Monday, June 18 , 2018, 4:07 am | Fair 52º


Sheriff’s Rural Crimes Unit Busts Theft Ring

Detectives make six arrests and recover more than $100,000 in stolen agricultural equipment

[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.]

Cody Tucker
Cody Tucker

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.

Steven Smith
Steven Smith

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.

David Southern
David Southern

A 17-year old male was booked at juvenile hall.

David Friesen was booked for possession of stolen property.

David Friesen
David Friesen

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.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >