Spokane County, WA, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich announced the creation of a property crime task force Tuesday afternoon, attributing its need to a spike in reports he connected to recent COVID-19-related releases of repeat offenders.

Data for all areas patrolled by sheriff’s deputies show notable increases in garage and commercial burglaries during March and April from the first two months of the year, the Spokesman reports.

“COVID has victimized this community across the board,” Knezovich said Tuesday. “I think it’s time for us to not allow it to create more crime victims just in the sense of trying to release people from jail.”

“We are going to go after our hardcore, career criminals. We know who they are,” Knezovich continued. “And we intend on putting them back in jail.”

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