Teenage serial burglar, 14, arrested in Merced

MERCED, Calif.

Detectives say the young suspect was already on an ankle monitor when they arrested him for burglarizing three homes in north Merced and one in the Central area on Monday. Now they're hoping his confession will make other residents more aware.

Detectives say he confessed to walking around the area between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m., waiting for people to leave for work.

Capt. Tom Trindad said, "He mentioned he was planning on doing at least 1 burglary a week, and that was his goal to find at least one residence to break into steal stuff."

Mike Van Zile lives near one of the homes that was targeted. He says neighbors here look out for one another, but it's easy to see how a teenager would go unnoticed.

Mike said, "I'm pretty concerned about that because usually I'm here and there's a lot of kids because of the school, there's a lot of kids walking around."

Police say the young suspect was arrested several times in the past for residential burglaries and was already on an ankle monitor when he was caught.

"It does go to say that unfortunately he's not getting the message," said Capt. Tom Trindad. "People are trying really hard to show him a different light, and unfortunately he's still choosing a path of breaking into people's homes."

Captain Tom Trindad says the suspect sold all of the stolen items on the streets before his arrest, but officers glad to have him in custody before he can hurt anyone else.

"It's very rewarding to know he's not going to break in to any other homes, especially during this time of year," said Capt. Tom Trindad said. "People save up all year to buy Christmas gifts for loved ones and the fact somebody goes in there without any regard and steals something it's painful."

The teen had also had an active arrest warrant for violating probation. He's now booked into juvenile hall. Police are still investigating whether he may have had an accomplice. They're also looking into whether information from his ankle monitor could provide more details.

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