Posted 9:00 PM 11/20/2012 : Crime Trackers: Fugitive Unit hunts down Tucson's violent criminals
TUCSON-Anytime day or night, the Fugitive Investigative Strike team known as "FIST" is out tracking down "wanted criminals."
On the the day News 4 Tucson's Lupita Murillo rode along with them, Sgt. Pat McGhee and his unit were looking for a homicide suspect. "When we get those warrants we use every resource we have to try and locate these people and get them off the streets," Sgt. McGhee said.
The sooner the better, because sometimes those suspects commit more crimes, he adds. We can't reveal exactly how detectives go about finding the fugitives - just know detectives are on it. "We probably have 10 or 12 officers out right now in different locations around the city, watching in different places, in cars and stuff," Sgt. McGhee said.
Among those on the FIST Unit is a 21-year-veteran detective. News 4 is protecting his identity for his safety. He says, "They can run they can hide, but eventually they're going to be caught."
Just ask Joey Grajeda, wanted for home invasion, kidnapping, assault and deadly weapons charges. It involved a case on October 28 that was caught on home surveillance video. The camera shows Grajeda's father Gilbert pointing a gun and dragging the homeowner into the house. Joey is seen going into the house. The detective says, "It was a high-risk felony warrant because of the nature of his crimes. When we approached the house where we thought he might be, we were lucky enough to catch him outside of the house sitting on the stairs."
But finding their man is not always that easy. Dalton Renwick was found hiding. "He was found barricaded underneath some wall unit with clothing and such in front of him, he came out when he was found and drug out," the detective said.
Detectives say it's very dangerous because many times these suspects are high on drugs or alcohol, or have weapons - that's why they need to be taken off the street to protect the public.
The FIST unit recieves about 800 felony warrants a year. Last year they arrested 550 people. So far this year, they have picked up 450 individuals.
Posted 10:21 AM 8/28/2009 : Lupita Murillo follows the FIST unit in action
There's a special unit that hunts for violent fugitives. Its called FIST, a multi-agency task force based out of the Pima County Sheriff's department. Our cameras were allowed to go along on an operation.
"Police, come to the door," says an officer, knocking on a door. "Randy Holberg come to the door, we know you're in there. Do it now."
The self-proclaimed white supremacist is wanted out of California for parole violations. A tip led officers to an east side apartment complex. Once handcuffed, he's taken to jail.
The FIST unit quickly moves to their next target.
Some of the officers have been doing surveillance and say he's inside an apartment complex by the airport. A plan is formulated to make the arrest.
The team gets word the suspect may be leaving and the officers swing into motion.
"Apparently the brother thinks he's wanted for violating his federal parole and we have the warrant for the other brother," says an officer.
The officers move in and make the arrests.
At all times there is constant radio communication between officers and headquarters.
We're into this operation just two hours and already the fist unit has arrested 4 individuals.
Sgt. Pat McGhee of the Pima County Sheriff's Department says "We've been pretty lucky today, a lot of times you'll do a lot of work for a week and never catch them."
Sometimes the FIST Unit gets a bonus arrest. In the process of looking for one of their targets, they came across a man who had a warrant out for a domestic violence charge.
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