Fresno police believe that they may have helped curtail a theft ring involving big rigs, trailers and the products they carry after a repeat offender was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon in southwest Fresno.
Arrested was Mario Perez, 39, a man that the Career Criminal Auto Theft team believes is a specialist at stealing big rigs. He was detained near Florence and Grace avenues after detectives watched a trailer containing cereal that was taken Wednesday morning west of Highway 99.
Sgt. Tim Tietjen of the auto theft team said that the theft of big rigs and their trailers has spiked recently. A tractor and trailer can easily cost $400,000, and the loss can devastate a small business, he added.
When the trailer was stolen, the crooks left behind the tractor that was towing it. They used another truck to haul away the cargo and Tietjen said that rig had been repainted in an effort to disguise it, indicative of the sophistication of the theft ring.
Also now missing is the original tractor that had been left behind. Tietjen said it could be undergoing repainting in an area chop shop.
As for the cereal in the trailer, Tietjen said its likely that the crooks have a market for that, too.
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