Some of the video surveillance cameras dotted around Arroyo Grande’s downtown Village area have helped police identify a burglary suspect who recently smashed the window of a local shop and fled with high-priced jewelry.
Police plan to file felony burglary charges with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office against Frederick Terri, a 40-year-old Santa Maria resident who is currently in custody at Santa Barbara County Jail on an unrelated case.
Police Chief Steve Annibali said Terri broke into the Antique Mart, in the 100 block of East Branch Street, about 2:50 a.m. on July 19 and headed straight for two display cases containing higher-priced jewelry.
Using video from the surveillance cameras, which were installed in the Village earlier this year, police were able to obtain a description of the suspect, who was dressed in full camouflage clothing, including a floppy hat, gloves and a backpack.
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They observed the suspect, Terri, leaving the scene on a bicycle and riding through Olohan Alley and over the Swinging Bridge, dropping jewelry along the way. Police believe he left in a vehicle parked along Mason Street.
Following a tip from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, Arroyo Grande police identified a suspect who was arrested by Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies the same day. Arroyo Grande detectives interviewed Terri and said he confessed to the alleged burglary.
Detectives said they wouldn’t have been able to find the suspect without the surveillance footage. “It narrows our suspects down tremendously,” Annibali said.
Annibali said a final inventory of the jewelry taken, and its value, is still being determined.
He hopes that the video cameras also help police solve an unrelated burglary of Ira’s Bike Shop that happened in the early morning hours of July 13. Surveillance footage shows a man who used a rock from the nearby creek to smash the bike store’s window before riding down Bridge Street on a $300 BMX bike.
Police believe the man lives locally because he appears in the video to be very familiar with his surroundings, Annibali said. He described the man as 18 to 30 years old and wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, gloves and long pants.