Northern Marianas Anti-Crime Taskforce Reactivated

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Over 100 arrests previously made in burglary, robbery cases

By Ferdie de la Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Dec. 28, 2012) – As an increase in burglary, arson, robbery, and theft cases in the Northern Mariana Islands has reached epidemic proportions, Department of Public Safety acting commissioner Ambrosio T. Ogumoro has reactivated the Thief Apprehension Select Coalition (TASC) to go after those criminals.

Ogumoro in a press statement yesterday said from Jan. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2012, a total of 1,108 incidents of burglary, robbery, and theft, plus 12 arson cases have been reported to the police.

Ogumoro said he and the staff understand the public's concern over the large volume of unsolved burglary, robbery, and arson cases in the CNMI.

Recently, the acting commissioner said he assigned additional detectives to combat these crimes by beefing up the Criminal Investigation Bureau with TASC operatives.

TASC was created in 2002 as a special group that focused on solving burglary, theft, and robbery cases. It was credited for 107 arrests between July 28 and Dec. 31, 2002. Of those arrests, 104 resulted in convictions.

Ogumoro said yesterday that with the assistance from patrol, fire arson investigators, and the NMI Crime Stoppers program, TASC operatives recently made several arrests.

The acting commissioner cited the arrest of Benjamin Lee Rios, a 42-year-old man who was apprehended last Dec. 13 for burglarizing a residence in Garapan and another house in Gualo Rai.

He said the TASC agents also prepared a warrant of arrest that resulted in the arrest of 20-year-old Ronald Leon Guerrero Ealey last Dec. 19 for robbing and assaulting a Chinese businesswoman near Capitol Bowling Center in Garapan.

Ogumoro said that, also on Dec. 19, 41-year-old Brian Lee Reyes was arrested for burglarizing a residence in Chalan Kiya and stealing a home stereo worth $2,650.

Ogumoro said that, on Dec. 21, 43-year-old Ana Ching was arrested for allegedly stealing an Ipod valued at over $250.

He said that, on Dec. 22, Jack Petrus, 28, was arrested for breaking into the Islander Rent-A-Car and stealing $840 worth of items.

Ogumoro said TASC operatives followed up a Crime Stoppers' tip that resulted in the arrest of Petrus.

The acting commissioner asked the public for their patience and understanding in the overwhelming amount of unsolved crimes in the CNMI.

"This must be a collective effort of all relevant stakeholders to include the CNMI legislature, media, private businesses, and the general public," Ogumoro said.

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