Visalia burglar charged with 29 felonies

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Michael Bradsteen faces 21 years in prison for allegedly burglarizing 14 businesses between November 2018 and January 2019

By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN

VISALIA – A Visalia man is being charged with 29 felonies after robbing 14 businesses in four cities in a span of just two months.

District Attorney Tim Ward announced last week criminal charges against 38-year-old Michael Bradsteen of Visalia for a series of commercial burglaries in numerous Tulare County communities. Bradsteen was charged with 29 felony counts of burglary, grand theft, and vandalism and a further nine misdemeanor counts involving vandalism causing damages in excess of $2,000. The alleged crimes occurred between November 2018 and January 2019 when nearly $55,000 in cash and cell phones were stolen from businesses in Visalia, Farmersville, Porterville, Exeter, and Tulare.

The crimes began on Nov. 9 and Nov. 13 when the burglar broke into T-F Tire Service in Exeter and stole $1,700. On Nov. 27 someone broke into the Chinowth Git & Go in Visalia and stole $17,541. On Nov. 30, the burglar struck twice on Mooney Boulevard. About $4,500 was stolen from Tacos El Grullo and, while nothing was reported stolen, the burglar caused more than $400 damage to a door while attempting to rob Baskin Robbins. The burglaries went quiet for a few weeks until Rock Yard Tavern in Exeter was broken into on Dec. 12 and Kaweah High School in Exeter on Dec. 17. Someone broke into Black Bear Diner on Mooney Boulevard on Dec. 20 and stole $1,500. On Dec. 27 a Ford Mustang was reported stolen from Avis Rent-A-Car in downtown. On Dec. 29, someone broke into Las Playas in Visalia damaging a door. The burglar returned to Exeter on Jan. 2 and damaged a door and a window while breaking into Quality Self Storage and L.B. That same night, El Tarasco and Dimples Diner in Visalia were also hit. From Jan. 3-9, Cricket Wireless stores in Visalia, Tulare, and Farmersville. The burglar made off with $4,500 in cash and $25,000 worth of cell phones.

While investigating the commercial burglaries in Visalia, detectives with the Visalia Police Department’s Property Crimes Unit realized the same suspect was committing all of the crimes because they had similar modus operandi. The suspect would enter the business in the early morning hours prior to employees arriving for the day and flee before police were contacted by alarm companies. Most of the burglaries were at restaurants were the suspect would enter and take or force entry into the business’s safes. When they reached out to Farmersville, Exeter and Tulare they were able to identify Bradsteen as the suspect. On Jan. 10, detectives located Bradsteen in the 1400 block of E. Ferguson in Visalia and he was taken into custody. With the assistance of the Exeter Police Department, detectives served a search warrant at Bradsteen’s home where they found evidence linking him to the crimes.

Bradsteen was arraigned on the charges on Jan. 16 and will return to court on Jan. 25, 2019, for a preliminary hearing conference and bail hearing in Department 3. Bail is currently set at $995,000. If convicted on all counts, Bradsteen faces up to 21 years and eight months of local prison (county jail). Bradsteen also possesses 17 prior felony commercial burglary convictions.

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