a group of people walking around who don't live in the area."

Lieutenant Caporale says criminals are opportunists who look for open doors and garages. City wide, burglaries are up 7-point-9-percent for the year. Within the county, they're up nearly six-percent.

Homeowners say they'll continue to keep they're eye out.

"Just be aware, be as sophisticated as they are."

And they're urging everyone to do the same.

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