[Noozhawk’s note: One of the individuals listed as “arrested” in the original version of this article later had her custody status changed to “detained.” Her name has been removed from the story below.]
Detectives with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and the Rural Crimes Unit have teamed up to arrest six people in connection with a string of burglaries and felony acts of vandalism at ranches and farms in the Santa Maria Valley.
The nearly three-month investigation began in early December 2009, when an agricultural business on the 3300 block of Foxen Canyon Road reported that someone had broken into a storage shed overnight and stolen thousands of dollars worth of tools and equipment.
During the next few weeks, more than $105,000 worth of farm equipment was stolen in similar burglaries at agricultural properties on the 1400 block of Black Road, 3800 block of Telephone Road and the 2600 block of East Clark Avenue.
In some cases, the burglars used company tractors to commit acts of vandalism that caused more than $24,000 worth of damage.
Last week, sheriff’s detectives and a rural crimes deputy cracked the case and arrested five adults and one juvenile for their roles in the crime spree. All are from the Orcut and Santa Maria Valley areas.
Cody Tucker, 18, Steven Smith, 21, and a 19-year-old woman were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for burglary, vandalism and criminal conspiracy.
All of those charges are felonies.
David Southern, 21, was booked on felony burglary and criminal conspiracy charges. Bail was set at $20,000.
A 17-year old male was booked at juvenile hall.
David Friesen was booked for possession of stolen property.
At this time, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has recovered more than $103,000 worth of the stolen property.
— Drew Sugars is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.