Suspect arrested for breaking into Fresno Fire Department, stealing government van from Selma Marine Corps recruitment center

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SELMA, California (KSEE) – A cross-city crime spree ended in an arrest in Selma Monday. 

Selma resident, Rene Castellanos, 34, is accused of ransacking a Marine Corps recruitment center and stealing one of its government vans.

After a short stay in the Fresno County Jail, police say he then broke into Fresno Fire Department’s headquarters and tried to steal a truck. 

The start of his crime spree was caught on camera in Selma. Around 10 p.m. Sunday night, Castellanos is seen walking by the Selma Police Department and using his boot to smash the door of next door Camacho Tire Service. 

“We’ve been here five years and never experience nothing like that,” said employee, Miguel Adame.
Adame said he didn’t steal anything inside and they’ve since fixed the door. Selma Police Chief Joseph Gomez says about 40 minutes later Castellanos broke in and ransacked the Marine Corps Recruitment Center, stealing items and a government van. 

(Courtesy: Selma Police Department)

Shortly after, officers stopped him for driving without lights on. Castellanos was booked into the Fresno County Jail at 2:45 a.m. on multiple charges, all of which qualified him for zero dollar bail and he was released less than two hours later.

Police say once he was released he hopped a fence at Fresno Fire Department’s headquarters and threw a rock into one of the department’s trucks, used to transport resources to fires or items to community events. He damaged the car and tried to start it but was unsuccessful, according to the fire department. Security cameras captured Castellanos then breaking into the building around 5:45 a.m. just minutes before the next shift started. 

“I’m sure somebody drove past him as they drove up, it was that close,” said Battalion Chief Brian Price.

Inside, he broke into several closets, stole snacks, a radio, computer, and uniforms. 

“It’s disheartening, it’s frustrating, you know we want to do our job and it’s frustrating to come to find the tools required to do our job have now been rendered inoperable or stolen,” said Battalion Chief Price.

Chief Gomez says Castellanos then went back to Selma where he encountered police again after his neighbor called saying he threatened to kill somebody and was “going to sacrifice” them.

(Courtesy: Selma Police Department)

After a fight with officers in the same area, he was arrested for the stolen van a day before, Castellanos was tased and taken to the hospital for evaluation, still wearing Fresno Fire Deputy Chief Johnathon Chew’s shirt. 

“It’s a very unusual story and fortunately no one got hurt in any of this and I’m hoping they keep him in jail for quite a while,” said Chief Gomez.

Authorities were able to recover most of the stolen items with the exception of the laptop from Fresno Fire headquarters. 

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