Posted: 8:57 p.m. MST
With only a few more days left until Christmas, the holiday hustle is in full throttle.
And while this may be your favorite time of year, officials say burglars are thinking the exact same thing.
“Criminals are looking for opportunity. They’re opportunists,” said Leanne Worthen, the spokeswoman at Yuma Police Department. “This time of year people are purchasing more property. There’s more population. So, the opportunities increase naturally during this time of year for these guys to commit that crime.”
Law enforcement officials were up at the crack of dawn and knocking on doors to find and arrest fugitives with a long history of property related crimes.
“We’re out there. We’re trying to catch the Grinch, and in this case the Grinch is going to be the fugitives that have these property crime backgrounds,” said a deputy from the U.S. Marshal, whose identity has been concealed as a safety precaution. “We want to get these guys before they have a chance to get out and continue to burglarize homes and kind of ruin the holiday season for people.”
Agencies including the Yuma Police Department and the U.S. Marshal teamed up to crack down on theft, robbery, and buglary.
These crimes historically increase during the holiday season.
The operation resulted in a total of 161 arrests in Yuma and other surrounding cities.
Officials say thieves tend to have a high risk to reoffend.
“If you catch a burglar, it’s usually not their first time, and there’s a good chance they are going to go out and do it again,” said Worthen.
While officials say it's rare that they encounter violence during these operations, safety is still a main concern.
“We want to operate as safely as possible so that we can ensure the safety of others as well, including the fugitives that we’re looking for today and the community members,” added the U.S. Marshal Deputy.