Car theft in Kingsburg leads police to thieves in Fresno

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A work truck heist in Kingsburg led police to a group of auto thieves in Fresno. (KFSN)

Police used a GPS tracking device to bust a group of auto thieves in Fresno. Investigators say they stole work trucks from Jack's Refrigeration in Kingsburg Sunday night and one of the trucks left a trail behind.

The owner, Jon Chapman said, "As long as that truck is running, it's pinging every two minutes."

The device sends signals to Chapman's phone and a monitor inside his office in Kingsburg. "It marks every time that ignition is turned on or turned off," he added.

On Monday morning, he noticed two trucks were missing, along with a service van and a trailer. He says thieves broke in and took them in the middle of the night and there was an electronic trail leading from the yard to a home in Fresno. Police served a search warrant and found stolen tools and parts inside the home. Some belong to Chapman, including a truck rack which was sitting outside until a man pulled up and took off with it. Sgt. Doug Goertzen said, "We stopped him a short distance away, determined he was in the stolen truck out of Kingsburg."

CHP officers recovered the other truck in an orchard. It was found burning near the trailer, which was damaged. Chapman says an expensive piece of equipment inside the trailer was also stripped for parts.

Back at the home, 4 people were arrested - two men and two women. "It makes me feel sorry for them that they, in my opinion, their drug habits have led them to this point," Chapman said.

Chapman wasn't the only victim. Police found another trailer and a Dodge truck parked in the front yard and both had been reported stolen in separate cases. The owner of the truck, Scott Saxton said, "A little violated-- that's the best way to put it."

He says it disappeared on President's Day and he had to tow it back home, "It's pretty beat up."

Chapman took the biggest hit - a $200,000 loss, he says and the service van is still missing. "It'll definitely set us back," he said, "It'll take us a while to recover from this."

Fresno Police say the leader of the operation will likely be facing charges for auto theft and possession of stolen property.
Related Topics:
newscarauto theftfresnokingsburgfresno countyFresnoKingsburg
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