Santa-clad man caught breaking into building in Visalia


VISALIA – Santa came to Visalia early this year. Unfortunately, he wasn’t supposed to be there, and he wasn’t leaving presents.

On March 24, at approximately 3:52 p.m., Visalia Police Officers responded to the area of W. Monte Vista and Woodland, after a witness called police stating a subject, Robert Pope, 28, was attempting to break into a building in that area.

According to the Visalia police department the witness also stated the subject was armed with a “box cutter” and had threatened to kill her when asked what he was doing. The witness further described the suspect as wearing a “santa hat”.

Officers arrived in the area and located Pope, still wearing the “santa hat” near Whitendale and Mooney Blvd. A K-9 officer made contact with Pope and attempted to detain him. Pope was armed with a metal pole which was later determined to have been stolen from the residence he tried to illegally enter. Pope refused commands to stop and attempted to run away. He was apprehended by the police K-9 and transported by officers to Kaweah Delta Medical Clinic where he was treated for his injuries.

Once Pope was treated he was released from Kaweah Delta and booked at the Adult Pre-Trial Facility for Attempted Burglary, Criminal Threats, Resisting Arrest and Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance.

Visalia Police Logs

Saturday, March 23

At approximately 6:21 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 2500 blk of N Court regarding a subject who had been struck in the head with a bottle by an unknown suspect. The adult male victim was transported to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

While officers were en route to the previous call, they were flagged down by an adult female victim, who reported someone had chased her. A description was provided of the suspect, who was subsequently located by officers, and taken into custody. The suspect was a 16-year-old male who had swung a knife towards the victim, missing her. No injuries were received by the victim. The suspect did not comply with directives and was subsequently taken into custody for assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest, and providing false information to a peace officer.

At approximately 1:52 a.m. officers with the Visalia Police Department responded to a residence in the 4100 block of S. Bridge regarding an in-progress trespassing call. The residence in questions was recently deemed unsafe to occupy by city officials. Upon arrival 3 subjects were located inside the home and arrested. During the course of the investigation officers located evidence of narcotics sales, to include narcotics, scales, packaging material, and U.S. Currency. As a result Carina Serrano, 40, of Visalia was arrested for narcotics sales. The other subjects were arrested for criminal trespassing and possession of narcotics.

Thursday, March 21

At 3 p.m., officers were dispatched to the area of St. Johns/Burke in regards to a transient that was acting erratically. While in route, it was learned that the suspect, Shawn Gill, had threatened to kill a resident in the area and had thrown a box cutter at the victim. The victim received a minor injury as a result of being struck by the box cutter. Upon arrival, officers located Gill and he ran from the officers. After a chase, Gill was apprehended. After being taken to Kaweah for a medical clearance, Gill was booked at Pre-Trial for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Criminal Threats, Prowling, and Resisting Arrest.

Wednesday, March 20

At 8:30 p.m., patrol officers responded to Mooney/Whitendale in regards to a man with a knife. Upon arrival, officers learned that the suspect approached the victim’s vehicle on foot while the victim was stopped at a red light. The suspect produced a kitchen knife and demanded the victim drive the suspect from the area. The suspect tried to steal the victim’s wallet from the center console, but the victim was able to retrieve it back from the suspect. The suspect fled on foot prior to police arrival. No injuries were sustained and no property was taken. A CHP helicopter assisted in attempting to locate the suspect. The case will be forwarded to the Violent Crimes Unit for follow up investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Anonymous Tip Line at 559-713-4738.

Tuesday, March 19

At 7:36 p.m., officers were dispatched to the area of W. Robin and N. Conyer for a report of shots fired. Officers arrived on scene and witnesses directed them to a house on the 800 Block of W. Wren. Officers made contact with Jorge Rojas, 29, in the garage area of the house, and located a handgun nearby. Further investigation determined Rojas was responsible for firing several shots from his handgun outside his home. Rojas was arrested and transported to the Adult Pre-Trial Facility where he was booked for negligent discharge of a firearm.

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