A career criminal was charged Thursday with the kidnapping, carjacking and robbery of a former Fresno County official who was taken on a terrifying ride for several hours on Oct. 7 before being left in a southwest Fresno alley.
Renard Brooks, 27, pleaded not guilty in Fresno County Superior Court to 12 felony charges that include kidnap, carjacking, robbery, burglary, criminal threats and auto theft.
Police arrested Brooks on Oct. 14, one week after he was suspected of kidnapping Tim Casagrande, 58 and a former county director of environmental health, from his northeast Fresno home.
Brooks, armed with a gun, tied up Casagrande and covered his face with a shirt, police said. He then stole Casagrande's wedding ring, three shotguns, jewelry, a watch, golf clubs and men's suits, according to police Chief Jerry Dyer.
While kidnapped, Brooks allegedly forced Casagrande to buy fuel at a gas station and withdraw $300 from an ATM in downtown Fresno. Brooks later parked the car in an alley and told Casagrande, who was tied up in the back seat, to "count to 99" as Brooks made his escape, Dyer said. Casagrande then untied himself and sought help. Video from the ATM ultimately led to Brooks' capture, Dyer said.
The criminal complaint says Brooks has several prior convictions, including for auto theft in 2006, possession of a firearm by a felon in 2007 and carjacking in 2009.
He is being held in Fresno County Jail without bail.
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