Man steals $8,000 in spent casings from Fresno Peace Officers Range

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A thief made off with thousands of dollars' worth of materials from a shooting range operated by Fresno County sheriffs. (KFSN)

A thief made off with thousands of dollars' worth of materials from a shooting range operated by Fresno County sheriffs.

Officers fire thousands of shots at the Fresno Peace Officers Range each month. And each spent casing is collected and recycled. But recently, the collection was coming up light.

Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said, "Starting at the beginning of the year our training staff out there noticed some of the brass casings were disappearing."

It seems someone had broken into the range and stolen the recyclables. A Sheriff's deputy noticed a hole in this fence and a cut lock and soon he was on the thief's trail.

Botti said, "He noticed some tire tracks from a dolly and he started following those back and it took him down the street on Weber Avenue."

The tracks led to a fence line, about a half mile away. And inside the cluttered backyard, the deputy spotted barrels still filled with spent casings. Detectives believe Osbaldo Blancarte was only recycling a little at a time so as not to raise suspicions. The casings go for about $4 a pound and it can really add up fast.

Botti added, "He probably stole about 2000 pounds and that amounts to about $8,000."

Deputies arrested the suspect last week and he already took a plea deal on Monday calling for four years of probation.

The casings are now stored in a different area.



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