Fresno Urban Peace graduate arrested for burglary

Thomas Roland Sr. took part in Fresno’s anti-violence program, but he was recently arrested for burglary and for illegally possessing 25 firearms.

    Thomas Roland Sr. graduated from the Urban Peace Academy, Fresno’s anti-violence program, last week. 

    But Roland had been arrested shortly before and after graduating from the academy for burglary and gun possession. 


    The backstory: The Urban Peace Academy is run by the Urban Peace Institute, an organization that works to improve community safety by helping teach anti-violence techniques. 

    • The Urban Peace Institute operates throughout California and across other major cities in the United States. 
    • Last year the Fresno City Council agreed to a $300,000 contract for 18 months for the Urban Peace Institute to provide street outreach training services. Funding for the program came from the California Violence Intervention Program. 

    The big picture: A couple weeks ago Roland was arrested on six felony charges by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, including burglary, possession of a gun by a felon, grand theft of a firearm and evading police. 

    • He posted bail of $207,500. 
    • Roland was in court on Tuesday and was re-arrested by the Sheriff’s Office on six new charges, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a large capacity magazine. 
    • He once again posted bail on Tuesday, this time at $282,500.  

    Go deeper: Sheriff John Zanoni told GV Wire that Roland is suspected for a burglary in northwest Fresno near Sierra and Van Ness Avenues, where he allegedly stole a large gun safe. 

    • Roland and other suspects were throwing guns out the window of the car while deputies were in pursuit, according to Zanoni. 
    • Deputies later found 19 stolen and unregistered firearms at Roland’s residence that belonged to the homeowner who lived near Sierra and Van Ness Avenues. There were also three firearms found that were stolen from other counties, and three others that the sheriff’s office has not yet confirmed to be stolen. 

    What they’re saying: “It starts to make you wonder where these firearms are going that are being stolen in these burglaries,” Zanoni told GV Wire. “Why would individuals that have felony records and are convicted felons have this many firearms? One can only believe that these firearms were going to be distributed to or furnished to gang members to commit crimes.”

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