The owner of about $5,000 worth of construction tools has an astute police officer to thank for the return of his property Sunday.
At about 9:44 a.m., the officer was driving through a parking lot in the 2700 block of Black Oak Drive when he spotted a 2004 Chevrolet pickup truck and an enclosed cargo trailer affixed with what he soon determined was a stolen license plate, according to Paso Robles Police Department Lt. Ty Lewis.
Humberto Aguilar Lopez, 32, of Paso Robles and Manuel Padilla, 32, of San Miguel began to walk away from the truck when the officer approached.
After detaining the two, the officer found the license plate belonged to a trailer reported stolen from an unincorporated area just outside of San Luis Obispo. The trailer contained more than $5,000 worth of construction tools and equipment. A search of the truck also turned up a small amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
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The tools were returned to their owner later that day, Lewis said. He said investigators suspect the trailer was stolen as well, but they had not confirmed the identity of the owner as of Monday.
Lopez and Padilla were arrested and booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of possessing stolen property, a felony. Padilla was also charged with violating his probation. Prosecutors may also file additional misdemeanor charges of possessing a controlled substance.
Lewis said the county’s multi-agency Auto Theft Task Force is working to determine if the pair is linked to any similar thefts.
On Monday afternoon, Padilla remained in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail. Aguilar was no longer in custody, according to jail logs.