With the holidays here and property crime on the rise, the Vacaville Police Department is cracking down on crime trends like shoplifting. The Community Response Unit (CRU) is a specialized unit through the VPD dedicated to monitoring those crime trends.
On Friday night the CRU team of four went undercover and focused on catching shoplifters at local businesses. ABC 10 reporter Anne Di Grazia and photojournalist Rob Asher road along with CRU during the operation. Sergeant David Kellis said they are trying to deter theft and keep Vacaville a nice place to live.
"The police department got a grant, a community action police grant and part of it was to form this unit, to focus on quality of life issues for Vacaville," said Sgt. Kellis.
He leads the unit and has worked for the department for over 20 years. During the sweep Sgt. Kellis said his team are experts, detect theft and follow through on any leads that are suspicious. Not every confrontation is accurate but some are spot on. During the ride along officers tracked down a guy they thought stole from Home Depot.
"We can go out there doing one thing but you never know what you will come across," Sgt. Kellis told us.
The man they confronted had meth, marijuana and other people's credit cards in his car. Sgt. Kellis said they took everything but the marijuana. They gave him a citation and sent him on his way.
"Because after Prop 47 it's just a misdemeanor and we will let him go with just a ticket," he explained.
The proposition reduces crimes like small drug possession and petty theft of less than $950 to misdemeanors.