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SE Fresno "smash and grab" burglary suspect in custody

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fresno Police believe they've caught a man responsible for a number of "smash and grab" burglaries in Southeast Fresno. One of the break-ins happened Tuesday morning at Kim's Donuts shop on Chestnut and Butler.

In the store surveillance video released by police, the suspect is seen shattering the door window with a piece of cement. He then walks in and makes his way to the other side of the counter.

"He came in, walked in just like that, grabbed the register, the whole register and just took off - in an out for like less than a minute," said store manager Mena Hun.

The hooded suspect fled Kim's Donuts store early Tuesday morning but didn't make it too far. A security guard saw him get on his bicycle with the register in hand. It only had about $20 in change. When police arrived on scene, they found the suspect hiding on the roof near the donut shop.

"He initially refused to come down off the building. A K-9 officer arrived on the scene with his K-9 and at that point he surrendered to officers," said Sgt. Mark Hudson with the Fresno Police Department.

The man has been identified as 39 year old James Whitaker. Investigators believe he's connected to several "smash and grab" burglaries in the area.

"We found out that Whitaker is a recently release parole, he's been arrested numerous times - since 1989 - he was actually arrested for burglary 12 times," said Hudson.

The cash register was returned with a few scratches. Owners replaced the $200 door but this is the second time they've been hit. Mena Hun is afraid she'll fall victim again since Whitaker has already been released from jail.

"It's really hard for us, small businesses like us, we work so hard to make a living and what they do, they just come in and break it like that," said Hun.

Other businesses in the shopping mart have also been targeted. Over the weekend, a liquor store's window was smashed in but what kept the would-be burglar out were the bars on the windows - something Hun plans to put up in her own shop to deter intruders.

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Tags:
crimetracker, burglary, caught on tape, fresno, fresno southeast, fresno county, local, carlos saucedo
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