FRESNO – Thanks to a special task force of law enforcement officials, 18 suspects have been arrested in connection to home invasion robberies that have been happening throughout Fresno County.
Since June of last year, at least six home invasions have occurred in Fresno, as well as smaller cities in the county, including Reedley, Sanger and Selma. The Tulare County city of Dinuba was also hit.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said that the robberies were thought out and well organized. Investigators believe 11 of the suspects arrested worked together to commit the crimes, while the other suspects worked in groups of twos or threes.
Mims said that the robbers used surveillance to identify their victims and then posed as census workers or tree trimmers to force their way into the homes.
“And in one case they actually took a photograph of the child in the house. (They) threatened if they did call police, they had a picture of the child, knew what they looked like, and would harm them,” Mims said.
Mims credited the creation of the Fresno County Home Invasion Robbery Task Force in September for the arrests. The task force includes officers from the sheriff’s department, SWAT teams, MAGEC, and local police agencies.
While jewelry has yet to be recovered, the task force did help uncover $25,000 in cash, along with eight weapons ranging from pistols to one automatic shotgun that was also seized during the serving of dozens of search warrants.
Mims said that most of the suspects arrested are in their late teens to mid-30s.
Mims warned that even though they have these men in custody, residents of Fresno County should not become complacent.
“There are people out there that might have a plan to do something like this again,” she said.
Lorenzo Reyna contributed to this report.