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Imperial police nab Sandalwood Glen burglar

September 18, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — The man responsible for burglarizing seven homes in the Sandalwood Glen subdivision here was arrested by police last week and confessed to the crimes.

Ernesto Salcedo Cortez, a Calexico resident who turns 24 Wednesday, was arrested after a tip police officers were following pointed to him, Imperial police Investigator Tim Ramos said.

Over the past month, a burglar now thought to be Cortez sporadically burglarized homes in the subdivision, taking items such as stereo equipment, video games and jewelry while residents slept, Ramos said.

He entered the homes through unsecured or open garage doors, usually between 2 and 5 a.m. on weekends, Ramos said.

Cortez frequented a residence on La Brucherie Road near the subdivision. From that home, he would case the neighborhood on a bicycle, noting at which houses he heard barking dogs and those houses without, Ramos said.

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Cortez told investigators he would return later to burglarize those homes at which he hadn't heard dogs, Ramos said.

Officers found stolen property at the home on La Brucherie, Ramos said. Though investigators suspect some juveniles were involved also, they did not have enough evidence to charge the youths, Ramos said.

Cortez remained in the county jail this morning on $25,000 bail.

Ramos made some common sense recommendations for residents of any community to prevent burglaries. People should lock exterior doors and pay attention to activity in their neighborhoods. He also suggested that residents notify police or a trusted neighbor when leaving their home for an extended period.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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