Ghostbusting Burglars at Wolfe Manor

FRESNO, Calif.

Fires have even been set inside the former sanitarium by vandals and thieves. Action News tracked down some of the people who admit, they break the law to investigate the home's mysterious past.

The evidence is shaky and dark, amateur ghost hunters looking for a haunting experience are posting proof of their break in on the internet.

One group took video and pictures to document their visit, and then shared it on YouTube. We found them with a simple Google search.

Action News tracked down the group posting these videos. They agreed to talk with us, but the day of our scheduled interview, the videos were removed the from the internet and their phone was disconnected.

The suspects voices are clear in the videos, and it didn't take us long to find them, in part due to information provided in the recordings.

Retired Clovis police officer Tom Tucker has investigated crimes at the Clovis Avenue home for more than a decade. "It's not particularly bright but because obviously, if you are able to find them, so if you are able to find them, we're able to find them and we'll be looking for them."

It's unclear if the group is responsible for the latest damage inside the eight-thousand square foot mansion. Shattered windows are boarded up and the basement is littered with bottles of alcohol. Graffiti has marked the walls and owner Todd Wolfe says it's become impossible to keep curious people, out. "They have brought in drills, hammers, they have left their tools behind, so all the windows have been boarded up that they have broken into, so they will take a screw gun and take all the screws out all the way around, take the board off, and then break the window to get into the house."

In the past, the Clovis Police Department put surveillance cameras in to deter burglars, vandals and thieves.

In October of 2005, one camera even captured an intruder stealing a chandelier. He was caught and prosecuted. Tucker says people come from all over the country hoping to tour the home that was built in 1922. Since it's not open to the public, some end up breaking in instead.

Tucker said, "It's become kind of famous because it's just the mystique of old houses and hauntings and stuff and I don't believe in that stuff, but a lot of people do."

The mansions appearance on several cable TV shows, has stirred more to snoop and in turn lured uninvited guests. Break-ins occur weekly, sometimes more often than that.

Wolfe said, "To hear them bragging about what they've done in the past, it's sickening."

Until the mansion is refurbished, both Wolfe and Tucker admit it's a real challenge to keep people out. But Wolfe says he is fed up with fixing the damage.

So now, he says he is trying a new approach. He's installing new security equipment and taking additional steps he's not revealing, with a message to everyone, you never know who is watching.

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