Fumigation burglaries on the rise, police say

There's been 12 break-ins at buildings while tented up for fumigation

FRESNO, California - Fresno Police are sending out a warning: if you're going to fumigate, burglars might have their eyes on you. Officers in the city's central policing district say there's been an increase of these burglaries in the past year.

In the past 12 months, 12 locations were burglarized when they were tented for fumigation. While it doesn't sound like too much, Lt. Rob Beckwith, the operations commander for the central policing district, said it's unique to see this many.

He adds the fumigation process leaves buildings very vulnerable for days.

"Part of the process requires these companies to leave certain parts of the home unsecured for aeration purposes," Beckwith said. "I believe that's part of the state law as well."

Most of the targets were south of Shields Avenue, between Palm and Maroa avenues.

Beckwith advises if you're going to fumigate, take your valuables with you. You should invest in surveillance cameras if you haven't. It's also helpful to get some extra sets of eyes on your property.

"At the very least, [people should] ask their neighbors to keep an eye on their house. Look for people that might be walking around or casing the house," Beckwith said.

Several people living in the Tower District neighborhood said they'll be concerned if a fumigation tent pops up on their street.

Hi-Top Coffee is close to Ultimate Airbrush & Screenprinting, a business that was fumigating when burglars broke in about a week and a half ago.

One of the owners, Spencer Suvanto, calls the crimes disheartening. It's made him and his staff more cautious for the time being.

"Make sure that we're being responsible and that we're being safe with everything. Also making sure that the doors are locked [and everybody's safe]," Suvanto said.

Beckwith said his district has been in contact with several fumigation companies. The companies will be sending police a weekly list of future fumigation sites -- so police can keep a close eye on them. Hopefully, deterring criminals from breaking in.

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