Fresno jewelry burglary could be connected to Harris Ranch theft, deputies say

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Surveillance video of a theft at a Northwest Fresno store on Saturday caught the attention of the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.

Public Information Officer Tony Botti says there are several similarities between this theft and with an incident back in February that happened at Harris Ranch near Coalinga.

Tony Botti of the Fresno County Sheriff's Department said, "These folks are obviously very skilled in this. They have this motive that they think that works. We believe that they travel up and down the state trying to pull this off, get the clerks attention so that they can do a quick grab and get out of there."

The technique of a group of people going into a store while half of the group with a small child distracts an employee cost the Harris Ranch country store an unknown amount of money that was taken from a safe.

"I think what happens is the more and more that these people do this they just try to identify the certain locations where stuff is more likely kept."

Botti says four of the eight suspects in the Harris Ranch case were identified but the District Attorney's Office decided not to file charges.

He adds if Fresno police make progress with their investigation of the Sohna Jewelers and Fabric theft the sheriff's department will reintroduce their case to the DA's office.

In the meantime, the sheriff's department says store owners should not let their guard down.

Botti said, "If you are a retail clerk and you are lucky enough to have someone else working with you and a large crowd comes in, you know develop a plan to keep an eye on them don't lose sight of what you are doing."

Now Fresno police have not made an arrest in their case. Investigators believe weapons were not used in either case.

If caught the suspects will likely face burglary or conspiracy charges.
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