Fresno cops assemble Career Burglar Apprehension Team

FRESNO, Calif.

Police say home burglaries and commercial crime has grown to a level that requires a specialized approach.

Just like the Career Criminal Auto Theft Team targets car thieves, the CBAT Team will target burglars.

Burke Farrah with the Fresno Police Department said, "If you thought we hated car thieves, I really hate burglars. I've been the victim of a burglary and I did not appreciate it. I don't think anybody should have the right to come into someone's home and take their stuff."

The team is expected to hit the streets in early July. Officers plan to use informants and surveillance as they follow around and arrest the busiest burglars in Fresno.

Even though burglary is considered a nonviolent property crime- the chief says it's a growing problem. More people are victims, and many burglars are armed.

Chief Jerry Dyer said, "The truth of the matter is, people that are burglars today, could be murderers tomorrow. When they break into a home and have a confrontation with a victim."

Officers assigned to the team will also be flashing photos of the top five burglars, so the community knows who to watch out for in their neighborhood. The CBAT team will also be following the trail of stolen goods.

Farrah added, "We look not just at the crime they are committing, but the property they are taking, where that property is showing up for sale, we'll be looking at pawn shop operations, craigslist, swap meets, we'll be everywhere."

Since 2007, every year the number of burglaries has climbed in Fresno, from ten, to now nearly 16.

Like many other crimes, officers say many burglars are also involved in selling and using drugs, identity theft, auto theft and other crimes.

Investigators will work to track criminal patterns, so when suspects are sentenced- it means more time in prison.

One sergeant and six officers will work only burglary cases. They will identify trends and help detectives and patrol officers start and finish investigations before burglars move on to their next crime.

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