Sharp-eyed Ceres city employee aids arrest

July 11, 2013 

— An alert city of Ceres employee helped catch a suspected serial burglar after seeing a surveillance photo of him on a bulletin at the Ceres Police Department.

A crime analyst had posted the bulletin and notified the public via the police department's Facebook page earlier this week.

Nine homes have been burglarized during the daytime since early June. During many of the burglaries, the home's side garage door was kicked in to gain access.

The majority of the burglaries were concentrated in the area west of Highway 99 and south of Whitmore Avenue.

On Wednesday, the civilian employee saw a man matching the description of the suspect in the 2100 block of Pine Street in Ceres and reported him to dispatch, said police administrator Carissa Higginbotham.

The suspect was identified as 30-year-old transient Eric Black, who police say is the same man seen in the surveillance video taken during one of the burglaries. He is being charged with five burglaries and three attempted burglaries, two of which occurred when someone was home, Higginbotham said.

The case is still under investigation, as detectives hope to recover some of the stolen property, which included firearms, jewelry and electronics.

Detectives urge anyone with information about these cases, people with whom Black associates or the whereabouts of any of the stolen property to contact Detective Smith at (209) 538-5729 or tonya.smith@ci.ceres.ca.us.

Tips can also be anonymously reported to Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at 1-866-60-CRIME. Text tips to "274637" with TIP704 in the wording or go to www.modestopolice.com/crimestoppers.

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