Reporting Andrea Menniti
CALAVERAS (CBS13) – A local county is seeing a dramatic rise in burglaries, and now the sheriff is a victim.
The fact the sheriff’s home was burglarized sends a message to some, no one is off limits.
Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz made it his mission to take on thieves behind a recent spike in burglaries.
A few weeks later, he was the target.
“I became a victim myself,” said Kuntz.
Bad guys broke into his home stealing $10,000 worth of valuables.
“After I went around and told everyone to lock their windows and door, we left one window barely cracked, they gained access and went inside,” said Kuntz.
He’s not alone. The area is on track to see 576 break-ins by the end of the year, nearly doubling last year’s count.
Friday, deputies and state parole agents converged on a Valley Springs home looking for stolen property linked to recent burglaries.
“Right now we are looking at the possibly of recovering stolen property and I know we’ve identified illegal narcotics inside the residence,” said Lt. David Sewell, Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies arrested a trio of suspects, but cracking cases is proving to be more difficult because of budget cuts.
Right now there are only four deputies on the street at any given time.
“I cover all the way from the Foothills, all the way to the high Sierra with four deputies,” said Kuntz.
And the sheriff believes criminals know the average response time is more than an hour.
“They watch us as much as we watch them. They have nothing benter do to but watch us, they know what deputy is on duty,” said Kunz.
The sheriff wants the county board of supervisors to approve an extra $500,000 for a handful of deputies to help curb crime, and neighbors agree.
“We need more security. It takes them so long to get where they are to where the burglary is, there are so few for such a large area,” said neighbor Cheryl Allen.
The sheriff asked county leaders to approve five deputy potions. There is no word on when a decision will be made.
Kuntz says near by Amador and Tuolumne counties are similar in size and receive millions more to fund law enforcement.