Serial rooftop burglary suspect nabbed

Watsonville Police officer Collin Travers leads Fermin Sanchez to a patrol car Tuesday after police arrested him on suspicion of making several rooftop burglaries in Watsonville. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE — A suspected serial burglar was arrested Tuesday after surveillance footage helped officers identify and arrest the 32-year-old man who’d developed a reputation of breaking into businesses through the roof. 

Fermin Sanchez is facing several felony charges and is being held on a $100,000 bail. During a month-long investigation, Watsonville Police said, detectives linked Sanchez to five of six rooftop burglaries. Most of the late-night burglaries, in which small amounts of cash and electronics were taken, occurred in the Overlook Shopping Center on Main Street, which houses Target and Food Maxx.

The string of burglaries began Jan. 22 at the GNC vitamin store.

On Feb. 10, Sanchez allegedly climbed the same building and broke into La Buena Taquería, a Mexican food restaurant near Starbucks Coffee.

Two days later he reportedly made his way up another building and gained entry to Wing Stop and the Tutoring Club of Watsonville.

It was his daylight break-in at the AT&T building on 340 Rodriguez St. that led to his first arrest on Feb. 16, police said. That afternoon, someone saw Sanchez on top of the roof and called 911.

“Our officers responded and went inside the building, where K9 Axel found Sanchez hiding on top of a storage cabinet on the third floor,” said Michelle Pulido of WPD.

Sanchez was arrested, later released and ordered to wear a GPS ankle bracelet.

On Tuesday, Sanchez managed to cut off his ankle monitor after breaking into an office building on Main Street and stealing a TV from the fourth floor, police said.

By this time, officers were familiar with Sanchez and immediately recognized him in the surveillance video. Hours later, patrol officers spotted Sanchez in the area of West Lake Avenue and Walker Street. The large flat screen TV he was carrying inside a sleeping bag was recovered and Sanchez was taken to County Jail.

Police believe it’s possible that Sanchez is connected to other rooftop burglaries currently under investigation.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call Detective Ely Uretsky at 768-3356.

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