Traffic operations officers Mervin Roman and Rick Reyes will receive Awards of Merit from the California College & University Police Chiefs Association for helping arrest suspected vehicle burglars on the California State University, Fresno campus before a crime was committed.

The officers were working in Lot V (between the Smittcamp Alumni House and Student Recreation Center) the morning on Feb. 16, “when they observed four male juveniles parked in a red Honda and acting suspiciously,” wrote Lt. Allen Gaad of the University Police Department in a letter of commendation.

The officers “parked their vehicle behind the suspects’ vehicle, effectively blocking [it] from leaving,” Gaad wrote. Roman and Reyes approached the four, who appeared to be too young to attend classes at Fresno State and were wearing rubber gloves.

The traffic officers radioed for University Police officers and detained the four, all 14 or 15 years old, who had such burglary tools as a shaved vehicle key, screwdrivers and bricks, Gaad wrote.

“The suspects later admitted that they had just arrived in the parking lot and had intended to burglarize vehicles, but had been stopped before they could commit their first burglary,” said Gaad’s commendation, which noted that the suspects’ car was stolen. The four teens were booked into Juvenile Hall.

For their actions, Roman and Reyes will be honored April 13 during the Police Chiefs Association annual training conference in South Lake Tahoe.

“Traffic Operations officers help put trained ‘eyes and ears’ around the campus, providing an extra measure of security for students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said University Police Chief David Huerta.” The actions of Officers Roman and Reyes are proof of how their efforts pay off for everyone.”