Firebaugh Police find stolen farm equipment worth $300,000, arrest 1

FIREBAUGH, Calif. (KFSN) -- A tip from a passerby led Firebaugh investigators to a large discovery of stolen farm equipment.

They found $300,000 worth of trailers and tractors that were reported stolen.

One person has been arrested in connection with the crime.

Firebaugh Police said they're constantly dealing with farm equipment theft, which ends up costing the farmers thousands of dollars.

Police said stolen cars were found in a box trailer and at least 20 other pieces of stolen equipment were found at a property off North Dos Palos Road.

"After we started running all the plates we just started getting hit after hit after hit of stolen property," said Sgt. Bernard Ortiz.

Authorities arrested 35-year-old Cesar Figueroa in connection with the crime and say he was living on the property.

Ortiz said the equipment was traced back to several different farmers, including Vince Taylor out of Chowchilla, whose equipment was stolen earlier this month.

"I got a call from Firebaugh police saying they found my back hoe and John Deere tractor," Taylor said.

Ortiz said a nearby driver spotted some equipment on Thursday morning that resembled his employer's recently stolen semi-trailer.

That driver then called the police and soon, they secured a search warrant to look through the property.

Ortiz said agriculture theft is a problem they see all too often.

"Chemicals, farm equipment, a lot of it that gets shipped down into Mexico."

In an effort to deter the pattern, the governor signed Senate Bill 224 earlier this year that would create a new penal code specifically for grand thefts of agricultural property and equipment.

After being a victim of theft multiple times, Taylor said he wants to see harsher punishment for thieves.

"There should be laws to prevent them from stealing. I shouldn't have to worry about my own possessions being stolen."

Firebaugh police are continuing to search for equipment that could be connected to this case, and said it's possible there will be more arrests.
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