REDLANDS – Police implemented a strategy to corner a man who was suspected of burglarizing a local church, ending a string of thefts after an arrest was made early Tuesday morning.
Leo Ray Perez, 29, was arrested at his home in the 900 block of Calhoun Street, officers having located a laptop computer that had been stolen a short time earlier from a locked storage shed at the Holy Name of Jesus Church on Columbia Street.
Redlands police spokesman Carl Baker said officers learned of several recent thefts from the church at a lunch organized by congregation members last week. Baker said officers “implemented a strategy to identify the thief.”
Baker did not elaborate on the process, saying, “We won’t discuss the investigative techniques used to identify, locate and arrest the suspect.”
The first theft, he said, occurred on New Year’s Eve and was reported immediately. On January 23, officers learned of the additional burglaries.
During the weeks after the initial burglary, other items had been stolen from the church, including a freezer and two griddles. When officers were alerted to a theft in progress on Tuesday, they identified Perez as a suspect.
Baker said officers responded to Perez’s residence, located a short distance from the church, and located the laptop computer hidden inside a washing machine. Officers also located a tool used to pry open the tool shed, it was reported.
Baker said he did not know if Perez attended the church. “Unless it was vital to our investigation,” he said, “we would not release that information, anyway.”
Charges against Perez will be determined by the district attorney, said Baker.
The Press-Enterprise, Redlands: Man arrested today in thefts at church
Redlands Daily Facts, Man arrested on suspicion of burglarizing Redlands church
Patch.com, Police arrest man after church break-in