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Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies Make Several Arrests in Farm Thefts

4 suspects jailed for allegedly stealing equipment from Santa Maria-area farms

A $7,000 Polaris Ranger 4 wheel ATV was stolen from a farm on West Betteravia Road earlier this year. Four people are facing charges in a series of thefts from Santa Maria Valley farms.
A $7,000 Polaris Ranger 4 wheel ATV was stolen from a farm on West Betteravia Road earlier this year. Four people are facing charges in a series of thefts from Santa Maria Valley farms. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)
Jairo Escobedo Click to view larger
Jairo Escobedo
Marcos Cerda Adame Click to view larger
Marcos Cerda Adame

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Rural Crimes Unit has arrested four people for allegedly stealing equipment from farms and ranches in the Santa Maria Valley.

Eleazar Sanchez-Cruz of Santa Maria, 32, was arrested on suspicion of burglary and conspiracy for allegedly stealing $17,000 worth of agricultural chemicals in April, according to Kelly Hoover, a  spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities also arrested Marcos Cerda Adame, 23, and Guadalupe Garcia Mendez, 20, both of Santa Maria.

They were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of burglary and conspiracy. They also had warrants for their arrest, Hoover said..

Detectives believe there are additional people involved, but they have not yet been identified. Detectives also recovered several hundred dollars worth of possibly stolen construction-related equipment, Hoover said.

Then in May, detectives working with authorities from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jairo Escobedo, 32, of Santa Maria, on suspicion of burglary, felony vandalism, grand theft and trespassing.

He allegedly was responsible for the theft of a $25,000 equipment trailer that was stolen from a farm near Bonita School Road, on the border of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The trailer was recovered at a nearby farm.

Eleazar Sanchez-Cruz Click to view larger
Eleazar Sanchez-Cruz
Guadalupe Garcia Mendez Click to view larger
Guadalupe Garcia Mendez

Authorities said more than $1,100 in damage was caused to the trailer during the break-in. Another $1.400 in equipment allegedly was stolen from inside the trailer.

In addition, in April, a $7,000 Polaris Ranger 4 wheel ATV was stolen from a farm on West Betteravia Road. A few weeks later, a victim spotted the Ranger parked in the side yard of a Santa Maria home.

Authorities recovered the Ranger and found a $1,400 injection pump at the home. The pump was allegedly stolen from another farm in Santa Maria.

Two 19-year-old men were identified as the suspects. The case was forwarded to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office with the recommended charges of grand theft, motor vehicle theft and conspiracy.

The Sheriff’s Office urges people to put a name, phone number or other identifying marks on their property to make it easier for law enforcement to return stolen equipment. The Sheriff’s Office is requesting assistance to locate the owners of a stolen portable welder and a stolen pressure washer.  

If anyone has any information relating to these stolen items, these cases, or other agricultural-related criminal activity, contact Det. McCarthy at 805.934.6512 or 805.934.6150. To leave an anonymous tip, call 805.681.4171.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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