Kings County Rural Crime Report: Mail theft on the rise, fuel thefts continue

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Contributed by Task Force Supervisor Rod Shulman

The Kings County Rural Crime Task Force welcomes the addition of Deputy Cody Holt to our unit. Detective Holt has hit the ground running and has assisted with several investigations since joining the unit in the first week of January. We are conducting several investigations to include shop burglaries, vehicle thefts, diesel fuel thefts and embezzlement.

There have been two occasions were the shop at 850 N. 4th Avenue was burglarized. Taken from this location were Miller and Lincoln welders, a hydraulic press and a plasma cutter. The shop located at 9795 Hanford-Armona Rd. was burglarized. It appears two suspects removed a compressor, generator, batteries and a propane tank. These burglaries don't appear to be connected and there is no evidence linking the two investigations together.

We are conducting investigations for Westlake Farms regarding mail theft. We remind all farmers and ranchers to take any checks payable or receivable to the post office whenever possible as we have seen a rise in mail theft. The suspects in these investigations utilize account numbers on checks to make fraudulent checks and accounts. We are currently conducting an investigation on a subject who embezzled money by utilizing equipment for a company he was working for. This suspect utilized the company invoice and changed the name. This investigation is still ongoing and we hope to conduct an interview with the suspect soon. If there is enough evidence, an arrest will be made and a complaint filed with the District Attorney's Office. We also conducted an investigation involving the theft of batteries from tractors in the 6600 block of Flint Ave. There is very little evidence in this case, and we ask for you to call us if you see any suspicious persons or vehicles.

We continue to have diesel fuel being stolen in the south county. JG Boswell had another 196 gallons stolen from the El Rico Ranch. This is an ongoing investigation with multiple jurisdictions involved. We have located, arrested and interviewed two suspects living in the Delano area. Our interview with these suspects gave us information as to who is stealing the fuel and where some of the stolen diesel is being off loaded. We are working with Tulare and Kern County Rural Crime units to conduct follow-up investigation on these suspects. It will take some time to locate and make arrests on all of the suspects involved.

We conducted an investigation for Diversified Ag involving the theft of a vehicle and a UTV. The suspects in this case were captured on video surveillance, which assisted us with our investigation. We recovered the stolen Kubota RTV a short distance away in an almond orchard. The truck stolen from Silveira was located in the Delano area. The suspects in this case were the ones we interviewed as stated in the previous paragraph. The suspects admitted to stealing the truck and Kubota. They also admitted to stealing diesel fuel in Tulare County.

With the legalization of industrial hemp, members of our unit have been attending training to learn the laws and regulations associated with this crop. If you have any questions or concerns regarding hemp, please feel free to call any member of our task force. We also remind everyone of the Owner Applied Number (OAN). We can stamp equipment upon your request.

Thanks again for your patience and support.  If you have any questions, please call anytime.

Task Force Supervisor Rod Shulman: 559-469-4004

Detective Carlos Santos: 559-904-6893

Detective Ben Moore: 559-589-3629

Detective Cody Holt: 559-362-8928

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FarmLifeKCFBFebruary 2019