Police, Religion

CHPD seeks to identify church burglary suspect who brought kids along

Burglary suspects, church burglary, citrus heights
Police released two images from surveillance video on Thursday that appear to show a Citrus Heights church burglary suspect. Faces of juveniles were blocked out prior to the images being released. // Images courtesy, CHPD

Sentinel staff report–
At first glance, surveillance images released this week by Citrus Heights police appear to show a group of kids in a Sunday school room with a teacher. But with the church reporting stolen property and a time stamp on one image showing 1:50 a.m., Citrus Heights police confirmed the images show the burglary of a local church on Old Auburn Road — involving an adult suspect and what appears to be several young children.

“This burglary in particular is concerning to us because it looks like the suspect brought several juveniles with him, which put them in harms way,” Lt. David Gutierrez told The Sentinel on Friday. “At least a couple of those children appear really young and likely weren’t there for the purpose of burglarizing.”

Time stamps on the two surveillance images indicate the adult suspect was either inside the church for over two hours, or entered the building and then left and returned later, Lt. Gutierrez said, confirming that the time stamps are both considered accurate. The first time stamp shows a close-up image of the man’s face at 11:28 p.m. on July 26, with no children present, and the second time stamp at 1:50 a.m. on July 27 appears to show the same man in a room with at least five individuals who appear to be juveniles.

The lieutenant said the individuals shown in the surveillance video were “in a room that they should not have been” and said they broke into the church “for the purpose of stealing property and were committing a crime.” He did not specify additional details about the burglary, but said the incident is still under investigation.

“I feel confident we’re going to identify this guy,” the lieutenant said, adding that police are seeking to “interview him as it relates to the investigation.” He said anyone with information about the identity of the man shown in the images is asked to contact the Citrus Heights Police Department at (916) 727-5500.

The name of the church involved was not released by police, but Gutierrez said the incident occurred on the 7800 block of Old Auburn Road.

See latest Citrus Heights arrest logs: click here

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