Video Leads Police to Burglary, Auto Theft Suspects

A witness was fast with a video camera and Visalia area agencies were fast with their detective work on March 9, putting and end to two Visalia men’s quick getaway in a stolen truck.

Visalia Police officers were on a call, investigating the a burglary and a stolen pickup truck, when the Tulare County Reduce Auto Theft Team, or T-RATT, joined the crime solving effort, according to Visalia Police Detective Dale Rush, a member of the multi-agency team. The burglary call indicated that the suspects had just left the home they broke into.

Witnesses reported that there were two vehicles in the area, associated with the burglary, and one witness even took videotape of the vehicles, according to Det. Rush.

While Visalia police talked to the witnesses, T-RATT members were on the lookout for the vehicles, a car and a 1993 GMC pickup with a trailer attached. The video revealed the license plates on the truck and the trailer — one belonging to the stolen vehicle, and one belonging to someone else — and T-RATT officers went to the home of the trailer owner’s home, Det. Rush said.

When T-RATT officers talked to the trailer owner, “he said ‘I loaned it to a neighbor over there named Chris.’” and pointed to a neighboring house, at 3134 E. College Ave., in Visalia. This is the home of Christopher Russi.

Officers talked to a resident of the home who indicated Russi was out with Larry Padilla 32, and she described the car they were in. It matched the description of the car provided by the witnesses in the burglary.

When Russi came home a short time later, officers were there to talk to him about the burglary and the auto theft, Det. Rush said. Items from the burglary were found in Russi’s car, according to Visalia police reports.

Officers then went to the last known address of Padilla, 148 S. Arkle St. in Visalia, and found Padilla there. A few houses down, at a previous residence of Padilla’s, the officers found some of the stolen items from the burglary.

Padilla and Russi led police to the stolen truck with the borrowed trailer, and the two were arrested on charges of auto theft, burglary and conspiracy to commit felony burglary, according to Det. Rush.


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