Jul 14, 2014 9:06 PM by Lupita Murillo
TUCSON - A serial burglar is finally behind bars after a string of break-ins in an eastside neighborhood.
Pima County Sheriff's detectives say he's responsible for stealing about $100,000 worth of items.
Detectives are thanking the neighbors for coming together to help deputies catch the burglar.
Last week, the Burglary Unit arrested 50-year-old Robert Sanchez and charged him with burglary and being a prohibitive possessor.
Detective Dave Tarnow had been working a string of burglaries on Old Spanish Trail. He even had a surveillance video of one of the burglaries that occurred in March.
The video went out to the public but he didn't get any response. It wasn't until the Old Spanish Trail Neighborhood watch group came together to help the Sheriff's Department.
Detective Tarnow says he canvassed the areas, spoke to neighbors, and learned a silver color van had been in the area. One resident caught the vehicle on a surveillance camera.
Joann Weinstein, heads the Neighborhood Watch program. She says residents were up in arms over the burglaries.
Jeff Liverman was one of the victims. He said they "took jewelry, money, safe, guns, cash, passports, and social security cards."
The Rincon Patrol division along with the Directed Patrol Unit began looking for the silver van. A deputy located it, questioned the driver and learned it was 50-year-old Robert Sanchez.
They let him go and began gathering intelligence on him and also conducting surveillance. Detective Tarnow said they followed him to a west side neighborhood where he burglarized a home.
Sgt. Pat Hilliker said they stopped him afterwards. "We found stolen property in his van, the van was seized and he was booked into the Pima County Jail." They also seized another vehicle.
Detective Tarnow said, "I can't stress enough how important the neighborhood watch program is and vigilant neighbors pays off."
He searched the van, and found weapons, as well as items that had been taken in the burglary. He also searched Sanchez' home and found items from other burglaries.
News 4 Crime Trackers searched the web, and found Sanchez spent 10 years in prison for burglary.
The Old Spanish Trail Neighborhood association was relieved to hear he had been arrested, however, they're not letting their guard down.
Jeff Liverman added, "We're a team and we're going to get this taken care of one way or the other so it was a very good accomplishment." He also gave credit to Weinstein for spearheading the effort.