Buyback offered in Central High East robberies

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The investigation into robberies at Central High School East isn't done, but it's already a success.

Students can feel safe at school again. "We've noticed the trend has stopped," said Fresno police detective Pat Mares.

Masked robbers stole jewelry in four attacks on students, but the crimes seem to have stopped about three weeks ago.

In the parking lot just outside Central High School East, and on the streets surrounding the school, students had good reason to not feel safe. Robbers struck at least four times, threatening students at gunpoint and stealing gold jewelry right off their necks.

The crimes started in October and mostly targeted Sikhs. "We picked up on this trend pretty early in November." Detective Mares said. "We had a couple more incidents after we realized the trend and we identified several persons of interest."

Police haven't made any arrests yet in the robberies, but as soon as they started interviewing potential suspects, no more students have been targeted by robbers. Those persons of interest are mostly teenagers and Central Unified students. Police say one of the kids even reached out to a victim, trying to profit from the crimes. "We did have one incident where a juvenile used an Instagram account to attempt to sell his own property back," Mares said. "That juvenile has been dealt with."

Police are still hoping to track down the stolen jewelry, and although the situation has been calm now for three weeks, they aren't taking it for granted. "We're continuing to monitor it," Mares said. "We're continuing to monitor the persons of interest as well. We don't want to see it come back again."

A few students told us the robberies are frightening for them, but they feel good about campus security. Nevertheless, many say they're limiting the jewelry they wear to avoid becoming targets.
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