Police begin search for loot

By Reggie Ellis

Since the beginning of the year, nearly 400 items have been stolen in the city of Exeter, quite a lot for a town of 10,000 people.

According to the Exeter Police Department, thieves have taken everything from wedding flutes and electronics to clothing and even groceries.

&#8220Most of the items have been stolen during home invasions and burglaries,” Sgt. Celis Rabena said as he briefed a roomful of officers from Exeter, Farmersville, Woodlake and Porterville police department, state parole and Tulare County probation and the Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (INET). They were all at the Exeter Police Department on Jan. 20 to do spot searches of known juvenile and adult offenders on parole or probation living in Exeter.

The officers split up into teams and caravanned around the city hitting each of the parole/probation homes. In the 200 block of B Street, officers discovered an adult living in a trailer behind his mother's home, had violated his probation by using methamphetamine. He was arrested and transported back to the police station, while one of the female officers reminded his girlfriend, who was on juvenile probation, that she was also in trouble for being with someone on parole.

Inside the home, his mother and relatives were unfazed by the search, continuing to have their morning cup of coffee. They said that police searches are common at their house, happening at least a few times a year. No stolen items were found, and as the officers walked away the relatives told the officers &#8220goodbye” and to &#8220have a nice day.”

In the 200 block of Frances Avenue, officers searched two male and one female juvenile and one adult. One officer noticed that one of the teens, a boy, had pupils that were constricted to a pinpoint. They found he was in possession of marijuana and skipping school, both violations of his probation. Again, no stolen property was found.

The first break in recovering stolen items was in the 300 block of Filbert Road, when officers found a mini-motorcycle that had been reported stolen. However, the motorcycle had been stolen more than a year ago, so was not necessarily related to the recent crime spree. The suspect returned to his parents' home to find officers waiting for him. After interviewing him, officers arrested him on theft charges.

&#8220We don' know what to do with him,” his mother said. &#8220My husband tell him he can't bring stolen things here but he does it anyway. We going to put him to work, but he no want to work. I don' know what to do.”

In all, four arrests were made during the citywide operation, two adults and two juveniles. Of the 32 probation searches and 9 parole searches, only a few stolen items were recovered. But Sgt. Rabena said the information obtained during the operation is often more useful than recovering stolen items.

&#8220With the information from those we arrested and others we contacted, we are step closer in the investigation,” Rabena said. &#8220These crimes aren't being committed by one person, so the more names of suspects we get, the more people we can find.”

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